It has been nearly a year since I wrote about whether or not men should cover up their running tights, getting into numerous aspects of consideration. And suddenly … here we are back in the early days of winter, with a couple dozen sub-freezing mornings and even a couple of sub-zero wind-chills already behind us. And my post from last year is getting more attention, but this year … I am prepared!
There are plenty of posts around about runderwear for women, but not really so much for men. There are plenty of resources about running shorts, but not so much about what to wear under your shorts or tights.
Fortunately there are some companies – Under Armor, Roadrunner Sports, Brooks and Runderwear among others who make boxers (and briefs) specifically for male runners … and a couple of them are specifically wind blocking!
Assumption #0 – you have decided you want to wear something under your shorts/tights for reasons of comfort, coverage or wind protection. If not, um – you’re fine as you are!
Here are things I considered buying some runderwear for myself:
1. Comfort – this was a key reason for me to look for something new: using compression shorts last year ‘worked’ but was far from optimal, as they were really meant as external shorts.
2. Fit – You are wearing something underneath *tights* … does this really require further explanation? Seriously – ill-fitting runderwear is like the worst chafing of your life just waiting to happen. Fortunately most of these things are very fitted and compressive and snug. But part of this is getting the right size – too small and they are uncomfortable … too large and you are back to chafing.
3. Tech fabric – Also because you are wearing a double layer of clothing next to your skin, it ends up being critical to get that sweat layer away as quickly as possible. Because the moisture will gather up and cause rashes and chafing – so you need a tech fabric that will deal with the moisture.
4. Breathability – This is a bit weird, but basically you want to remain warm but not overheat; to block the wind while allowing some natural radiative cooling. My heavier tights are the Under Armor Extreme Coldgear Infrared, which reflect heat back inward from the surface. So I want my base layer to provide just that – an added layer. And based on what I have read about the heavier runderwear, they are also quite breathable.
5. Wind Blocking – I didn’t end up going with the heavy duty wind blocking shorts as they seemed much thicker and I was looking for a very thin set of runderwear. But I loved reading about some of the heavier versions and might check them out. Pretty much anything with a ‘double-fabric front’ is going to provide a decent amount of wind blockage, which for me proved perfect even on sub-zero wind chill mornings. For colder weather, heavier winds, there are stronger specific wind-blocking models.
5. Price – I saw some sets of shorts up to $60 each. Um, no. Most of what I looked at was about $20 per pair, and I was able to get a 2-pack of Brooks runderwear on sale for $25 (can’t find an online link) , and after a bunch of wearing they have proven their worth!
So there you have it – we are entering the running tights season, but there is no reason to suffer wind chill below the belt, nor any reason to wear bulky shorts over your tights! Runderwear is affordable and will keep you protected, provide added warmth without chafing, and is easy to wash and quick to dry. Check it out!
So guys – how about it … runderwear?