Up here in the mountains of northern Arizona, winter frequently has me running and hiking outdoors in temperatures near or below freezing. Every year, I go on my perennial hunt for excellent cold weather gear. That brought me to Athleta’s Rainier tight. I actually purchased this pair last winter, so I’ve worn and tested these for an entire winter season. They’ve very much proved their worth, and I’ve since bought a couple more pairs. Here’s exactly where they shine.
Rainier tight design features
The Rainier tight is designed for a range of cold weather training, whether that’s running, hiking, or working out in minimally heated gyms. The tights have a couple key features. The side zip pockets are large enough for my iPhone 11 Pro, though just barely. The narrow zip entry flares out into more space, which makes getting my phone inside a bit awkward, but it works. The side pockets also have a reflective strip, plus tiny reflective dots at the rear ankle. In addition to the two thigh pockets, there is one center back pocket on the wide waistband in the form of a slit pocket. The waistband pocket is also large enough for my phone, though again, it has a more narrow entry so a little coaxing is required to get it inside.
How do the Rainier tights fit?
I purchased these tights in XXS, my normal Athleta size. They fit true to size compared to other Athleta bottoms, and are comparable to a lululemon size 2. In general, for most Athleta items, if you’re between sizes, I recommend going with the smaller of your two sizes.
They offer moderate compression that holds you in but doesn’t feel constricting. The compression level is perfect for my preference for running tights. The rise is a normal medium-high, falling just an inch or so below my belly button. Overall, the fit is really comfortable on me and feels good to wear.
I’m wearing the regular inseam, and as you can see, I don’t have a ton of excess inseam at the ankles. I’m only 5’3″, so if inseam length is a concern, you may want to consider their tall sizing option. Unlike the model photos on Athleta’s site, I notice a little bit of wrinkling around the knees for me, but it’s not too bad. Note that the lighter colors, like this shade of red, do make wrinkling more noticeable. The darker colors I have in these tights does better at hiding minor wrinkles, lines, or lumps.
Rainier tight fabric and warmth factor
The outer face of the fabric is slick, smooth, and pilling-resistant for high-impact, high-friction workouts. The inside is lightly brushed and slightly fuzzy, but not full-on fleecy. The fabric is also completely opaque, and passes the squat test with flying colors.
As for warmth factor, I’ve been really happy with these tights in mild to moderately cold environments. I classify these as cold weather tights that work for all but severe cold. I wouldn’t wear them for severe cold: for instance, they would be too cold for temps in the 20s and overcast. That said, I am a cold person and usually need more warmth than most people, so your mileage may vary.
For severe cold, I recommend the altitude tight, a seriously heavy-duty cold weather tight made of Polartec fleece. I have a previous year’s version, and they are the warmest tights ever. I have worn them comfortably for outdoor runs with temps down to the teens with no additional bottom layers.
Previously, my go-to tights for moderate cold has been lululemon’s toasty tech tights. Athleta’s Rainier tights are very comparable to lululemon’s in terms of both warmth, fit, and performance. Since my toasty techs are getting old and wearing out, these are a great replacement for me.
Overall, the rainier tights are a solid staple for cold weather performance. I like them enough that (so far) I bought them in two colors. At $98, they are an excellent value compared to many other cold weather tights on the market. I recommend giving them a try for anyone who spends a lot of time doing cold weather workouts.
*: past season, comparable version linked