Finding the perfect cold weather running pants for winter is essential but tricky. Some pants are too long, some too short; some barely keep you warm, while others make your legs feel like they're in an oven. We created this list to help you find that perfect pair of pants for your cold-weather running. Although this list is by no means complete, it’s a guide to what we believe are the best winter running pants and running tights on the market.
Best-In-Class Pants: Brooks Rush Pants, $85.
When I worked at Big River Running Company (before starting Janji), these were the pants (updated from the Brooks Utopia) I recommended to anyone who wanted a serious, cold weather bottom to keep their legs warm. While the pants have a fleecy interior that helps in freezing temperatures, they breathe well and never feel bulky. And with a true fit, these are a top choice for running pants.
Best Slim Fit Pants: Nike OTC65 Track Pants, $85.
Not into tights but still want a very slim fitting pairs pants? These are a stellar option. The OTC65, whose name derives from the inaugural year of the Oregon Track Club, look like the jogging pants from yesteryear. But that doesn't mean these are your father's pants. With quick drying, Dri-Fit fabric and a material perfect for fall and early spring days, these pants will protect your legs it a stylish, throw back way.
Best In Tough Climates: Salomon Momentum Softshell FZ Pants, $140.
To put these pants in perspective, Salomon sells their Momentum Pants for cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and running. For the chilly conditions in Boston (Janji’s hometown) or in even colder environments farther north, these pants are great. Even with wind-resistant coating that protects you from the conditions, the range of movement is fantastic in these pants. With a true-to-size fit and a stellar feel, there’s really only one big downside: the $160 price tag.
Best Socially-Conscious Pants: Janji Kenya Track Pants, $65.
This is a shameless self-promotion, but hear me out: this is among the best products Janji has ever produced. With a soft interior, good movement, a slimmer fit, 3 pockets, and a very reasonable $72 price, they're a great deal. Plus, each piece gives one year of water to a family in Peru. They're probably the product where we get the most compliments for fit, feel, and overall craftsmanship. Ok we're done tooting our own horns.
Men's Running Tights
Best-In-Class Tights: Saucony Omni LX Tight, $80.
Nearly all men’s running pants tend to be uninspired: sometimes there will be a flare of reflectivity, but usually running pants are all black or, if the brand is adventurous, charcoal. Not so true with tights -- especially these tights. Saucony’s Omni LX Tights have a basic black base but come with multiple options of color options that makes them standout without appearing too shocking. In addition to the great look, the tights move very well, feel great in the cold, and fit pretty true to size. As a result, the Saucony Omni LX Tights are our Best-In-Class.
Best in Tough Climates Tights: Gore Magnitutde Windstopper Soft Shell Tight, $139.99.
Much like the aforementioned Salomon pants, these pants are designed for the cold (and, like the Salomon tights, come with a steep price tag). For decades, Gore has been known to make highly technical products, be it for shoes or for home sealants. They’re putting that knowhow to work in these tights. With their warm interior coupled with a wickedly powerful wind-blocking exterior, these tights will get you through the harsh winter. One word of warning: they run a bit long.
Best Compression Tights: SKINS Men’s A200 Long Compression Tights, $124.99.
Compression tights have recently become more popular as a post-run recovery tool. Although some studies cast doubt on the physiological benefits of compression tights, that hasn’t prevented them from becoming a apprel piece among serious runners. In an ever-growing category, the A200 Thermal Compression Long Tights is the best on the market. Made by a compression company based in Australia, these tights fit great, feel fantastic and have a nice brushed fabric interior. At $124.99 they're pricey, but well worth the cost
Most Unusual Technology: Mizuno Breath Thermo Layered Tight, $79.99.
The fabric of these tights are based off of Mizuno’s breath thermo technology which works as such: when you sweat, the breath thermo—which is included in the knit of the fabric—pulls sweat from the body and then generates heat from the moisture it absorbs. That means that these tights’ seemingly thin fabric belies the warm sensation you get when wearing them. For a video (with poor production value) that explains how the technology works, click here. The tights feel true to size and, thanks to the breath thermo technology, keep you warm in the cold weather.
Dave Spandorfer is the co-founder of Janji and a serious runner. You can follow his Janji and running journeys on twitter @spandorfer