Mens running shorts and tights provide comfortable coverage and support to keep you focused on the miles ahead. From minimal split shorts to fitted half tights, you can find the perfect pair for your workout. A wide range of lengths is available to suit different training needs, with shorter inseam lengths (3 to 5 inches) providing flexibility and freedom of movement while longer 7-8 inch pairs add coverage and protection from the elements (especially for trail runs).
Chafing is to runners as blisters are to hikers, a source of pain that can make or break your run. A good pair of running shorts will be loose enough to provide a layer between your thighs but fitted in such a way as not to rub against the areas you move most, which is why we recommend a soft and stretchy fabric like the lightweight polyester and elastane used on the Lululemon Men’s Hightail 3″ Split Shorts. Flat seams are also key to avoid rubbing, as is finding a pair that fit snugly around your thigh without being too tight that they feel restrictive.
For colder temperatures or if you’ll be covering ground on rough terrain, opt for full-length running tights that reach down to your ankles. The extra warmth will help you stay comfortable in even the coldest conditions, while the higher material coverage helps to protect your legs from the prickly undergrowth and branches you’ll encounter on a long trek or when breaking trail through snow or wading in low streams. Some tights offer additional fabric reinforcement in high wear areas to prolong their lifespan, such as the inner thigh where chafing can occur, and some use dual-layer fabrics in the knee area to reduce stress on seams.
Most mens running shorts have a liner, which functions like built in underwear and is designed to prevent chafing from friction between the leg and the outside of the short. Some have a briefs style liner, which will fit closer to the skin than shorts styles, while others are more modest and are more like a pair of underwear than an outer layer of shorts. Pockets are another consideration, as many shorts omit side pockets to avoid jiggling around and impeding your stride.
You can also get mens running tights that are designed to take your workouts further with features like muscle compression, UV protection and heat regulation. The technical fabric on the REI Co-op On the Trail run short tights offers a cooling, sweat-wicking effect that keeps you dry and comfortable as you power up and over hills. This pair of shorts is lightweight and packs down into its own zip-up pouch, so you can store it in your pack when not on the road. The tights are also machine washable for easy care.
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