During a long running workout or sprint session, the last thing you want is your running leggings to ride up or (potentially worse) fall down.
Considering runners come in all shapes and sizes, finding the right pants requires a little research. But before you spend hours online searching for the perfect pair, consider these 10 trainer-approved options and learn how to find the best running leggings for your body.
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A Quick Language Note
We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to gender. While more brands now carry gender-neutral workout clothes, you’ll still typically see clothes and shoes marketed to men or women, so we have listed both women's and men's picks below.
The main difference is the fit: Men's versions tend to be longer in length and roomier in the front due to physical differences. However, fabrics and comfort should be the same between gender-labeled pairs.
How We Chose
We chatted with two physical therapists (who are also runners), Melissa Garcia, DPT, CSCS, and Brad Whitley, DPT, to better understand what to look for in running leggings and how to find your ideal pair. We chose our top picks based on her recommendations and criteria, including:
Best Ankle Length
1. Reebok Running Printed Leggings
The absolute best running tights have a breathable fabric, pockets and reflective details. Reebok's full-length leggings tick all the boxes.
Plus, the mesh material panels on the back give you a little extra ventilation. So even if you're running in warm weather, you get a good breeze, Garcia says.
You can buy these leggings in women's sizes 2XS to 2XL.
Buy it: Reebok.com; Price: $55
Best Cropped Length
2. Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Crop 19"
Excellent cropped running leggings, these pants sit at mid-calf height. They also have a high-rise waist, offering a little extra support around your midsection. Personally, Garcia loves Lululemon's leggings for outdoor runs and also gym workouts.
"They're light, not see-through and cooling," she says. "The crop fit makes them especially perfect for hotter weather."
These are available in women's sizes 0 to 20 in both 19-inch and 23-inch lengths. You can even choose from seven different colors.
Buy it: Lululemon.com; Price: $118
3. Lululemon Surge Tight Nulux 22"
Cropped at ankle height, these men's running leggings are ideal for cooling off, according to Whitley. And the thinner fabric prevents extra sweating while you train.
The Surge tight allows four-way flexibility, so you can move forward and back or side to side with ease. The details on the back of the calves also reflect car headlights, guaranteeing safe late-night jogs.
You can buy these tights in sizes XS through XXL.
Buy it: Lululemon.com; Price: $128
Best for Warm Weather
4. High-Waisted PowerSoft Mesh-Paneled Cropped Leggings
At an affordable price, Old Navy's tights are some of the best leggings for running in hot temperatures. Their capri length keeps the lower part of your legs airy, while the mesh panels offer extra breathability during a sweaty jog, Garcia says.
You can buy them in sizes XS to 4X in five different colors.
Buy it: OldNavy.com; Price: $44.99
5. Under Armour RUSH Run Stamina Tights
The mesh panels and anti-odor fabric in these Under Armour men's leggings keep you feeling and smelling fresh during the sweatiest runs or races.
Another bonus? These have plenty of reflective details to keep early-morning and late-night runners safe, Whitley says.
They're available in S through 3XL.
Buy it: Internatoinaljock.com; Price: $90
Best for Cold Weather
6. Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch
Convincing yourself to run outside on a chilly day is no small feat. Athleta's leggings make your jog much easier, thanks to their thermal, insulated fabric. The tights also have an internal drawstring, so if you want running leggings that don't fall down (and who doesn't?), these stay in place through your entire workout.
And they're available in regular, petite and tall sizes, which is a big plus, according to Garcia. "I like to order from Athleta for their extended sizes," she says. "I have shorter legs, so the [petite size] proportions fit my body better."
You can buy the leggings in sizes XXS to 3X.
Buy it: Athleta.com; Price: $109
7. Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight
You can wear Brooks' tights alone or under a pair of thick sweats, according to Whitley. The side pockets in these men's running tights are also a nice bonus if you need a place to stash your keys or phone during your workout.
The tights are available in sizes XS through XXL.
Buy it: Brooks.com; Price: $95
Best With Pockets
8. Nike Air Dri-FIT 7/8 Running Leggings
Nike's 7/8 leggings are definitely among the best running leggings for women. Their biggest perk? They have pockets, which are a huge plus for runners carrying keys, credit cards or a cell phone, according to Garcia.
Thanks to their flexible fabric and adjustable waist band, they stay in place during high-intensity sprints, long outdoor runs and short jogs on the treadmill, she says.
They are available in XS through L.
Buy it: Revolve.com; Price: $70
9. Nike Dri-FIT Swift Running Tights
Nike's tights are among the most comfortable and durable running leggings for men, Whitley says. And the rear and two side pockets protect all your valuables while you exercise. The rear pocket even has a liner to keep your phone dry during a sweat-heavy run.
These are available in sizes S through L.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $92.37
3 Tips to Find Your Best Running Tights
1. Determine Your Perfect Length
There's no shortage of legging lengths, from capri style to ankle height, Whitley says. The best kind for you depends mainly on personal preference.
But Garcia recommends picking legging length by the weather in your area. If you run in warmer weather, a capri or 7/8 length is probably best. Full-length tights are ideal for workouts in colder temperatures.
2. Look at the Materials
Spandex, Lycra and polyester fabrics are your best bet with workout leggings, Garcia says. (Note: All of the above leggings feature these fabrics.) These are flexible and moisture-wicking. Generally, synthetic materials can go through the washing machine unharmed and are very durable.
Avoid 100 percent cotton leggings, though, as they absorb moisture and dry slowly, she says. You don't want your running tights to literally weigh you down.
Before you buy a pair of running tights, take a look at the tag to verify the fabrics.
3. Give Them a Try
Just like with a pair of running shoes, when it comes to buying running leggings, fit is everything, according to Garcia. Everyone's body moves differently, so trying a few different lengths and brands is the best way to find the best running tights for you.
When searching online, check out the manufacturers sizing chart and product reviews to help you decode your ideal fit. "The proportions of the pant can vary from brand to brand," she says.
Once they arrive, and before de-tagging them, take a little jog or drop into a few squats to make sure they feel good. "The fit and feel of each running tight is entirely subjective," she says.