The 15 Best Workout Leggings of 2023

Lululemon’s Align High-Rise leggings are comfortable yet flattering.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Alex Sandoval

Anyone who’s had a favorite pair of workout leggings knows how good it feels to slip into those pants and feel ready to slay your routine. But what if you had a few pairs of workout pants you always looked forward to exercising in? The best leggings for working out are ones you don’t think about or have to adjust after slipping them on.

Reviewed & Approved

We selected Lululemon Align High-Rise Pants because our experts all touted this brand as a winner; they have a comfortable, buttery feel and don't need to be adjusted during workouts. We also love the Old Navy Powersoft Leggings for their high-quality fabric and fit for an affordable price point—so you can have several pairs!

No matter your workout, you should keep an eye on your leggings’ material. You want to look for breathable and sweat-wicking fabric that’s comfortable enough to work out and live life, recommends Audrey Bowman, marathoner, running coach, and creator of the Audrey Bowman Fitness workout app. “I gravitate toward a softer material that quickly dries with just the right amount of compression so that I can move during my workout and feel good after running errands.”

“Stick with synthetic sweat-wicking materials along the lines of polyester/spandex/recycled polyester or nylon/lycra fabric,” adds K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS, author of My Pocket Guide to Stretching.

While online reviews and the brand’s sizing guides are good starting points when trying to find your perfect pair of workout leggings, everyone’s shape and size are unique. “There’s no replacement for trying the leggings on,” Fetters says. “If you're shopping online, I'd recommend ordering a few different cuts from a given retailer, each in two different sizes. Try them all on; send what you don't like back.”

When you’re looking to buy the best workout leggings, there are a few components to think about in addition to the material and sizing: fit (hello high-waists), size inclusivity, opacity, the stretchiness of the fabric, performance, inseam, and other features like pockets.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant

Lululemon

Why We Like It: The fabric feels so soft and smooth—and these leggings have pockets.

It’s Worth Noting: These pants are moisture-wicking, but if your workout is really intense, the leggings may hold onto sweat.

Lululemon pants are known for their soft, buttery feel, and the Align lightweight workout leggings are the epitome of the soft yoga pants that you look forward to wearing. They’re designed for yoga and low-impact workouts—and yes, gentle stretching while watching your favorite TV show counts!

“I like the Aligns for lower-impact workouts and the Wunder Train leggings for higher-impact exercise,” Bowman says. “With both styles, I never have to bother with them during my workout or mid-set stop and adjust the fit.”

These ankle-length pants have a thick, high waistband for a flattering shape and a few inseam options—something Bowman says she’s always looking for in workout leggings since she’s 5-foot-11. The other thing better than the fit and feel of these pants? They have three pockets.

Price at time of publication: $128

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Nylon and lycra elastane blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two side pockets and a waist pocket
  • Sizes available: 0-20

Best for Running: Under Armour HeatGear No-Slip Waistband High-Rise Leggings

Under Armour HeatGear No-Slip Waistband High-Rise Leggings

Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Like It: The high-tech material wicks away sweat and keeps you cool.

It’s Worth Noting: We wish they came in more colors.

If you’re shopping for running leggings, you want a tight fit that will still move with you as you run.

These compression-fit pants from Under Armour stay put as you move. They feature the brand’s No-Slip Waistband, which is wide and flat with a unique double-layer design for extra grip. The material also wicks sweat away and is fast-drying, exactly what a runner wants—whether you’re logging a few miles on a hot day or running a marathon. The material is lightweight, so it feels like a second skin but keeps you cool in warmer temps.

Price at time of publication: $50

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and elastane blend
  • Pockets: Yes, one side pocket
  • Sizes available: XXS-XXL

Best for Spin: Fabletics On-The-Go Powerhold 

Fabletics On-The-Go Powerhold

Fabletics

Why We Like It: These pants have a variety of colors, sizes, and inseam options.

It’s Worth Noting: The fabric has a rougher feel—not the top option if you want buttery-soft leggings.

The PowerHold is Fabletics’ maximum compression fabric and has a great fit when you’re climbing on a cycling bike and want to feel fully supported, particularly at the waist. “You want a sweat-wicking, high-waisted pant on the bike,” says Erika Shannon-Hathaway, streaming fitness producer and ACE-certified instructor with previous experience at Beachbody, Equinox, Soulcycle, Daily Burn, MYXfitness, and Openfit.

The compression fabric is very flattering whether you’re cycling, boxing, doing a HIIT class, or running on a treadmill (great for those combo classes!). These leggings stay put without the dreaded bike seat wedgie when you’re in and out of the saddle during your cycling workout. The moisture-wicking technology means you won’t show the person behind you on the bike how much you’re sweating.

Fabletics has a 90-day money-back guarantee on their unused workout pants, so consult their fit guide and order a few sizes to make sure you’ve got the best fit.

Price at time of publication: $75

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and elastane blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two side pockets
  • Sizes available: XXS-4X

Best for Yoga: Alo Yoga High-Waist Airbrush Legging 

PEAS Fitness Deals
Amazon

Why We Like It: These seamless leggings are flattering for every body type.

It’s Worth Noting: They’re not as breathable as other options, so they may not be best for your toughest, sweatiest workouts.

For many of us, workout leggings and yoga leggings are synonymous. And yes, many of our yoga leggings transition to life outside the gym, but you must keep a few key features in mind when shopping for leggings that will take you through even the toughest poses.

Known for their yoga-centered branding, these leggings from Alo Yoga won the top spot for this category because their Airbrush fabric offers a stretchy, yet super-soft feel. Plus, they’re moisture-wicking and odor resistant, standing up to any hot yoga class. These high-waisted pants are a fan-favorite for their second-skin feel and flattering fit for every size and shape—whether you’re doing inversions, striking warrior poses, or are into yoga for the savasana pose.

The Alo brand has a purpose-driven mission, uses eco-friendly production methods, and teaches yoga to all ages. “When searching for a leggings brand, consider companies that use recycled materials, are certified B Corp, or are a brand with an ethos that aligns with your values if that’s important to you,” Fetters says.

Price at time of publication: $98

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: No
  • Sizes available: XXS-XL

Best for Hiking: Outdoor Voices Warmup Legging 

Outdoor Voices Warmup Legging

Outdoor Voices

Why We Like It: The compression fabric holds you in while keeping you warm.

It’s Worth Noting: These leggings run small and the company recommends you size up.

When you’re looking for workout leggings for hiking, you want a pair of pants with moisture-wicking properties, so sweat dries quickly and is thick enough to keep you warm when temperatures drop. You’ll also want something that allows you to climb and stretch up steep hills. These mid-rise textured pants from Outdoor Voices fit like a glove, with heavyweight compression for tough hikes, even in warm weather. If you need a thicker material for your cold weather hikes, check out the brand’s FrostKnit leggings with thicker material and reflective details.

Whatever the temperature, Fetters recommends looking for high-tech moisture-wicking clothes for your hikes. “If you're exercising in cold weather and your sweat pools up, whatever's wet gets much colder than it already is,” she says. “There's a reason hikers say ‘cotton kills.’ Wearing sweaty cotton is not unlike moving around in an ice-cube bodysuit.”

Price at time of publication: $78

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: Yes, one waist pocket
  • Sizes available: XS-XL

Best for Pilates: Athleta Ultra Rise Elation Tight 

Athleta Ultra Rise Elation Tight

Athleta

Why We Like It: The back pocket keeps your silhouette sleek and streamlined.

It’s Worth Noting: This Athleta pant has limited colors.

There’s a reason Athleta leggings are so many people’s go-to workout pants—they’re well-made, feel great during wear, and are flattering for all shapes and sizes. Not only are their Ultra Rise Elation Tights available in up to a 3X, but they also have various inseam lengths—a feature many exercisers love. They’re also a favorite of the experts we spoke to.

“Ninety-nine percent of my leggings are Athleta. When I find a brand that fits my body, is comfortable, performs well, and holds up over time, I stick with it,” says Fetters. “I know my brand and size, and I can buy any Athleta workout legging in a given size, and it will fit.”

The brand’s Powervita fabric feels soft and luxurious, but it has light support and moves with you when you need it—like when you’re on a reformer—but stays put during the Pilates hundred

Price at time of publication: $89

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Nylon and elastane blend
  • Pockets: Yes, one waist pocket
  • Sizes available: XXS-3X

Best for HIIT: 90 Degree by Reflex Power Flex Yoga Pants 

90 Degree by Reflex Power Flex Yoga Pants

Amazon

Why We Like It:  They’ve got a great price point and two pockets.

It’s Worth Noting: They’re a little loose in the lower leg.

HIIT classes offer plenty of different types of movement, and you want your leggings to stand up to all of them. With a high waist and compression feel, these Power Flex Yoga Pants are flattering but stay put, and the opaque fabric offers your peace of mind when you’re squatting.

Leggings should fit snugly to your body and make everything feel held in place. “You want to squat, deadlift, lunge, and—if you're doing more HIIT-style workouts—move around in various directions,” Bowman says. “Your leggings should allow for movement and feel like a part of your body.” These workout leggings have four-way stretch material, so you won’t even think about them while jumping, lunging, or doing kettlebell swings or burpees.

Price at time of publication: $19

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two side pockets
  • Sizes available: XS-3X

Best for Heated Classes: Nike Yoga Dri-FIT Luxe Leggings

Nike Yoga Dri-FIT Luxe Leggings

Nike

Why We Like It: Their Dri-FIT fabric will keep you dry during the sweatiest workouts.

It’s Worth Noting: They only have one small pocket.

Nike’s Dri-FIT Luxe workout leggings are great for heated classes because of the brand’s high-tech fabric technology. The leggings move sweat away from your skin so it evaporates quickly and keeps you dry—even when you’re in classes with temps over 100 degrees and added humidity.

These 7/8-length pants have a high waistband and a compression feel. They’re constructed with Nike’s Infinalon fabric, which is thin and comfortable while still sturdy.

Price at time of publication: $90

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Nylon, spandex, and polyester blend
  • Pockets: Yes, one
  • Sizes available: XS-3X

Best for Cross Training: Born Primitive Lift Yourself Up 

Born Primitive Lift Yourself Up

Born Primitive

Why We Like It: Their thick fabric is opaque enough for any workout.

It’s Worth Noting: These pants don’t have pockets.

Athletes who love cross-training should look for workout leggings that can handle anything thrown at them. That might be strength training one day, running another day, and even elliptical workouts or bike rides in between.

These pants from Born Primitive have high opacity and lightweight fabric designed to move with you. They don’t skimp on flattering features, with a “butt scrunch” for a subtle lift and a high waistband that stays put.

We also like their snug fit throughout. “You don't want [leggings] to be loose,” Shannon-Hathaway says. “Because if you're doing something that has a lot of friction, like cycling, you don't want them to chafe your legs or to rub in places that are uncomfortable.” Plus, if you’re looking for a little extra motivation during a hard workout, we love the brand’s printed graphic on the leggings telling you to “Defy Impossible.”

Price at time of publication: $78

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Nylon and lycra blend
  • Pockets: No
  • Sizes available: XS-2XL

Best for Walking: Old Navy Powersoft Leggings

Old Navy Powersoft Leggings

Old Navy

Why We Like It: These soft pants go up to size 4XL.

It’s Worth Noting: They don’t have much compression.

When shopping for leggings for walking, you want something comfortable that will hold up over long distances without chafing. Old Navy’s Powersoft leggings are a great fit thanks to their four-way stretch fabric, light compression, and super-soft feel.

Plus, they have two pockets to carry your phone, keys, lip balm, and even a small stick of sunscreen for long walks. They also feature Old Navy’s Go-Dry sweat-wicking technology if your workout gets more intense (they’re also super comfortable and look great if your go-to “workouts” are brunching or lounging).

While these are great for walking, they don’t offer much compression for higher-intensity workouts.

Price at time of publication: $40

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two side pockets
  • Sizes available: XS-4XL

Best for Endurance Training: Brooks Method Tight 

Brooks Method Tight

Brooks Running

Why We Like It: They feature four pockets for storing all your essentials.

It’s Worth Noting: They only have one inseam length option.

Not just any leggings will stand up to long, tough workouts. This pair is made with Brooks’ signature DriLayer HorsePower fabric, which is sweat-wicking, lightweight but supportive, with light compression that doesn’t slow you down.

With two side pockets and a back pocket that fits your phone, you don’t have to think about losing your tech while you’re working out. Brooks has a Run Happy Promise, meaning if you don’t love your workout gear, they’ll take it back within 90 days.

The one drawback to these ultra-durable tights is that they’re only available in a 25-inch inseam.

Price at time of publication: $88

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester/ Nylon and spandex blend 
  • Pockets: Yes, two side pockets and a waist pocket
  • Sizes available: XS-XXL

Best for Summer Outdoor Workouts: Spanx Booty Boost Active Knee 

Spanx Booty Boost Active Knee

Spanx

Why We Like It: These leggings take the brand’s signature focus on a flattering fit and apply it to a pant for any workout.

It’s Worth Noting: They’re only available in black right now.

You know Spanx for their revolutionary shapewear products—but they also brought that same approach of creating flattering silhouettes to their workout line. These knee-length workout pants are perfect for summer workouts because their nylon and elastane fabric wicks sweat, dries quickly, and feels breathable—so you won’t be weighed down.

“If you're exercising, it's sweat's evaporation that cools you,” Fetters says. That’s why you don’t want to wear cotton leggings for your workouts because they’ll trap sweat, making you feel hot and soggy.

The high waistband on these leggings is also designed to eliminate muffin top and their active knee component slims thighs to below the knees. Thanks, Spanx!

Price at time of publication: $78

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Nylon and elastane blend
  • Pockets: Yes, one waist pocket
  • Sizes available: XS-3XL

Best for Winter Outdoor Workouts: Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight 

Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight

Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Like It:  They feature the brand’s DriLayer fabric for extra warmth—perfect for winter runs.

It’s Worth Noting: They’re only available in two colors.

If you’re looking to boost your calorie burn with an outdoor workout, you should make sure your gear offers plenty of warmth. A go-to brand for runners, Brooks has you covered with DriLayer material that warms and wicks swear in its Momentum Thermal Tight.

Designed more like traditional running pants, these figure-flattering workout leggings are great for outdoor runs, outdoor training, or a base layer if you’re going to be out in frigid temps and snow. The brand recently updated its DriLayer fabric to withstand even harsher winter elements.

They feature a fleece lining that doesn’t add extra bulk, plus light compression and a wide waistband that support you while allowing you to move as much as you need to during your workout.

Price at time of publication: $95

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two on the legs and one in the waist
  • Sizes available: XS-XXL

Best Plus-Size: Superfit Hero Superhold Leggings

Superfit Hero Superhold Pocket Leggings

Superfit Hero

Why We Like It: These pants pass the squat test with opaque coverage.

It’s Worth Noting: You might want to size up for a more opaque fit.

Leggings should work for all bodies, no matter your size. Superfit Hero designs its products exclusively for plus-size figures, meaning your perfect fit won’t be an afterthought.

These pants are made with the brand’s high-tech SuperHold material that offers compression along with sweat-wicking and quick-drying capabilities while also providing that soft feel we seek out with yoga leggings or workout leggings. They also feature flat seams for zero chafing and discomfort. The high waistband flatters figures while staying put no matter what kind of workout you’re doing.

Fans of Superfit love these leggings’ opacity, but if you want to be sure you can’t see through them you may want to size up.

Price at time of publication: $99

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester and spandex blend
  • Pockets: Yes, two hip pockets
  • Sizes available: L–7XL

Best Lululemon: Wunder Train High-Rise Tight

Wunder Train High-Rise Tight

Lululemon

Why We Like It: The thicker material is super soft and dries quickly.

It’s Worth Noting: While these leggings have a pocket, it’s not big enough for some essentials like a phone.

There’s a reason many people think of Lululemon when they think of workout leggings—the company has been creating activewear for decades and they’ve still got a foothold on the marketplace even with plenty of competition. The luxury workout brand has remedied its previous sheerness issue, and the fabric is now better than ever with moisture-wicking technology and a soft, cool-to-the-touch feel.

“Lululemon really knows how to make leggings that fit my body and stay up during my workouts,” Bowman says. “I love the 28-inch inseam they offer and the perfect amount of compression without being too tight to move during a workout.”

The drawcord waistband ensures they stay put during any workout, and the four-way stretch means your workout leggings work just as hard as you do.

Price at time of publication: $98

Product Details:

  • Fabric: Polyester, elastane, nylon blend 
  • Pockets: Yes, one waistband pocket
  • Sizes Available: 0-20

How We Selected

We interviewed fitness industry experts who’ve logged countless hours working out in their decades’ worth of experience, as well as many years coaching or instructing others who were exercising. They named some of these brands above as well as what to look for when you’re buying workout leggings in person or online. You should also take your favorite workout type into consideration when shopping for leggings, so we also spoke to experts to get their recommendations for each type.

What to Know About Workout Leggings

When you’re shopping for the best workout leggings, look for a few key features.

Material Type

Whether you’re taking a hot yoga class in the summer or an outdoor jog in the winter, there’s a legging material just right for the temperature. For warmer weather, you’ll want to look for a lightweight material in the blend, like nylon or spandex. These materials often wick away sweat and dry quickly.

If you want leggings that will stand up to colder weather, look for fleece-lined options or even polyester, which offers some insulation and even wicks moisture—great for a snowy workout.

Thickness

Opacity is a big factor to consider when you’re choosing workout leggings. No one wants to squat or lunge and inadvertently flash the gym behind them. Read the reviews about this when buying fitness leggings, try them on, look in the mirror, and pull on the fabric.

Sweat Resistance

Make sure any workout leggings you’re buying to exercise in are made from material that’s sweat-wicking, promises moisture control, and dries quickly. Avoid exercising in cotton leggings because they tend to hold onto sweat. Also make sure the material has four-way stretch and good opacity so it isn’t see-through.

Other Features to Look For

  • Pockets: Whether you’re putting your leggings through a tough workout or just wearing them out for an errand, pockets can store all your necessities. “I think we can all agree that anything in life is made better by pockets,” Fetters says. “When it comes to workout leggings, my favorite pockets are on the sides of the thighs, and are perfect for holding my phone snug while I run, keeping my keys safe, or storing my ever-important lip balm.” Fetters also adds that pockets are also a must if you’re exercising outdoors. “Apart from the convenience factor, I always recommend that when people are exercising outside, they have GPS with them, a way for people to track their movements, and a way to contact others or 911 for help,” she says. “A phone does all that.”
  • Reflective Elements: Also great for added outdoor safety are reflective elements. If you exercise outside, you want people and cars to be able to see you in the early morning light and at night.
  •  Comfortable Waistband: A comfy waistband is a must for long wear. And yes, many of us prefer the flattering high-waist fit. “Everyone has a different definition of what's comfortable, but I like the waistband to be flat and the same fabric as the rest of the pants,” says Fetters.

Your Questions, Answered

Is it better to size up or down in workout leggings? 

The answer isn’t that simple. Read the workout leggings’ reviews and sizing guide to learn more about each pair before ordering your size.

“Take the time to find the pair that fits your body the best,” Fetters suggests. Tights that are too loose “could move around (think: rubbing) or split your focus (think: needing to tug on your waistband during workouts). Too tight a fit will limit your ability to move, potentially decreasing your ability to get in deep diaphragmatic breaths,” she says. “Try on leggings until you find your second skin pair.”

Overall, our experts’ advice was to buy a few sizes and try them on. Put your workout leggings through a “squat test” as well as move around in them, jump, jog in place, move side to side, and yes, bend over and look at your behind in a mirror to see if you can see through the fabric.

Should workout leggings be tight or loose? 

Overall, your workout leggings should be tight. All of our experts said in one form or another, “if you're thinking about your workout clothes or workout leggings as you’re exercising, they don’t fit well.”

If you're doing yoga, Pilates, or some sort of modality like Tai Chi that doesn't have as much friction or quick movement, a looser pant is always an option, says Shannon-Hathaway. “Just make sure that it's not so loose that it would catch on a piece of equipment, like on the Pilates reformer,” she says.

What’s the difference between yoga leggings and gym leggings?

The main difference between yoga leggings and gym leggings is mainly marketing language. There aren’t set qualities or parameters across the board that each brand abides by when it comes to listing their workout leggings as yoga pants, workout leggings, exercise pants. That being said, “yoga leggings are going to be softer and less compressive than your typical gym leggings,” Bowman says. 

They also likely won’t always have the same level of sweat-wicking technology as those workout leggings designed for running or endurance training. “Gym leggings are often a little slicker and more rigid,” Fetters says. “But seriously, it doesn't matter if the tights you love are designed/marketed for yoga, the gym, or running—as long as they feel good to you, rock them however you want.”

What size workout leggings should I wear? 

“One thing I really like about the online retail workout space is they are becoming more size-inclusive and providing more and more photos of people of all shapes, heights, body types, and so on via the website so you can have a better idea of how the leggings look,” Bowman says. “Check out the size guide on the website, or if you're in the store try them on to see how they fit.”

Do the “squat check” in the dressing room to make sure you can move in them and like the way they look from all angles before buying a pair of leggings, Bowman recommends. “The leggings should feel comfortable and allow you to move freely in them.” You also want to avoid leggings slipping down or restricting your movement.

How much should you expect to pay for workout leggings?

You can expect to pay at least $25 and up for most high-quality leggings, although many brands made from high-tech fabric on this list are about $75 and up. We understand that paying that price for workout leggings is an investment—that’s why we compiled this best workout leggings list so you’re spending your money wisely.

Who We Are

Diana Kelly Levey is a freelance journalist based in Long Island, NY, and has been covering health topics for over 15 years. She frequently covers women’s health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and parenting topics.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles