For many of us, workout leggings are an essential piece of exercise gear—and may also become a wardrobe staple.
Trying to choose the perfect workout leggings from among all of the many different cuts, brands, and materials can make the decision daunting, says Becca Moorhead, ACE-certified personal trainer and Performance Coach at the remote fitness coaching app Future. “But no matter your workout type, price range or body shape there’s an ideal pair for you!”
Moorhead advises keeping four things in mind when shopping for exercise leggings: workout intensity, convenience features, size/fit, and quality.
You also want to consider the type of material that would be the best choice for you. “Breathable materials like polyester, cotton and blended nylon allow you to stay cool and dry while you run, and are also very lightweight and move with you instead of holding you back,” says Teddy Savage, National Lead Trainer at Planet Fitness.
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Best Workout Leggings
TomboyX is a brand that stands out for its commitment to inclusivity. They embrace all sizes and gender identities and are also dedicated to supporting sustainable manufacturing practices. These full-length leggings are great for those who want sufficient coverage—but also want to look terrific. Available in sizes from XS to 6X. TomboyX The Only 7/8 Legging, $33.99 on Amazon
These leggings from Lululemon are lightweight and won’t get in your way or restrict movement, so you can sail through even your toughest workouts in comfort. They have plenty of pockets in the waistband and along the sides, so you can keep your phone and other important personal items secure. “The ease and functionality of side pockets can bring a pair of leggings from okay to amazing, and the inside pockets feel more secure for those that worry about misplacing their valuables mid-workout,” says Moorhead. Choose from a wide range of colors and styles available in sizes ranging from 0 to 20. Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Tight 25″ Leggings, $128 at Lululemon
You can move with ease in these yoga leggings from The Gym People, which are thick enough to provide plenty of coverage and have a slimming tummy control panel. The side pockets are so spacious they can hold your phone or even a water bottle. Choose from dozens of fun patterns, along with more standard solid colors. The Gym People Thick High Waist Yoga Leggings, $23.99 and up on Amazon
“If you’re heading to a yin yoga or barre class where range of motion and ease of movement is necessary, you’ll want to look for leggings that are made of softer materials and allow for stretch,” Moorhead says. “These PowerChill leggings are perfect for any type of low impact or flexibility-based movement and provide breathability alongside their other features.” Old Navy Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Crossover 7/8-Length Leggings, $26.99 at Old Navy
You’ll get plenty of support from these high-waisted leggings from Fabletics, thanks to the popular PowerHold fabric and the mesh-lined waistband. The material is also moisture-wicking and even provides UPF 50+ sun protection. Available in many patterns and colors in sizes from XXS to 4X The brand also offers special VIP Membership pricing. Fabletics Define PowerHold High-Waisted Legging, $69.95 (less for VIP pricing) at Fabletics
Looking for capri-style leggings that can handle your most hardcore workouts? These HeatGear Armour leggings from Under Armour are lightweight and breathable, thanks to the HeatGear fabric, which is moisture-wicking and super stretchy to allow for maximum range of movement. Wear them on their own or as a sleek base layer. Under Armour HeatGear Armour No-Slip Waistband Capris, $27.94 on Amazon
These Live In leggings from Zella have earned a cult following, amassing thousands of positive reviews from loyal fans who often buy multiple pairs at a time. The material is fitted yet stretchy, to flatter your figure while also keeping you cool and comfortable. Zella Live In High Waist Leggings, $59.00 at Nordstrom
As you can probably guess from the name, these leggings have compression properties, which can be good for your circulation and also tends to be flattering. CompressionZ says these leggings will keep you cool and dry, even in warm weather. Choose from a wide assortment of styles and colors. CompressionZ High Waisted Leggings, $27.99 and up on Amazon
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Quite a few of the Amazon customers who left glowing reviews for these Dragon Fit leggings loved that they never seem to roll down at the waist—a common and annoying issue with some leggings. The tummy control and soft material were also popular features. Some styles are fleeced lined, making them great for cold-weather workouts. Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Leggings, $20.68 and up on Amazon
These sleek leggings from Reebok are made from Speedwick material designed to keep you cool and dry by wicking away moisture, while also eliminating odor. The high-rise waist stays secure and won’t roll down. The hip pocket is perfect for stashing your phone or keys. Reebok Lux High-Waisted Tights, $54.97 and up at Reebok
These leggings from SPANX are designed to be super flattering, while also as comfy as your favorite sweats. There’s no unappealing center seam and the high-waisted design helps eliminate the “muffin top” effect. They are also great for maternity and postpartum options, as well. Available in a range of colors and styles (prices vary by style). SPANX Look at Me Now Seamless Leggings, $68 and up on Amazon
The distinctive textured design makes it obvious that these Croco Skin leggings from Booty by Brabants aren’t your run-of-the-mill boring workout pants. The compression material holds you in, while still offering plenty of flexibility. They’re also available in a Curvy style. Booty by Brabants Croco Skin Leggings, $85 at Booty by Brabants
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These leggings from ThirdLove are made for movement. The waist is elastic-free, which means it won’t bind or constrict you—and the fabric is designed to keep you feeling cool and dry. Available in sizes from XS to 3X. ThirdLove Kinetic Performance Pocket Legging, $49 and up at ThirdLove
The fact that the Shapermint website bills itself as a “body confidence community” first and an apparel marketplace second may give you some sense of its mission statement. This is a brand built on the goal of making everyone feel confident and proud and embracing beauty in all shapes and sizes. These leggings are made from a nylon-spandex blend that provides just the right amount of firming and support while accentuating your curves. Shapermint MidWaist Shaping Capri Leggings, $29.99 on Amazon
HOKA has become one of the go-to elite brands known for their outdoor footwear, but their apparel also deserves some attention. These tights have sleek, eye-catching styling and are flexible enough to handle whatever—and wherever—your workout may entail. HOKA Hupana Tight, $49.99 at HOKA
These ASOS 4505 leggings are specially designed for those with curves and are made from a material that smooths without stifling you. There’s enough stretch to let you move comfortably. ASOS 4505 Curve Icon Leggings in Cotton Touch, $23 at ASOS
Online reviewers praised the “soft, buttery, and breathable” feel of these comfortable CALIA leggings. They are snug-fitting and the material is designed to be moisture-wicking and odor-minimizing. CALIA LustraLux 7/8 Legging, $47.99 and up at CALIA
Knix is one of the leaders in the leakproof underwear market, so it makes sense that the brand would also make excellent leggings that serve a similar function. These leggings feature leak protection that’s discreet and virtually invisible, to keep you comfortable without making you self-conscious. Knix LeakStrong Leakproof Legging, $90 at Knix
These thermal tights from Brooks are a terrific option if you’ll be running or exercising outdoors in cold temperatures. They keep you toasty warm and provide plenty of support but won’t get in the way of your workout. Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight, $95 at Brooks