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REI Co-op Midweight Tights - Women's Review

This synthetic base layer option features a soft and stretchy polyester fabric that offers moderate levels of warmth and breathability for an affordable price
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REI Co-op Midweight Tights - Women's Review (An affordable pair of long underwear that doesn't sacrifice performance.)
An affordable pair of long underwear that doesn't sacrifice performance.
Credit: Lindsey Fell
Price:  $55 List
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Manufacturer:   REI
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 12, 2024
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 22
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Breathability - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8.0
  • Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 8.0
  • Layering Ability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Midweight Tights are a great synthetic option if you are seeking an affordable base layer. Boasting one of the lowest retail prices in this review, these synthetic tights still offer a competitive performance. While the fabric is thinner and lighter in weight, these tights are still thick enough to trap a surprising amount of body heat. They also successfully wick moisture away from the skin, but the fabric can absorb the moisture and requires a longer drying time. Featuring a soft and stretchy fabric that is comfortable and thick enough to be worn on its own, we experienced no durability issues during our testing period. While not one of the highest-performing pairs of long underwear, these are a great wardrobe addition, and the price is very approachable. Get the scoop on how it stands up to the competition in our review of the best women's long underwear.
REASONS TO BUY
Smooth and silky fabric
Easy to wear alone or when layered
Cute and fitted style
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Absorbs and holds moisture
Fabric retains odor immediately
Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 12, 2024, to include new purchase recommendations for other top performers.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $55 List
$38.39 at REI
$80 List
$79.99 at Amazon
$75 List$40 List
$27.89 at REI
$36 List
$32.39 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line These lightweight tights feature a soft and stretchy fabric that is easy to layer and maintains substantial warmth when dryThese bottoms offer a ton of warmth and substantial comfort at a more affordable priceThese affordable Merino bottoms feature a sleek and flattering fit that offers full coverage and structure that doesn't stretch outLightweight, breathable, and highly affordable, these tights unfortunately lack warmth and require constant adjustment due to the stretchy fabric and wide waistbandWhile these bottoms lack warmth for the coldest months of the year, they are a great option for those seeking a three-season stand-alone legging
Rating Categories REI Co-op Midweight... Minus33 Franconia M... Ridge Merino Aspect... REI Co-op Lightweig... Baleaf Fleeced Line...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Breathability (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Drying Speed (10%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
Layering Ability (10%)
7.0
6.0
8.5
9.0
8.0
Specs REI Co-op Midweight... Minus33 Franconia M... Ridge Merino Aspect... REI Co-op Lightweig... Baleaf Fleeced Line...
Measured Weight (Size Small) 6.40 oz 7.52 oz 6.74 oz 5.44 oz 8.80 oz
Material 92% recycled polyester, 8% spandex 100% Merino wool 80% Merino wool, 14% nylon, 6% spandex 92% polyester, 8% spandex 87% polyester, 13% spandex
Insulation Weight Class Midweight Midwewight Midweight Lightweight Midwewight
Smelly Over Time? Yes No No Yes Yes
Odor Control Fabric No Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant No No
Cuts Avaliable Full-length Full-length Full-length Full-length Full-length
Listed Fabric Weight (g/m²) Not disclosed 235 g/m² 240 g/m² Not disclosed Not disclosed

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Co-op Midweight Tights are a fully synthetic base layer option for those allergic to wool or simply looking for an affordable layer that doesn't break the bank. Constructed from 92% polyester and 8% spandex, they offer a four-way stretch that allows for freedom of movement and a thicker waistband that provides structure, should you wear them a few times between washes. While they are not the most breathable option available, they do efficiently wick moisture away from the skin; however, the fabric then absorbs the moisture and takes a while to dry. Still, these tights are easy to layer, thanks to their smooth exterior, and they are a great choice for those moderate cold weather activities like resort and cross-country skiing where you're not necessarily looking to work up a major sweat.

Performance Comparison


rei co-op midweight tights for women - featuring super stretchy and durable synthetic fabric, the rei...
Featuring super stretchy and durable synthetic fabric, the REI Midweight are available at a price that won't break the bank.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Warmth


The Midweight Tights are built with midweight comfort thanks to their soft and stretchy polyester blend, but we found that they offer more of a lightweight level of warmth. Tightly woven fabric successfully traps body heat generated through moderate activity, but the synthetic fabric itself feels cold when getting dressed early in the morning. When worn alone, our testers found the thinness of the fabric provided enough insulation for spring and fall, but once the nighttime temperatures dropped, we were happy to layer some warm, puffy pants over the top.



During our fall testing period in Yosemite Valley and Indian Creek (Northern California and Utah), our testers found these tights perfect for the crisp days and nights when the first signs of winter catch you by surprise. A perfect amount of warmth for the 30-50 degree Fahrenheit range — anything warmer and the lack of breathability made these tights absorb moisture, which dropped our core body temperature. Colder than 30 degrees when out for a two-hour trail run, we'd want thicker insulation. All in all, these tights offer a solid amount of warmth for shoulder seasons and work well to insulate at the base of your lower body layering system as long as your activities are lower intensity.

rei co-op midweight tights for women - the affordable rei midweight tights offer the perfect amount of...
The affordable REI Midweight Tights offer the perfect amount of warmth when worn on their own during the shoulder seasons.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Breathability


While the Midweight Tights successfully wicked moisture away from our skin, the fabric unfortunately held onto that moisture and required a longer drying time. The tightly woven fabric is somewhat air permeable and allows for a little air to flow through, but the slim fit and thicker waistband tend to pool moisture and reduce overall body heat.


On fall training runs in high humidity, we found this layer to retain sweat, which dropped our core temperature. Afterward, we found ourselves seeking more insulation due to the extended drying time once wet. Therefore, we only feel comfortable recommending these tights for moderate activities where you won't be working up a lot of sweat. Great for those in-between seasons when the temperatures drop but not the best for cold winter days of backcountry skiing or high-intensity training runs that require a layer that offers better thermoregulation to maintain warmth and comfort.

rei co-op midweight tights for women - when we picked up the pace, our testers noticed that sweat could...
When we picked up the pace, our testers noticed that sweat could collect in and just below the thick waistband, often not breathing or drying as quickly as we would prefer.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Comfort and Fit


The Midweight Tights feature a silky smooth and stretchy fabric that is soft to the touch and feels comfortable next to the skin. The four-way stretch doesn't restrict the range of motion, and the flatlock seams increase comfort while reducing any potential for chafing. These are some of the most comfortable synthetic base layers we've had the pleasure of testing. We love the thicker elastic waistband, but it, unfortunately, does not lay entirely flat against the skin.


The slim-fitting design of the Midweight Tights sat right in line with our lead tester's belly button. These tights are cute and thick enough to be worn alone without embarrassment. We found the fit to be true to size, and the spandex blended fabric allows enough stretchiness to fit a variety of body types. While not as cozy and comfortable as some of the Merino wool options we tested, these still have one of our favorite synthetic fabrics.

rei co-op midweight tights for women - featuring a polyester and spandex blended fabric, these tights feel...
Featuring a polyester and spandex blended fabric, these tights feel comfortable next to the skin and offer a fit that is true to size.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Durability


The Midweight Tights have a flatlock seam construction that gave us no trouble during our fall testing season. While the fabric can show some signs of wear through minor pilling, we were satisfied with the durable polyester fabric, which kept its shape even when taken on multiple adventures between washes. This is a durable yet affordable design.


However, our testers were disappointed when these tights retained body odor after our first extended trail run. This has been our experience with most synthetic polyester blended base layers — they tend to retain odor after minimal use. While we're not psyched about the smelly fabric, this wasn't helped by the fact that, during testing, we were on an extended camping trip and not showering as often. If you have the chance to shower regularly when wearing these, you'll likely have less of an issue with odor retention.

rei co-op midweight tights for women - thickly stitched flatlock seams inspire confidence in overall...
Thickly stitched Flatlock seams inspire confidence in overall durability.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Drying Speed


To test this metric, our testers started by soaking each base layer bottom in a stream, wringing them out, and tossing them on a line to dry in the spring sunshine. Synthetic layers like the Midweight Tights, comprised of mostly polyester and spandex, offered the fastest drying speeds, especially when compared to the Merino wool competition. These tights dried in just 47 minutes, requiring the longest time for the material surrounding the thicker waistband.


After working up a sweat by arduously breaking a trail in one foot of heavy snow, we headed back inside and started our timer so that we could measure the drying speed on the body. We noticed that the combination of fresh air and body heat increased the drying speed of these tights, as they only needed 30 minutes to dry completely after our ski tour. If a fast drying speed is important to you when selecting a long underwear bottom, our testers highly recommend a synthetic option like the Midweight Tights for a faster performance.

While visiting Yosemite NP, we dunked the REI Midweight Tights in the Merced in order to freshen up and measure their drying speed.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Layering Ability


The smooth surface of these synthetic and slim-fitting tights helped them perform well within most layering systems that we tested, though we felt a small amount of friction with hard shell ski bibs. Still, even though these are considered midweight, the extra insulation doesn't get in the way during cold weather activities or prevent a range of motion.


Our testers love that most long underwear bottoms now feature a higher waistband, which clears up some space below the belly button for rain or puffy pants to fasten at the natural waistline. If you're worried about a midweight feeling restrictive or bulky within your cold weather layers, the smooth interface of the Midweight Tights polyester will alleviate most of those concerns.

These midweight tights feature a slim fit that pairs well with most layers over top, however, there was a bit of friction with our ski bibs during backcountry tours.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Should You Buy the REI Co-op Midweight Tights?


You simply can't beat the price of these synthetic long underwear tights. While they are not the highest performer regarding overall warmth and breathability, our testers love their light and stretchy fabric that doesn't restrict the range of motion. While the fabric does retain body odor, the reinforced flatlock seams and thick waistband inspire confidence in their durability. If you're looking for an affordable pair of long johns for the upcoming winter season, these tights are a great option for your consideration.

rei co-op midweight tights for women - the thicker waistband slowed down the drying speed for these tights...
The thicker waistband slowed down the drying speed for these tights but they remain competitive, drying on our climbing rope in only 45 minutes.
Credit: Trish Matheny

What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?


If you're looking to invest in a synthetic pair of long underwear that offers better performance, check out the Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Bottom. Alternatively, for just a little more of an investment, check out our favorite synthetic workhorse, the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms. These bottoms will provide years of high performance and durability. And if you're interested in trying out a pair of 100% Merino wool bottoms but need to stick to a tight budget, check out the Minus33 Franconia Midweight Wool. And if you're after the best of the best, check out the Icebreaker 200 ZoneKnit Merino Thermal Leggings. The ZoneKnit highlights the natural breathability of Merino wool by utilizing unique body mapping technology to enhance overall thermoregulation during high-output mountain pursuits.

Trish Matheny