Pants for Every Runner!

The best of both worlds: comfortable work pants and running shoes!
The best of both worlds: comfortable work pants and running shoes!

I’m going to talk to you about a very serious problem that plagues all of us female runners: pants. I’m not talking about our beloved running tights, ladies; I mean dress pants and – dare I say it – jeans. Oh, the horror!

As an athlete, I celebrate my muscular body. Unfortunately, it would seem not a lot of clothing companies do. Like most of you, I have a full-time job, and I am expected to dress the part of a professional every day. The problem: finding pants that fit comfortably and look … well, presentable. (I’m really not asking for much here.) Heck, Oregano can’t find pants that fit her frame, restricting her options to wearing only shorts and skirts, even in the winter! #thestruggleisreal

The problem with finding trousers that fit an athletic body is two fold: athletes’ bodies vary, and dress pants are not typically constructed with the most flattering features. Slash packets have a tendency to create gap in the waist, and the materials themselves are usually thinner with little stretch or give, which is something a lot of us with muscular legs and glutes need. And denim is an entirely different issue with its own slew of infuriating frustrations. With the trend being geared more towards “skinny” fits, thicker denim material combined with über lean cuts are no friends to those of us with curves, and aren’t flattering on bodies with more of a square shape or flatter booty.

But all is not lost, ladies. There are some solutions to our trouser woes that do not entail having custom-made pants tailored specifically to our bodies that cost small fortune. I polled the Salties to see what brands they’ve had the best luck with.

DRESS PANTS

Whether you’re wearing them to work or a night out on the town, it’s nice to have a couple pairs of sharp looking trousers hanging in your closet. Owning a pair in black, gray, and navy makes for a week’s worth of work outfits.  Look for dress pants that have straight pockets or flap pockets as they tend to lie more flatly against the body. And since the defeatist in you has probably had it with going from store to store seeking out your own holy pants grail, let’s hear what the other Salty bloggers have to say about finding some decent dress pants for us runner ladies.

Ann Taylor was by far the most popular among the Salties, both with and without curves. Though they may be on the pricier side, you can always check out their cheaper sister store The Loft for some great deals.

Express’ Editor Pant was another popular pair of slacks among the ladies I poled, as well as my particular favorite. For those with a waistline narrower than their hips, this brand seemed to work best. On a side note, I usually have to get mine taken up a bit since even the regular length on these pants runs long and I only wear flats. When I take them in, I also have the seamstress remove the pockets for a flatter fit on the hips and butt. That’s just a little tip from me to you.

Banana Republic’s Sloan Fit is a great option for those of you who are seeking slacks with a little stretch in them. They fit a shapely and muscular frame without bunching or gapping in the back.

The last of the Salties’ favorites is White House Black Market. If you can make it through the gauntlet of overzealous salespeople, you will find that they have a nice selection of cuts, and they even offer a curvy fit. A few of the girls who noted they were lacking in the booty department said these pants fit them best.

Every runner's body is different. (Paul Foot - Flikr Commons)
Every runner’s body is different. (Paul Foot – Flikr Commons)

JEANS

Every girl needs at least one pair of good fitting, flattering jeans in her wardrobe arsenal, but again, finding the perfect fit can be frustrating since we aren’t all 6-feet tall runway models with waif-like features. Jeans with at least 2% spandex are a good way to go. All that stretch means the jeans will be able to adapt to our bodie’s quirks. Below are the brands that the Salties liked best.

I can personally attest to great fit of Joe’s Jeans. They are pricey, but they are worth every penny if you can afford them. I can even wear their skinny cut jeans if I get them in their curvy fit. They hug the butt without gapping in the waist, and they stretch in all of the right places without squeezing my will to live.

Gap, the company known for their denim, is a brand popular among our runners, specifically those who described themselves as having a flatter backside and/or a boxier frame. With their wide range of fits and lengths, you’re bound to find a pair that won’t break the bank.

J Brand is another pricey designer brand, but really, all you need is one good pair. J Brand offers three different levels of stretch fits, meaning you have three times the chance at finding the cut and style that’s best for your runner’s body.

Prana offers a mid-price denim jean that one of our Salties swears by. The also offer a variety of other pants, from casual slacks to leggings to something called the “Juniper pant,” which I’m obviously going to have to buy.

Do you have issues finding pants that fit your runner body? What pants have you discovered fit your body best? Share your favorite brands with us, and be sure to include what you like most about them.

 

I’m a runner, CrossFitter, and coach. I write about 5ks, strength training and nutrition. My current goals are to PR in my 5k and continue to grow in my strength conditioning.

Leave a Reply

14 comments

  1. I know I’m late to the party but I love this topic! :) American Eagle jeans are actually my favorite and they’re pretty cheap! I have the “larger thighs/butt vs smaller waist” problem and the waist on these doesn’t gap, plus they are a little stretchy. I get the straight leg cut because my calves are so huge they are the equivalent of skinny jeans on me.

    For work, I actually like to wear standard chino-material ankle pants but I buy them on clearance and then use the savings to get the waist taken in… seriously if you have a business-casual or fancier requirement for work, I highly recommend spending the money on alterations. You will feel amazing!

    Finally, I am SO in love with the ponte pant trend. Stretch pants for work… yes please, sign me up. I actually have two pairs in brown and charcoal and at this point I usually wear each once a week… so yes, I am wearing stretch pants almost 50% of the time. LOL.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Rachel! Better late than never, right? :) I have yet to hear anyone mention American Eagle, but my curiosity is super peaked. It sounds like you and I are built very similarly, so this just may be my new favorite brand! And I am with you on the ponte pants. I wear them at least 3 times a week. If they ever go out of style, I don’t care: I will still wear them!

  2. If you can find them, the MAC dream skinny jeans feel like you’re wearing leggings, look like jeans, and do well over runner quads and calves. Bonus- you can still sit in lotus if you feel the inclination.

    1. Like the Zara jeans mentioned above, I have not heard of MAC, but your description has me very curious and excited! It’s time to make some coffee and do a little Internet searching/shopping. :)

  3. Zara jeans and pants work for me and have a bit of stretch to them. Flattering for those with fuller thighs/booty AND they run about $40-60.

  4. I am a lawyer and have a super skinny waist and butt and large calves and quads. I have a couple pair of very expensive pants for bone chilling weather but otherwise wear skirts or dresses, if necessary with fleece lined tights. For casual pants I like J Crew pixie pants. Comfie and look great on a runner body.

      1. I also have a couple pairs of the Pixie from JCrew, and I believe they are also from a few years back. I have come to hate looking for work pants so much that I REALLY stretch out the lifespan of the ones I already have that fit. I have to keep checking the butt to make sure they aren’t worn through. I don’t need my students Tweeting pics of that!

  5. Great post! Lots of good info! Here’s my personal pants story.Since low waisted pants have been in style I’ve been doing great with finding pants that fit. When the styles go back to natural or high waist I will be so screwed! I am very narrow in the hip with my runner muscular but, but j have zero waist. I am a rectangle! It also helps that with my current career I rarely have to dress beyond running clothes and pajamas :)

  6. I love Express’s Editor slacks! Nothing else fits me. I’m sure I’d find a pair of black slacks at Saks Fifth, but the cost is prohibitive ( for me).
    Gap jeans fit me great– I have a few different styles… I work in a school and the BEST pants have always been inexpensive – cheap, black polyester ‘ yoga’ pants from Old Navy or nicer styles ( greatly reduced) from TJMaxx. I realize many of you might not get away with Yoga-style pants at your jobs, but just putting my 2 cents in here.

  7. I avoid pants as much as possible exactly for this reason. As a runner and cyclist, I have some pretty large quads. Luckily I chose a profession where it’s acceptable to wear scrubs every day, which is basically like wearing PJs.