10 Best Nike Running Tights Compared & Tested
Nike is pretty much synonymous with sports. With Nike running tights, you know you are going to get good quality and comfort. There are so many different types of tights, that no matter what you are looking for, they have an awesome option for you. Some will keep you warm in cold weather, while others cool you down in hot weather. Most offer some degree of compression, whether you need just a snug fit, or serious muscle-mapped oscillation control. Check out our list of the best Nike tights, and find your fit.
10 Best Nike Running Tights
1. Men's Power Essential Run
Most comfortable in cool but not too cold weather. For those of us who run especially hot though, they would be fine into freezing temperatures. The zippered bottom legs help to get these on easy, even before your morning coffee. For comfort, this is the top Nike running tight for men.
Designed to vent extra heat, these won’t cause too much heat retention. You can use them for those crisp mornings, and not want to peel them off halfway through the run as the sun comes up. They still have the great Nike Dri-fit fabric that wicks moisture away to stop you from getting too wet, a perfect fabric in both comfort and function.
The price is low to mid range, because even though these are an awesome tight, they aren’t throwing technology at you every which way. They do what you would expect a tight to do, and they do it without all the fancy bells and whistles. Best option for the price, hands down.
Huge value for price
- Not for below freezing for most people
- Not tons of compression
2. Women's Pro Cool Training
Silky and thin, these running tights have a ventilated panel in the back of the calf to keep the heat moving out. They stretch with your body, and can be worn as the perfect base layer with shorts over them.
The dry-fit material wicks moisture away from the skin, and the ventilated panels make sure no heat is held in. Your muscles won’t be vibrating or oscillating in these tights, which cuts down on the risk of injury. The blood will stay flowing with just enough squeeze without restricting movement.
With the middle of the road price and customer satisfaction, this is a great value, which makes them the best option for a Nike women’s running tight.
Keeps you cool and dry
Keeps blood flowing and muscles in place
- Almost see through when stretched
3. Men's Power Speed Compression
These have a drawstring to make sure they fit as snug as you want, and a four way stretch fabric that lets your muscles move. The compression feels great for long runs, especially in the cold when your muscles already vulnerable. The comfort of the Dri-fit technology is hard to beat.
Nike Dri-fit fabric wicks moisture away from the skin to dry quicker, so you won’t get wet and uncomfortable. The four way stretch fabric works with the compression to match to your muscles, and deliver that extra blood flow in the most important spots. The Nike Power Speed Compression even has a pocket in the back with a moisture barrier, so whatever you need to take with you won’t get wet.
They are expensive. But you get what you pay for with these. Comfort, performance, and longevity: they are all there. This is a tight you can invest in.
4. Women's Dri-Fit Elemental Thermal Run
Very comfortable for the wintertime. These tights are form fitting but still enough stretch to let you move around. The seams are designed, so they don’t rub. And the elastic waist with drawstring ensures a snug fit.
Ergonomic flat seam design means it doesn’t rub or chafe on the seams. Extra side and front panels further cushion and support the knees. The Dri-Fit technology wicks moisture and evaporates it quickly to keep you dry.
These are a more affordable tight which go right up against other brands. They won’t break the bank, but still give you the quality Nike product you expect.
- Only for cold weather
5. Women's Pro Hyperwarm Limitless Waffle
The design of the waffle fabric gives you full range of motion as you stride forward for those wintertime runs. The waist fit can’t be beat, with elasticity but not restrictive. The Hyperwarm Limitless is one of the best Nike tights for comfort because of the specific design to hold onto heat where you need it, and let it go where you don’t
The waffle design of the fabric helps them keep the heat in, while the perforated section behind the knee vents extra heat buildup. Also, the Dri-fit tech wicks the sweat away.
Expect to pay a little more for these since it is a cold weather tight and offers all the best technology to make sure you will be comfortable for those long winter runs. But don’t worry about the price, the value is there, and they will last.
Advanced design for heat and airflow
- More expensive
- Limited availability
6. Men's Stay Warm Long Running
A lovingly warm embrace, these Nike tights make your legs feel cozy on those brutal winter days. The bottom legs zipper for easy on and off, so you can steer your energy towards the workout instead of towards putting on your workout clothes.
These keep you warm, and that is the most important part of the design. While keeping you warm with the mostly polyester fabric, they also hug nicely to your skin, and wick that sweat away to make it dry quicker. Wet tights mean cold runs, and these do the job to prevent that.
These are pretty typically priced for a cold weather tight. With that extra fabric and nice stretch, they are worth the slightly higher price than some of the thinner options.
Nice and warm
- Limited Availability
7. Women's Pro Core Compression
Everyone loves wearing these! They are very versatile with casual to intense activity being fine in them. They are not oppressively tight, but still hold in place while being very flexible. All the usual aspects of moisture wicking dry-fit fabric and stretch make these a great comfortable option.
These tights are on the thinner side, and form the perfect base layer for working out and running. Alone, they won’t keep you warm enough for the winter runs, but they can be added under anything to give you that extra layer. Ergonomic construction means it fits where it should, and doesn’t rub.
You might find these a bit thin for the price, but don’t be fooled by the light fabric. They are durable and will last you a long time. That being said, they are not the least expensive choice for something that seems to fit a more casual category.
Great stretchy fit
- A bit pricey
8. Pro Core Combat 2.0 Compression
The tight fit on these feels great with the thin fabric that still wicks moisture to keep you dry. The thin stretchy fabric gives you full range of motion, so go ahead and do those karate kick or can-can dancing - whatever you’re into.
Perfect base layer that won’t let your muscles vibrate, and that is what prevents injury. The compression also keeps the blood flowing which gets oxygen where it’s needed. Too tight for knots to form in the muscles, but not restrictive, so you can move free.
There is a pretty large range of prices on these depending on size and style. The fabric and functionality can’t be matched, but some people might not like paying so much for something so thin. But if you can get your mind past how thin they are, you will the design and strong fabric is worth the cost.
Unsurpassed comfort for this style
- A bit pricey
- Base layer only
9. Men's Dri-Fit
Everyone loves the fit and comfort of the Nike Dri-Fit tech tights. They keep you so dry, because they are able to absorb so much moisture while transferring to the outer layers to evaporate quicker.
Here you have tons of movement while still giving you compression in targeted zones to keep your muscles happy and healthy. They can keep you warm, or take that extra sweat and wick it away.
Maybe these seem basic, but don’t confuse that for low quality. These will feel like new for a long time, and for the price, you will quickly realize the value.
Can be worn in almost any weather
Tons of absorption
Somewhat loose at ankles
10. Women's Legend 2.0
Don’t expect the same form fit as the polyester spandex blends, but do expect some great comfort and stretch. They come up a little higher on the stomach for a great fit that doesn’t slide down.
No bells and whistles, but still great performance for those active wearers. They will move with your body, and are perfect for someone who doesn’t like too tight of a fit.
The price does vary, but only because there are so many options for different sizing. Mid range for the typical sizes, and more expensive for specific styles which offer longer legs for a better fit.
Not too tight
- Cotton blend
- Lose shape quicker
So what is it going to be? This should let you know which one to use for the gym, which tight will get the blood flowing, and which Nike tights are just overall super comfy! Or go ahead and get them all, then you will have the right tight for every occasion and weather.
Criteria for Picking Out the Best Nike Running Tights.
Nike has an impressive collection of running tights that are available in the market. On this list we focus on the best Nike running tights and why they are the best in the market. Before buying running tights, consider these important factors—from weather to form-fitting style—to determine which features matter most to you. Then you can find the pair that will become your daily go-to.
The below factors were considered in picking out the best Nike running tights.
Running Tight Material: Chose the right fabric to make the most of your run
Most importantly, tight material can make or break a run. For example, cotton and thick fleece are heavy, bulky, restrictive, and tend to cause chaffing with repeated friction, an inevitable force when you run. Cotton also holds moisture and becomes heavier as you sweat. So although cotton sweatpants are wonderful weekend companions, wearing them running is like rolling rocks uphill—it’s possible, but awfully cumbersome.
Modern technical running tights, on the other hand, remedy friction and manage moisture for all runners—regardless of ability, distance, or location. The key? Sweat-wicking, breathable fabrics.
That’s why apparel-makers blend hydrophobic fibers, such as spandex, polyester, and nylon. Although the ‘80s gave spandex (an anagram of the word “expands”) a bad rap, today’s spandex remains extremely elastic, and essential to running apparel. The stretchy fiber is blended with other improved and new fibers for softer, silkier, better wicking, less stinky and even less shiny fabrics. Stretch is crucial in running tights as well as in looser-fitting track pants.
Lightweight, synthetic fabrics that move your sweat away from your skin so it can evaporate are the most comfortable for workouts. In addition to keeping your skin from getting clammy and irritated, synthetics move more freely with your body in motion, and dry quickly.
Higher quality fabrics hold their shape and support longer than cheaper ones. A pair of high quality running pants should last for years. Retire those that sag, slip, are see-through, or let the elements in.
Running Tight construction: Find the design that serves running-specific functions
Some running tights serve specific functions. Runners in cold climates, for example, need additional protection from the elements.
Cold, wind, rain, and snow aren’t a good excuse for skipping your run, but they do warrant additions to your running wardrobe. To combat cold, look for thermal-weight or lined tights. Warm and cosy micro-fleece interiors snuggle your skin while a tighter-weaved exterior braves the cold. Slimmer silhouettes will keep you warmer than loose-fitting styles. Again, for all adverse conditions, be sure your tights are made from wicking synthetic fabrics to prevent chills, even potential hypothermia.
Halt bitter wind in its track with lightweight wind-blocking pants. Luckily, the newest wind pants are much quieter than old-school nylon windbreakers, so the competition won’t hear you coming from a mile away. Plus, they’re breathable. Some styles feature full-leg wind protection, while others include strategically-placed wind proofing materials on the front panel with breathable or mesh back panels.
If the rain or snow won’t go away, go running anyway. Just choose, depending on the conditions, waterproof or water resistant running pants and tights. Tights with DWR (durable water repellent) coating are as soft, comfortable, and quiet as your regular pants—but keep you drier and warmer. Although new technology has rendered waterproof materials more breathable, waterproof pants will still be less breathable than regular, non-treated fabrics, so they tend to work best in chilly to cold wet weather.
Although researchers remain divided on whether compression tights enhance runners’ performance, super-tight compression tights got their start in the medical realm, where the style of construction was used to alleviate conditions like edema, or swelling. Designed to strategically bind the muscles and ligaments of the lower leg to stabilize the knee and reduce muscle vibration for increased efficiency, compression gear is purported to facilitate circulation and minimize lactic acid build-up for longer performance and quicker recovery.
Some research suggest that compression gear may help endurance runners recover. Many runners, including elite athletes, report anecdotal gains in both performance and recovery. It’s best to see what feels right for your body.
People carrying more weight may appreciate the beefier support that compression tights offer. The “girdle effect” means less jiggling—and a smoother feeling stride—for larger runners.
Running Tight style: Pick the fit that feels good (and flatters)
Running pants are like jeans: gender-specific styles fit better, and are more comfortable and flattering. Whether you wear tights or track pants, there’s a style that’ll fit.
Tights: Like leggings, but better
Yes, they’re tight, but don’t worry: No one will mistake you for a Renaissance re-enactment character unless you run with a foam sword (Though running tights for men do date back to the Renaissance). Running tights, made from stretchy fabric, fit your body snugly. While the fringe benefit may be showing off your finely sculpted glutes and gams, they’re tight for functional reasons.
Stretch fabrics provide unrestricted movement without rubbing you the wrong way. Bulky pants are more likely to chafe between your legs and in your groin when the fabric shifts and rubs against your skin with each stride. Slick, form-fitting pants ease the friction. Excess fabric, like in traditional sweatpants, is heavy, bulky and contributes to wind drag—all of which inhibit your mobility, comfort, and even speed. (This is why most sprinters wear tights or bodysuits.) A tighter fit also offers a feeling of muscle compression and warmth.
Running tights should be snug but not restrictive, and support key muscles but not constrict flesh or muscles anywhere. If you’re popping a muffin top, your pants are too tight, too short in the torso, or you need a wider or looser waistband. If your tights are stretched so tight that we can see your tattoo underneath them, they’re too tight. If your ankles are bare, try “long” or “tall” sizes for extra length, or wear higher socks to keep warm in cold weather.
Running Pants Semi-fitted performance
A far cry from the heavyweight sweats Rocky donned or the thick nylon track suits of junior high, modern running pull-on pants make running a breeze with light, breathable, and wicking fabrics. Looser than tights but slimmer than sweats, running pants these semi-fitted pants are comfortable for most recreational and shorter distance runners—physically as well as psychologically, if you feel self-conscious in tights. More versatile than tights, these double as casual pants for running errands as well as on neighborhoods and trails. A tapered leg and cinched ankle will keep you warmer in cold weather than looser styles. Beyond that, personal preference and terrain determine whether tapered leg, cinched ankle, straight leg, or boot cut is right for you.
Capris, Knickers, ¾ Tights, and Half Tights
Capris, sometimes called knickers for men or ¾ tights, are tights that are cropped at or just below the knee. Capris are a good choice for runners who like the sleekness and slim-fit of tights but run in warmer weather. They’re often the perfect pants during spring and fall. Half tights sit mid-thigh or just above the knee, and bode well for spring, summer, and fall runs—or running in mild climates year-round.
Runners with thicker thighs tend to appreciate the reduced friction of the slick fabric between their legs. Also, tights of these lengths provide an alternative to shorts, which when ill-fitting can bunch or ride uncomfortably. For runners who cross-train with activities such as yoga and Pilates, shorter-than-full-length tights are particularly versatile. These styles are available in technical fabrics as well as compression models.
Running Pants and Tights features: Look at the little details
Reputable manufacturers design running pants specifically for running, so the pants you run in shouldn’t have any tags, seams, zippers, fasteners, or drawstrings that will cause abrasions during your run. But because each runner’s body is different, only choose features that you need and you’ll minimize potential irritations and maximize comfort.
Three common types of waistbands exist so your pants will stay up. Loose-fitting pants tend to have gathered elastic waistbands, often with a tie. Tights tend to have either a flat band or slightly gathered band. These often have a string that can be tied for a more secure hold. Some tights are made of fabric that’s too slick to stay up without the waist tie. If the cinch-tie annoys you, be sure your tights stay up without it while running before you yank out. Inspired by yoga pants, many running pants, tights and capris now come in a flattering and comfortable wide, flat waistband. If you carry extra padding around your middle, wider waistbands won’t dig in or pinch where ties or narrower bands might. These lower and wider waistbands are also more fashion-oriented for wearing beyond your run.
Look for pockets that are appropriately shaped and secured for whatever you run with: keys, a music player, identification, cell phone, money, or credit cards. Zippered pockets offer more security for your belongings, but add weight and seams that can irritate, and aren’t as easy to access. Flap pockets work for small and relatively flat items, such as one key but not a ring of them, or an ID but not your whole wallet. A center back pocket is balanced on your body, and keeps earphone cords out of the way of your arms. Front and on-leg pockets provide convenient to access. Side-seam slat pockets tend to be roomier and convenient when you aren’t running—but items stored there tend to jingle and jangle with high risk of them falling out if the pocket isn’t zippered.
After material, the most important difference between cheap athletic gear and performance gear is the seaming—where the separate pieces of fabric that make up clothing meet. Technical apparel takes seams—and how traditionally sewn seams chafe the body when it’s in motion—into consideration, and offer remedies. Ergonomic seams follow the natural contours of the body for reduced irritation, better range of motion, and a comfortable fit with less bulk. Welded, or bonded, seams use high-tech glue instead of thread to hold fabric together. Strong and durable, they prevent chafing because there is no stitching or fabric cinched or gathered at the seam—and they look cool. Flatlock seams essentially lock pieces of fabric together, and are less likely to cause chafing because the fabric lies flat against your skin. In sensitive places, running pants use a gusseted crotch to eliminate irritating seams. Instead, a seam-free splice of wicking fabric is inserted in the area between your legs instead.
Running pants may include zippers at the ankles and on pockets. Ankle zippers make getting tight pants on and off a little easier, but be sure they don’t rub or bounce against your leg, ankle, or Achilles tendon. Lock-down zipper pulls, zipper “garages,” and flaps of protective fabric can help. For carrying valuables like your cell phone while running, a zippered pocket may be the most secure option—as long as you remember to close it before you take off running. But don’t forget to unzip and remove your goods after your run: My iPod shuffle didn’t fare well in that oh-so-secure zippered back pocket when it went through the washing machine.
If you run anywhere near traffic or other people before or after daylight hours, reflectivity is essential. The more reflectivity you wear, the more likely you are to be seen—so wear running pants and other gear with 360 degrees of reflectivity. Look for tights with reflective coating or reflective strips for enhanced visibility. Often tights have reflective strips that wrap around the calves and ankles.
Other Factors that were considered were:
Total coverage is key
Total coverage is important when you are considering the weather patterns during your running sessions. Cold weather will require full coverage while hot weather will require minimal coverage. But the coverage should also take into consideration the sense of fashion to others and a degree of decency. Another, less obvious problem is opaqueness. You really should take a look – in strong light – at your posterior in the tights to see if anything is shining through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the frequently asked questions with regards to Nike running pants.
Q. How tightly should these pants fit?
A. Nike has different running pants that fit differently. For instance, loosely fitting Nike running pants are like the Nike Men’s Zoom Lightweight Running Pants while fitting running pants are like the Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Pro Combat Hyperwarm Flex Compression Tights. Therefore, one is open to pick either a tight pant or a loosely fitting pant depending on their personal preference.
Q. I wear 32/30. What size should I get?
A. Get a medium size, it will fit perfectly and not baggy. Note that they are “wind breaker pants” meaning that although they will shield you from the biting effects of the wind, they are thin and won’t keep you warm. Your body will have to do that while you exercise. If you are doing a physical purchase, then you can try the pants at the store till you find the perfect fit. But then for fitting pants this should not be a big deal.
Q. Do these pants have a lining?
A. Not all the pants have linings on them.
Q. Do you wear underwear under running tights?
A. Running tights are designed so both men and women can run comfortably in them without underwear. Especially for long runs, avoid underwear to prevent chafing (and spending time extricating that underwear from where it inevitably creeps mid-stride). However, some runners who prefer to spend their time running rather than doing laundry admit to wearing undies to extend the life of their tights between washings. If you do choose to wear underwear, opt for synthetic sports briefs or panties that will wick moisture and stay put while you’re running.
Q. How do I know my Size?
A. Nike provides a size chart that guides all buyers in getting the best size of their pants or leggings. You can also visit an Adidas store physically and consult with the sales people. The sizing guide will walk you through the process of measuring your body to find the best fit. But then the lose fitting pants and the tight fitting pants have different size charts, so it’s good to consult.
Q. How tight should my tights/ leggings be?
A.This one is totally dependent on personal preference whether you want a tight fit or a loose fit. Your brace should support you firmly but not be so tight that it feels like its interfering with circulation. You should not feel squeezing discomfort while you are wearing the tights/leggings.
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