Cold weather doesn’t have to send you inside for treadmill workouts. Arm yourself with the right pair of bottoms—you know, the ones with soft, fleece-lined interiors that make you feel like you’re pulling on a pair of pajamas—and run outside virtually all winter long. (Thankfully, performance features like ankle zippers and reflectivity inspire heading out the door for a run instead of climbing back into bed.)

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And unlike pajamas or your coziest sweatshirt, the fabrication of running tights and pants lined with fleecy interiors means they’re ready to perform on the run. The soft-against-your-skin interior keeps you warm while also wicking sweat, and works in conjunction with smooth exteriors to regulate your temperature, trapping just enough heat against your body while allowing just enough to breathe. (Read: no sweaty, suffocating legs or behind.)

Pants vs. Tights

Generally speaking, the snug-fitting nature of tights will keep you warmer than loose-fitting pants; tights mitigate cold air from circulating within. Pants give you the option of wearing them on their own or layering over tights, and work well for slipping them back on post-run. That said, temperature ranges vary among tights and pants based on thickness of the material, and whether or not the exterior fabric has any windproofing. Windproof fabric adds warmth, usually at the cost of some breathability.


All tights in this roundup have the basic needs of a solid pair of winter running bottoms. They’re warm (but not too warm), comfortable, wick sweat, have at least one pocket for a key or other necessities, and have reflective details—some more than others. Read on to find the pair of cozy bottoms that are ready to keep you running outside as the temperatures drop.

Asics Lite-Show Brushed Tight


Price: $85

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Running through winter requires staying safe in low light, both in darkness and on dreary days. The “Lite-Show” in this tights’ description refers to reflective striping across the front and backside of the legs (also seen from the sides). The tights are snug-fitting, with zippered ankles for easy on-and-off, and a mesh panel at the lower mid-back—a high sweat zone. The polyester/spandex blend is soft and brushed on the interior, and smooth and sleek on the exterior.

Tracksmith Turnover Tight


Price: $128

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Constructed with a blend of Italian fabric (this is Tracksmith, after all), the Turnover Tights strike the balance of being form-fitting and skin-hugging without feeling constricting…or, too revealing. The brushed interior is soft and supple, while the smooth exterior face sheds a light rain. The fabric is extremely stretchy while maintaining its shape, and dries quickly. Bonded seams and a flat, elastic waistband increase comfort, and a zippered back pocket fits a phone without bouncing too much.

Kari Traa Women’s Toril Tights

Kari Traa

Price: $90

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From the women’s-only Norwegian brand, the Toril tights’ softshell fabric blocks wind on the front side of the tights to keep the chill in cold and windy climes at bay, while the backside lets heat escape while remaining warm. The brushed fleece interior (which lines the front and the back) feels great against the skin, as does the flat, wide and high waistband that eliminates the uncomfortable belly pinch. A zippered back pocket keeps keys and other small items secure.

Gear to Illuminate Your Run

Use Your Head

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
Run hands-free
$35 | Amazon
Buy Now

Put on a Life Vest

Nathan Streak Reflective Vest
Lightweight visibility
$27 | Amazon
Buy Now

Stick on Safety

Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips
DIY for runners
$10 | Amazon
Buy Now

Run Like You Rave

Apace Vision LED Safety Lights
Strobe your path
$18 | Amazon
Buy Now

New Balance Heat Tights

New Balance

Price: $90

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

A super-wide, flat waistband, and all-around fleecy interior, make these tights extremely comfortable. Performance features include fun reflective detailing around the calves, and on the sides and thigh (the logo is reflective). A smooth exterior helps shed light rain and snow, and a large quick access pocket fits a phone, while a back zippered pocket holds small items securely.

The North Face Women’s Warm Mid-Rise Tight

The North Face

Price: $85

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Simplicity rules with these thick, warm tights, as a lack of ankle zips or giant logos allow them to crossover into around-town cozy bottoms for walking the dog or running an errand. On the run, the fleece-interior and brushed exterior performs by wicking sweat, and a zippered back pocket opens from both sides for ease of access. A high waist adds comfort…and warmth. agrees, these leggings will keep you warm in subzero temps.

Craft Women’s Urban Run Tights


Price: $65

Buy Now

These fleecy tights have an urban-cool look, with incognito reflectivity—those stripes on the shins become reflective under car headlights. A wide waistband enhances comfort, and also looks cool with its low, dropped seam-line. Zippers at the ankles add functionality, and a hidden zippered pocket stores small essentials.

Salomon Agile Warm Tight


Price: $78

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

A soft, brushed interior meets a smooth exterior in these warm tights. The fit is snug, but the material stretches for comfort. Zippered ankles allow to fit to remain streamlined, and a zippered back pocket is big enough for a phone. Reflective detailing add safety for road running in low light.

Winter might feel like the time to give up regular leggings and tights, but don’t say goodbye to all leggings. Try fleece lined leggings that keep you warm all winter long, like you’re wrapped up in a blanket. Fleece lined leggings look like your typical black workout pants, but have super soft fleece on the inside to provide extra insulation and keep you toasty in colder weather.

Fleece leggings are great for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, or running; however, for indoor exercise during the winter, it’s best to stick with your traditional leggings or yoga pants. We love wearing fleece leggings under skirts too, when tights just won’t cut it.

How to find the best fleece lined leggings

  1. Make sure they’re actually fleece lined. Many leggings designed for winter don’t actually have fleece and are instead just thicker, but they won’t be able to keep you as warm. If they’re advertised as “fleece lined” or “brushed interior”, this means they’ll be warmer because they’ll trap heat.
  2. Try a moisture management test. If you want to check if your leggings are moisture wicking, you can do a simple at home test. Take a drop of water and place it on the inner fabric that would touch your skin. If the water droplet immediately spreads out, this means the water can more easily evaporate, keeping you dry. However, if the water beads, the fabric is not moisture wicking.
  3. Think about when you will wear them. We found the best styles of fleece lined leggings for each different activity, as not every pair is perfect for every occasion. A super plush option is great for leisurely activities, but would not work for running outdoors. For activewear, check if your pair of fleece leggings feature a gusset crotch. This means there’s a triangular piece of fabric sewn in the crotch that keeps the leggings from riding up or bunching.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab pros are experts in finding the best comfy leggings for every season. We have tested workout leggings in the lab, evaluating stretch recovery, moisture management, and washability. Then, our consumer testers wear them while exercising to give us feedback on comfort and appearance.

These leggings are from brands with previous top performing styles or have racked up tons of rave reviews. Shop these winter leggings to stay warm during chilly temps outside — or a strong AC in the office.

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Grey fleece lined leggings

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