In the past ten years, a lot of things have happened. I graduated college, lived in four different apartments, got married, and worked at a handful of jobs. Throughout all that change there was one constant: running. I ran my first half-marathon in 2010. In the several thousand miles I’ve racked up since then, I came to realize that, for me, running isn’t just good exercise. It’s also consistent source of joy and mental clarity. So when I sat down to consider my best purchases of the decade, I ruled out my wedding dress (more symbolic than practical) and the boots I bought, gave away in a Marie Kondo-inspired purge, then realized I missed and bought again (more personal style than universally appeal). Ultimately, I knew the most important purchase for me had to be something that helped me get out the door and enjoy my runs.
In the spring of 2013, I got a job at a specialized running store where I learned how to prevent chafing (always wear Body Glide), the best types of socks for running (merino wool or synthetic blends, never cotton), and, perhaps the most valuable piece of advice — that there’s no such thing as bad running weather, only bad running clothes. From blizzards to blistering hot days, there are running clothes for any conditions. Usually there are multiple options, but when it gets really cold, for running tights, at least, I learned that there was only one.
I first started hearing reverent whispers about the Sugoi MidZero tights among the staff in the fall. They would soon arrive in our stockroom. They were the only leggings worth wearing in the cold. When the annual shipment finally arrived, I tried a pair on and immediately understood. I was sold.
These leggings are snug with a stretchy fit, which allows them to be supportive but also flexible. The smooth and thick exterior offers protection from cold air and gusts of wind, while on the inside the brushed fleece keeps your legs toasty no matter how frigid it is outside. That winter, temperatures were regularly in the single digits during my morning runs, but in my Sugoi tights I never had to retreat to the treadmill. Even when it dipped below zero my legs never felt cold. As a sweaty runner, I’ve had tights in the past that feel nice and warm inside, but once I started running they held onto sweat, leaving me feeling cold and soggy. With Sugoi tights, however, all of that sweat is wicked away. I like them so much that I’ve even started to wear them when I’m not running. The small logo that shows up only on the leg means I can pair them with tall boots and a long sweater for a work-friendly look when it’s freezing out.
Six winters later, my original pair hasn’t worn through or stretched out like other tights that aren’t nearly as old. I have, of course, bought more (including the “Zap” version with reflective details for visibility) so that I always have a clean pair when I need one. I’ve also added other pieces of MidZero gear to my collection, including a zip-up midlayer, hat, and even underwear for an extra layer of protection on the coldest days. They’re not the rarest, most expensive, or most sentimental thing I bought in the 2010s, but they’ve made it easier for me to keep running. And that’s made it easier for me to do everything else.
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