Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Review: Under Armour ColdGear Compression Tights vs. Nike Tech Running Tights - which tights are better for a petite runner? Part 2

A few days ago, I compared the difference between youth, girls' and women's sizing for running tights, and came to the conclusion that even though they were still too long, women's tights still fit the best--even for a petite runner (see part 1 of this review here).

In part 2 of this review, I'm going to compare the following running tights:
  • Nike Tech Women's Running Tights (£34 on Nike Store EU online)
  • Under Armour Women's ColdGear Compression Tights (£36.98 on baselayer.co.uk)
I had originally planned to review the Nike Pro Hyperwarm Tights as they seemed the most similar to the Under Armour ones, but they were out of my size. I decided to review the Nike Tech tights because I'm familiar with the fit of the capri version and they were closest in price to the UA ones.

Nike Tech Women's Running Tights, Size XS
I wear Nike Tech Women's capris and they fit well on me, so I was expecting these to just be a longer-legged version. They are not compression but have a tight fit. The tights are made of breathable Dri-Fit fabric with flat seams, mesh fabric behind the knees, and weather-resistant material on the lower legs. There is a small pocket in the back for keys, etc. The waistband is typical of most capris or running tights--elastic with an inner drawstring.

The tech tights have zip vents at the hem and ankle bands--something I didn't realize when I ordered them. The leg openings are too tight to pull over your foot without unzipping the vents. The fit in the waist, hips and thighs is good but as expected they are way too long. A few more inches and they might completely cover my feet!

Nike Tech Women's Running Tights - as is


An easy solution for running tights that are too long is to roll them up. But unfortunately the zip vents mean that I can't really cuff these tights very comfortably. I have to roll them about halfway up the zipper (about 3 inches) which doesn't sit very well. And the ankle band feels a little uncomfortable when sitting higher up the leg.



Under Armour Women's ColdGear Compression Tights, Size XS
The UA ColdGear tights were recommended to me because of the material--the inner lining is a soft brushed fleece. Like the Nike tights the material is breathable with flat seams to minimize chafing. The tights are advertised as having a low rise; they are still relatively high on me, but not uncomfortably so.  These are compression tights so they have a tight fit through out. I've never tried 2XUs or Skins but I've heard they can be tough to get on and off. I didn't have a problem with these, and the hems pull over the feet easily.

I was a little unsure of the waistband with the wide, flat elastic waist. However it sits nicely and isn't too tight. Plus it's more comfortable without a drawstring pressing into my tummy.

The wide, flat elastic is covered by an outer waistband
The overall fit is very good through the waist, hips, thighs and legs. But as expected these tights are also for someone taller! The in-seam is stated at 27" (which I double-checked) but they still covered my feet about halfway.

UA ColdGear Compression Tights - as is
However, the main difference compared to the Nike tights is that there are no zippers, vents or ankle bands. This means I can easily cuff the hems (about 3 inches for me to just above the ankle bone) and they still feel comfortable. The black color means it's hard to tell I've rolled them up.




So what's the verdict?

After comparing various sizing options (youth, girls', women's) and finally the Nike Tech vs. Under Armour ColdGear, I think you already know.....Under Armour Women's ColdGear WINS!

The UA tights have the best overall fit and the soft lining is a bonus. I've worn them a few times already and love them. They have great freedom of movement when on--no pulling or tugging-- and the legs don't ride up at all, even though they are rolled up. I was worried that they might feel too hot but they've been fine, and I'm sure these will be more than enough for me even in the coldest temperatures.

It's worth noting since it can be hard to see online, that the UA tights have a panel running down the side of each leg. It's not mentioned in the spec so I don't know really know why they are designed this way. For a better fit, perhaps? They seem counter-intuitive since as they create more seams, but I actually don't feel them at all when I wear them. I've had no issues with any kind of chaffing or rubbing, even on longer runs.

Sorry for the poor photo--these are the same black tights!
Also, while I don't have experience wearing compression tights by 2XU or Skins, my feeling is that they are not as compressive. They don't feel compressive compared to my compression socks....it's just  a tight all around fit. My feeling is that at you shouldn't by them as technical compression tights, but would be grateful for other people's views on this!

Of course, you do always have to have a few gripes. The only real gripe for me (outside of the leg length of course) is that there are no pockets. A little pocket in the back is always handy!

I like these running tights so much that I would recommend them to any runner! And UA certainly is my new favorite brand for cold weather running kit.


So my quest for running tights is over, at least for now. If the Nike Hyperwarm ones come back in stock they will be worth a go, since there's no zip vents at the hem. If anyone has tried them before, let me know what you think! And as always, if you are a petite runner please let me know which running tights have worked for you.

Here's to a warm and toasty winter running season!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for that! I've not tried compressions, I've a lovely snuggly pair of fleecy Sweaty Betty's for really really cold and my Hilly's for this time of year. I suspect I'm not quite as diminutive as you, but SB with a try! Glad you found something that works! :-)

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  2. @StaySlimSue

    Thanks for the tip, Sue! I've always wanted to give SB a try because they have such cute things. They seem to be having a 50% sale at the mo so will take a look! :)

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