I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried the “best” workout leggings, only to find that they slip down during spin class, they’re sheer enough to show my underwear or they pill after just one wash. This might explain why I have trust issues with Instagram ads. So, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and determine the best of the best workout leggings once and for all.

Despite my extensive experience trying out almost every style from lululemon to Old Navy, I don’t quite feel qualified to give the final say on the best workout leggings. After all, I’m 5’0’’ with runners' thighs, so what works for me isn’t necessarily going to be the right style for, say, a tall, lean dancer. So, to get a better idea of the best workout leggings for women with different body types and fitness interests from my own, I did some serious research—by asking real people to share their honest opinions on their go-to pants, crops and more. Here, the 31 best workout leggings, whether you’re a pregnant yogi or a plus-size ultramarathon runner.

How to find the best workout leggings

  • Squat test. Put the leggings on and video yourself from behind doing a deep squat. Can you see your undies or your butt? If so, take note of that material and steer clear of it in the future.
  • How's the material feel? If you put on the leggings and feel even slightly uncomfortable from the material, move on to the next pair. They'll become the leggings sitting in your drawer that you can't bear to throw away because they're new.
  • Check your wishlist. Need pockets? Make sure you are looking specifically for a pair with pockets. Hate a butt seam? Look for a seamless legging line like Gymshark.

Sure, I could give you some fancy criteria for how to discover the all-time best workout leggings. And looking for factors like opacity, sweat-wicking fabric and a comfortable waistline certainly helps. But ultimately, it all comes down to reading product descriptions and reviews, then biting the bullet and trying them yourself. Trial and a lot of error is how I’ve found the handful of pairs that I love and wear on the reg.

How we picked the best workout leggings

Our PureWow100 rating system breaks down the score we give an item out of 100. Starting at 20 for each category—value, functionality, quality, aesthetics and comfort—we knock off a point for any negative aspects we experience. We then tally up our scores to produce the final rating.

This system allows us to objectively rate the key points of the leggings so you can compare the score descriptions in your preferences to see if they will be a good fit for you or not.

The Best Workout Leggings to Wear

RELATED: The 30 Best Sweatpants for Women, Because Comfy Is *Still* Our Uniform

lululemon

1. lululemon Base Pace High-Rise Tight

Best for All Workouts

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 99/100

These new leggings from lululemon hit the nail on the head in just about everything. They are insanely comfortable, durable and versatile for any workout (I should know, I wore them for running, lifting, yoga and spinning). The Nulux fabric is basically weightless and super breathable so if you are running outside on a hot day, these won't overheat you. They have a back pocket, hidden drawstring in the front and no inseam to avoid pilling of the thread. Can you ask for anything more in a workout legging?

Buy It ($98)

Gymshark

2. Gymshark Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings

Best Seamless

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 93/100

The seamless leggings we all need. The problem I usually face with seamless leggings is gapping and sagging in the butt area. These have incredible compression from the high waist down to the contoured calf, and because of that hold, they contour your booty like no other. These leggings have super tiny holes along the side of the legs making the breathability a sweaty girl's dream. And honestly, they're just super cute.

Buy It ($50)

Amazon

3. Core 10 ‘Build Your Own’ Leggings

Best Customizable Workout Leggings

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 96/100

Ever wish you could design your own pair of workout leggings? Now you kind of can, thanks to Amazon’s activewear brand Core 10. With their ‘Build Your Own’ style, you can choose the waist type, length, color and size, resulting in a more customized fit. I have to admit, I was skeptical as to how the quality would be when I ordered my cross waist short black leggings. But as soon as I slipped them on, I was impressed. The material is thick and completely holds you in—and it’s not sheer or loose like I feared. Even better? I only had to adjust them once during my ab workout.

$44 at Amazon

Shopbop

4. Ultracor Ultra Lux Knockout Legging

Splurge-Worthy

  • Value: 16/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 92/100

PureWow editor Sarah Stiefvater feels so passionately about these Ultracor leggings, she wrote an entire review describing her love-hate relationship with them. The hate mostly centering around the fact that each pair costs a cool $198. After wearing them to a spin class and experiencing their high-stretch, soft compression and sweat-wicking abilities, she promptly retired her favorite Nike leggings. What sets them apart from the rest, you ask? “They stay put through burpees, box jumps and sprints on the rowing machine without ever feeling too tight,” she says. Plus, they have a unique built-in underwear design that smooths lumps and bumps and makes your butt look damn good. Stiefvater’s has a hot tip for everyone else who cringed at that price: Wait until they go on sale to pick up your pair. You can usually find them marked down at Carbon38 or Bandier.

Buy It ($198)

Outdoor Voices

5. Outdoor Voices Core ⅞ Leggings

Best for High-Intensity Workouts

  • Value: 16/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 90/100

This pair of ⅞ leggings from Outdoor Voices is one of my personal favorites. Especially if I’m going to be doing a high-intensity (and high sweat) workout like HIIT or a dance cardio class since they’re made to keep you feeling comfortable during super sweaty workouts. Here’s how: The lightweight, quick-drying material doesn’t absorb sweat like some cotton blends do, and the engineered waistband stays put even during jumping jacks. I find that these run really small, so I’d recommend going up a size or two to avoid feeling like a sausage and I’ve found that air drying them seems to do a good job of maintaining the delicate fabric.

Buy It ($98)

Everlane

6. Everlane The Perform Leggings

Best for Low-Impact Workouts

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 15/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 88/100

More of a sculpt, yoga or barre person? Then this pair’s for you. Everlane’s minimalist leggings are advertised to be ideal for all types of workouts, but according to fashion director Dena Silver, lower impact workouts is where they really shine. “They’re super soft and stretchy, but not too heavy on the compression fabric, which makes them really easy to move around in,” she explains. In fact, they’re so comfy, she says it almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. The only downside? Silver mentions that the lighter colors show sweat marks, so definitely take that into consideration before you wear them to hot yoga.

Buy It ($58)

New Balance

7. New Balance Q Speed Fuel ⅞ Tights

Best for Running

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 95/100

Given that PureWow fashion editor Abby Hepworth has run two marathons and is currently training for a third, she’s our resident authority on running gear. And when she says a pair of running leggings actually performs, we take note. “I love these because I can completely forget I’m wearing them in the sense that I don’t have to stop to adjust or consider any point of chafing,” she says. Hepworth adds that despite owning them for two years, her New Balance Q Speed Fuel Tights don’t show any major signs of pilling or wear between the thighs. Her favorite feature, though, is how cool they keep her legs. “As someone who runs very hot and sweats no matter the temperature, I really see a difference when I’m wearing these leggings.”

Buy It ($80)

Amazon

8. 90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Power Flex Tummy Control Leggings

Best for Yoga

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 93/100

This pair is another one of my faves. I honestly do wear them for everything from running, to errands, to yoga class. And I have to say, the latter is where they truly shine. There’s nothing worse than having to stop mid-Vinyasa flow to yank up your waistband and I never have to do that with these. Also, their stretchy, supersoft fabric means that my legs and booty feel supported and sculpted, but not suffocated. The array of pretty colorways available changes often, which might explain why I’ve ended up with six pairs…

$28 at Amazon

Superfit Hero

9. Superfit Hero Superfit Pocket Leggings

Best for Plus-Size Women

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 100/100

For this pick, I turned to plus-size ultramarathon runner Latoya Shauntay Snell. She’s logged hundreds of miles wearing this exact pair, so you know they’re worth every penny. “Between the vibrant color and pockets, I feel a boost of confidence while wearing them. And as a plus-size woman, I like the added security of knowing that [they’re] not see-through, chafe-free and hold in my tummy when I’m doing high and low impact workouts,” she says. Snell is also a fan of the fact that the waistband never rolls down, even when she’s on mile 21.

Buy It ($95)

Girlfriend Collective

10. Girlfriend Collective Compressive Mid Rise ⅞ Legging

Most Sustainable Leggings

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Comfort: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 94/100

As far as sustainability goes, Girlfriend Collective’s leggings are the best of the best. Each pair’s fabric is made from 25 recycled water bottles, which saves three gallons of water and prevents 18 pounds of CO2 emissions, when compared to the average production process of leggings. That said, the material feels so luxe you’d never guess it had a previous life. I find that my Girlfriend Collective leggings are best suited for yoga and sculpt classes, because the compression material keeps me feeling sucked in, even if I’m attempting a particularly tricky move—looking at you, crow pose. Word to the wise: If you’re in-between sizes, go up. I kinda wish my Midnight pair was a tiny bit bigger.

Buy It ($78)

lululemon

11. lululemon Align Pant 28’’

Best Overall

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 99/100

Multiple women declared this best-selling style from lululemon their all-time fave, and that's just as true for myself. I own multiple pairs of these leggings (and the shorts) and wear them as often as possible. Their patented Nulu fabric sells everyone on these leggings, mostly because it basically invented the term "buttery soft" in reference to workout pants. These, while are instructed to use for low impact workouts like yoga, are my favorite leggings for barre and Pilates as well. They are also the most comfortable choice for long road trips or flights. My only qualm? While this is user error because I wear them for more than just yoga, the crotch pills very easily if your thighs rub or touch together even a little bit. Even with that small flaw, these leggings will always hold a special place in my heart (and my drawer).

Buy It ($98)

Bloomingdale’s

12. Blanqui Everyday Maternity Belly Support Leggings

Best for Pregnant Women

  • Value: 15/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Comfort: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 92/100

According to PureWow’s executive editor Candace Davison, these maternity leggings were a total godsend when she was pregnant with her daughter. She wore them for everything from Orange Theory and yoga during her first trimester to just lounging on the couch closer to her due date. “The extra-high waistband is super supportive on a growing stomach—which became crucial for preventing back pain during my second trimester,” she notes. After months of nonstop use, they did pill a little bit between the thighs, but Davison says otherwise they were great.

Buy It ($64)

Sweaty Betty

13. Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Workout Leggings

Best Butt-Sculpting Workout Leggings

  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 95/100

“Every time I decide to try a new brand of leggings, I’m left disappointed that I didn’t just invest in another pair of Sweaty Betty’s Power Leggings instead,” says PureWow’s VP of Growth Emily Kerr. She became a loyal fan of the style because they’re durable, never see-through and come in a variety of pretty shades and patterns. But her favorite thing about these leggings? They make her butt look amazing, thanks to the flattering seams that are designed to do just that.

Buy It ($100)

Amazon

14. Letsfit High Waisted Leggings

Best Luxe-for-Less

  • Value:19/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 97/100

Want the look and feel of a pair of high-end leggings? Opt for this high waisted pair from Amazon. Fashion director Dena Silver agrees, adding “They have light compression and the seams fall right where they should for a flattering fit around the tummy and thighs.” And considering she rated them a 97/100, I’m not surprised they’re currently backordered in some shades. Word to the wise, though? Reviewers say the patterned options tend to be stretchier and softer than the solid ones, so you might want to size down to avoid potential slippage.

$20 at Amazon

Nordstrom

15. Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

Best for Big Butts

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 95/100

PureWow’s senior editor of branded content Cristina Gutierrez could never find leggings that fit her pear-shaped frame quite right...until she tried on a pair of Zella’s Live In Leggings. “They check all of my boxes: Affordable, thick, enough coverage, a high waist that doesn’t feel like a corset, stretchy, suction-cupped to my body in a way that feels like a second skin,” she says. Pro tip: She recommends checking Nordstrom Rack to see if you can find them on sale before you pay full price.

Buy It ($59)

Tracksmith

16. Tracksmith Turnover Tights

Best for Winter Running

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 94/100

These leggings won't budge on your waist while you're out for a chilly run in the winter. They are made from their patented Inverno Blend fabric for warmth and effortlessness with every stride. PureWow's food editor, Katherine Gillan, adds, "They’re sweat-wicking, quick drying and feel pretty lightweight but the material is brushed on the inside, so it’s fleecy-soft and warm. Bonus points for the back pocket and the bonded seams to prevent chafing."

Buy It ($128)

Old Navy

17. Old Navy High Waisted PowerSoft Leggings

Best for Breathability

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 92/100

Comfy running leggings for cheap? We're in. These leggings are flexible and comfortable for any workout, but our fashion editor, Abby Hepworth, likes them for running. "They really live up to the name and are super soft and smooth. They come with pockets on the sides which is an absolute must when I go for a run (although Old Navy also makes them without pockets) and I appreciate that they come in Tall and Petite lengths, too. I tend to run hot at all times, but especially when working out, which means I sweat a lot and these leggings are wonderfully breathable to help keep me cool and comfortable."

Buy It ($40; $20)

Alo

18. Alo High Waist Airlift Legging

Best for HIIT

  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 95/100

These bestsellers have quickly become my favorite legging to wear for a HIIT workout and to pair with my athleisure outfits. Available in 16 colors, you can easily find your favorite. These leggings offer maximum compression and flexibility while also being super breathable. They're moisture-wicking, too, for those really sweaty workouts. I love that these leggings don't pill because of the nylon exterior but still feel smooth on my skin.

Buy It ($114)

12 other great options to try

lululemon

19. lululemon Wunder Train High-Rise Tight

Best for Moisture Wicking

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 97/100

The thick waistband on these pair are unmatched. I love these leggings for high intensity workouts, especially. If you're like me and you sweat a lot in the crotch/waist area, these leggings soak up the moisture almost instantly thanks to their fastest drying Everlux fabric. AKA, you can stay comfortable without any dampness left behind.

Buy It ($98)

Nordstrom

20. Free People Movement Om Shanti Tie-Dye Leggings

Best Tie-Dye Workout Leggings

Still searching for a good pair of tie-dye leggings? According to Abby F., you can’t do much better than Free People Movement’s Om Shanti style. “The wide waistband is so comfortable and the material is super breathable,” she explains. However, she shared one caveat: They’re best for yoga and other low impact workouts since they tend to fall down when you run, she adds.

Buy It ($88; $40)

Alo

21. Alo High-Waist Airbrush Leggings

Best Workout Leggings for Short Women

Short ladies, listen up: Jessie L. has found the perfect leggings for you. She says this pair hits just above the ankle, rather than bunching up or looking full-length like most of the other 7/8 length ones she’s tried. “I like how the high waist design smooths my waist and moves with me,” she adds. According to the brand, the Airbrush material is designed to smooth and sculpt the legs and butt.

Buy It ($82)

Fabletics

22. Fabletics High-Waisted PowerHold ⅞ Leggings

Best for Spinning

Spin enthusiast Jackie C. says these Fabletics leggings are her favorite ones to wear on the bike because the compression PowerHold fabric makes her feel secure and held in. At the waist, the extra support reminds her to keep her core engaged—something she admittedly struggles with. Oh, and Jackie confirms that they’re totally squat proof, if that’s something you’re concerned about. It’s also worth noting that they’re available in sizes XXS to 4X, making this pair a lot more size inclusive than others on the market.

Buy It ($50)

Amazon

23. Colorfulkoala High Waisted Pattern Leggings

Highest-Rated on Amazon

Colorfulkoala’s leggings are known for being among the most comfortable and affordable on Amazon, so it’s no wonder they’ve racked up over 4,000 positive reviews. They’re comfy enough to rock for just about any type of workout, confirms Janine O. She says her Colorfulkoala leggings have never let her down, but she especially likes wearing them for HIIT and boxing classes, since they don’t need to be adjusted constantly. That’s the dream, right?

$30 at Amazon

lululemon

24. lululemon Fast and Free Tight II 25’’

Best Leggings with Pockets

“I wear these for everything, but I love them for a run or a nice long walk because I can put my phone, card, keys (and during Covid, a mask and hand sanitizer) in the pockets so I don’t have to hold anything,” says Jaymie L. She’s so enamored with this pair’s comfort and convenient pockets that she already owns them in five shades and confidently plans on buying more. According to lululemon’s site, these were specifically designed for running but I’m considering investing in a pair just to make grocery shopping a little easier. The hand-sanitizer-in-pocket idea? Genius.

Buy It ($128)

Athleta

25. Athleta Elation Capri

Most Durable

If you prefer to wear your leggings until they come apart at the seams, Athleta’s Elation Capri was made for you. These babies are so durable, Anne F. says she’s owned multiple pairs that have lasted six or seven years. Even more impressive? After all that time they have yet to pill or become threadbare. Reviewers say they’re opaque, ultra-flattering and buttery soft, too. And they’re available in tall, regular, petite and plus sizes, which is a major win for women everywhere.

Buy It ($79)

Target

26. Target All in Motion Women’s High-Waisted Capri Leggings

Most Squat-Proof Leggings

The woman who recommended these Target brand leggings, Eliza K., is crazy about them. As a matter of fact, she was hesitant to mention them for fear that they might sell out once others catch on. But alas, she decided to share her $30 secret with the rest of us. The All in Motion capris are made from a thick material that Eliza says makes them totally opaque regardless of the workout. The polyester-spandex blend sculpts while wicking away moisture so that these can be your go-to for all levels of intensity. Just note that you might want to size up, as some reviewers say the waistband tends to dig in a bit.

Buy It ($30)

Beyond Yoga

27. Beyond Yoga Spacedye Essential Long Legging

Softest Workout Leggings

Tiffany K. says not only are these Beyond Yoga workout bottoms crazy soft, they also smooth your legs and butt for a flattering fit. And nope, they won’t start sagging five minutes into your Zumba class. They also happen to be moisture-wicking, making these ideal for your next hot yoga class. Multiple reviewers say they’re so in love, they own all three color variations.

Buy It ($88)

Old Navy

28. Old Navy High-Waisted Elevate Crop Leggings

Best Value

Under $25 for a pair of leggings that are equally comfortable for jogging, hiking, TRX and rowing? It might sound a little too good to be true but according to Izzy C., it’s not. She insists these Old Navy cropped leggings are great for all of the above, thanks to their impressive range of motion and breathable fabric. And as a curvy woman, she likes that they don’t roll down around her stomach. But the best aspect of these workout leggings is—obviously—their price. “You can usually get them on sale, and even if you pay full price, they don’t break the bank,” she says. Just keep in mind that you might experience a little pilling around the thighs, but you can mostly mitigate that by air drying these leggings, instead of tossing them in the dryer, Izzy adds.

Buy It ($27; $22)

Athleta

29. Athleta Salutation Stash II Pocket 7/8 Tight

Best Size Range

Sure, a lot of the pants on this list have pretty impressive size ranges. But this particular Athleta pair (which has convenient pockets, BTW) comes in regular, tall, petite and plus sizes ranging from XXS to 3X. And according to Sophie W., they have major range in terms of what you can wear ‘em for, too. “I seriously have worn these for everything from sitting on the couch to skiing to running five miles,” she explains. Now that’s impressive.

Buy It ($98)

Aerie

30. Aerie Offline Real Me High Waisted Legging

Best Lightweight Workout Leggings

If you’re familiar with the v-waist Aerie leggings that went viral on TikTok, these are basically their sister pair. They’re made from the same comfortable, figure-flattering material customers love—they just have the traditional straight across waist. “These aren’t necessarily intended for working out, but I work out in them because they don’t budge. They’re the softest and silkiest ever and they’ve held up through like 600 washes,” says Lauren E.

Buy It ($45)

Sweaty Betty

31. Sweaty Betty Thermodynamic Running Leggings

Best for Cold Weather

“I’ve tried so many fleece-lined leggings in my attempt to run outside in the winter, and Sweaty Betty’s are by far the best,” says Lindsey M. She’s referring to the brand’s Thermodynamic Running Leggings, which feature brushed fleece lining, plus a special temperature-regulating thermal material to keep you warm. Psst, they also have two side pockets and a zip pocket in the back.

Buy It ($128)

RELATED: These 11 Fashion Brands Will Rule 2021

PureWow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

From Around The Web