This season, I spent my time testing two different leggings from the North Face. In some ways, these tights had a lot of similarities: they stretch, they’re shades of purple, they are both comfortable and functional.
These initial similarities aside, I often found myself reaching for one tight instead of the other, depending on the activity I was preparing to do. So I decided to compile a uniquely structured review, comparing the different merits of these leggings and the application in which I most often utilized each pant.
Women’s Flight Zero Mid-Rise Capris Features:
- Lightweight, capri-length legging
- Internal drawcord adjustment
- Zippered Hip Pocket
- Supportive waistband
- MSRP: $80.00
RUN with ease and comfort:
The Flight Series is TNF’s line of running items that is designed to make it possible to run further/longer/faster, but more than anything it’s designed to offer optimal comfort. I love human powered activities because these sports show the amazing capacity of our bodies to perform. Therefore, I love it best when gear performs exceptionally without inhibiting the body as it works.
For jackets, that often means “disappearing” when I put it on, making it so that I can pay attention to the activity I’m doing. For the Flight Zero Mid-Rise Capri, that meant being light and comfortable and mitigating the avoidable discomforts of a good run.
The Flight Zero Capri’s are lightweight, so it will never weigh you down when you’re trying to log your miles. It is also great for those shoulder season runs. Whether it’s a wet, cold spring morning or a brisk autumn day, the capri length offers just enough coverage to keep you warm without overheating. And like I said, the material itself is very lightweight and comparably thin: great for aerobic activity.
These leggings have just the features it needs to function well. Among these is an integrated zipper pocket, a drawcord waistband, and a highly reflective logo on the thigh. I liked the mid-rise cut of the waist, which was high enough to feel supportive and not slip down my booty.
While I certainly could have used these leggings for a myriad of activities, I almost only reached for them when I was about to go on a run or for yoga. The material is so light that any activity that demanded even a tiny bit of durability (such as bouldering or sport climbing) had me opting for a different pant.
Nevertheless, they were perfect for shoulder season runs and quickly became a favorite of mine. The logo was (really, really) bright when illuminated, understated when it wasn’t. Comfortable, lightweight, and I think the purple is a lovely shade.
Women’s Contoured Tech Hi-Rise Tights Features:
- High waist with a small integrated pocket
- Screen-printed logo
- Patent-pending technology highlights, slims, and elongates “in all the right places”
- FlashDry fabric breathes and keeps you cool and dry
- MSRP: $110.00
CLIMB and STRETCH with coverage and support
Most outdoorsy women that I know don’t go to great lengths to make sure they look sexy while outside. But given the option, it’s nice to feel, you know, cute. That’s what the North Face focused on with these tights. They call these tights “visual science,” designed to utilize shading and highlights to make the wearer look slimmer and longer.
While wearing these, I asked all my friends who saw them on me if I appeared slimmer. The response was varied, with the majority saying something to the effect of “I think, maybe?” When I asked my partner if the pants were especially flattering, he admitted that they didn’t look much more or less flattering than any other athletic pants I wear. Nevertheless, the comfort of the cut and excellent performance made them a piece I felt great wearing.
These tights are a high-waisted cut, which I loved. I never felt like they were sliding low on my bum, and the cut was slimming around my waist. Comfort and support were both maintained in the design. The seams are a low-profile, chafe-free stitching. The seams were really well reinforced, and I didn’t have any issues with unraveling (AKA the sure sign of a slow death for a piece of gear).
The FlashDry material is a slightly thicker gauge than the Mid-Rise Flight Zero’s, and when combined with the full length cut these pants are great for when cooler weather is what you’re working with. Now they aren’t a winter legging, by any means, but they kept me warm while bouldering in the spring. The FlashDry technology also ensures that you aren’t going to be overheating, as it breathes easily and wicks moisture off your skin as you sweat.
At the end of the day, these are a great legging for when you might be scraping up against some rocks while working on your boulder problem, or when you are hitting the yoga studio. They offer great coverage and support, and are incredibly comfortable. If you like patterns and colors, then these are definitely a winner (although they do have one color block option sans print, if solids are more your thing).
I like looking great as much as the next girl. It makes me feel empowered and beautiful to wear flattering clothing. However, it makes me feel infinitely more empowered and beautiful to hike long distances/summit a peak/throw down the route I was working on. The website description for these tights says that these “strategic highlights and anatomical shading will make even those on belay look great.” Well, I say that these tights look even better on the sharp end. Cause Lord knows I’m not at the crag to be eye candy. So look good, feel good, and crush it.
The Bottom Line: The North Face Leggings
The Mid-Rise Flight Zero’s are lightweight, comfy, and perfect for cool season running and hiking. The material won’t hold you back, but it also probably won’t hold up to abrasive use. The Contoured Tech tights are more suited to activities like climbing, and the high waist means you have full range of motion without any concern over the pants sliding down. I would definitely reach for the latter if I were going cragging or to yoga. Both offer incredible comfort and performance, and can be used in a multitude of activities.
Picking which one best suits you involves taking into account whether you want a full- or capri-length pant, how thick of a material you’d like, if a mid or high waist cut is your preference, and whether you’re stoked on patterns and anatomical shading or not. You can’t go wrong with these two options.
Buy Now: Available at REI