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Runners: do you wear shorts over your tights?

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Runners have strong opinions about many things gear-related, but the shorts-over-tights debate is one of the most contested. Some runners won’t leave the house without shorts over their tights, whereas others think it’s ridiculous, and consider tights to be pants on their own. Sir Mo Farah and Kevin Hart have weighed in on the argument, and both have been seen wearing shorts over tights.


There’s merit to both sides of the argument, but here are some reasons that typically influence a runner’s decision regarding what they wear on the lower half of their body. 

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Why runners prefer to wear shorts over tights


This is the most common reason why runners double up. Throwing a pair of shorts over your tights leaves something to the imagination. 

Extra pockets

If you’re going on a very long run, sometimes the pockets in one layer aren’t sufficient to hold a cell phone, keys, cards and gels. Adding a layer provides the runner with more pockets and means you can leave the fuel belt at home. 


In the winter, especially in Canada, being warm is everything. Throwing an extra layer on anywhere can cut the wind and keep you warm through your miles. 

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Why runners refuse to wear shorts over tights 

They think it’s an unnecessary layer

If you’re already wearing tights, shorts don’t cover too much more. With the right winter tights, shorts usually won’t make that much of a difference, warmth-wise.

They like how the tights look

Runners wear tights, plain and simple. If you’re running in the cold weather, you’ve got to accept tights as part of your wardrobe. And lots of runners love their tights. 

It can get too hot

While it’s hard to imagine being too hot on a outdoor run right now, there are certain months of the year where this is entirely possible. Adding a pair of shorts over spandex tights can put a runner over the edge in terms of their temperature during a run.