So much more than a mere fashion item, these tights look good but more importantly, they do a job in terms of performance.
They allow your muscles to operate at perfect temperatures, they allow a range of motion which means your stride is natural and operates at maximum efficiency and these days they also allow you to carry that all-important smartphone or music system without it bothering you!
What to look for in 3/4 tights
Extras: Reflective detailing is important for safety, and a good-sized pocket means you might not need a bag.
Compression: Three-quarter-lengths with compression panels often fit very well, but can be expensive
Fit: Length varies between brands. Check they don’t ride up when you run, especially if you have long legs.
Construction: Basic tights may be made from one type of fabric, whereas technical versions use different panels.
Match: Choose compression for support, mesh panels for breathability, or soft, stretchy fabric for comfort.
Best 3/4 leggings for trail running
BEST IN TEST (MEN)
Pros: Ideal for long days or big races in serious places, excellent compression.
Cons: Can come up small so consider a size up from usual.
These stylish, technical tights fit brilliantly: they’re quite short, cut to just cover the knee, but have sticky grippers to stop them riding up. The nylon/spandex mix material is durable but also stretchy and comfortable. A useful but small zipped rear pocket and two open gel pockets mean you can often go without a pack. Large reflective logos keep you visible, while the price is competitive.
Pros: Great features, great looks and great to run in.
Cons: A slightly tighter fit; but that’s what they’re about so not really a minus point!
Made with 94% recycled polyester, these are incredibly comfortable to wear. Light all-over compression for support and a wide waistband with drawcord adjustment keep them in place. They’re a great length that stays well below the knee. Two mesh side pockets fit a smartphone or snacks. A stylish design that doubles as a reflective panel look great too.
Pros: Supportive and full of features; ideal for long days in the hills.
Cons: Very technical looking which you may or may not like.
Packed with running technology, these tights are perfect for long, hilly adventures and at a good price too. Light, all-over compression gives support and comfort, while mesh behind the knees and grippy print on the thighs means they’re perfect for climbs. A wide, elasticated drawcord waist, zipped back pocket, two gel pockets and reflective details add the finishing touch.
Pros: Well-made with shorts for modesty.
Cons: Quite expensive.
Featuring shorts over standard-length three-quarter tights to give a more modest style, these are great for commuting or the gym. When running you don't really notice the shorts; the tights feel well cut and supportive. Well made from a mixture of nylon, polyester and elastane, they have a zipped rear pocket and reflective details.
Pros: Great value, look good.
Cons: Feel cheaper than others here and not technical.
These Capris are the cheapest on test and they feel like a lower quality item, but they look good and are quite nice to run in. The polyester/spandex mix fabric is stretchy and comfortable but feels thin. They fit well and are cut nicely below the knee but above the calf. They feature a fairly big zipped rear pocket and lots of reflective detail.
Pros: Comfy for multi-day races, great value
Cons: Loose fit so not much compression
A simple polyester/spandex mix tight, with a good run-specific design. Reflective details keep you safe, grip strips around the cuff stop the legs from rucking up, and strategically placed mesh panels help keep you comfortable in warmer weather. The fit is looser than most, making them a comfy option for a full weekend's mountain marathoning.
Pros: Excellent compression, packed with run-specific features.
These are sized by thigh circumference and it's important to get the measurements correct. The high-quality polyamide/Lycra mix fabric is woven on medical-grade machines to offer targeted compression, to maximise performance and recovery. Supportive rather than restrictive, they are light and breathable and feature a useful rear mesh pocket.