Pre-season triathlon base training includes running outside in the winter and if you live in an area with cold winters like I do you want to have the right type of clothing to stay warm. One of the essential components to staying warm while running outdoors is a good pair of winter running tights. Running in Minneapolis this winter was frigid, the temperatures were low and the brisk winds were always there. This review will focus on 3 pair of winter running tights from 3 different manufactures (Craft, Pearl Izumi, Under Amour ) I tried out this winter to stay warm.
The testing occurred in various degrees of cold, from a low of around 4 to a high of around 27. Each product was tested the same way but on separate occasions. The lengths of the runs varied between 6 to 9 miles. I always tested these products out with a pair of Craft Gore Wind Stop Gunde Boxer underwear.
Each product had similar characteristics like front panel wind barrier fabric, water-resistant protection, lower leg zippers for easy on-off access and a tight fit around your ankles. They all have breathable / moisture management rear panels, which works but the downside is if you have a brisk tailwind while running your behind and legs are going to get cold. The Craft and the Pearl Izumi products had a thin fleece lining while the Under Amour product did not.
Winter Running Tights Review
Craft Storm Tight (MSRP: $109.99)
- I liked the nice fit of these tights, they were comfortable, perfect length and warm
- The articulated knees give the tights the proper flexibility when you are running
- Reflective piping on the front and back for early morning and early evening runs
- The one thing this pair of tights was missing was a key / credit card pouch
- These Craft tights are a bit pricey but now I know why, they are well worth it when trying to stay warm while running outside in the winter.
Pearl Izumi AmFIB Tight (MSRP: $99.99)
- This pair of tights unlike the other two has a patch of the windproof and water-resistant material on the rear for additional warmth which is really nice when you have a brisk tail wind while running.
- These tights had a tighter fit; they were still comfortable and kept me nice and warm.
- These tights did have a key / credit card pouch on the inside.
- The cut on the front of the tights made them feel like low riders or like they were coming down while running, every so often I would pull them up because I thought they were falling down.
- The tighter fit seemed to cause the tights to come up a bit. These tights did not have any special fabrication around the knees like the other two pair of tights.
Under Amour Cold Gear Metal Volcano Tight (MSRP: $79.99)
- They do have a nice external, rear, easy access key / credit card pouch
- The wind barrier stopped the wind but the lack of a fleece liner made these tough to wear when the temps were low
- I had to buy a size up because they didn’t feel right around the knees even though it looked like they tried to implement something to take care of the issue. The bigger size allows a nice comfortable fit with long thermal underwear. On one occasion I used a pair of Craft Gore Wind Stop Long Underpants with these tights.
- The product label states “Ideal Use: Temperatures Under 55° F” along with a slightly unbelievable statement “ColdGear fabric accomplishes the impossible: it keeps you warm without weighing you down”. I really wouldn’t consider these cold weather gear tights unless you plan on wearing thermal underwear under them for additional warmth when it’s below 25° F.
In conclusion, you do get what you pay for; if you want to stay warm and comfortable then you need to pay a little more. If you pay less, you’ll probably make up the difference when purchasing a pair of thermal underwear to go along with them. I really did like the pair of Craft Storm Tights and would recommend them to anyone who runs outside in the winter. During my winter training this winter with friends, several other people did have the same pair of Craft tights and they swear by them as well. I liked the Pearl Izumi AmFIB Tights, they kept me warm as well but the fit was just a bit different. I did take my Under Armour tights on a bike triathlon training trip to Italy and wore them over my bike shorts. They worked really nice with the temps that were between 40° F and 50° F, under windy and cool conditions.
Now that winter is over it’s the perfect time to shop for next year’s winter gear at reduced prices. Check it out and be prepared for those cold days that might pop next year.
This was an un-solicited and an un-paid review of these products. TRIjuice rating scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being fair and 5 being good.
• Outdoor Winter Running Shoes