Lower temperatures make it easy for runners to take the Fall and Winter months off. It’s a lot harder to get out of bed when you’ve got 30-degree temperatures waiting for you outside. Fortunately, there’s gear out there that’ll make the frostiest fun run a toasty trot.
I’ve been testing out Pearl iZumi’s Fly Softshell pants ($145, pearlizumi.com) for the last few months, and they are nothing if not toasty.
The first real test that I put them through was an 8-mile mountain run with a steady rain that turned into a steady snowfall as we gained elevation. It turned out to be less of a test than a showcase for just how warm the pants are in the nastiest conditions.
They’ve got a double layer of material that starts in the thighs and goes down over the knees, doubling the protection on the parts of your legs that are hardest hit by the elements. The P.R.O. thermo fleece blocked rain and snow on multi-hour runs, and the soft interior material felt comfortable and wicked away sweat.
My hands and face went numb, but my legs were never uncomfortable during the run. In fact, I had to open the vents after a few miles to let a bit of a breeze in and cool me off.
The elastic waistband and (especially) the elastic drawstring made a big impression on me; the pants never pinched or felt tight around the waist, even while high-stepping over fallen trees and such. The legs taper down at the ankle to prevent that irritating ankle cuff movement, but they also zip open when you want more of a warmup pant kind of fit. The interior is soft and comfortable, and the pockets gave me a place to warm my hands while waiting for my running partners to arrive, and they also gave me a spot for my keys, Gu’s, and some emergency cash.
At first I thought that pants would just be a good alternative for people who didn’t want to wear tights, but these were by far the warmest my legs have been on a cold run. If you hate the cold, but you hate the treadmill even more, you need to take a closer look at these guys.