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These Are the Very Best Workout Leggings

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When I was a full-time rock-climbing instructor, I wore leggings almost every single day, so I feel well equipped to say this: Leggings can make or break a workout. A pair that fits well can literally support you and help you get hyped to exercise. On the flip side, nothing is more discouraging or distracting during a workout than ill-fitting clothes. I spent years searching for leggings that suited my needs (durable, easy to mix and match, good stretch) and to this day still own more leggings than “real” pants. The perfect workout leggings should hug your curves without gaping and make you feel confident and strong. Below, we’ve curated the 23 best workout leggings regardless of how you like to sweat.

The Amazon Holy Grail

Reviewers really, really, really, love these leggings from ODODOS. There are more than 9,600 reviews for them on Amazon, with more than 60 percent five-star reviews. The top review is titled simply “BUY THEM!” The pants are comfortable for lower-impact activities, but might not stand up to a HIIT or boxing class.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

The Ultrahigh-Waist Pair

It wouldn’t be a workout legging list without Lululemon, would it? These offer super-high coverage and go all the way up past your belly button, making them perfect for pairing with crop tops or your favorite sports bra. The “Full-On Luxtreme” fabric keeps everything in place and is supersmooth to the touch.
Available in sizes 0–14.

A Solid Mid-Rise Option

If you’d prefer a lower rise in the world of ubiquitous high-waisted pants, these gems from Amazon are your answer. They have a functional pocket, are “squat proof” (meaning they won’t suddenly become sheer or split when you squat down), and are just as comfortable for lounging as they are for working out.
Available in sizes XS–3X.

The Best Warm Workout Leggings

We wrote about these fleece-lined pants in our fleece-lined winter leggings round up, and we are still obsessed with them for wintertime workouts. They’re lightweight and wicking enough for you to workout in them without becoming a living puddle of sweat, but warm enough to brave ever-dipping temps outside.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

Best Animal Print

Have you ever daydreamed about wearing your favorite leopard midi skirt to the gym? It’s not the best idea, so you can wear these wild-print leggings from J.Crew instead. They don’t have a center seam, so it’s impossible for you to get the dreaded legging camel toe and the leggings’ compression and stretch will make sure you feel as great as you look.
Available in sizes XXS–3X.

Best Leggings for the ’Gram

These Instagram-friendly leggings can hold up for a wide gamut of activities (biking, yoga, rock climbing.) I use them as a base layer under jeans for the coldest months of the year because the shorter hem doesn’t peek out. The textured compression smoothes over curves and feels like a firm hug. The material is made to last, but if you’re going for a buttery feel, these will be a little too coarse to the touch. The three-quarters length hits just above the ankle for me, but if you’re taller and want a similar cut, go for the seven-eighths version.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

The Sustainable Option

Girlfriend Collective’s leggings are made with recycled water bottles — the entire production process was designed with sustainability in mind, from sourcing their bottles to how they dye their fabrics. They’re also super cozy and have a soft, almost shiny texture to them. Since the fabric is tightly woven synthetic material, they tend to hold heat super well. They’re great for brisker activities, less so for super-sweaty ones. These have a super-high rise, too, making them ideal for when you want to wear a crop top but not show a ton of skin.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

The Budget Pick That’s Not See-through

Buying cheaper leggings online is always a gamble because no one wants to be stuck with see-through fabric. Luckily, these leggings from Olacia have more than a thousand reviews, and fans say they’re completely opaque. Reviewers add that these have a comfy, high rise and great quality for a sub-$20 price. They have options for several colors in both a full and crop length, so you can mix things up, too.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

Best Pocket Leggings

These leggings are made with a blend of polyester and spandex to stretch and move with you during a workout. There are two pockets, which are just large enough to fit a phone. Smaller pockets are actually a good thing in a pair of leggings, because it holds your phone in place by your hip rather than sending it all the way down your thigh.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

The Best Durable Leggings

Leggings are great for workouts like running or dance class because they move with you, but they can be trouble on hikes or adventure sports because the soft fabric is prone to snags and tears. These Carhartt leggings offer the best of both worlds. One reviewer wrote that they are “Magic Pants!” that were perfect for a day of hiking and horseback riding.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

Best Leggings for Winter Running

These leggings are designed for winter runs, but you could also use them for other cold-weather training (one reviewer said she ice skates in them). The fleece lining will keep you warm, but also wicks away sweat so it doesn’t have the chance to absorb into the fabric. There are also subtle reflective stripes along the sides, which alert drivers to your existence during early-morning or evening runs.
Available in sizes 0–14.

Best for Studio and Barre

When doing a barre-style class, you need something that stretches and can withstand movement without being too constricting. The Freeform leggings do all that and more. They’re oh-so-soft and feel like a second skin. They have a high rise, and the wide waistband doesn’t pinch at the waist.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

Best for Running

Oiselle knows running. The Seattle-based company produces apparel made by and for women athletes. Reviewers say they stay perfectly in place and don’t chafe during runs. One reviewer also said they were great for throwing a sweater on after a workout to run errands. They also advocate for athletes’ rights in professional sports, especially in track and field, which has been subject to controversy and abuse, so these leggings are a good ethical buy, too.
Available in sizes 2–14.

The All-around Classic

These tights offer high performance no matter what your day throws at you. The Dri-Fit tights are perfect for working out and soft enough to wear just because.
Available in sizes XS–XXL.

Best for Yoga

PrAna’s compression jersey ensures that you are supported throughout your yoga flow. One reviewer notes that they’re comfortable without losing their snug fit. They’re best for yoga but could work for studio workouts, too.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

Best for Intensive Training

These cropped leggings were made to train hard, making them best for high-intensity workouts like boxing classes or Crossfit. Lululemon’s Luxtreme fabric is woven with additional Lycra to ensure these awesome pants retain their shape through every session.
Available in sizes 0–14.

Best Outdoor Voices Dupe

Two things stand out about these leggings. (1) How similar they look to the Outdoor Voices Springs Leggings, and (2) how affordable and size inclusive Old Navy is. These are a fraction of the price of some of the other leggings on this list and are supercute and fun.

The Best Maternity Workout Leggings

Pregnancy can make it hard to find clothing that fits, let alone that you can work out in. These capris have a crossover panel that can be worn folded down or over your belly to make them useful during different stages of pregnancy. The back of the waistline is also notched to prevent dreaded back sweat.
Available in sizes XS–L.

The Best Mesh-Panel Leggings

People will tell you that mesh panels in leggings help ventilate your body during a workout and better wick away sweat. These people are lying. Mesh panels don’t really add functionality to workout leggings, but they do help to mix things up in the sea of color-block athletic attire. These are cute enough to wear outside of the gym, but can still withstand low intensity workouts like a chill vinyasa flow. There’s a small pocket in the back of the waistband that can hold a credit card or keys, but don’t put cash in there unless you want to tip your yoga instructor with a sweat-drenched bill.
Available in sizes XS–3X.

The Designer Pair

These leggings have a streetwear vibe to them, with a little hint of blush color. They are also made with technical stretch jersey for moisture-wicking properties. Pair these with the matching Adidas by Stella McCartney top and you’ve got a winning outfit!

Best for Lifting

These leggings are lightweight and breathable for your most intense training sessions. They also have plenty of support for weight training and make your butt look awesome, too.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

The Do-It-All Legging

The Athleta Lightning Tights are awesome for running, and great for just about everything else, too. There’s an adjustable drawstring that’s designed to never get lost in the wash and a small stash pocket with a zipper to keep your keys or cards from falling out mid-run. We love the sleek reflective panel that’s hidden under mesh for visibility when you need it and subtlety when you don’t.
Available in sizes XXS–3X.

The Best For Your Butt

Sweaty Betty Leggings are known to be the leggings to make your butt look great. The Super Sculpt leggings have a near perfect rating on their website, with reviewers remarking that the fabric smooths cellulite and stays up during workouts. One reviewer writes, “I bought these for working out but I have been wearing them for everything because they shape my body and look so good.”
Available in sizes XXS–XL.

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