Men in Tights: Weird Looks and Running Fashion

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OK, I admit it. I love running in tights/leggings. Short, long, I love them all, but there is one problem – it doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable in my native Trinidad. How do I know this? Well there are a couple of reasons:

1. In my almost two years of consistent running, I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve seen running in tights. If I were to take me out of that equation, the list gets even shorter.

2. It is practically impossible to find/buy tights at any of the local running stores. I’m not talking about the ones men would usually wear under a shorts (of those I also have quite a few) – I’m talking about running tights that are meant to be worn alone. In fact, over the past two years, I’ve only seen about eight such tights on sale – and I own five. There is no such discrimination on women’s tights though; they come in a myriad of styles, colours and brands. And there are some women that SHOULD NOT wear tights in public – which I referred to in an earlier post.

3. It’s the weird look (mainly from men) I sometimes get, as I trot around town in them. It’s not a negative look, but it’s the kind of look you get if you wear shorts and a tank top in the dead of winter…a slightly bemused look you’d give a weirdo that seemed to have fallen out of the fashion bubble.

jeremytightsNow, I usually don’t care what people think of my dress code, but some days I choose, or choose not to wear my tights, depending on when and where I run – just to keep the peace. Generally I’m well covered, and recently bought a few shorts to wear over them, sometimes, when my running top doesn’t cover all the ‘junk’, but on a hot day (which is practically every day here), it isn’t always practical.

But I love my tights – for good reason too:

1. I’m fascinated by compression technology. I believe it helps me recover faster from long and tempo runs, although medical evidence is still out on that one. I’m a bit of a techie, so – any kind of tech associated with running – I’m willing to try. I actually stopped wearing my Adidas calf sleeves with shorts on my normal runs, because the stares have just been too much, and I’ve been told I look like an alien in them.

2. They look good. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the best man legs. In fact, they’re pretty skinny by most standards, which I also blogged about before. But in tights, my legs look particularly badass, if I say so myself.

edna

3. I’m a Superhero. I’ve always harboured a desire to be a superhero, and with my tights and awesome running powers (on a good day), Superman and Batman got nuthin’ on me. Really I do feel pretty superhuman when I run, and the tights just play into that role. I draw the line at running in a cape though – even if it’s a novelty race (on this I agree fully with Edna “E” Mode from “The Incredibles”).

So what does this all mean? Nothing really, other than I like my own sense of style, and I take it pretty seriously, whether I’m running or not.

After a recent trip to London, I’ve fallen in love with cardigans, which I wear almost religiously when I’m out working with clients, doing training and the like – even though it’s ridiculously hot here most of the time. I’m saved by the fact that:

1. Most employers have the AC on ridiculously cold in their offices, so it actually makes sense to employ layering.

2. I’ve got a lot of compliments on my style – especially when I meet with female executives (which account for 99% of my client base, as I work in human resources).

jeremy2But I digress; this is about tights. I started feeling all mopey about my love of tights, and my battle not to fit into anyone’s idea of what a man should wear while running (it’s all about me, right?), but my world was shaken yesterday – in a good way. As I was about to begin my run, a guy ran past me. He looked to be in his late fifties, was in pretty good shape (which I deduced from the fact that he just ran up Chancellor Hill, and had a better physique than mine), AND HE WAS WEARING TIGHTS. The kind I would wear, if I could find them to buy locally.

It was near the end of the road, so pretty soon he turned back and ran past me again. He must have seen the look of love and admiration in my eyes, because he gave me a hearty greeting amidst the pants for breath, after running uphill for 3 km – he even wished me all the best for the season. That does it – I’m rocking my tights.

I even contemplated stripping of the shorts I had on to run in the knee-length compression tights I had on underneath, but because of the top I had on, the junk would have been unduly exposed, and I had a vision of my wife divorcing me if she knew I ran in that. She generally approves of my running kit – once I’m appropriately covered – no need to advertise the goods, since I’ve been ‘off the market’ for the last eight and a half years.

So there it is. If you’ve ever wondered why I’ve posted mildly inappropriate pics of myself wearing tights on this blog (like in this post) – well now you know why… and I’m not gonna stop, so get used to it…(or not).

 

Republished with permission from jeremyrunblues.tumblr.com

Jeremy Francis

Jeremy Francis is the Managing Director/Principal Consultant of Beyond Consulting Limited - a company that focuses on people and process development. He's also an avid runner. Check out his tumblr.

12 Comments

  1. Darlene

    January 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I’m 98% sure that guy you speak of in his late 50s is my dad!!!

    • Jeremy Francis

      JeremyRun

      January 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      LOL, if he runs Chancellor, then it could be. If he runs in tights, then he’s awesome 😉

  2. Maco

    November 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I would love to wear tights without the shorts, but usually where I run or even lift there are a lot if fine ladies. This poses a problem whenever I get a hard on, which is quite often (-^_^-)’

    • stranger

      May 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      wear some shorts over the top to avoid embarrassment.

  3. Ian

    January 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    You go guy! All you need is a little self control. I walk around the Castro in tight,.sometime with, sometimes without shorts.

  4. stranger

    May 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Jeremy, what a great article. I too am very much the same minded as you are. It’s great your not controlled by others who push their agenda on what men can and cannot wear while running or working out. I tend to run in 2XU compression tights myself, mainly because I suffer from shin splints and it reduces the pain of those immensely. Also I recover far quicker too. I often make sure I wear a longer top to cover the junk as well. It’s great to know you feel the need to do so also and I applaud your pursuit on modesty. Keep p the great work, and all the best.

  5. Wayne

    June 21, 2015 at 2:22 am

    I just purchased a couple of pairs at the giant tent sale Adidas was having by my house (@ $12 a pair I simply couldn’t pass them up. I wore a pair tonight for a run in the 80° weather and fell in love. They were really comfortable and the compression felt great. It’ll be hard going back to shorts for PT Tests in the army, but, who knows, maybe they will wake up to tights someday also. Maybe everyone will and guys can wear them as pants with the same freedom women do now.

  6. Greg Ochs

    November 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I have been a supporter of tights since the late 1980’s. I run and workout in them usually in the cool to colder weather. I like everything you said Jeremy. Especially the industries lack of variety and shine. My wife recently has taken up running.

  7. Dude

    December 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Dude,

    You just wear them. And you should wear leggings for other occasions besides sports. If you can’t find decent ones for guys, just get some in the women’s section. Black or some other solid color. But black pretty much goes with everything. I don’t really like the Meggings that much, because they’re too loud. Although I appreciate that company trying to introduce the look. I think they just need to tone them down a bit to normal colors.

    All it takes is a few guys starting the trend. Then other guys will feel less intimidated to try it. People are more likely to have hang ups over transgender people verses a guy wearing leggings for comfort and style these days.

    Women are smart, they don’t care what people think about what they wear. All guys need to do is think the same way. There’s no reason women should have full access to everything while guys don’t right?

    You sound like me. You’re tired of guys being limited to two styles. Pants and shorts.

    Do yard work in them. Take the dog for a walk. Run an errand or two. Most people really won’t care and they’ll likely see them as exercise pants anyway. After awhile, people will just get used to you in them and some will secretly admire you. Some ladies might become more curious about you.

    A few guys, stuck in the last century, might think it’s weird. But those are probably the same guys that let their girlfriends or wives tell them what they should wear.

    Transgender folks kind of pushed this over the line for everyone else. So now guys in leggings is no big deal. Attitudes are more like Europe these days.

    Anyway, take care.

  8. Bill

    December 13, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    I’m a guy, 6’2, 200 pounds, early 40s. Married with kids, living in suburbia. Can I pick your brain for a minute?

    If I go to the grocery store (or anywhere public) at midnight, can I wear a fleece hoodie pullover, white low-cut ankle socks, running shoes and long black Nike or Under Armour compression pants…and NOTHING ELSE (including underwear)?

    Do you think I should toss on a pair of fleece running shorts over the leggings? What color shorts? Does color matter?

    And instead of white low-cut ankle socks, can I wear thick white slouch socks with the leggings tucked in?

    How about this combination for an overnight grocery store run: a T-shirt, white low-cut ankle socks, running shoes and fleece shorts over three-quarter-length black tights (Nike or Under Armour). No underwear.

    If any of this is unacceptable for the grocery store, what about a neighborhood jog at 5:30 in the morning? Or the gym?

    Have you noticed any men wearing compression tights in public? Where? Were they discreet? Did others notice?

    Let’s assume all the clothing described here was made for men by reputable, family-trusted designers and sold in your local mall big box sporting goods store. No crossdressers, no pantyhose, no nylon, lycra or spandex fetish.

    Full disclosure: In the past year, I’ve replaced all my underwear with compression shorts. Someday all men will discover what I’ve learned and do the same. Sure, all your drawers will cost $25-$30 a pop, but the comfort makes ’em worth every penny!

    Also: I’m not trying to show off my bulge (not much to show anyway).

  9. Dude

    April 11, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Hey Bill. I don’t think there’s any problem with a guy wearing what feels comfortable. Although I think compression pants tend to feel too tight. I think guys could get away with wearing regular leggings with a longer shirt to cover his front. No problems, no exhibitionism, no poor taste. Just comfortable.

    Just wear them like a guy would, in a sports look. I think guys can get away with that. Women wear their leggings all sorts of ways. But I think guys can and should wear them too. No big deal. What you suggeted sounds good to me. I would avoid a tight top, if you’re already wearing leggings. That would look like you were trying to get attention. Wear something that has a little room to it.

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