Thursday, January 28, 2021

Road Runner Sports Men's and Women's Korsa Tights and Tops Review

Article by Mac Jeffries, Beto Hughes, Renee Krusemark, Canice Harte, Sally Reiley and Sam Winebaum

Road Runner Sports Winter Korsa Run Tops and Tights 

Road Runners Sports reached out to RTR to see if we wanted to test their new line of Korsa high performance cooler weather apparel. They sent samples of men's and women's tights and tops for the team to test. Testers ran in varied climates in New England, Nebraska, Utah, Alabama and Mexico so a wide range of winter conditions. Read on to see what they discovered.

Men's Korsa

Korsa Premier Run Long Sleeve ($50)

Style Fit Features

Mac (Alabama): I am 6’3 210, with more of an athletic build than a “runner’s build” (although I may have gained a few around the midsection since lockdown, lol). I also tend to run “hot”, so as long as my hands and ears are covered, I am fine in shorts and a singlet in colder weather than most of my peers, for what it’s worth. 

I received a Large in both the long sleeve and the tights, and both fit very well: the top is “fitted” and the tights are “compression” (duh), and both fit along the same lines as your major brands like Nike, UA, NB, etc. 

Beto (Mexico) : I’m 5’8 198 pounds, I received a medium top and tights and the fit is really good, fits me perfectly with the styling more gym than run.

The Long Sleeve is really breathable and keeps me at a good body temperature on cold runs, especially on chilly long runs. 


Mac: I didn’t have particularly high expectations for these retailer-turned-manufacturer items, so both the top and the tights (see below) were VERY pleasant surprises. There is a lot of attention to detail on these. The thin material of the top - think UA’s All-Season Gear - has tiny dots that are actually holes all over the arm and back panels for ventilation, but these holes are filled in on the front panel to keep out a cold headwind. 

The result is a shirt that is warm without being hot (my runs were in the low 30ºF to high 20ºF). The fit is also superb: fitted enough so that it doesn’t flop in the breeze, but loose enough so that you don’t look like you are trying out for the NFL Combine. It also seems to be resistant to static electricity, which is important if you will be removing layers during the run. (Cheaper polyester blends seems to cling to the body like crazy when removing, say, a nylon or poly jacket.)  

Beto: I normally try to run in long sleeves when it is chilly and I don’t have a favorite brand for that. But really enjoyed the Long Sleeve because the fit is good, I didn’t got too cold or hot either so let’s say it was both breathable and warm , so my body temperature was always good. The back of the Long Sleeve has little dots with holes so that helps a lot on chilly mornings at 6am and then when getting hot one hour later regulating temperature.


Mac: It is really hard to find a shirt for right around freezing that is just enough to keep the cold off of the skin, without turning into an oven on the run. This is one of those few Goldilocks items: not too hot, not too cold… juuust right. 

Beto: I agree with Mac, this Long Sleeve really check all the boxes for a shirt that if you don’t want to be cold, but also don’t want to get hot either and also works well if temperature rises. It is just a perfect in between kind of piece.


Mac: These pieces compare very favorably with Under Armour’s running line (the top would be a Fitted All-Season Gear, and the tights - see below - would be a Compression Cold Gear). Nike’s Hyperwarm line is also similar. 

Korsa Everlite ⅞ Race Tight ($84.99, Now on sale $59.87)

Style, Fit, and Features

Sam (New Hampshire): The tights have a slightly more relaxed tight fit with some compressive snugness over the thighs. They fit me well at 165 lbs but I wish for a bit higher back. 

They have 2 deep, any phone lower side of thigh  stretch mesh pockets as well as 2 small mesh stretch hip pockets, as well as a rear zip pocket. There is mesh behind knees for breathability and flex which also provide some contrasting visibility. The ankle zips have rugged easy to reach pulls that fold down with some “snap”. A nice touch. 

We get a very small front reflective highlight at one ankle.I wish for a touch more reflectivity. 

Canice: If you have the traditional runners body they will be comfortable, but if you crosstrain and have quads, you’ll find them on the snug side.  I am an off the rack size medium from every brand with very few exceptions and I found these tights to fit true to size but snug in the quads.

Mac: I am 6’3 210, with more of an athletic build than a “runner’s build” (although I may have gained a few around the midsection since lockdown, lol). I also tend to run “hot”, so as long as my hands and ears are covered, I am fine in shorts and a singlet in colder weather than most of my peers, for what it’s worth. I received a Large in both the long sleeve and the tights, and both fit very well: the top is “fitted” and the tights are “compression” (duh), and both fit along the same lines as your major brands like Nike, UA, NB, etc. 

Beto: I’m 5’8 198 pounds. Received size medium and it's a perfect fit for me with a total of 5 pockets, 2 large one for big phones, 2 small ones for keys or gels, and 1 on the back with a zipper. The compression is really good, not too tight, and the calf zipper is easy on and off. 


Sam: I am not usually a tights fan as I find them often constrictive over the knees overly warm or not warm enough. Most of the time I run in nordic run pants with a windproof front and highly  breathable back.

The Korsa Everlite surprised me in being highly breathable, decently warm, and due to the mesh inserts behind the knees not as binding on knee lift as most I have tried. 

I was able to run them comfortably in them in a wide range of temperature from about 50F down to the low 20’s even with some wind in the mix. 

The multitude of well designed and versatile pockets is a huge plus for phones, hats, gloves, nutrition, Air Pods etc…

I even stuffed a light shell into one of the thigh pockets on the go. I do think the thigh pockets' small mesh flap is not necessary as the hold is more than adequate for any phone and removing it would make grabbing a phone on the go easier. Agreeing with Canice would like to see a higher rise to the back or a more substantial waist band or draw cord as I found them a bit low to the rear and maybe a touch overly compressive over the thighs.


Canice (Utah): The material is soft and it wicks moisture well. I like the thigh pockets for going into the store post run but not while running. Of note and though this is fit related, it also pertains to performance, the rise (the distance between the crotch and waistband) is a tad short. So while it does keep things in place, it tends to ride down while running if the waist band is loose, so you’ll need to really tighten the drawstring.

Mac: I didn’t have particularly high expectations for these retailer-turned-manufacturer pieces, so these were a VERY pleasant surprise; there is a lot of attention to detail here. The tights are noticeably thicker - think UA’s Coldgear - and therefore warmer than the top I received. I got a little warmer than I would like in the high 20s in the sunshine, but not uncomfortably so. The stitched-in thigh pockets easily hold a phone without it moving, and the zippered ankle openings are a nice touch as well (even if they aren’t 100% necessary; the material stretches plenty on its own). These will be my go-to tights on truly cold mornings (that is low teens down here in AL, lol), and I am sure I will use them as a baselayer under regular clothes as well. 

Beto: The fit is what I really like the most and the look is great The pockets worked amazingly well. My phone never moved or felt like it was jumping around. My gels were always in place. But what I enjoyed the most was the zippers on the calves.  You can put them on fast or after a long run where you struggle taking any legging off with this model it was a dream thanks to the zippers on the calfs. 

It also has some areas with more breathable materials and you can feel it works well and also in cold temperatures they are amazing not cold or hot ,just perfect. They have a lot of stretch so I didn’t have any issue with mobility or with my stride when running so not limitation there, felt really natural when running easy or at pace. 


Canice: A traditional tight that performs well and gets the job done. Not the most attractive, but it works well. You just have to wonder what product manager thought it would be a good idea to add neon green mesh panels? 

Sam: I concur with Canice on the performance of the tights but not on the neon! Such contrasting colors make the runner more noticed by automobiles in day time. The pockets are the defining feature and deliver tons of versatile easy to access storage. wish for a bit higher back coverage that is about it. The fit and variable temperatures performance otherwise are all excellent as is the price for such a full featured tight. I would like to see the rise adjusted and more reflectivity.

Mac: Surprisingly impressed with both the fitted top and the compression bottom. Unlike Canice, I actually like the neon panels on the thighs; they add a touch of visibility and look good, as long as you have some neon up top to go with it. 

Beto: Really Impressed with this tight, the soft materials, the comfortable compression, the amazing pockets to carry everything in place, and the easy on and off with the zippers on the legs. Also they stretch a lot so I didn’t felt that limit my movement or stride. 

Any Comparisons

Mac: Both of these pieces compare very favorably with Under Armour’s running line (the top would be a Fitted All-Season Gear, and the bottom would be a Compression Cold Gear). Nike’s Hyperwarm line is also similar. 

Men’s Korsa Uncharted ½ Zip ($70)

Style Fit Features

Canice: This is not what is traditionally defined as outerwear but rather it’s a mid-layer. And to that extent it is a very comfortable mid-layer. The fabric is 88% polyester blended with 12% spandex so it wicks moisture well and has a nice 4-way stretch. The fit is relaxed and comfortable with a next to skin layer under. Style is subjective but I think you’ll find this to be a sharp looking piece that will be in style for many years.

Sam: Easy fitting, relaxed, very soft and stretchy, very moisture wicking, the Uncharted can serve both run and after run day to day use. My Heather Thyme is a classic color that fits in anywhere.


Canice: wicks moisture great, and is soft and comfortable.

Sam: Very comfortable and versatile, I have run in colder sub 40 F conditions with nothing but the top and stayed remarkably dry and decently warm. After the run I left it on for the rest of the day.


Canice/Sam: This is a versatile top that can be worn for performance related activities and for casual equally well. A great mid-layer.

Women's Korsa

Women's Korsa Performer Tech Crop Legging ($95)

Renee (Nebraska): I am not a fan of leggings, so let’s call these running tights. During the winter months,  tights are needed, and I am happy to report these are probably my favorite tights at the moment. The specs of the tights can be found on Road Runner Sports’ website, but some key features include the deep, secure side pockets along the outer thighs and the overall style and fit, especially across the waist area. When I first tried on these tights, I immediately wanted another pair. Would these tights be worth wearing casually instead of my usual baggy sweatpants? No, but they are super comfortable and flattering. Pricey though. 

I wore a size small, which is what I typically wear. However, sometimes a size small can be too tight for me along the butt and waist. These are a perfect fit. 

Sally (Massachusetts): I wear running tights daily October - April here in New England, and own more pairs than I should admit (don’t tell my hubby). I have my favorites, and my old standbys, and yet keep buying the latest. I tend to “run cold”, meaning I am in an insulated tight when others are in shorts. I was curious to see how these would compare. Initial impression was very favorable! I love the blue solid yet actually a print look, and the fabric is oh so soft. The fit was great. As Renee said, the waist is wonderfully wide and not too constrictive. I likewise despise a tight with a too tight waistband. These are meant to be compression - well maybe in a tighter fit? 

I don’t exactly have “athletic/muscular” legs (my nickname used to be Bird-Legs), but even in XS these are not compression tights on me. I know compression - I have CW-X tights, and Lululemon Tight Stuff tights, and they are compression, these are not. But nonetheless, they fit well and are very comfortable. The crop length is basically a full length tight on me (I am only 5’2”). 


Renee: Sure, these tights look great, but are they for “real” runners? I think so. Tights/leggings can be uncomfortable for  me across the waist. I do not like tight clothes, but of course for running, I cannot wear baggy pants. The waist on these tights is what makes them different or apart from others. The material is overall compressing for running (great), and the tights have what is called a “wide core-stabilizing waistband” with an internal drawcord. The waist sits high, but not super high, and unlike other tights, the waist band is loose enough to be comfortable. I do not like a tight waist, so this worked for me. The tights are form-fitting, and the stretch of the fabric is enough to be compressing without being either unflattering or loose. I ran with my iPhone in the side pocket and never felt annoyed by it bouncing or moving around. The pockets are deep enough to not worry about losing my phone either. 

My coldest run in the tights was in 27 degrees Fahrenheit, with a feels-like temperature of 22 degrees. Depending on the wind, the tights are fine for me in the high teens and low 20s. Anything colder, and I would probably need non-cropped length pants with more insulation. That’s a personal preference. 

The lower legs have vented, design holes for air to move in and out, which also means cold air can enter. I did run 10-miles on the treadmill (indoors) wearing the tights, and they weren’t super hot. 

Sally: These are definitely tights made for the actual run, as well as being comfortable tights for all around wear. They stay up nicely on the run, and were warm enough for (even me) to wear on a 30 degree day. The biggest compliment I can pay them is to say that I didn’t have to think about my tights while running! The pockets on the legs are great, yet I do not carry a phone on my runs. The pockets would be awesome for gels and snacks and whatever else folks might carry. 


Renee: The fact that I am considering buying another pair at $95 means these tights are good. I am cheap, but when I find something that works, the price is worth it. For female runners who like tights (okay, leggings) for casual wear, these are very flattering. For running purposes, the material is warm for cold weather and works well for indoor workouts too. The waist can feel loose depending on how tight the drawcord is pulled. I like a loose feel in the waist, so this is great for me. Loose, but not sloppy. For runners who like a very compressed, tight feel across the waist, the tights might not be a great choice.

Sally: This is a solid performance tight that fits very nicely and looks good doing it. The fabric is soft yet supportive, the waistband pleasantly wide and not too constrictive. They stay up without any sag on the run, and are warm enough for moderate winter chill, yet breathable enough not to overheat on the shoulder seasons. After two or three washings, they launder beautifully. A definite thumbs up! 


Renee: I have similar cropped-length tights/leggings from several brands, including Under Armour, Asics, Champion, and full length running tights in other brands such as Nike. I could care less about brand names, so I’ll run in off-brand clothes and farm cover-alls if it’s really cold. The major difference with the Korsa tights as opposed to the other brands is the waist. I can wear a size small in these tights without having an uncomfortable, too-tight waist line. That’s a win for me, even at $95. 

Sally: I can compare to Lululemon, Nike, Sugoi, North Face, CW-X, Brooks, Athleta, Oiselle, and New Balance tights in my drawer. The closest comp in my opinion is the Nike epic Lux Tight, or the Lululemon Invigorate tight. The RRS tight compares very favorably! The Lululemon Tight Stuff tight has more compression, and the Fast N Free is thinner and more “naked” feeling. The Nike Epic Lux is probably my favorite “basic” run tight, so the RRS is in very good company.

Women’s Static Run ½ Zip ($70 now on sale $55

Style Fit Features

Renee: Similar to the Korsa Performer Tech Crop tights, I had a great fit with the Static Run ½ zip long sleeve shirt. The 4-way stretch material is comfortable and the size small fits well without being too tight, which is sometimes the case for me with a size small. The sleeves are long enough for my arms and the thumbholes are great for cool weather running. The length of the top works well for me too. The zipped pocket on the lower back is large enough to store gloves and a hat. 


Renee: Personal preference for me is running gear that fits well without being too tight. I was just lucky with the fit of the Korsa ½ zip long sleeved shirt. The material and size wasn’t too tight, but it’s not sloppy either. 

The back zipped pocket is advertised to keep valuables “close and secure.” The pocket is voluminous, so I would not store heavy objects there. For example, my phone was too heavy and flopped around back there; not something I want for running. However, a light pair of knit gloves and a small hat fit great, and because they are lightweight, I was not annoyed with the movement. For cool weather running, I often shed and add gloves and a hat as needed, so the pocket is a great way to have that access without carrying a pack/vest or belt. 


Renee: Overall, worth the price for the comfort, fit, and performance. I ran in the low 20s in this shirt, and without any wind chill, I think it was warm enough for me. Like the tech crop leggings, personal preferences will dictate, but for me, the shirt and tights are good from the low 20 degrees Fahrenheit to the mid-50s. 


Renee: Comparisons are numerous, but the ½ zip long sleeved shirt is warmer than thin long-sleeved shirts and cooler than insulated “cold gear,” thus making it a great option for mid-cool running weather (whatever that temperature may be for each runner). The ½ zip feature is great for staying warm or allowing air to enter as temperatures change or a runner warms up. The zippered pocket in the back is probably the feature that stands out against other running shirts   It provides great storage for light-weight options, such as gloves and a hat, which allows me to run without a running belt or vest. 

Women's Tester Profiles

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past seven Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for testing purposes. RTR has an affiliate relationship with RRS and receives a commissions on sales. The opinions herein are entirely the authors.


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