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Published Sep. 20, 2021

If we had to pick one word to describe recent fashion, it would be “athleisure,” aptly named for the clothing one can wear both for exercise or for daily activities in any environment. If you’re new to the athleisure world or are a seasoned pro, you’re going to need a pair of leggings to live in (or two, or five). 

There are literally hundreds of leggings on the market, but only a handful or two that are high-quality enough to get you through that year-long Peloton subscription (or your new Netflix series binge of choice). We’ve done the due diligence so you don’t have to. Check out some of the best leggings below.

How We Selected These Products

Methodology

I’ll be the first to admit that my wardrobe is 70 percent athleisure. As someone who truly loves to cozy up and stay comfortable in or outside of the gym, I understand what it takes to make a quality pair of leggings. Some of the criteria I looked out for when choosing the above five pairs are as follows:

  • Style: This is simply a no-brainer. The first thing you’re looking at when you see a pair of leggings is the appearance. Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand, so I only picked styles that conform to your body’s shape, which are typically  high-rise styles.
  • Color: Leggings can become your next go-to wardrobe piece, and for that reason they should be easy to mix and match with different outfits. A good rule of thumb to achieve this is by choosing darker shades or prints (as well as a light white or grey), so I kept this in mind while making my selections.
  • Durability: Gone are the days of tossing out a new pair of leggings after one or two uses. Materials like nylon, spandex/elastane, and polyester can extend durability.
  • Versatility: In line with style and color, a good pair of leggings should be versatile and functional in different environments. I focused on pairs that would work for your next yoga session, a HIIT-workout, a trip to the coffee shop, or while sprawled out on a couch.

The Best Leggings: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Wordmark 7/8 Leggings

Superior Design

These HeatGear Wordmark leggings from Under Armour offer just the right amount of stretch and support, wick sweat so you don’t overheat, and feel lightweight so you can move comfortably. Under Armour

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Why It Made The Cut: Under Armour specializes in sports apparel and athleisure, and these leggings offer everything we need: comfort, support, stretch, and storage. 

Specs:

  • Material: Polyester, Elastane
  • Colors: 9 options, including Black/Desert Rose, Black/Jet Grey, Charcoal Light Heather/Beta, Saxon Green/Black
  • Sizing: XS-XXL 

Pros:

  • Offers coverage without too much weight
  • Back waistband pocket fits most phones
  • Successfully wicks sweat
  • Machine washable 

Cons: 

  • 7/8 length not well suited for cold weather 

The Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Wordmark 7/8 Leggings are a high-quality pick that will stay in your wardrobe for years to come. Whether you’re using them for exercise or lounging, these leggings will allow you to move comfortably due to their four-way stretch construction. The materials wick sweat and dry fast, so you won’t feel sticky even after an intense workout. 

We love how the high and thick waistband provides the right amount of support while remaining comfortable. The leggings have a small hidden pocket on the inside, perfect for a pair of keys, and another pocket on the back waistband that safely fits most cell phones. This pair comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including modern designs with a color-blocked design.

All in all, Under Armour’s HeatGear Wordmark 7/8 Leggings provide everything you could need from a pair of leggings. The only downside to some would be the length; some people adore the 7/8 style while others prefer capris or full-length leggings.

Best Value: Marika Women’s Cameron High Rise Tummy Control Legging

No-Frills Versatility

With high quality construction and moisture-wicking technology, these leggings came at such an affordable price. Marika

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Why It Made The Cut It’s rare to find a pair of ulta-affordable leggings that are soft, fashion-forward, and have functional pockets. The Marika Women’s Cameron High Rise Tummy Control Legging checks all of these boxes. 

Specs:

  • Material: Polyester, Spandex
  • Colors: Black, Midnight Blue, Turbulence
  • Sizing: S to XL 

Pros:

  • Coolmax lining keeps dry
  • Side seam pockets fit keys, wallet, or phone
  • Affordable option

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come in XS or XXL sizes
  • Only three colors available

Available in three flattering tones, Marika Women’s Cameron High Rise Tummy Control Leggings provide control and slight compression in the belly area thanks to a 4-inch power mesh waistband. 

The fabrics and Coolmax lining are moisture-wicking to keep you dry even during sweaty workouts. The details of the seaming are designed to accentuate curves and compress to keep you comfortable. The leggings are super soft thanks to the fabric, and offer perfect-sized deep pockets on the sides to store any essentials you bring with you on the go.  

The Marika Leggings also provide four-way stretch, which make for added flexibility whether you are lounging around, doing yoga, or working out with some high-intensity cardio. This style is also made with Onyx-colored fabric, which reduces sheen when stretched. So if you bend over or pop a squat, you won’t have to worry about the leggings becoming see-through. 

Best Splurge: Lululemon Align Full Length Yoga Pants

For The Yogis

Lululemon’s Align Full Length Yoga Pants features weightless fabric and has been designed to feel buttery soft on your skin. Lululemon Athletica

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Why It Made The Cut: The yoga-inspired apparel company is a cult classic among fitness buffs, and we love how these perfectly designed leggings give users a sculpted silhouette. 

Specs:

  • Material: Nylon, Lycra elastane 
  • Colors: Various colors, including black, camo, navy, moss rose, and dark olive
  • Sizing: 0 to 14

Pros:

  • Lycra provides added stretch and shape retention 
  • High rise fit keeps tummy controlled
  • Machine washable
  • Extremely durable

Cons:

  • Price tag hefty for many buyers

Lululemon has done it again with their Align Full Length Yoga Pants. Designed in a buttery soft and breathable material, these leggings almost feel as if you are wearing nothing at all (in other words, you’ll never want to take them off!). While they are technically yoga pants, these leggings can be used for low and high-intensity cardio (and yes, for daily athleisure-wear as well). 

These Align leggings are meant to rest comfortably above the ankle, for near full coverage ideal for chillier days. Plus, you’ll find a small hidden pocket in the inner waistband in which you can fit keys and a credit card, making them ideal for quick jaunts outside without having to bring a whole purse with you. All in all,  if you’re going to splurge, it should be for the Align Yoga Pants. 

Best with Pockets: Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Leggings with 3 Pockets

Practical Storage

Available in a range of fun options, these high-quality leggings are also reasonably priced. Dragon Fit

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Why It Made The Cut: These budget-friendly leggings come in a myriad of options (full length or capri fits all available in different shades) to suit any outfit, and are made from quick-drying and elastic material. 

Specs:

  • Material: Polyester, Spandex
  • Colors: 32 options including black, navy, graphite, and marble, and various lengths
  • Sizing: XS to 3XL

Pros:

  • Three pockets (including one that is hidden) 
  • Close fitted but not overly tight
  • Elastic band at waist prevents leggings from rolling down

Cons:

  • Don’t offer much compression 

If you’re looking for a stylish pair of leggings with practical pockets, Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Leggings are the perfect choice. These leggings feature three pockets: two on the sides that are deep and expandable enough to fit large smartphones, and one hidden on the waistband perfect for small accessories.

Available in full-length and capri-length and tons of cute prints and solid colors, the leggings are also extremely durable and great for everyday wear. Thanks to the elastic waistband, you won’t have to worry about these leggings rolling or falling down during high-intensity workouts. 

Some reviewers have noted that these offer the same value as reputable high-end athletic brands while they only cost a fraction of the price.

Best Maternity: Movemama Women’s Active Maternity Leggings with Pockets

Comfort for Future Mamas

Movemama’s ever-expanding, frictionless, over-the-bump maternity leggings will comfortably take you all the way to delivery day. Movemama

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Why It Made The Cut: These comfy leggings offer belly and back support and pill-resistant fabric designed to suit pregnant and postpartum women.

Specs:

  • Material: Polyester, Spandex
  • Colors: Navy, Slate Gray, Black, Merlot, Laser Cut Slate Gray, Laser Cut Black
  • Sizing: XS to XL

Pros:

  • Deep side pockets are very practical
  • Over-the-belly waist transitions well from pregnant to postpartum
  • Fabric is opaque, no sheen

Cons: 

  • Some reviewers note the elastic band twists after laundering 

Movemama Women’s Active Maternity Leggings are a great choice for all expecting and postpartum mamas. These leggings can be unrolled for over-the-bump coverage or unrolled to lie just under the belly button, supporting you whichever way you prefer. 

Available in seven colors with solid and laser-cut styles, these leggings feature a super soft fabric that stays fuzz-free and is pill-resistant. Pockets on the side of the thighs are useful for mamas on the go, and the 7/8 length will keep you cozy during all months of the year.

Things to Consider Before Buying Leggings

If you’re looking to step up your leggings game, you’ll want to hone in on what you’re looking for. Some people want something loose and comfortable while others seek out compression to keep everything smoothed out. Keep this in mind when shopping. 

You’ll also want to think about length. Leggings can come in many lengths, most notably full-length, 7/8, capri, and short. Consider how you’re using them and in what weather conditions you’ll be in—a capri option won’t be suitable for harsh winter and a full length pick might be too hot for the peak of summer.

If you like heading out and about hands-free, get a pair of leggings that comes with pockets. Hidden waist pockets are typically small and can only handle a pair of keys or a credit card, while side pockets can be deep enough to hold a cell  phone or more.

FAQs

Q:

Which leggings are most flattering?

While this question is subjective and will depend on an individual’s preference, mid- to high-waisted leggings that reach the belly button or a bit higher tend to be the most flattering on a variety of body shapes. Darker colors are also quite versatile and can be paired with just about any outfit.

Q:

Are LuluLemon leggings worth it?

The athletics apparel company can be a bit controversial, with some people swearing by their products, and other people thinking it’s overpriced. With the understanding that their leggings are on the pricier side of the spectrum, we do think that yes, Lululemon leggings are indeed worth it. Between the fashion-forward styles, eco-friendly fabrics, and superior durability, it’s a great option that will last you years.

Q:

Why do my leggings stink?

If you’re worried your leggings are starting to smell, don’t worry. Some fabrics that aren’t great in moisture-wicking may retain the smell of your sweat. Over time, this may become stinky. Soaking leggings in cold water and white vinegar before tossing them in the laundry can be incredibly helpful. Just make sure to check the fabrics and washing instructions on the label first.

Final Thoughts

A good pair of leggings is an absolute must for athletes and couch potatoes alike. If you’re looking for a high-quality, durable pair of leggings that you’ll never want to take off, we recommend the Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Wordmark 7/8 Leggings. Another great option that is truly worth the investment are the Lululemon Align Full Length Yoga Pants.

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