It’s painfully obvious when running tights haven’t been designed by real runners. You get scratchy inner-thigh seams that scrape against the skin with every stride; pockets that don’t hold more than a few pieces of change; or material that’s so thin, you might as well be wearing shorts, or so thick that you’d overheat in the Antarctic. Surprisingly, there are more of these out there than you’d think, which is why it’s so refreshing to find a pair that gets everything right.
I was already a fan of Tracksmith’s shorts and base layers, so I had high expectations when I tried out the brand’s tights. I received a sample pair a few weeks ago, and this morning, with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees, it finally felt wintry enough to break them out. I wasn’t disappointed. The soft and smooth material has an inner fleecelike lining that’s warm yet lightweight, and the silky outer layer deflected the early morning wind. Instead of itchy seams, there’s a panel that extends along the inside of both legs — sort of like an extended gusset — that prevents any rubbing or chafing. They felt like a second, more weatherproof, skin.
One of the best features — one I’m already raving about to running friends — is the back pocket. From the outside, it looks like a small, unassuming zipper pocket, but it actually extends all along the back waistband. I was able to fit my keys and phone (in its case) with room to spare for gels on longer runs. Keeping your stuff flush against your back makes much more sense than having a narrow, deep pocket with room for everything to bounce around while you run. It has all of the easy access of a zipped running belt with none of those annoying jiggling.
And when I set off on my run, all of these details and features did what any runner would want them to do: seamlessly disappear, so I could enjoy my morning miles without any chafing, tugging, or adjusting.