What to Look For
Running requires little start-up money. A small purchase of the right type of apparel and shoes is all you need to get going. A good pair of running pants should be in every runner's closet to help protect him from the elements, while providing a lightweight, moisture wicking, movable layer that won't hinder his stride.
Determine what your pants will be used for and what you need them to do. If you run in a cool climate, look for a thicker pant. If you usually run with keys and a cell phone, look for strategically placed pockets. You can improve your safety while running at night if your pants have reflective patches or trim. Thinking about what you need out of a pant will help you narrow down the choices.
Many beginning runners will try to run in cotton pants. While these pants may be comfortable for yoga or lounging, cotton retains moisture and will become heavier and more restrictive the more you sweat. Cotton also causes irritation to the skin after prolonged friction.
Try on your running pants before you buy to make sure there aren't any poorly placed tags, seams, zippers, fasteners or drawstrings that will cause abrasions during your run.
Where to Buy
You can buy running pants at any sporting goods store or gym, or online through a search for running pants. If you've never bought a pair before, go to a specialty running store. Running stores can fit you, show you the different styles and types they carry, and the staff will be more knowledgeable. Major brands usually make well-designed pants; there's a reason they've been around for so long, and athletes trust them. Always try on a pair of pants if you've never worn them before before purchasing them online. If you're already familiar with the pants you like, try brand outlets and discount stores.
Running pants vary in price from $20 to $80, depending on the material, length, brand and features. A basic, "no frills" running pant should generally be about $40, although once you find a pair you love, you can always search online for sales and promotions. The higher grade the fabric and the more accessories, the higher the price tag.
While running pants are generally worn loose, some runners prefer a more fitted type of running pant, referred to as running tights. Try on both styles before deciding, as a running tight will compress your muscles, keeping them warm and tight, and also minimize friction, which can lead to chafing. Running tights can also be worn in a warmer climate, while a looser pant may be too heavy. A looser pant will be more comfortable, and can be worn as a layer over other clothing.
Running pants and tights will keep body heat from escaping the muscles, which can lead to enhanced performance. The more form-fitting the running pant, the less wind drag, which is helpful for short-distance speed runners and performance runners. Tri247.com, a leading online triathlon website, states that tighter fitting pants "may also enhance overall circulation and decrease muscle oscillation." Looser fitting pants are usually worn during training and light running, as they are more comfortable to wear.