Up here in the mountains of northern Arizona, winter frequently has me running 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 proved their worth! Since Athleta brought this style back in the rotation this season, I wanted to share how they’ve held up.
The rainier tight is designed for cold weather training, which can include things like running or hiking outdoors, plus workouts in minimally heated gyms. The tights have a couple key features. The side zip pockets are large enough for my iPhone 11 Pro (barely). The narrow zip entry flares out, 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.
I purchased these tights in XXS, my normal Athleta size. They fit true to size for Athleta, and comparable to a lululemon size 2. In general, for most Athleta items, if you’re between sizes, I recommend going with the smaller of the sizes you’re looking at. They offer moderate compression that holds you in but isn’t 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.
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 color I have in these tights does better at hiding minor wrinkles, lines, or lumps.
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. 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 most cold weather scenarios. 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 tend to run cold, so your mileage may vary. Previously, my go-to cold weather tight has been lululemon’s toasty tech tights. These tights are very comparable to toasty techs 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.
By the way: if you’re looking for an ultra-warm, seriously heavy-duty cold weather tight, I recommend the altitude tight, which is made of Polartec. I have a previous year’s version of Athleta’s Polartec performance tights, and they are the warmest tights ever.
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 easily just as good as lululemon’s cold weather offerings, but at a better price point. I recommend giving them a try for anyone who spends a lot of time doing cold weather workouts.
*: past season, comparable version linked