12 Best Running Shorts & Tights

Want shorts, pants or tights that’ll help you look and feel your best on race day? Gear editor Ryan Scott gets to the bottom of 12 perfect pairs.

Ryan Scott |

Want shorts, pants or tights that’ll help you look and feel your best on race day? Gear editor Ryan Scott gets to the bottom of 12 perfect pairs. – By Ryan Scott


01 / Under Armour 7-inch Speedpocket Shorts R559

This seven-inch (18cm) pair of shorts sits just above the knee, offering full upper-leg coverage without touching the joint. For those hoping to snap a race-day selfie, there’s an expandable low-profile pocket in the waistband for storing your phone. Our tester reported that the side panels and four-way stretch fabric provided comfort and ventilation.

02 / NB Dry Shorts R550

This little black number is great for speedsters, regardless of what distance they plan on racing. Made of two panels of fabric, and featuring one tiny gusset, this pair is as skin-tight as it gets. The NB Dry fabric wicks moisture away.


03 / adidas ¾ tights R899

Not quite full-length, but they do give you a lot of leg coverage. A flexible seam at the back of the knee allows the lower leg to move more freely. A narrow, full-length strip, running from the waist to the calf, offers ventilation and added flexibility. Includes a neat zippered pocket, which is hidden away but large enough to carry a set of car keys.

04 / Saucony scoot capri R1 070

Gathered stitching at the knee, combined with a comfortable length, stops these tights from moving past the knee. This effectively isolates the joint, which complements a smooth, fast cadence. A lightweight, flexible and breathable mesh at the back of the knee means you can move more freely.

05 / Under Armour Shorts R419

Short-shorts feel more comfortable than they look, and they offer freedom to those hoping to reach maximum speed. This pair has a side panel with a curved seam, which follows the contour of the upper thigh to a wide waistband.

06 / Asics Tights R900

Three-quarter-length tights, featuring contoured seams from top to bottom. A medium-size waistband includes a pocket on the front of the hip, which can be accessed via a small slit and is big enough to hold a small key.

07 / Puma Powershape Tights R1 999

The most heavy-duty fabric of all the tights tested, ideal for cold temperatures. Where the NB shorts have two panels, these tights have over 20, strategically placed to ensure the entire leg is covered, from hip to ankle. Additional comfort and support come in the form of a patterned panel that wraps around the leg.

men leggings

08 / NB 2-in-1 Shorts R850

Your powerful thighs have made it to race day, but you’re still worried chafe might hamper your result. These 18cm shorts feel like a second skin, because a secure band at the bottom stops them from shifting.

09 / Asics Tights R900

Lightweight full-length tights. Mesh inserts behind the knee aid flexibility. The waist is thicker than you’d expect from a standard pair of men’s tights. A drawstring locks the tights in place, preventing them from sliding down – even if your hips are slim, or if you’re running at maximum pace.

10 / Salomon Fast Wing Twin Skin Shorts R800

These trail shorts don’t have an outer layer between the thighs, because that’s where friction is most likely to occur. The job of the inner is to ensure your thighs remain chafe-free and unrestricted. Testers confirmed this breathable and stretchy pair does just that. A lightweight pocket, spanning 180 degrees around the hips, is large enough to store energy gels, a phone, keys and more.

11 / Nike Power Speed Half Tights R1 090

Ideal for racers at the sharp end of the pack. Stretch and support are concentrated in the thigh area, which frees up the rest of your legs for a smoother stride. A firm fit around the waist, crotch and legs. Includes a small pocket with a vapour barrier, which helps to keep the items you’re carrying dry.

12 / adidas TechFit Tough Long Tights R899

Pulling on these skin-tight full-length bottoms requires some effort, but once they’re on, they feel like an extension of your own skin. TechFit technology supports your muscles, has 50+ UV protection, and employs soft, flat-locked seams that reduce chafing. Designed to wear with a pair of shorts.

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