Winter running is never fun, but it’s a little more bearable when you have the right clothing. Living in Pittsburgh, I either have to suck it up for a few months over the winter or take to the treadmill. As much as I hate the cold, I hate the treadmill more. I can grin and bear it, but I would rather throw on a few extra layers and run outside. The only time over the winter where I willingly take to the treadmill is if there is heavy ice and snow. I can’t even say when there are extremely low temperatures, because this past winter I was running in single digits with negative double digit windchills.
Since I prefer to head outside, getting the right clothes is so important. I have felt that I have always had a nice set of winter clothing, but going into this past winter, I had been keeping my eye open for a new pair of winter running tights. Lucky for me, I found them and in the most unlikely of places. Last month I was in Georgia for the Jekyll Island Marathon. It was a small race with a pretty small expo, but I walked away from it with a new pair of winter running tights. Who would think it would take going south to find these.
The pants came from one of the race sponsors, Fusion Sports. Prior to the race, they had actually sent out an email about a free race logo printed item (you just had to pay shipping). To be honest, I did a quick look at the items but because the sizing said they were European, I got a little scared and missed the chance to order something. At the expo though, I went ahead and asked the owner at their booth if the offer still stood. It didn’t of course, but it opened the door for conversation about their product.
The owner, Chance, asked me where I was from and what I was looking for. I told him I was from Pittsburgh and come to find out, his wife’s family is from the area. Of course! Pittsburghers are truly everywhere! They had recently visited and so he certainly understood the cold weather I was dealing with on these winter runs. Through conversation, I went on to mention to him that I was looking for a new pair of winter tights and he quickly recommended their Hot Long Tights (with pockets) to me. He went on to explain who Fusion was and their process.
Fusion is a Danish based company and they specialize in high quality sports apparel with the niche in running, cycling and triathlons. Chance went on to explain there are not many distributors of Fusion in the US and it’s typically not a brand you can find in a running store. Typically everything is ordered online. As I mentioned when we had the chance to get a free item, the sizing scared me. There is nothing worse than ordering something you think is your typical size but getting it and it doesn’t fit at all. Luckily, Chance took the time to explain their euro sizing and how typically it is a slimmer cut with longer sleeves and longer inseams. As a taller person, I could get behind the longer sleeves and inseams, but the slimmer cut doesn’t really pertain best to me. Since we were at the expo, Chance suggested I give the hot pants a try. I immediately grabbed an XL thinking that might not even work for me, but he also handed me a large.
Both sizes fit, but to my surprise, the large actually fit better. These pants are fleeced lined and use a thermal yarn 2-phased technical fabric that is unique to their manufacturing. In addition to the solid fabric build, they have the coveted side pocket and have a folded pocket on back as well. In addition, since the pants are black, they are made with a few reflective stripes on various parts of the leg. As someone who is a stickler for safety, I love these small additions. Lastly, there is a drawstring in the waistline that helps keep the pants up as well.
One I got back home and gave these pants a shot on their first run, I was in love. Seriously. These pants kept my legs warm and dry. They are not too bulky and stayed up perfectly. I had no chafing issues, which is a big deal for runners. I tried the tights out in a few different temperatures and even in temps in the single digits, they were great. They did a great job blocking the wind as well on the legs. At no point did I also feel over heated in these tights. If you were somewhere that might be a bit colder and wetter in the winter than Pittsburgh, I might recommend their S3 Long Tight. I haven’t tried it, but it is built with more layers to specifically block out more wind and cold. However, I think for my needs, the Long Hot Tights are just perfect. The length was also great. I didn’t feel that they were sagging in the crotch or that I had to roll them up at the ankle. I am around 5’9″(ish) and the length worked great. I think that is where the Euro sizes came to my benefit.
I also tried the tights out in a few snow storms and they did great. They held off the snow and at no point did the tights get soaked through and get heavy. I could basically just wipe the snow right off. I tried the pants out on runs from 3 miles to 12 miles and had no issues at any point. The pockets are also great! The side pocket is perfect size for a phone, energy bars/gels or maybe a pair of gloves, etc. I was a little leary of the back pocket at first because it is not a zippered pocket, but it covers perfectly and nothing fell out. I trust it enough to try my key out there and let’s just say, I still have my house key. It’s a smaller pocket, but easily still fits energy gels or your keys. It’s not quite big enough for a phone.
While I didn’t think I would find a new pair of winter tights in Georgia, I certainly did and couldn’t be happier. I’ve told a few running friends already around these tights, but was so excited to keep trying them and giving them some nice tests before putting out my official review. I could not recommend these pants enough! I will certainly be adding another pair to my collection for next winter. While I haven’t tried out their tops yet, I would like to. They have a vest that I think would be a great addition for those chillier runs. Fusion puts priority on the quality of their products and it shows, which is why I have no issues investing into running clothes like this. Sure the price isn’t cheap, but I can tell these will last for a good while. If you’re in the market for some great winter tights or some high quality running clothes in general, give Fusion a shot. I know I wasn’t disappointed and I would bet you won’t be either!
Disclaimer: I was offered these tights at a discounted price in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.