Running Pet Peeve #3: Tights

This past Sunday I enjoyed a delightful run; a nicely paced five miles accompanied by a finely crafted playlist on my IPod. It was the longest distance I’d attempted thus far in my half marathon training and my legs held up exceptionally well. However, the real highlight was the weather. The skies were sunny and clear and by early afternoon the temperatures had crept into the low 60s.

This, of course, meant it was shorts weather.

Most red-blooded Americans love the arrival of spring and I’m no exception. What’s not to love? Longer days, warmer weather, and for me, the ability to rid myself of my personal running nemesis…


As far as I’m concerned, running tights may be the worst aspect of this whole running thing. Worse than nipple butter and energy gels… combined.

Unfortunately, in order to stay in reasonably decent shape between November and March they’re a necessary evil I simply have to endure. Up here in the Pacific Northwest our winters are fairly mild, but unless I want to become “crazy shorts-in-winter guy” or wear a gray cotton sweatsuit like Rocky Balboa, I have little choice but to ride out the season by jogging in humiliating, overpriced compression trousers.

Maybe I should pull a Rocky and just wear a gray sweatsuit.
Maybe I should pull a Rocky and just wear a gray sweatsuit.

Running tights are just far less comfortable than running shorts. Or any shorts for that matter. They don’t properly support my man parts (I know, more information than you needed), which means I have to wear an additional undergarment which almost seems to defeat the purpose.

I’m sure there’s an expert out there eager to tell me I’m not wearing the “right tights.” Perhaps. But I already have three different pairs (not something I’m proud of) and none of them are really ideal. Plus, I’m pretty sure “right tights” translates into me dropping something in the neighborhood of $100 on moisture wicking spandex. No thank you.

In addition to the lack of comfort, compression pants look ridiculous on most men and leave way too little to the imagination. I’m not a prude, but honestly, no one needs to see that much of me, particularly some poor old lady who’s walking her dog at 7am.

You know that dream we all have about going out in public naked? Well, leaving the house squeezed into my man tights is the closest I’ve ever gotten to that feeling in real life. It’s probably only 42% of that naked dream feeling, but that’s 40% more than I’d prefer.

These things are the WORST!
Am I chasing down a PR or a super villain?

As far as I can tell, women don’t seem to have the same issues with running tights. In fact, they seem to love them and their ubiquitous sibling, yoga pants. It’s true. If the fairer sex didn’t love this type of athletic wear, I wouldn’t know what the hell Lululemon was and we wouldn’t have Montana legislators trying to ban them from being worn in public.

It would seem the female form enables these garments to cling better, making them more comfortable and attractive than the same 21st century fabric is on a man. We’re just bulkier, hairier creatures that aren’t built for aerodynamics, and thus ill-fitted to wear any kind of tights, including the running variety.

Although I suppose if you’re a man who wants to look like you’re wearing a superhero costume from the waist down, then skintight performance slacks are the garment for you!

Look! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … just a middle-aged man going on a evening run.

I’m not completely out the woods yet. I suspect I’m a few weeks away from being able to truly remove compression tights from my running wardrobe. But I’m starting to get excited. I’m counting the days down until all my runs can be enjoyed in maximum comfort, with a cool breeze wafting through my glorious leg hair.

It’s gonna be sweeeeet!

5 thoughts on “Running Pet Peeve #3: Tights

  1. If you wear an athletic supporter or a thong then your tights will do what their supposed to do.
    Depending on the weather I will either wear tight shorts, 3/4, or full lengths, and no I don’t wear shorts over them, the friction between the spandex/Lycra and cotton interferes.
    It’s time that men grow a pair, and stop worrying what others think.


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