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Shorts Or No Shorts Over Running Tights – A Post on Winter Running

Posted on December 19 2013

Nike Running TightsWe’re all friends here right? Ok, so I’m going to cover a sensitive topic in this post (pun intended). Hold on tight!

On Tuesday I went for a run in a snowstorm. The flakes were coming down pretty steadily, the roads and sidewalks were completely snow-covered, and the temperature when I left was 13 degrees Fahrenheit (my wife had run early in the morning when it was -11F!). Aside from having an incredibly fun run, I spent some time (as I often do while running) contemplating post topics related to running in winter. This is the first post in what may or not be a series on the topic, we’ll see (and if you have any winter running topics you’d like covered, leave a comment!).

I’m a huge fan of running tights, and I’m not afraid to admit that. I’m also very picky about my tights. I find that some irritate my ankles due to the material use to prevent them from riding up, others don’t fit quite right and tend to ride down from the waist (what’s the running equivalent of a plumbers crack?). A comfortable, good fitting pair of tights is like gold. My favorite is an old pair of Nike tights I bought at Dick’s Sporting Goods a few years ago (don’t even know the model – they look kind of like the one’s in the photo above but have no zipper at the ankle) – the material is soft, they don’t ride up or down, and the fit is perfect.

One issue I have though is that when it’s cold and windy, none of the tights I own do a good job of, how do I say this, shielding the man parts. Guys, you know what I’m talking about if you live in the northern part of the world.

An ongoing debate when it comes to running tights is whether or not to wear shorts over the tights. Probably the most common reason for wanting to do this is modesty. Let’s face it, tights can be a bit revealing, and I’ll admit that there are times when I have opted for the shorts on top route for this reason (like when I used to run on the college campus in winter). But, I’m also not averse to going sans shorts in other situations.

Putting the modesty rationale aside, I will point out a situation when I feel shorts over tights is warranted, and that has to do with the problem mentioned above. Wearing only tights when it’s really cold and windy can lead to some major discomfort down there. The post-run bladder empty is much like pouring hot tea through a popsicle. Not fun.

Putting on a pair of running shorts with the liner removed over my tights usually does enough to block the wind and keep things nice and toasty. Problem solved! This is only really necessary when it’s about 20F or below, but it seems to work pretty well.

I’d love to try a pair of tights where the fabric over the peecicle is reinforced with GORE Windstopper fabric (I’d like to emphasize that this post is not sponsored by GORE or any other company). I’m wondering if this would solve the shorts or no shorts over tights dilemma in the cold. I didn’t realize such things existed until I was about to hit publish on the post and I thought it might be worth doing a quick Google search. Anybody tried something like this, are they worth the price?

Stay warm men! (and women, do you have this problem? I honestly don’t know!)

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