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Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings review: supportive leggings that boast good protection

Versatile, high-performing and smart-featured, Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings have been thoughtfully designed by people who run trails

Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings
(Image: © Ceri Rees)

Our Verdict

The Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings are high-performing tights that offer good protection, support and features for the year-round trail runner.

For

  • Stylish and sleek
  • Moisture wicking
  • 360 Stretch Elastane allows for a full range of motion
  • Durable
  • High-back elasticated waist
  • Reflective panels for safety
  • Pockets
  • Ankle zips

Against

  • Comfort next to skin
  • Synthetic materials

First impressions

Inov-8 make runner-friendly gear that’s easy on the eye, so there’s no problem with Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings’ aesthetics. The high-back waist, complete with soft gripper tape, provides a stylish and comfortable fit and makes the Elites a versatile piece of kit that can be worn for other activities, besides running.

The tights have a reinforced calf panel. They also feature zipped pockets, which are a godsend for storing essential items like car keys, as well as, long ankle zips which ensure the tights are easy to pull on and off instead of hopping on one leg behind your car on a windy day.

Specifications

RRP: $99 (US) / £72 (UK)
Weight: 176g / 6.2oz
Materials: main:  Polyamide (62%), Elastane (38%); calf panel: Polyamide (89%), Spandex (11%)
Colors: Black
Compatibility: Trail running, road running, hiking, skiing, orienteering, cycling, field sports

On the trail

The Inov-8 Race Elite men’s leggings proved to be an excellent fit on test, and they were never too tight, which suggests a good trade-off between compression and comfort. Sweat wasn’t a problem either, thanks to the wicking properties of the fabric, which expels excess moisture away from the body.

Although they look simple, they are very well featured. Ankle zips make them pleasingly easy to get off in cold weather, and pockets are always welcome for stashing gels and keys. A reflective panel at the back helps keep you safe when sharing lanes with vehicles after dark. The durability of these tights is enhanced by their calf panels, which add protection against hillside foliage and craggy protuberances.

In terms of durability and warmth, they were – as you’d expect for a piece of kit from a company that targets fell runners and trail runners in often wet and mountainous parts of the UK – up to scratch. We tested them out trail running during a particularly nasty cold snap and they weren’t found wanting.

The high-back elasticated waist makes them versatile and suitable for different pursuits, including hiking and climbing (although, for climbing you may want something thicker).

Our only minor complaint is that they retain a slightly synthetic feel, so ubiquitous in the performance end of the leggings market, and polyamide is yet another petroleum-based material. But until something better comes along, which ticks the all-important stretchable and durable boxes, it seems churlish to complain.