What are the Different Types of Wicking Pants?

Vicki Hogue-Davies
Vicki Hogue-Davies
Wicking tights help keep the legs comfortable by pulling moisture away from the body.
Wicking tights help keep the legs comfortable by pulling moisture away from the body.
Wicking tights help keep the legs comfortable by pulling moisture away from the body.

Wicking pants are workout pants made of fabrics that draw perspiration away from the skin — or "wick" away moisture — during workouts. They help wearers stay dry and comfortable in both warm and cold weather. Moisture-wicking pants typically are made from polyesters, polyester blends and wool blends. There are a variety of wicking pants on the market made by various sports-apparel manufacturers. Each manufacturer typically has its own trademarked version of moisture-wicking fabric used in its apparel.

Athletes often wear wicking shorts to stay comfortable in wet weather.
Athletes often wear wicking shorts to stay comfortable in wet weather.
Athletes often wear wicking shorts to stay comfortable in wet weather.

Moisture-wicking pants are made for men, women and children. They are available for a variety of sports and are popular with runners, cyclists, hikers and others. They come in styles that hug the body, in relaxed-fit styles and in baggy, sweatpant looks. They also come in a variety of lengths, including those that end at the knee or mid-calf and full-length styles.

Runners can find wicking pants and tights in quick-drying fabrics that move with the body and prevent chafing for comfort over long distances. Like other kinds of running pants, these offer various features. Some of the more common features include reflective technology, elastic waists, drawstring cords that lay flat and internal key pockets.

Some pajamas have wicking fabric to help people who are experiencing changes in body temperature stay cooler at night.
Some pajamas have wicking fabric to help people who are experiencing changes in body temperature stay cooler at night.
Some pajamas have wicking fabric to help people who are experiencing changes in body temperature stay cooler at night.

Moisture-wicking cycling pants come in styles made to keep muscles warm during long miles on the road or trail. Cycling wicking pants are made for serious competitors as well as weekend athletes. They feature padded seats and come in both tights and more relaxed-fit options.

For hikers, having pants that control moisture can be essential for long days or weeks in the elements. Wicking pants made for hiking in dry, hot weather are made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. For hiking in colder climates, waterproof and windproof styles are available with bottom layers that wick away moisture from the skin. A common feature in hiking pants is legs that zip off to convert to shorts. Zip-off hiking pants in wicking fabrics also are available.

Hiking pants made of synthetic materials may resist tearing and moisture from rain.
Hiking pants made of synthetic materials may resist tearing and moisture from rain.
Hiking pants made of synthetic materials may resist tearing and moisture from rain.

Wicking pants also are made for working out in the gym, for walking and for a variety of other physical activities. Many other styles of fitness clothing also are made with moisture-wicking fabric. Shorts, tops, jackets and more from a variety of makers come in wicking fabrics. Some pajama brands also use the fabric to help people who are experiencing menopause or who have changes in body temperature because of cancer and other illnesses stay cooler at night. Moisture-wicking pants and other clothing can be found at sports and fitness stores, department stores, online and elsewhere.

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Discussion Comments

pastanaga

Moisture wicking pants are kind of essential for any sort of ultra sport, like marathons. But they are particularly good for things like triathlons or the big one, the Iron Man.

When you are getting out of the water and stepping into biking or running gear you don't want to have to think about whether or not your skin is about to be worn into shreds because you didn't dry your legs off properly.

Wicking clothing is pretty good in general, and often essential not just because it takes the water away, but because it takes the salt away too.

In a long event the salt can build up and can eventually leave you with rashes or even worse.

These sorts of events are often painful enough without added worries. I know they seem like one expense after another, but this one really will protect you from harm and make you a better competitor.

irontoenail

If you want to go for a long term hiking trip and have to decide on what kind of moisture wicking clothing you should wear, I would suggest you look into wearing merino fabrics.

They are expensive, but they last for a long time and there are some pretty stylish options available.

They are often quite environmentally friendly as well, and I know quite a few brands really care about where the wool comes from.

But the best thing about them is that you can wear them for days on end and they don't smell or feel bad. One man wore his for almost a month and a half and it didn't smell by the end of it.

When you have to carry all your clothes on your back and there is little chance of a washing machine turning up, it really makes a difference to be able to wear something like that.

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    • Wicking tights help keep the legs comfortable by pulling moisture away from the body.
      Wicking tights help keep the legs comfortable by pulling moisture away from the body.
    • Athletes often wear wicking shorts to stay comfortable in wet weather.
      Athletes often wear wicking shorts to stay comfortable in wet weather.
    • Some pajamas have wicking fabric to help people who are experiencing changes in body temperature stay cooler at night.
      Some pajamas have wicking fabric to help people who are experiencing changes in body temperature stay cooler at night.
    • Hiking pants made of synthetic materials may resist tearing and moisture from rain.
      Hiking pants made of synthetic materials may resist tearing and moisture from rain.