Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Sunshine, hail, frost, lightning, wind, rain, heatwave … Knowing what to wear for springtime running can be harder than predicting a teenager’s mood. Trail Runner selected tights that have something to offer beyond breathability and convenient pockets (though of course they have those).
We were pleasantly surprised at the quality, durability, comfort and the ways these companies are striving to do more for the planet than just produce performance wear. Here are our First Looks at unique women’s tights and the companies that make them.
Smartwool PhD Running Capri
Material: 44% Nylon, 36% Merino Wool, 20% Elastane
Smartwool just keeps nailing it. The PhD 3/4 tights are breathable, soft, warm and snug. I’m always a fan of wool as my base layer, but these tights hit the mark for springtime running. The 3/4 length in combination with the Merino blend ensures warmth when you need it and fresh air when you don’t.
The thick waist band fits comfortably and securely and the continuous-loop draw cord omits dangling strings. There are no pockets other than the rear zip pouch which is just big enough for a couple gels and a credit card. No cell-phone pocket here, unless you’re still rocking a Nokia flip phone from ’03. These tights are best suited for long miles while the weather is still chilly.
Wool is a renewable resource and, as the Smartwool website describes, “Our sheep are left to do what they want most of the time, stopping in for a haircut once a year and returning a few more times for other checkups. Not a bad deal.” Smartwool also has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: “If you’re unhappy with your product for any reason, return it within two years” and Smartwool will make it right.
SNEAK PEEK: Janji Women’s Uganda Crazy Crop
Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
The Uganda Crazy Crop tight, to be released next week (until then, check out their line of tights and shorts) are lightweight, ultra soft, high-waisted, thick-banded, fun-to-wear tights. Despite the patchwork of breathable fabrics, they’re sleek and the seams don’t rub.
These tights don’t have a drawstring but a thick elastic band that keeps a solid purchase high on the hips, and a single rear-zip pocket big enough for a bar and small-to-medium-sized cell phone. These are the kind of tights you can wear for a shake out run, then to yoga and brunch. Best suited for short to middle distances in cool to warm weather.
Janji donates 10% of the sale of each piece from the Uganda line to clean-water projects in Uganda.
Cotopaxi Wazimu Tights
Material: Body: 83% polyester 17% spandex; Panel: 93% polyester, 7% spandex
The Wazimu tight is surprisingly light, despite being full-length and having side-pocket panels that run the length of the outside of the quads. Cotopaxi’s running line is new for spring 2018 and they seem to have hit the ground, well, running. Less a performance tight and more of a crosstraining hybrid, the Wazimu has a thick, midline waist band, no draw strings and super-breathable mesh down the outside of the legs and wrapping the calves. The side pockets are large enough to fit a cell phone, or your hands, and are loose—making them more ideal for short runs and crosstraining.
Cotopaxi is a company that “funds solutions that address the most persistent needs of those living in extreme poverty” by offering grants to organizations. Cotopaxi also has a 61-year guarantee—”the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world. If there’s a problem with your product, we’ll gladly exchange it, get you a replacement, or repair the item in-house.”
Salomon Agile 3/4 Tight
Material: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Tried and true, the Salomon 3/4 Agile tight is the performance tight that will last for miles and miles on the trail. Soft and comfortable, these tights keep you fast and free with their light-mesh knee backing and simple-yet-snug body fit. One rear-zip pocket will hold a couple of gels and a credit card. These tights are UPF50, which protects from UVA and UVB rays. The Agile is best suited for workouts and long runs in cool to warm weather.
Salomon uses the bluesign® system, which “eliminates harmful substances from the beginning of the manufacturing process,” and 45% of Salomon’s suppliers are bluesign® partners. Salomon also donates funds to “help the social and professional reintegration of riders and mountain professionals who are physically disabled as a result of an accident or a disease.”
—Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor of Trail Runner and can’t wait to get some more miles in the tights featured here.