As the seasons get colder, the number of runners continues to diminish. Running shoes are swapped for downhill and cross country ski boots; jackets are bulked up with extra insulation; and your willingness to set foot outside is tested as temperatures continue to drop. But there still remains that small faction of runners who refuse to submit to the elements.

Some people aren’t made for skis and snowshoes, just like some aren’t made to keep running in subzero temperatures. But for those who partake in the sport of winter running, it requires determination, dedication, and the right weatherproof apparel.

Luckily, our selection of the best running pants and tights for winter has got you covered—literally. We start things off with our top picks: the Salomon GORE TEX Infinium Windstopper Tights for men and the On Running Pants for women.

Top Pick For Men

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It's all in the name. The Salomon GORE TEX Infinium Windstopper Tights are indeed windproof and warm. When winter arrives, the Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper tights for men can’t wait to get outside.

The Gore-Tex softshell on the front protects you from the cold and wind. Meanwhile, the brushed stretch knit on the back keeps the air circulating and ups the warmth and comfort. Perfect for active winter activities, come rain or snow.

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Top Pick For Women

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Winter running can be unforgiving, but having the On Running Pants certainly makes it bearable. Combining overlay construction for wind protection with a light brushed knit fabric makes for breathable warmth.

These pants also feature a 4-way stretch fabric for total freedom of movement. That all adds up to winter-ready performance. Those running pants are at home on and off the track. Unique design features mean these pants can be changed to match the season or run.

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Best Running Tights Overall

For intensely cold winter conditions, don’t skip your run. Instead, pick up a pair of Craft ADV SubZ 3 Tights. These tights pack a lot of tech into their minimalist construction—from wind-protective Ventair, to a lightweight, 3-layer insulation construction in front.

Inside, the jersey waistband is ideal for next-to-skin comfort. Meanwhile, the concealed leg bottom zippers give you the option to dump excess heat, and slip them on and off with ease.

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Best Affordable Leggings

Made from a combination of elastane in a 4-way stretch construction, the HeatGear Armour High-Rise Leggings by Under Armour are perfect for lounging or getting out and moving.

The no-slip elastic waist keeps them comfortable when you're on the go, and they're perfect for wearing on their own, or under another layer on colder days.

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Best Windproof Running Pants

Designed for windy activities and cold-weather workouts, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3 Layer Pants provide critical wind-protection and water-resistance. They're made of a 3-layer waterproof, breathable, and ripstop H₂No Performance Standard shell. For weather-proofing, they’re finished with a DWR coating. 

The Torrentshell pants are loaded with features that maximise comfort and utility. Two hand-warmer pockets are great for secure storage and maintaining your circulation. Meanwhile, two-way zips extending from cuff-to-thigh make them easy to pull on, in addition to allowing you to quickly dump excess heat.

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Best Odour-Resistant Tights

Designed for cold weather training, the Icebreaker Speed Merino Winter Tights are unmatched when it comes to odour-control. This is thanks to their 97% merino construction, which is the best natural fibre for the job.

Besides their all-day freshness, these tights are also exceptionally comfortable: The flatlock seams are a welcome touch that prevent obnoxious friction, while the gusseted crotch improves freedom of movement and reduces chafing—especially for men. A secure phone pocket is located on the right leg.

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Most Versatile Leggings

Whether you’re hitting the streets for a run or training for a big race, the versatile New Balance Impact Run Heat Tight is built to meet all your running needs.

These running tights feature plenty of stretch for freedom of movement, while NB Heat technology wicks sweat away from your body to help keep you comfortable. Reflective trims and logos keep you visible on late-night jogs. Plus, easy-access drop-in pockets are ideal for your everyday carry.

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Best Compression Tights

If you’re looking for optimal compression without insulation, then the Craft Active Intensity Baselayer Pants are an excellent option. These functional tights are designed for high-intensity workouts like running.

They combine exceptional body-temperature management during training, thanks to the combination of lightweight SEAQUAL polyester and Coolmax Air Technology. On cold days, these streamlined leggings can be used as a base layer beneath a waterproof outer shell.

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For those late autumn evenings or early spring days, the Smartwool Intraknit Active Lined Shorts offers the best of both worlds. While these are shorts, they feature a mid-thigh liner insert that manages moisture and regulates internal temperature.

The drop-in pocket and rear zipper pocket also give you plenty of everyday carry options. Meanwhile, the athletic fit is both flattering and comfortable.

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What To Look for in Running Pants & Tights 

Runners training in Canadian winters need protection from daily subzero temperatures. When you’re looking for the right running pants and tights, you should look for an inner lining, weather-resistant fabric, handy pockets, and other features such as zippered ankle cuffs. 

Consider the workout you’ll be doing and whether you’ll feel more comfortable in tights, pants, or compression leggings. 

1. Types

  • Tights

The best running tights are securely fitted around the legs, helping keep the wind chill out. There will also be less material getting in the way when you’re running, making you feel light and flexible. 

One thing to keep in mind is that tights are usually transparent, so you’ll need to wear something like compression shorts underneath. 

  • Pants

Running trousers can be more loose-fitting than thermal tights, an aspect which can be more comfortable for some. The fabric should be stretchy enough to allow you to still run freely in any direction. An elastic or drawstring waistband makes sure they stay secure on your waist. 

  • Compression

Compression running tights help circulate the blood, keeping you warmer during those chilly mornings. Compression pants also reduce muscle soreness and recovery time from injuries. Many runners prefer them for their aesthetics, as well as their ability to wick away moisture from the body. 

2. Fabric

Winter running pants & tights should have a fleece-lined inside, which is excellent for single layering in frigid temperatures. For the outside material, you’ll want to look for a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating to keep off sleet and snow. Materials like merino wool will make the pants windproof and water-resistant, keeping you warmer. 

3. Pockets

The two main areas on running pants are inside pockets on the waist or outside utility pockets. You may also see external pockets on the thigh, big enough to fit a phone or wallet. 

On the back, there’s usually a zippered pocket to hold keys, bank or credit cards, and any other hand-held essential items. 

4. Other features

Reflectivity is an essential feature if you’re running at night or in the early morning. Additionally, you want to look for either a well-made elastic waistband or a drawstring that adjusts well to your size. 

Sometimes you’ll see a zipper on the ankles for a better fit. Other features include a windproof material on the thighs to block out frigid winds. 

winter running tights faq

Q: Why Wear Compression Tights?

A: Compression tights are designed to offer support to muscles, ligaments and joints during and after your workout. Wearing compression tights during physical activity will improve proprioception and body movements, all while targeting the muscles that work the hardest. They facilitate blood circulation through the body.

You can also use compression during the 24 to 48 hours of recovery following exercise. This will help decrease muscle fatigue, eliminate lactic acid build-up, and let you recover much faster.

Q: How to Wear Running Tights?

A: There are a number of ways to wear running tights, and this will depend on preference. During winter the best way to wear running tights is to wear them under your shorts. In addition, since most pants are fitted, it makes more sense to wear them with shorts. Same thing with compression tights. By the way, you don’t have to layer your running tights with compression tights - one pair will do.

Q: Are running tights the same as leggings?

A: Leggings are made for everyday wear, while tights are designed for athletic uses. Winter running tights will help keep your muscles compressed more than leggings will. 

Q: Do you wear shorts with running tights? Should I be wearing underwear?

A: Since running tights can be see-through, it’s best to wear another layer with them. This other layer can be underwear, shorts, or a jacket that covers the waistline. 

There you have it. You’re set to run all winter long in a pair of the best winter running tights. After looking at this extensive review of the best winter running pants and tights on the market, we hope we’ve helped you reach a better-informed decision. The most crucial factors in running legwear are the ability to keep cold temperatures out, and be water and wind-resistant.

Our top choices are the men’s Agile Warm Pant from Salomon and the women’s Light Shell Pants, also from Salomon. Along with the other options on our list, these tights will keep you running comfortably as temperatures start to drop. Peruse our selection of tights and get set for your favourite training in the snow!