For those of you for whom wearing athletic tights is a begrudging, reluctant chore that you're willing to do only because the alternative—not exercising outside again until, say, April—is worse, this is the pair makes that process the least intolerable, if that makes sense. It does everything well! Generously-sized ankle zips mean that they're easy to put on and remove, and a sturdy waistband drawstring allows you to adjust them as easily as you do your favorite pair of sweatpants. The waistband doesn't ride down, and once you've broken even the slightest of sweats, it doesn't move at all.
Elsewhere, a subtle, pebbled reflective pattern on the shins is functionally invisible during the day, but keeps you visible even when your run takes place in one of the day's 14 agonizing hours of darkness. And unlike a surprising number of tights on the market that are eagerly vying for your time and your dollars, the Supernova tights come equipped with just the right amount of storage. A single sweatproof pocket on the right hip pins your smartphone and a key snugly against the side of your, uh, cheek, which eliminates the distracting jostling that makes regular shorts pockets stuffed with a bulky phone basically useless. After a few minutes, you'd forget that your phone is even there, if not for the fact that it keeps cranking "Teenage Dream" into your earbuds on repeat.
When this year's version of whatever Arctic Polar Vortex Bombaggedon Cyclone Storm weather pattern hovers over your city for what feels like 19 years, instantly transforming your neighborhood into an agglomeration of Netflix-equipped hibernation caves, a regular pair of performance tights won't cut it in the event that you summon the courage to go outside and get the blood moving. Of the extreme-cold tights we tested, this model from Under Armour performed the best. It's airy and light, relying on the Polartec wool fabric blend instead of a thick, unwieldy polyester to keep you cozy. It also won't envelop your calf in a thin sheet of polyester-laced ice in the event that you get wet. (Snowboarders, take note.) Most importantly, unlike most wool athletic wear, which can feel as if you're running in neon-colored long johns, this one still has the same compression fit you'd wear in even marginally warmer weather. No storage here, either—but honestly, if you're running in a climate that calls for gear like this, you're going to need at least one more layer in which you can plan some pockets.
If you need all the bells and whistles of a standalone running tight—ankle zips, pockets for days, a gigantic logo, and/or an intricate camo pattern that is, in a particularly ill-advised design detail, reflective—these tights probably aren't for you. But if you want to fly out into the elements wearing the closest thing to a real-life superhero costume that money can buy, then don't look anywhere else. The Sprinting Tights come in muted-but-still-sweat-disguising colors like navy and slate blue, and their minimalist design confines the obligatory company logo to a black-on-black outline on the impossibly thin waistband. It's the fabric, though, that makes these special. It somehow hugs every cranny and contour of your legs, but without putting your circulation in jeopardy after more than ten minutes of wear time—on a scale from naked to waterproof ski pants, these feel about like you're wearing body paint. If Captain America had to assemble his entire comic book wardrobe while shopping only at online sporting goods retailers, he'd buy these in bulk.