Best Workout Leggings For Every Activity & Body Type
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Best Workout Leggings For Every Activity & Body Type

Jul 14, 2023

Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to make you happier—so it’s a good idea to invest in workout gear that encourages you to get moving. As big fans of movement, we believe finding the best workout leggings is crucial for comfort and performance, which could make or break your relationship with exercise.

The stretchy and supportive nature of leggings helps you feel more secure and empowered during activities such as HIIT, cycling, yoga, weight lifting, running, and walking.

As it turns out, fitness trainers and physical therapists have a lot to say about what to look for in the best workout leggings. Keep reading to learn how to find the best pair for you.

According to Nicole Teribery, DPT, NASM CPT, finding your favorite pair of leggings is a journey—and quality and comfort are of the utmost importance.

“As a NASM certified personal trainer, physical therapist, and lover of all exercise, I’ve tried many brands and styles of workout leggings," she says. "Whether it’s weight training, yoga, HIIT, cycle, or crossfit, there is one brand and style I always stick with because of its quality and comfort.” We call out Teribery’s top pick in our list below, but we recommend taking her lead and doing your own trial and error to find the most comfortable, effective pair for yourself.

Julia Stern, Founder of Show Up, agrees that what is comfortable for one body shape might not be for another, so trying on various brands and styles is always a great idea. “This goes without saying, but you want to make sure you’re comfortable in the workout leggings," she advises. "I know what works for my body and I’ve tried on a lot of different brands. Once you find a style that you like, get them in different colors."

Stern says the length and rise of the workout leggings are also important factors to consider. “I’m petite and just a little over five feet tall," she explains. "It used to be very frustrating to have so much of the legging bunched at my ankles."

Fortunately, many brands now list the inseam length on the tag. "I only buy 25” inseam or cropped leggings that will still hit at my ankles," Stern says. "Similarly, an extra high rise legging sometimes comes to my chest and then I’m left folding them over. I often go for something that’s more mid-rise and will sit comfortably above my hips. But low rise leggings also exist, if that’s your thing!”

Stern says the key to choosing comfortable, supportive workout leggings is to understand the type of workouts you're performing.

“I usually pick more supportive leggings for workouts that require more movement like running and jumping," she explains. "When I’m working out with less impact, stretchy leggings with less support are more comfortable for me. Above all, remind yourself that it’s not you, it’s the clothes. When wearing workout leggings, you should feel strong and confident. If you don’t feel that way, it’s time to try on a new pair.”

Ultimately, the best workout leggings should empower you and your movements, rather than restrict you. Yoga teacher trainer, Roni Elissabeth Harris, Founder of Bella Prāṇa Yoga and Meditation Collective in Tampa, FL, says choosing workout leggings with maximum mobility is helpful, especially when it comes to yoga.

“What I look for in yoga leggings is maximum mobility," she says. "Whether it’s hot or cold outside, I like a thinner fabric because I feel more able to comfortably make any shape. And it’s an absolute dealbreaker for me if the waistband isn’t nice and wide.”

Most of our picks are direct recommendations from the certified personal trainers and experts we interviewed. Others were chosen by our team based on personal experience, our expert's guidelines, and additional research.

Per our expert's advice, we chose leggings from the top brands in the industry. All leggings have either been tested by our team or the experts we interviewed. As always, we prioritized brands that use sustainable materials and practices.

We included workout leggings for a variety of exercises. Whether you're training indoors or outdoors and performing HIIT or low-impact workouts, there's something on the list for you.

The best workout leggings range in price from under $100 to $150. We made sure to select picks that fit a wide range of price points so everyone can find their perfect pair.

Every fitness expert we spoke with, from studio owners to CPTs, agree that lululemon’s Align workout leggings are a top tier choice for yoga and beyond. I (the writer!) am a yoga instructor myself—and the Aligns are my go-to legging for just about any workout.

The soft, breathable material is designed specifically for low-impact workouts such as yoga, but these leggings also hold up for cross training. The weightless Nulu™ fabric is buttery soft and offers a breathable, sweat-wicking four-way stretch, while Lycra™ fibers give these a flattering fit.

Stern says, “I wear these leggings almost every day, and own them in five different sizes from when I was pregnant and postpartum. They have so much stretch, and they’re a wardrobe staple I never get tired of.” Harris agrees, “When it comes to softness, I absolutely love the Align pant from lululemon.”

As for sustainability, Lululemon does have a ways to go, but the brand is striving to achieve at least 75% sustainability for its products by 2025, with a goal to be using 100% sustainable materials by 2030.

Every fitness expert we spoke with, from studio owners to CPTs, agree that lululemon’s Align workout leggings are a top tier choice for yoga and beyond. I (the writer!) am a yoga instructor myself—and the Aligns are my go-to legging for just about any workout.

For your HIIT class needs and beyond, the Lululemon Wunder Train leggings stand up to the test. They’re Teribery’s aforementioned number one pick for just about every workout.

“Whether I’m weight training, yoga, HIIT, cycle, or crossfit, there is one brand and style that I always stick with: Lululemon’s Wunder Train leggings," she says. "They offer a variety of lengths for every body type, fit snug around the waist so you feel secure, and allow you to move freely without restriction."

Teribery says what makes the Wunder Train a tier above is their durability. “The biggest difference is that these leggings don’t break down or lose their elasticity, making them last for years of training. It’s safe to say I have them in 10 different colors.”

For your HIIT class needs and beyond, the Lululemon Wunder Train leggings stand up to the test. They’re Teribery’s aforementioned number one pick for just about every workout.

These leggings feature a flattering high waist design and high-compression fabric for maximum support that sculpts your body and stretches with you as you move. They’re perfect for doing pliés at the barre or heading from practice to pavement, all while nailing the ballet-core aesthetic.

Yes, the pricetag is a little steep—but these leggings are worth the investment. They're made from a lightweight, performance-engineered Airlift fabric with full mesh side panels from the waist down.

On the brand's website, one pilates goer writes, “I’m giving it five stars not just for the look and fit. I’m all about dark leggings to avoid see through drama but decided to check these in macadamia color and they actually passed the squat test. That extra star is just for that.”

These leggings feature a flattering high waist design and high-compression fabric for maximum support that sculpts your body and stretches with you as you move. They’re perfect for doing pliés at the barre or heading from practice to pavement, all while nailing the ballet-core aesthetic.

Alo’s high waisted cargo leggings have enough pockets to hold your phone, wallet, keys, and favorite lip balm. The high waistline is oh-so trendy and yogi-tested. It lifts and sculpts, without being overly compressive.

It’s no wonder they’re Julia Stern’s favorite soft workout legging. “Alo’s airbrush fabric has more of a cotton feel, and almost double as sweatpants, but they’re still supportive. They’re great for low impact workouts or active recovery days,” she says.

We also love that Alo is 100% sweat shop free and eco-aware, with its L.A. headquarters and Beverly Hills flagship being solar powered. The brand is building a 1-megawatt solar farm on its roof that will be able to continuously light 100,000 lightbulbs when the sun is shining.

Alo’s high waisted cargo leggings have enough pockets to hold your phone, wallet, keys, and favorite lip balm. The high waistline is oh-so trendy and yogi-tested. It lifts and sculpts, without being overly compressive.

These sustainable leggings don’t compromise comfort or softness. An ultra-light, non-restrictive fit allows for easy breathing throughout all forms of exercise.

The exceptional comfort is thanks to the brand's innovative and resilient FLOAT material, crafted from a blend of 10% spandex and 90% recycled water bottles. According to our commerce editor, Carleigh Ferrante, these feel as comfy as featherweight sweatpants.

“I’ve worn leggings from every brand you could think of, and none of them are quite as comfortable as my Girlfriend FLOAT leggings,” Ferrante says in this review. “I love them so much I bought a second pair so I’d always have one in rotation. These workout leggings don't constrict movement, look chic enough to wear on airplanes, and haven't pilled despite seven months of regular wear. And while you might expect a pair of leggings this good to retail for more than $100, they only cost $78.”

We love that these workout leggings are budget-friendly compared to most—and the brand's sustainability practices are another thing you can feel good about. Girlfriend prioritizes sustainability by using repurposed materials in its clothing and packaging, which are both 100% recyclable.

These sustainable leggings don’t compromise comfort or softness. An ultra-light, non-restrictive fit allows for easy breathing throughout all forms of exercise.

Stern recommends Nike’s One Luxe leggings for runs because the stretchy Dri-FIT fabric is sweat-wicking and locks into the muscles of key regions for maximum support and mobility. “I love these Nike workout leggings for my runs," she says. "They’re silky and performance enhancing, but still soft.”

This pick has pockets at the front and back waist , which many reviewers appreciate. What's more, these leggings are made from a 50% recycled polyester, which means you will not only feel good during your run, but also about your impact on the planet.

FYI, the recycled polyester used in Nike products begins as recycled plastic bottles that go through a rigorous process to be shredded into flakes and then spun into a high-quality yarn. That’s just one reason we called out the Nike One Luxe in our roundup of the best running leggings.

Stern recommends Nike’s One Luxe leggings for runs because the stretchy Dri-FIT fabric is sweat-wicking and locks into the muscles of key regions for maximum support and mobility. “I love these Nike workout leggings for my runs," she says. "They’re silky and performance enhancing, but still soft.”

As per their name, you’ll want to wear these workout leggings daily. We called out the Vuori Daily Legging in our roundup of the best athleisure wear—and ,though some leggings have come close, none have topped the four-way stretch comfort of this pick for lounging.

The brand's BreatheInterlock™ fabric is peachy to the touch, with smoothing coverage and an airbrushed finish. NASM-certified fitness instructor and nutritionist Lisa Germani Williams says, “I have three pairs of the Vuori Daily Leggings on weekly rotation in my closet! The fabric is so soft and buttery, yet gives me some flattering coverage. Overall, it’s just a super flattering legging that’s built well and extremely versatile. Definitely a staple in my workout/athleisure wear category.”

Our commerce editor, Carleigh Ferrante, recently tried the brand's newest launch, the BlissBlend AllTheFeels Leggings, and says they're just as buttery as this pick. It's safe to say any leggings from this brand will be a win.

As per their name, you’ll want to wear these workout leggings daily. We called out the Vuori Daily Legging in our roundup of the best athleisure wear—and ,though some leggings have come close, none have topped the four-way stretch comfort of this pick for lounging.

Seamless workout leggings are perfect for weight training days and activities such as yoga, pilates, or running, where you need a lot of flexibility in movement. This pick is designed to fit smoothly to your body shape and provide a snug fit that won't chafe or rub uncomfortably against your skin.

Nicole Teribery, DPT, NASM CPT, always reaches for this pair when she wants to go seamless. “For those not wanting to spend over $100 for workout leggings, although the price is worth how long they last, Gym Shark’s Vital Seamless collection are great. They make you feel secure throughout your deep squats or downward dogs and are more affordable.”

We love that this product is made using dope dyeing technology, which uses less water, energy and chemicals, as part of the brand's sustainability efforts to lower environmental impact.

Seamless workout leggings are perfect for weight training days and activities such as yoga, pilates, or running, where you need a lot of flexibility in movement. This pick is designed to fit smoothly to your body shape and provide a snug fit that won't chafe or rub uncomfortably against your skin.

Another favorite pick from Stern, these leggings are perfefct for low-impact exercises. I (the writer) have tested this pair myself and agree that the buttery soft fabric is perfect for going from yoga class to coffee with a friend.

We love that, while the fabric is the brand's lightest-feeling fabric, it is designed to give full coverage, just the right amount of compression, and a second-skin feel.

These leggings are also rated UPF 50+, so you can stay protected in the great outdoors. They’re made in a Fair Trade certified factory, too.

Another favorite pick from Stern, these leggings are perfefct for low-impact exercises. I (the writer) have tested this pair myself and agree that the buttery soft fabric is perfect for going from yoga class to coffee with a friend.

Our experts recommend choosing leggings based on your workout type. “Pick more supportive leggings for workouts that require more movement like running and jumping," Stern advises. "When working out with less impact, stretchy leggings with less support are more comfortable."

Two years is the average lifespan of high quality workout leggings. For durability, our experts recommend Gym Shark and Lululemon. We love brands like Girlfriend that offer recycling programs with discounts on future purchases.

Most leggings hold up best when machine washed cold and tumble dried on low.

Per the trainers we interviewed, Gym Shark’s Adapt and Vital Seamless collections make you feel secure throughout your deep squats or downward dogs. Of course, the best pick for you is what you feel most comfortable and supportive in.

Investing in quality workout leggings is also an investment in your workout performance, comfort, and confidence. This picks come recommended by trainers, instructors, and mindbodygreen team members who swear by their favorite leggings. Ready to hit the gym? Just make sure you're wearing the right workout shoes, too.

Best yoga pants: Best for HIIT: Best for pilates: Best with pockets: Best sustainable: Best running leggings: Best for lounging: Best squat proof: Best for low impact: