Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Battle of the Athletic Tights: Cheap C9 or Pricey Under Armour?

Ice Girl loves to wear stretchy, fitted lycra tights on the ice. You know, the kind of tights runners wear. She wears them like tight-fitting pants, not under a practice skirt or dress, but as pants.

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know that I am cheap, cheap, cheap. I looked at the $60 price tag on the Under Armour Cold Gear Tornado Tights and had to sit down before I passed out.

I found Champion C9 pants (top) at Target for less than half the cost of the Under Armour (bottom) – just $24.99 for the Champion C9 Running Tights. That’s what Ice Girl has been wearing for over six months with no complaints.

However, two weeks ago, Ice Grandma, that softee, bought Ice Girl a pair of the Under Armour pants, which gives me a great opportunity to compare the two.

Cost. Champion C9 wins hands down. Ice Girl and I can buy two of these pairs of tights from Target and have money left over for a chai tea latte, hot cocoa, and one ginormous cookie to split from the in-store Starbucks. (Champion C9 = $24.99, Under Armour = $59.99; venti chai = $3.99, venti hot cocoa = $3.99, one cookie = $1.95)

Styling. I give a slight edge to Under Armour on styling because of their tights’ simplicity. Under Armour and C9 both have a color stripe on the side. The black C9 tights have a small bit of silver, but the black C9 tights with pink have a huge side stripe of pink. Under Armour is just a basic tight with nothing but a stripe; C9 has a bottom zipper from bottom hem to mid-thigh and a pocket in the back at the waistband.

Some of the zipper pulls have broken off Ice Girl’s C9 tights, but it’s not very annoying to Ice Girl; she can still zip the bottoms with her nimble little fingers. She likes the back pocket in the C9 pants so she can put a couple of bucks in there for the pop machine. An online reviewer said that the zipper in the C9 tights rubbed against her leg and caused her leg to bleed, but Ice Girl has never complained about the zipper at all.

Fit. No clear winner here. Ice Girl likes the fit equally on both pairs.

Warmth. No clear winner. Champion C9 ad copy claims that its fabric speeds evaporation and keeps an athlete warm. Under Armour claims dry warmth, too. Ice Girl hasn’t noticed that one is warmer than the other. She’s worn them both in the coldest rink she skates in and they are both good.

Durability. Slight edge to Under Armour. Some of the zipper pulls on the Champion C9 tights have broken off, but the lycra remains stretchy and resilient even after lots of careless washing and over-drying. Under Armour doesn’t have the zipper, so it has no pulls to lose, which is why I think it has a slight durability edge.
The bottom line. I'm cheap and Under Armour's pricey. I also have a thing for venti chai lattes, so for my $60, I'll take two pair of the Champion C9 tights and a venti chai latte to go.


angel said...

Glad you liked them, but its something we never started. Would rather have a extra lesson and two pair of tights is more than enough to keep warm here :}

RedShamrock said...

What a great post! We are thinking of adding some tights / base layer to our Zuca, but oh the price! Our local Target does not have any more of the cold C9, perhaps the web site?

As an aside, if you need a bathing suit for our 30 degree weather -- that Target has!

Skittl1321 said...

The zippers on the champion pants are what make it a no go for me. I'm just too short to have zippers on my hemline.

During the summer months I wear Circo leggings- $5 in the kids section at target. They aren't warm enough for the winter when I break out the under armour, however.

Of course after spending $50 on leggings (if you get the Cold Gear Frosty tights they are slightly cheaper than the tornado) I immediatly cut into them with a backspin- they don't fray. What CAN happen though, is if you catch the thread on the seam, it's not well reinforced and the pants split completely open. That happened to me with one pair, thankfully not on the ice. I went over the replacement (because Scheel's agreed that should NOT have happened) with fray check on the inside.

Maria said...

I´m just as cheap as you. I make my daughters (Julia) thights myself. Lycra is cheap here (if you know where to look). And I´ve had som thights done for other girls at the rink. They all love my thights :).
I also make all of Julias dresses. She´s happy I know how to.

NIUiceprincess said...

i have a pair of the under armour cold gear pants. I do love them and they look great with some leg warmers (not necessarily to add warmth since they are already warm =) ). i got them at rainbo sports and after shipping i was out about $60. i loved them so much that i was debating getting a second pair, but thank goodness i don't have to since i can get the Champion ones! thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

i love my daughters under armour leggins. i've got them at the outlet at 27$. that what was the regular price there. you can get them even cheaper if they have the sale. but i will definetely try the cold c9. viktoria

Anonymous said...

If you want skating pants or tights with quality that are warm and more affordable than the other expensive brands, try


It's a new company offering more affordable quality skating apparel.

Anonymous said...

We opted for goodwill and I bought a pair of the leggings that runners wear the high tech fabric keeps you warm and wicks away sweat. $3 later (that color was on sale so it was 1/2 price) I take it home and use my leggings pattern to cut them down to my daughters size. They already have a waist band and is so easy. I even added the swirl around the leg that she saw on a pair $88 dollar skating pants. $3 one hour total of cutting and sewing and we can use the rest of the money for lessons!