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Can men wear leggings? You would be surprised

We often get the question of – can men wear tights or leggings?

So, we decided to check it out and discovered:

Wearing leggings is completely acceptable for guys. They are comfortable and allow a full range of movement. Above all, the material and design of the tights make them an ideal pick for physical activities such as running and hiking. Fashion- and look-wise, some men like to wear tights with shorts to feel more comfortable.

Now you know that guys can wear leggings. But there’s more to know about leggings and tights for men.

Therefore we answer below the most frequently asked questions we get about leggings for men.

Let’s start by answering what’s the difference between leggings and tights.

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Fjallraven Abisko Men Trekking tights
Kris wearing the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights

What’s the difference between leggings and tights?

Leggings and tights are quite similar – in that they are both form-fitting, worn during physical activities, and cover the legs waist to ankles.

Because of these similarities the names are often used interchangeably. In British English, the term tights refers to pantyhoses but in other parts of the world, one thinks of sportive leggings rather than nylon stockings.

When referring to leggings for men one uses almost always the word tights.

For example, the term tights is in use for quite some time to refer to the trousers worn by cyclists and equestrians. Somewhat more recently it was also introduced in basketball.

It is probably because of this connotation with sports and athletics that men feel more comfortable using the term tights than leggings.

Fabric-wise there isn’t any difference between tights and leggings.

Because the differences are so small, we will use the words leggings and tights interchangeably in this article.

When can guys wear leggings?

One of the best things about leggings is how comfortable and versatile they are. Leggings can be worn under shorts when going out for a run or when there’s a long trail to hike ahead of you.

They have also become quite a fashion statement these days. Plenty of men sport different types of hiking leggings as an everyday part of their wardrobe.

Guys wearing leggings is not an uncommon sight anymore.

Especially now with all these premium and small niche brands coming up with new and more well-functional men-centric legging designs. Men wearing leggings for various purposes is a common occurrence nowadays.

Although, while most men still limit themselves to only wearing leggings when going for a hike or a workout, some men particularly prefer wearing tights at home because of how breathable and snug they are.

Basketball player in tights
Basketballers have been wearing tights for some time

Why don’t many men wear leggings?

While there is a change in perspective towards men wearing leggings, many still shy away from trying them out.

The stereotypes and pre-defined labels of leggings being women’s clothing makes it more difficult for men to wear tights and leggings in public.

It is especially true when it is not to participate in any sports activity. Wearing tight clothing also makes some men extremely self-conscious.

Another reason why it is still uncommon to see men wearing leggings is the idea that wearing tights is not manly (read butch) enough.

Questions like is it ok for a guy to wear leggings and is it ok for guys to wear running tights are still quite common in society.

How should guys wear leggings?

There are several ways in which men can wear leggings to feel comfortable and look fashionable at the same time.

From layering with jackets and pullovers to wearing shorts on top and keeping it casual, leggings pair well with various other garments according to the need and convenience.

One of the most common ways of wearing leggings or meggings, an abbreviation for leggings for men, is to wear them underneath running shorts.

The pairing avoids men being too self-conscious while offering full freedom of movement. It also feels comfortable, particularly in the colder months, when wearing shorts over leggings prevents the legs from freezing in the cold.

Layering a dark legging with knee-length boots and a long shirt or pullover on top is also a go-to for men these days.

Men can also create a modish outfit with the help of accessories such as scarves and rigs. Men wearing leggings in different ways is a popular trend even among celebrities (hint: it is not even new).

There are Pinterest-ready, Instagram-worthy inspirations all over the internet!

Moreover, men wearing leggings break the mundane pattern of wearing mainstream clothes.

Throwing on a long t-shirt, tank top, or an oversized hoodie over leggings is another way to wear meggings and look street-style ready.

Runner wearing shorts over tights
A runner wearing running tights underneath a running short

Are tights good for hiking or is it only OK for guys to wear running tights?

There are several reasons that make tights a practical choice for men to wear on a hike.

Men’s hiking tights are opaque, lightweight, and a form-fitting apparel choice to wear when hitting the trail. They are incredibly versatile, durable, and comfortable.

A pair of well-made tights, crafted with the right stretchable (non-cottony) material will move with you and offer mobility.

They also breathe better, don’t snag, wick away sweat, and look stylish.

Another advantage of men’s hiking tights is that you can wear them as a base layer during cold weather.

Why guys should wear leggings for hiking?

Compared to regular leggings, men’s walking tights breathe better.

They are also more hard-wearing and prevent chafing caused by tough tracks.

Tights also wick away moisture and dry quicker, keeping you protected against catching the cold.

Moreover, the right pair of leggings can protect your legs from the elements, tall grass, and skin irritation throughout the journey.

Men’s hiking leggings also compress and support your legs, allowing you to get a better workout.

Kris in the Fjallraven hiking tights
Hiking tights compress your legs allowing you to hike further and get a better workout

What’s the difference between leggings and hiking pants?

As the name suggests, hiking pants are pants specifically made for hiking and other outdoor activities like trekking, running, etc.

These pants are tailor-made, keeping in mind all the different attributes and challenges one is likely to face on a hike in the outdoors. On the other hand, leggings don’t have any special properties and are typically made with no pockets. They are very snug on the body.

Hiking leggings are more breathable and a bit looser than usual leggings, which helps, given how sweaty the legs can get after a long trek.

They are also made with a thicker fabric and are more durable than leggings.

Leggings have the risk of tearing from exertion compared to hiking pants, which are more resilient against elements.

Leggings are also often shorter in length. Hiking pants are longer and provide full coverage, down to the ankles, preventing the individual from bug bites, etc.

Both of the legwear are great choices on their own, but since hiking pants aim to be hiking gear, it proves to be a more practical option to wear during intense physical activities. Leggings prove as a good option for casual physical activity and other fashion moments.

Can I wear running tights for hiking?

Yes, if you pick the right pair of running tights, you can go hiking in them. They are comfortable and practical too.

Some of the leggings we mention in this article are running leggings, but they are also great for hiking.

Hiking to the top of Lion's head near Cape Town
The hike to the top of Lion’s Head (Cape Town) on a misty day

What features to consider when buying men’s hiking leggings?

One of the most important factors to consider when buying men’s hiking leggings is the fabric quality.

Try choosing hiking leggings in spandex, elastane, and nylon fabric, as they are stretchable and won’t hinder your movements.

Wondering what’s the best material for leggings? Read our complete post about the best fabric for leggings here. 

Getting water-resistant trekking leggings is also a great idea as you never know when it might rain and if you can find shelter in time.

We recommend you to get hiking leggings that have pockets in them, preferably with a zipper, so that carrying things such as cell phones, torches, and other knick-knacks is more convenient.

Apart from this, it is best to prefer ankle-length hiking legging, and to get a durable hiking legging that can endure all kinds of terrains, including the ones that are challenging.

Various brands have started to design hiking leggings for men now, making sure their needs are well taken care of.

Here is an overview of the best hiking leggings for men. 


With all the brands coming up with men-centric legging designs and everything else that we have discovered, it is safe to say that guys wearing leggings is completely normal nowadays.

Leggings are fun, cozy, and low-maintenance, and it is about time men started making them a permanent fixture in their closets and day-to-day life.