Running in the cold has never been warmer (or safer).

By Lauren Phillips
February 11, 2020

As a young runner, I promised myself—and anyone else who would listen—that I would never run outdoors in the cold. Growing up in Georgia and other areas of the South, it didn’t seem like a difficult promise to keep. I had sweatshirts and thermal base layers for chilly days, but when temperatures dropped below freezing once or twice a year, I simply stayed indoors. (A rest day never hurt anyone, right?) Fast-forward a few years and a cross-country move, and now I live somewhere with a real winter—and skipping every cold morning workout isn’t an option.

Living in New York City means dealing with 30-degree mornings (or colder!) more often than not between November and March. It only took a few bone-chilling runs for me to realize that my cold-weather running gear wasn’t going to cut it: I could pile on shirts and jackets and windbreakers, but my legs needed to be able to move freely, and heavy sweatpants just slowed me down and prolonged my exposure to the cold. Finding a pair of leggings that kept my legs warm, blocked as much wind as possible, and were also able to repel mist, drizzle, and other precipitation wasn’t easy, but I did it, and the No Days Off Tights from Tracksmith ($148; tracksmith.com) have saved my winter.

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Instead of being cooped up inside or braving the treadmill (aka the dreadmill) when temperatures drop, I can pull on these durable running tights and hit the road. The NDO Tights are as functional as any reliable running legging, with Tracksmith’s signature waistband that prevents drooping (without frustrating ties to deal with, even) and a snug fit. They’re a heavier weight than my regular running tights, with a brushed lining that offers warmth without getting stuffy mid-run. The smooth outer lining repels light precipitation and blocks some wind, so I can sail through a misty morning run easily enough, and the tights dry quickly between runs and after washes. (The brushed lining doesn’t lose its softness after being washed, either.)

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Beyond the features of any good cold-weather running tight, these tights address the other downside of winter morning workouts: the dark. Maintaining a running habit in the winter means starting (and sometimes finishing) a run before sunrise, especially on those days when sunrise isn’t until 7:15 a.m. or later. I live in an area heavily populated by well-maintained streetlights, but a little extra visibility is never a bad thing, which is why I love the reflective sashes on the NDO Tights. They’re subtle, so I don’t feel like I’m running in all-reflective neon, but they mean I’m just a little easier for other runners, cyclists, and drivers to spot—and that means I’m a little safer on my runs.

If it weren’t for lined tights, I wouldn’t have been able to run outdoors (thus maintaining my sanity and fitness) for most of the winter; with the NDO tights, temperatures in the 20s or teens don’t scare me away from a good jog. These tights have kept me warm despite wind, drizzle, and freezing temperatures for run after run without stretching, sagging, or otherwise becoming a nuisance. They’ve even survived washings without losing their softness or stretchiness, something not all cold-weather running gear can do.

Any often-cold person like me knows the importance of a good lined legging; when needed, these can double as an errand-running legging, a biking legging, or a dog-walking legging. Whatever you’re doing in them, you can rest assured that you’ll be warm outside, regardless of whatever else the winter throws at you. And if you’re running in them, you’ll barely notice you’re wearing a lined legging: It’s a winter win-win.

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