Best Running Pants
As the temperatures begin to drop you may find that the shorts you use for running in the summer are no longer keeping you warm. That doesn’t mean that it’s time to stop enjoying runs outside, but rather, that you are in need of some running pants. Running pants come in all shapes in sizes. Some are made for the in between temperatures, offering warmth on chilly days, but still offer breathability, so that you won’t overheat when the sun comes out. And others are made for the most frigid weather. In winter months, the warmer runner’s gear will be your best friend, as you stay cozy clocking miles over snow and ice encrusted trails.
Besides the cold, another reason to invest in a pair of pants for running is that they can offer more coverage and comfort than tights, leggings, or shorts. Pants protect your legs from the sun, and help stop you from getting eaten alive if you are running in a particularly buggy area. They can also help keep you warm and dry in the case of sudden wind, rain, or hail. A great pair of pants for running is an item that every runner should have in their closet.
- Saucony Siberius
- Good fit
- Very warm
- Nike Gym Capris
- Slim fit
- Brooks Spartan
- Zippered pockets
10 Best Running Pants
The straight leg fit on this pant is tight without being constricting. A draw string at the waist allows for a more customizable fit. In general, the customer base seems pleased with the fit of these pants.
The primarily polyester blend of this pant is designed to keep you warm even in temperatures below freezing. This makes this pant a great pick for winter running.
This pant has pockets that include zippers, meaning you can bring items like your phone and keys on your run and experience added security in the knowledge that you won’t lose them along the way. Each pant leg also has a zipper at the bottom, which allows for greater versatility and breathability in the pant.
These pants are more expensive than other pants of similar quality.
The Saucony Men’s Siberius Pant will keep you warm in the winter, but can also be a good choice for chillier spring and fall days. If you do start to get warm as you run, this pant allows you to increase ventilation by opening the zippers at the bottom. The versatility of this pant makes it worth purchasing despite the high price tag.
- Very warm
- Good fit
- Somewhat expensive
Nike Gym Vintage Capris
These slim fitting pants still give you all the mobility you need. A wide waistband and draw string allow for a customizable fit. Most customers report that these pants are true to size.
The Nike Women’s Gym Vintage Capris are a sustainably made pant, created from a blend of 60% organic cotton and 40% recycled polyester. Not only will you look great in these pants but you can feel good about having bought a more environmentally sound product.
These pants have large pockets that can fit essentials like your phone or iPod.
These pants are priced in the mid-range for what one should expect to pay for a quality pair of women’s running pants.
In the spring or fall, the Nike Women’s Gym Vintage Capris are an excellent choice for a women’s running pant, however, they will be too cold when the temperatures drop more. With great reviews across the board, an attractive and comfortable design, and a variety of colors to choose from these pants do come highly recommended.
- Comfortable, slim fit
- Sustainably made
- Not very warm
Predominately straight-legged, to a slightly tapered cuff, these pants are cut with a very flattering look. Zippers at the bottom of the back of the pant make them easy to take off and a drawstring belts helps them fit a variety of sized men. They do run long though, so a size small is recommended for most customers under 6’.
These pants are made of a lightweight 9% spandex and 91% polyester blend, which is a common material for running pants. The Brooks Men’s Spartan Pants are also moisture wicking, meaning you’ll stay dry and warm on the go.
These pants have zippered pockets that easily hold items such as your phone, wallet, or keys. Zippers on the back of the leg add ventilation, but have also been reported to catch on the back of customers running shoes.
Although a little on the pricy side, these pants are not unreasonably expensive. They are high quality and durable, so you will get your money worth.
The Brooks Men’s Spartan Pants are a high quality and attractive running pant is a great choice for a comfortable fit on long runs. They will also keep you warm on mild fall days while staying cool enough that you don’t have to worry about overheating.
- Light weight, comfortable material
- Attractive fit
- Moisture wicking
- Zippered pockets
- Legs run long
- Zipper on cuffs uncomfortably placed
Compression Z Women's Leggings
You may wonder why it's so important to keep your muscles firmly supported while hitting the trails? And fair enough. But the benefits of wearing pants such as these will prevent muscle fatigue and aid in recovery time, so that you stay in tip-top condition.
If you are worried about these pants losing shape, that won't be a problem. Yes they are stretchy, but the fabric retains its shape to keep them and you looking great on the trails.
- Fantastic wicking capabilities
- Musle support through compression
- 100% money back guarentee
- They tend to run small in the waist area
CW-X Stabilyx Tights
Some may be surprised by the thicker nature of this fabric, but they do wick extremely well, so that you stay cool. With these pants, they require special care when it comes to washing. However, provided you take care of them when washing, they will be with you for a long time offering stability and support on your runs.
- Wicks away sweat with Coolmax fabric
- Seams are flat to prevent irritation
- They can run long for some women
Baleaf Thermal Fleece
These pants have a drawstring at the bottom of each leg, making it possible to wear them as either a straight legged pant or synched around your ankle. Shorter women have found that these pants run long, however they have been able to solve this problem by wearing them synched. The synched style keeps the pants out of the way and makes them warmer. Furthermore, a draw string at the waist allows for even greater precision in fit.
These pants are made of a 100% polyester blend, which allows for more effective moisture wicking than cotton blends. The inside of the pants is lined with light and soft fleece layer that keeps heat in and moisture out. Some customers have reported issues in quality, however, most are very satisfied with this purchase
These pants have zipped pockets, which not only give you somewhere to put your things but also keep them secure so you don’t have to worry about losing them. The pockets on these pants are also very deep, which is uncommon for women’s pants.
Coming at an exceptionally low price for pants of this quality, these running sweatpants are a great deal.
The Baleaf Women’s Running Thermal Fleece Pant is one of the best choices out there for a winter running pant that truly keeps you warm. With many extra features and a great price, these pants are a no brainer.
- Good Price
- Very warm
- Deep, zippered pockets
- Adjustable fit
- Pants run long
- Questionable quality
CompressionZ Men's Compression Pants
These pants can be versatile, as the manufacturers say that they can be used as a base layer beneath pants like jeans. Along with this, they are also very durable and will retain their shape when washed correctly.
These pants offer fantastic movement capabilities, even though they are highly compressive, as the fabric is a four-way stretch technology. Hit those runs in confidence in these pants that come in various colors and sizes.
- Material is quality and not see through
- Won't slip - they stay stable
- Comprssion pant that doesn't feel too tight
- Not the cheapest
Pearl Izumi Softshell
This pant is extremely simple in its fit. With a straight leg look and no extra frills what you see is what you get. A tight elastic waistband holds the pants in place.
Made of 100% polyester, these pants are designed to keep you warm by blocking wind, cold air, and moisture. They also remain breathable, which means moisture won’t become trapped inside. Finally, thermal fleece fabric inside these pants makes them warm yet lightweight.
These pants have no extra features. Many customers were disappointed to discover that they don’t have pockets.
These pants are expensive for not having any extra features, but are worth the price if you are specifically looking for pants to keep you warm in below freezing temperatures.
A no-nonsense pant, the Pearl Izumi Men’s Fly Softshell Run Pant is high quality but does not offer many of the features that are often seen as standard within a modern running pant. Still, if you are looking for a pair of pants that will keep you warm no matter the temperature, then this is a great choice.
- Very warm
- High quality
- No pockets
- No drawstring
Asics Aptitude 2
The legs on the pants run long, so it is recommended that anyone under 5’10’ buy the size small. The proportions of the thighs to the calf in these Asics also fits some men strangely, with too much fabric in the crouch and not enough around the ankle. Larger men report a great fit, but if you’re a smaller person these probably aren’t the pants for you. The fit itself has a tapered leg and a cuff around the ankle.
The polyester material these pants are made of is lightweight, but warm enough to be comfortable in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. These are a perfect fall pant, but they won’t keep you warm on winter runs.
This pant features open pockets where one can store things like their wallet or phone. Zippers at the bottom of each leg add to the versatility of this pant by allowing more air flow if needed.
This pant falls into the midrange of what one should expect to pay for a quality running pant.
The Asics Men’s Aptitude 2 Pant is a great first running pant, as it is not too tight or too loose. Handy pockets add to this the utility of this pant, which is perfect for fall and spring runs.
- Lightweight and cool
- Fit runs large
- Cold when temperature drops
Adidas Performance Sequencials
These pants are designed with a tapered leg that creates a trim, stylish fit. However, the skinny fit of these pants means they tend to run tight in the leg, while being simultaneously wide at the waist and too long in length. This means that these pants are best suited for tall, skinny individuals. A draw cord in the waist belt does help to somewhat alleviate this problem.
The water-resistant, quick-drying material that these pants are made of is created using 100% polyester fabric.
These pants have one pocket on the back. They also have reflectors on the back of the pant legs, meaning you can be confident that cars will see you if you choose to run at night.
These pants are on the lower end of what one should expect to pay for pants of this quality.
With a stylish look and some utilitarian features, the Adidas Performance Men’s Sequencials Track Pants are a great, economical choice for running pants. They are also very comfortable and will keep you warm in the spring and fall.
- Good price
- Reflectors for night running
- One back pocket
- Issues with fit
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
What temperatures you run in
When thinking about what you should be looking for in pair of pants for running, a great place to start is what temperatures you will be utilizing these pants in. Another way to say this is what seasons you plan to run during. Framing this parameter with temperature as opposed to season is more useful though, since winter in Florida looks very different than it does in New England.
If you are looking for a pant that you can use in the summer as well as the fall and spring, pay close attention to how well these pants will work to stop you from getting too hot. Good ventilation is integral to this and can be found in two places. The first is the material. Lighter and thinner materials will ventilate more easily than thicker ones. The second place to find good ventilation is via handy features such as zippers at the bottom of the pant leg. These zippers can be undone to help increase airflow, keeping you cooler on the go.
Pants designed for more mild temperatures should not be as thin as those that are ideal for summer, however, ventilation zippers are still a handy feature when running in the spring and fall. In chilly but not freezing weather it can be easy to heat up quickly, and it is very important that you don’t end up sweating too much. Excess sweat can cause your clothes to get wet, which is not just uncomfortable but also dangerous while you run, especially if the temperature is somewhat chilly.
Cold weather pants for running are by far the most specialized. These pants will often have two layers of fabric, with an outer layer designed to keep the cold, wind, and moisture out, and an inner layer designed to keep your body heat in. If you plan on running outside in below freezing temperatures, then a pair of these warm pants for running are a must have.
How well a pair of pants stop you from over-heating
If you are someone who sweats profusely when hot, how hot your pants for running will make you and how well they wick moisture needs to be something you consider while searching for the product that is right for you. Some pants have a tendency to stay wet when they become wet, while others will dry in a matter of seconds. Dry clothes are not just a matter of comfort, but also help keep you safe as you run since exercises in wet clothes increases your chances of catching a cold and can even lead to a larger problem like pneumonia. Look in depth not just at how well the producer of a product says it wicks moisture, but also at the customer reviews. It is here that you are most likely to get the information you are after, since customers, especially those who had a bad experience, are more likely, to be honest.
Another way your pants can help regulate your temperature when it gets too hot is light, breathable fabric. Heavy fabrics will weigh you down as you run, and cause you to overheat more quickly due to your overexertion from carrying extra, bulky weight. These fabrics then create a vicious cycle as the additional heat becomes trapped inside the pants. Look for pants with materials the allows for some airflow. These pants tend to be made of lighter weight material, which reduces the effort that you must put in, while also regulating your temperature in real time.
A final way to reduce overheating while pants for running are ventilation zippers that can be opened as you begin to become too hot. Many of the pants on this list feature zippers at the bottom of the pant legs that when opened create more airflow in the pants. This is a great option because of the versatility it offers – pants with ventilation zippers can go from being cool weather perfect to ideal in hot weather in a matter of seconds.
Even if you don’t sweat a lot, having a pair of pants for running that will keep you cool when the temperature starts to go up is crucial. Over-heating in the middle of a run has tremendously negative effects on performance. It is also quite simply uncomfortable. Make sure your pants regulate temperature by looking for the features listed above. The perfect pant for keeping you cool will have all three of these qualities, however for most of us, one or two will do the job.
The material of the pant
The material a running pant is made from can tell you a lot about how this pant is going to perform. Although they can be very comfortable, cotton pants are not ideal for running since cotton does not dry quickly. This means if you get wet, either from rain or sweat, while clocking miles in cotton pants you will stay wet until the end of your run. This is both uncomfortable and dangerous to your health.
Synthetic materials are the best for wicking moisture away from the body as you run. These materials are often also quick drying and treated so that the repel moisture. This is all very helpful for optimizing your performance. Polyester is the most common material that pants for running are made from. This synthetic fabric is very adaptable, and is used to create both thick and thin materials. This means that you must look closely at the product specs to truly understand how a certain polyester pant will perform. Still, pants made from this material generally tend to be comfortable and utilitarian.
If you see “fleece” in the name or product description of a running pant, you can be certain that this is a cold weather pant. Most fleece pants are typically lined with a polyester based cloth, for the same reasons outlined above. Natural fibers are more difficult to work with and to make useful in athletic gear. Although you may love cotton for your work shirts, you are better off looking for pants for running made from polyester or other synthetic cloth.
What you need to bring with you on runs
Although pants for running can’t accommodate much in their pockets, these pockets can be crucial for carrying items such as your wallet, keys, phone, or iPod. It is, of course, possible to also put these things in a backpack, however, when heading out on a short run not carrying any extra, cumbersome gear can greatly improve the experience. Pockets, especially ones that zip shut, allow you to bring the little things without carrying more than you need. Think about what you like to have with you when you run, and whether or not pockets are integral to you being able to comfortably bring these things along. If they are, make sure to double check that the pants you are purchasing definitely have them, since its always a bummer to have to return something just because you didn’t read the fine print.
Q: Can running pants be unisex?
Many men’s pants for running can be worn by women, but the fit and design of women’s pants for running do not work for men. The primary reason why this is the case is that women, and therefore their clothing sizes, tend to be smaller than men. Many women also have more curvaceous bodies, with larger hips and glutes. This means that a woman with a slight figure may be able to fit into a S or M sized men’s running pant, while most men would find the shape of a women’s L or XL to be strange, with extra space in unnecessary places. Furthermore, although the answer to this question is yes, some pants for running can be unisex, you are typically better off buying pants that have been created for your gender. They will feel better and also often take the differing concerns that men and women have about fit and style into account.
Q: What are the most important extra features on running pants?
Often taken for granted, a draw string on the waistband is the most important feature that a pair of running pants can have. This is because runners do not use belts and a draw string is the easiest way to ensure that your pants won’t fall down as you move. There is nothing worse for moral during a run than having to constantly tug your pants back up. Make sure the pants you choose have this feature before buying them.
Pockets are another integral feature that pants for running can have. Most runners want to be able to minimize what they bring with them while they are working out, but there are a few things, such as keys and a device for listening to music or tracking mileage, that always need to come along. Pockets, especially ones that zipper shut, are a great way to bring these things with you, and something else that you should look for when searching for the perfect running pant.
Another great feature that some pants for running have are reflectors on the legs that make you more visible to a passerby in the evening or at night. Although not an integral feature for most runners, if you like to clock mileage after dark this is definitely something you should look for. Being able to be seen by a passing biker or vehicle may make the all the difference in keeping you safe.
Q: Is there a style of fit that works best for running?
As the list of products above demonstrates, there are consistencies in the fit of most pants for running. While running, it is important to not be wearing anything that flaps or gets in the way. Most pants for running are designed to minimize extra material with a slim fit that contours the body without restricting any movement. There are two primary styles of pants for running. The first is the tapered leg style. This fit starts wider up top and gets skinnier as they move down the body, toward the ankle. These pants frequently have a cuff at the ankle that secures the slim fit in place. The other style is the straight leg running pant. This style of running pant is typically a bit looser than tapered pants, but are never baggy. A straight legged fit works better for winter pants for running, which you may want to layer with long johns in the bitter cold.
Q: What makes running pants different from other pants?
It probably goes without saying that not just any pair of pants can work well as pants for running. Running pants are engineered to be perfectly suited for engaging in this activity, which is reflected in numerous details that set them apart from your favorite jeans or sweats. Most importantly, they should be form-fitting while still allowing for versatility in movement. You never want to feel like your pants for running are constricting you. They should also have technology that stops them from getting wet. The best pants for running will not only dry quickly, but they will keep you dry by wicking moisture from inside the pant into the air. Finally, good pants for running will work to regulate your temperature, so that you stay cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s chilly. One way they do this is the through already mentioned moisture wicking abilities. Another way is through high tech materials that allow for airflow and breathability
Q: Why spend more on a pair of running pants?
Although there are plenty of inexpensive pants for running on the market, there are reasons to spend a bit more. First and foremost is that the price of a product is typically a reflection of its quality. More expensive pants for running may withstand general wear and tear better. They may also be made of superior material that is better able to regulate body temperature and moisture as you run. Another reason to spend more is that more expensive pants often look and fit better. The price point of a product is a reflection of the money put into it, so it is likely that the design and fit on an expensive pant will be more thoroughly thought out than that of a cheap pant. Finally, if you are looking for a specific feature, spending a bit more can ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for. The best example of this is cold weather pants, which cost more across the board. Even if you are on a tight budget, if this is the type of pant you need then you are better off putting the money into something that will keep you warm than spending the winter freezing in a cheaper pant.
With so many options on the market, choosing the right running pant can be a tedious process. However, it is important to think through exactly what you are looking for and to spend the time finding the product that fits your needs. Staying comfortable while running is crucial to success, and the right pant will ensure that you feel great every time. I hope this list has been helpful in getting you closer to finding that perfect running pant, or at the very least given you an idea of what you need to be looking for. The products listed above are fantastic, but only a small example of what is available. If none of them seem right for you, keep searching and I know you will find exactly what you are looking for.