Like Us On Facebook
Facebook Pagelike Widget

Author: David Melly

David Melly is a graduate of Cornell University and runs for Hare AC in Boston, MA. He grew up at mile 16 of the Boston Marathon and now lives at mile 22. His #content can be found at @chaserofsteeples on Instagram and at @davidlikesyou on Twitter, and he is the host of the Run Your Mouth podcast, which can be found at

September 30, 2022

London Marathon Preview: Kenenisa Bekele Returns, Seven Sub-2:19 Women Face Off

What to watch for in Sunday’s London Marathon as Ethiopia goes for a podium sweep on the men’s side and the women’s field is rich with talent.

June 29, 2022

We Need Queer Athletes Now More Than Ever

During Pride Month, track and field athletes are always overrepresented because we have so many out, proud pros.

February 16, 2022

Is The Sub-4-Minute Mile Still Special?

Many argue that the increasing frequency of sub-4 minute milers means that the 4-minute mile is no longer special. And yet, we still care.

January 17, 2022

What Keira D’Amato’s Story Tells Us About Elite Running

Keira D’Amato’s story and accomplishments are remarkable, but runners like her don’t have to be as rare as they are currently.

March 1, 2021

What We Learned At The Trials of Miles Texas Qualifier

David Melly unpacks how key storylines developed at the Trials of Miles Texas Qualifier on and off the track.

December 17, 2020

World Athletics’ Shoe Rule and the Fight Against Fairness

David Melly has a bone to pick with World Athletics’ latest iteration of its rules on footwear and prototype use in competition.

October 6, 2020

Bringing Ekidens to America May Be Just What The Sport Needs

The coronavirus has forced professional teams to get creative with their respective racing plans and the Michigan Ekiden is doing that.

June 6, 2020

Calling for Excellence: An Open Letter to Brown University President Christina Paxson

An open letter to Brown University President Christina Paxson, Athletic Director Jack Hayes and the Board of Trustees regarding the cutting of the men’s track and field program.

May 15, 2020

Run Your Slowest Mile

A challenge for everyone. Go out and run your slowest mile.

December 10, 2019

On Trying (and Failing) to OTQ

David Melly reflects on his marathon debut where he went after the 2:19 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.

November 7, 2019

What is the Diamond League Doing?

Why the IAAF is totally missing the mark in cutting events from the 2020 Diamond League circuit

October 18, 2019

The Best and Worst Things About Marathon Training Thus Far

For a marathon rookie, here are some of the best and worst things about training experienced thus far.

October 17, 2019

Unpacking Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:59:40 and the Great Shoe Debate

Should the IAAF ban the shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge? What are the rules? What’s next for the GOAT?

October 10, 2019

Unofficial Betting Guide for Eliud Kipchoge’s Sub-Two Hour Marathon Attempt

The unofficial betting guide to the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

June 26, 2019

Half-Tights vs. Short-Shorts: A Definitive Guide

It’s a debate as old as the sport itself: What to wear, and when. In particular, [male] [distance] runners have, since the dawn of time, spent long runs and locker room time debating the relative merits of short-shorts and half-tights. Do you want to show off your newly-inked team hip tattoo as your gangly, pale legs fly through intervals? Or do you want to showcase your best assets with form-fitting spandex that sends Bible-belt parents complaining to their athletic directors? The choice is yours.

You could argue that what you wear doesn’t matter nearly as much as the effort you put in, but that’s not nearly as fun as digging your heels unnecessarily deeply into an extreme position and arguing passionately against anyone who might disagree with you. The more arbitrary and inflexible the rule, the better.

As host of the Run Your Mouth podcast, I occasionally ask our guests what their half-tights versus short-shorts (or bun huggers, or short tights for our female guests) preferences and policies are, which has helped inform the guidelines below. As a disclaimer, this particular piece is largely focused on the apparel sported by male runners – for many reasons, I would not presume to tell women what to wear and when but I’d eagerly anticipate a follow-up post if anyone would like to make one

At the end of the day, rules were meant to be broken. If you’re good enough, you can pretty much get away with wearing whatever you want, which has resulted in a resurgence of sprinters in short-shorts and the rise of the distance-runner speed suit.

Races: The general rule when it comes to racing on a track is as follows: if you’re trying to feel speedy, wear half-tights. If you’re trying to feel smooth, wear short-shorts. The roads are more complicated and weather dependent, and despite the historical popularity of shorts, the trend in the marathon lately has moved toward half-tights over 26.2. If it’s good enough for the GOAT, it’s good enough for you.

  • By distance: 
    • >3000m: short-shorts.
    • <3000m: half-tights.
    • 3000m: half-tights if steepling.
    • >10 miles: half-tights if chafe-prone.
  • By temperature:
    • >50 degrees: short-shorts
    • <50 degrees: half-tights

Workouts: If you care about your hamstring health, always err on the side of extra warmth. Take notes from the sprinters, distance crew: Long tights for warmups in almost any conditions. If it’s warm enough to take your shirt off, shorts are allowable, but if it’s a “speed day” I still recommend half-tights for the confidence booster.

  • By temperature:
    • >60 degrees: short-shorts
    • <60 degrees: half-tights
  • By color: 
    • You can wear either a racing singlet or racing bottoms in a workout, but never wear a full matched uniform in a workout. You’ll look like a nerd.

Easy runs:

This one is simple. There is one rule for easy run apparel (assuming it’s warm enough that long tights aren’t necessary):

  • Wear whatever is clean and available.

Additional words of wisdom:

    • When to tuck your shirt: In shorts? Dealer’s choice. In half-tights? Only if you’re Sam Parsons.
    • Short-shorts over half-tights: Never. Leave that particular fashion choice in middle school where it belongs.
    • Shorts length: I disagree with my colleagues on this one. Running shorts should be split and max out at 2-inch seams. Anything longer belongs on the basketball court.
    • Runderwear: You may have noticed that people run with sports underwear under their shorts, even if said shorts have a built-in liner that serves the same purpose. This may seem foreign to you, but that’s because it is: For reasons passing understanding, runderwear is almost entirely an international phenomenon, one Americans rarely employ. I don’t know why this is a universal rule, but it is.

These rules are ultimately subjective, but please don’t let that stop you from angrily disagreeing with me on Twitter. And feel free to send along your own set of sartorial guidelines – the more silly and irrational, the better. Happy summer!

June 18, 2019

A Pride Month Ode to Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss

The sport needs more athletes like Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss.

March 21, 2019

Why You Should Listen To Lizzo Before Your Next Race

With this pounding, authoritative soundtrack, we now have enough Lizzo music to fill out a full training cycle.

December 29, 2018

CITIUS MAG Athlete of the Year – The Case For…Des Linden

Des Linden’s Boston Marathon win was more than the sum of its parts – this was a victory for grinders everywhere.

December 26, 2018

CITIUS MAG Athlete of the Year – The Case For…Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Why the youngest Ingebrigtsen has a case for CITIUS MAG Athlete of the Year.

November 14, 2018

Where Does American Men’s Marathoning Go From Here?

Even after solid performances from the American men at the 2018 New York City Marathon, the American stars faced criticism.

February 6, 2018

On training, racing, and growing as a gay runner

“If my story has any lessons, it should be that being the first gay runner in your world means you won’t be the last.” – David Melly

Scroll to top