Women tend to have their body image issues during the warm weather months, but some of us guys have ours during the winter. We stave off facing them as long as possible by wearing our singlets and shorts even when the temperatures approach freezing, then we surrender only as far as switching to a long-sleeve shirt. We add hats, ear muffs, gloves and scarves until the day finally comes when we have to make a decision about our lower halves.
The die-hards will stick with shorts regardless, and I’ve tried sweatpants, warm-up pants and loose-fit running pants, all of which were bothersome for a variety of reasons. So, a couple of years back I tried a pair of running tights. I liked them a lot. There was no extra material flapping around, there were no sweat or chafing problems, they really kept my legs warm, and the compression effect was an added bonus.
But it was a difficult sell because, well, they’re called tights for a reason.
Guys will do almost anything to avoid looking ridiculous—though we still manage to accomplish that task with frightening frequency. Running tights are also problematic because we’re deathly afraid we’re violating the guy code big time.
It’s an ego risk to wear them, no matter what, but I’ve developed these helpful hints to minimize your discomfort while enjoying the benefits of this useful apparel:
- Dark colors only. Black or navy blue. Under no circumstances wear white, yellow or lime green. Designs will only draw attention to you.
- Shirt length. Shirt outside the tights, hip length. Modest without being dorky.
- Underwear? No definitive answer for this one. You won’t need them for support, but peace of mind is paramount here. That’s why the final tip is the most crucial one.
- Seek a woman’s counsel. Not as easy as it sounds. Women are used to providing support and affirmation when asked about how clothing looks. No woman ever says to another, “Your butt looks HUGE in that!” You need a woman who will level with you. Even then, don’t pay attention to what she says as much as the look on her face.
If she looks uncomfortable while she asks, “Well, how do you like them?” it’s time to go in a different direction. On the other hand, if she raises her eyebrows and makes a growling sound in the back of her throat, it’s very flattering but probably not the kind of reaction you want for running gear. (Don’t be an idiot, though. Save them for wearing around the house.)
A conscientious woman will also provide free periodic updates to her assessment, and will not hesitate to tell you when it’s time to choose an alternative.
Follow these tips and you’ll be able to wear running tights without undue anxiety or drawing attention to yourself, unless, for some reason, you’re trying to.