Material, storage, breathability and comfort all come together to make a good pair of half tights. Which does Meta Endurance's resident tights guru, Tim, rate the highest?
Best Half Tights – The Rationale
Running lowers really are a matter of taste. Some prefer tiny shorts, other 2-in-1 shorts, while others swear by half tights. I’m personally more of a half tight runner. I use them for training whether it’s winter or summer and have raced only in half tights for several years.
This article aims to give you my opinion about half-tights I have recently tested and would therefore include (see last part of the article).
- my go to run half tight,
- the best value for money,
- the one I’m picking to race.
As always with our written reviews, this article isn’t sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. I’ve received some of the half tights from brands or retailers but have bought some with my own money.
This article will include the following half tights (prices are given without any discount)
- Salomon Cross Run (S) – €50
- New Balance Q Speed 9 Inch 1/2 (S) – €65
- Nike Aeroswift (S) – €74,99
- Pressio Power Half Tight (S) – €80
- Tracksmith Reggie Half Tights (XS) – €100€
- Soar Marathon Speed Shorts (S) – €195
What do I look for when buying half tights?
Comfort. The half tight needs to fit me well and should have a material that feels pleasant to avoid chafing (especially for my private parts as I’m not wearing underwear with them).
Storage. Whether I’m racing a marathon or doing a long run, I always like to have some pocket to store at least the nutrition and the keys but also sometimes even my phone.
Breathability. From a certain point, it’s also related to comfort, but you will see that you can have a half tight which is really comfortable without being really breathable.
Durability. As I use them quite often, I want to have tights that will endure for a good length of time.
Price. As always with running gear, you have a wild range of prices and therefore I also take it into consideration
That being said, I will now try to rate all of the tights based on these 5 criteria and give you in 5 to 10 sentences my feelings about each of them.
Salomon Cross Run (S) – €50
The most recent tight I’ve tested and also the one I’ve worn the least (4 times so far). Therefore, I will be a bit short for an accurate assessment of durability even if there’s nothing to worry about so far.
Regarding comfort, the material is quite stretchy and I quite like it. It features an adjustable internal waist and a side pocket big enough for a phone or several gels. Talking about storage, it’s a shame that you don’t have a second pocket, even a tiny one, especially for keys. In one word, this tight is simple without being too simple and it misses being the best value for money due to the lack of a second pocket.
New Balance Q Speed 9″ (S) – €65
At €65, the New Balance is one of the most affordable half tights in this review. This model fits me well but It’s not one of my favorites in terms of comfort. Nevertheless, I ran a full marathon as well as a 55km trail in it and didn’t experience any chafing due to the fit nor the material. Those two experiences were done in quite fresh weather but I would consider the half tight as breathable.
Storage is good also with two big pockets on each side that could contain between 3 to 4 gels each or a phone (I ran my marathon with my phone and 6 gels). But if you have enough storage, I’m not a huge fan of where those pockets are located. Of course it’s really practical for grabbing things in them (much more than back pockets) but at the same time it’s less comfortable. During the marathon I even encountered a minor skin burn because of the friction of my phone. I have nothing to complain about with durability so far.
Nike Dri-Fit ADV Aeroswift (S) – €74.99
The Aeroswift from Nike is quite unique among the 7 as you don’t really have the feeling of wearing something close to skin. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things about this half tight. It’s really comfortable and also quite breathable.
Durability is also very good (I’m still using a 5 year old pair), except for the Nike logo printed on the bottom which has deteriorated. The main area of improvement I would like with the AeroSwift is the storage. The tight features 4 small pockets. 2 in front only for keys and 2 in the bottom for 1 gel max each. And we talk here about “normal” size gel and not big gels you can find more and more nowadays. Price is in my opinion a bit high but it’s quite easy to buy it with a discount especially if you don’t want to have the most recently launched colorway.
Pressio Power Half-Tights (S) – €80
You can easily recognize the Pressio thanks to its lateral bands used for compression. Called MAAP (Muscle Alignment Power Print), these cover the thighs completely.
If the compression is okay (not too tight, and not to loose) the best part of this half tight for me is the storage. You have plenty of storage, including a big pocket in the back to take your phone and a zippered side pocket for your key.
Without being able to say if the compression helped me or not, I should admit that price based on the quality of the finish seems okay. However, I’m not a fan of the material used, especially on the bands. There I even find the half tight uncomfortable due to the very low breathability which creates some chafing on my skin. This being said, I’m sure that other people will be totally fine with the material and the compression here but for me it’s a no go.
Tracksmith Reggie Half Tight (XS) – €100
As often with Tracksmith, the price is a bit high, but the quality is there. The Reggie Half Tights are my favorite half tight for both the sizing, thanks to an elastic waistband, and the comfort thanks to a very soft and pleasant material (micro-nylon and elastane blend).
I’ve worn it dozens of times and never encountered any chafing issue whatever the session or weather. Nevertheless comfort here doesn’t mean breathable, and the half tight is not one of the most breathable I’ve tested (probably the second last among the 6 tights here).
As a matter of fact I’m mainly using it during autumn / winter and avoid using it in the middle of summer.
Speaking of storage, you have a zippered back pocket, which is nice, but you only have one which isn’t that big. You can expect to store 2 gels and your keys, but nothing more and you can forget about your phone unless it’s a very compact one.
Soar Marathon Speed Shorts (S) – €195
The most expensive half tight of the group is also the lightest. Soar Marathon Speed Shorts are like a second skin. So comfortable, thin and light that you could nearly forget that you’re wearing it. Note that if you decide to buy it, you should consider going a size up if usually you’re close to the next size.
For storage, you have plenty of space and the tight includes a very large pocket in the back that could contain at least 5 gels or your phone, two inside pockets for keys or more gels as well as 2 frontal gel loops where you can store 2 other gels if they are long enough (my usual gels, unfortunately, are not big enough to be stored here).
The only issues with this piece of art are the price and the durability (which is even more disappointing as the price is high). I’ve worn this tight less than 10 times and as you can see I already have a hole in the back pocket caused by carrying gels during a marathon.
What are my overall picks?
My go to run half-tight
Because I really enjoy the comfort and have enough space for 2 gels and my keys, the Tracksmith Reggie Half Tights is my go to run half tight of 2023. There are some occasions where I will not choose them for a run (very long session where I need at least 3 to 4 gels or very hot session) but for the majority of time, it will be my first choice
The best value for money
Always complex to rate value for money, but I would say that the New Balance Q Speed 9 Inch 1/2 is the 2023 winner. And if you have followed our stories on Instagram, you would have seen that my colleague Josh even put these tights in his favorite 2023 running gear. What’s more, as I write these lines, it’s easily available on special offer for less than €50.
The one I’m picking to race
While talking about racing, Soar comes first without any doubt. The price is really high, and lifespan is a bit disappointing. That’s why it’s not my go to run short. But if you have the money to spend on a tight for racing, it’s definitely another level.