A runner who is serious about improving her speed or staying in top shape cannot afford to take a break from training due to bothers like cold weather. Less bulky and more aerodynamic than a typical pair of jogging pants, a good pair of running leggings or tights can make winter running much more pleasant. Depending on your budget, your physiological needs, and the severity of the weather, you may find a number of suitable options.
Under some circumstances, a pair of inexpensive fashion leggings may meet your needs. These can be found in most department stores or clothing stores during colder months. Fashion leggings provide a warm base clothing layer, but are usually made of cotton. Unlike true running leggings, cotton leggings or tights do not wick away sweat or other moisture, so if they get wet, they will stay wet. Also, since they are not designed with strenuous exercise in mind, they may wear out more quickly than more expensive leggings.
If you have extra money to spend or are working out in more extreme weather, it may be worth investing in high-quality running leggings from a specialty running store or Web site. Running leggings, made from synthetic materials instead of cotton, wick away moisture. If you will likely be running in snow or cold rain, synthetic leggings are a must to keep your legs dry and your muscles warm. Even in dry weather, if you tend to sweat a lot while working out in cold temperatures, these may make a better, more comfortable option. True running leggings may provide mild compression to aid in muscle recovery and may also be made from materials that reduce odor and bacterial growth.
A serious runner will most likely need more than one pair of leggings. A good compromise for a runner on a budget might be to buy one pair of synthetic leggings and one or more pairs of fashion leggings. You can then wear the synthetic pair on wet days, and the less expensive pairs on dry days.
You should also consider the difference between leggings and tights when making a selection. In some places the terms are used interchangeably, but in the US, tights, like pantyhose, cover the entire foot as well as the leg. Leggings, on the other hand, stop at or just above the ankle. Depending on the type of socks you wear, you may have a preference for one of these styles over the other.