For more of the Cut’s favorite fashion, beauty, and home finds, sign up for the weekly Cut Shop Newsletter.
During my seven years as a shopping writer, I’ve reviewed many pairs of leggings for my job and for personal interest. And after wearing them for New York Pilates, Solidcore, Rumble, Monster Cycle (RIP), “hot-girl walks,” running, trampoline classes, at-home workouts, dance classes, and many other workout options, I feel well equipped to say this: Leggings can make or break a workout.
A pair that fits well can support you and help you get hyped to exercise. On the flip side, an undesired wedgie or a waistline that doesn’t stay put can discourage you. And as much as I would love a “one-legging-fits-all” approach, I struggle to say that exists.
That’s why I’ve filled my drawers with the best leggings for different types of workouts: high-waisted ones, ones with pockets, and even some that are fleece-lined. I’ve listed mine below. And yes, I tested them alongside the best sport bras.
The Best Leggings to “Do It All”
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 without worrying about exposing a ton of skin. As one reviewer notes, it accentuates your waist for a “snatched” look. The Everlux fabric is smooth to the touch and meant for lower-impact activities like yoga.
Sizes: 0-20 | Colors: Available in 8 | Materials: 7 percent nylon, 23 percent Lycra® elastane
The Best Leggings for the Gym
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.
Sizes: XS–XXL | Colors: Available in 19 | Materials: 75 percent polyester, 25 percent spandex
The Best Leggings for Low-Impact Workouts
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.
Sizes: XS–3X | Colors: Available in 31 | Materials: 77 percent polyester, 23 percent spandex
The Best Leggings for Squats
Reviewers really, really, really, love these leggings from ODODOS. There are more than 5,900 reviews for them on Amazon, with more than 70 percent five-star reviews. The top review is titled simply “Love these leggings.” The pants are comfortable for lower-impact activities, but might not stand up to a HIIT or boxing class.
Sizes: XS–XXL Colors: Available in 8 | Material: 72 percent polyamide, 28 percent elastan
The Best Leggings for Pilates
Don’t take it from me, but Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner also turn to their Alo Yoga leggings for a Pilates class. And while the Rhode founder likes to wear the high-waisted Alosoft Highlight leggings, I gravitate towards the 7/8 high-waisted Airlift because the double-knit Airlift fabric definitely works wonders. The moisture-wicking technology just soaks up the sweat, so I don’t feel sticky at all.
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Colors: Available in 16 | Materials: Polyester and spandex
The Best Leggings for At-Home Workouts
These are ideal for at-home low-impact workouts. They’re lightweight without being see-through and come in two lengths, especially helpful if you’re on the petite side.
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Colors: Available in 3 | Materials: 58 percent recycled Nylon, 42 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for Cardio Boxing Class
If you’re in the mood to punch a bag, wear these leggings. You won’t have to worry about them moving around or being too tight. You’ll have more time to release all that pent-up stress during your class instead of adjusting your leggings every so often.
Sizes: XS–3XL | Colors: Available in 11 | Materials: 94 percent polyester, 6 percent spandex
The Best Leggings for Intense Training
There was a time pre-pandemic when I trained with Nike trainers. Since the workouts varied each time, these were my favorite leggings to wear because, despite the constant moving and sweating, these held up well and sprang back into shape wash after wash.
Sizes: XS–2XL | Colors: Available in 4 | Materials: Made with at least 50 percent recycled polyester fibers
The Best Leggings for Dance Class
Whenever I want to add one of Obé’s on-demand dance-cardio classes into my workout routine, I like to wear my Zella leggings. Something about the blue hue makes me feel like I’m a professional dancer. Plus, they hold up well during the 45-minute sessions of cardio and whenever I just freestyle and make a complete fool of myself.
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Colors: Black | Materials: 74 percent nylon, 26 percent spandex
The Best Leggings for Daily Walks
Aritzia fans know that their leggings are the best for running errands. They are buttery soft, hug your curves just right, and can withstand carrying your groceries up your walk-up and a full day of doing your laundry.
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Colors: Available in 26 | Materials: 80 percent nylon, 20 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for Stretching
Recently, I took a somatic movement class where you lay on the floor and focus on your pelvis by doing subtle movements. These leggings felt so comfy that I forgot I had them on.
Sizes: XXS–3X | Colors: Available in 5 | Materials: 75 percent nylon, 25 percent lycra
Another Solid Option for Pilates
Cotton leggings aren’t usually my first pick; however, these leggings from UGG really changed that when it comes to Pilates classes. They are soft and thick enough to stay in place through a session without scrunching up in all the wrong places.
Sizes: XXS–3X | Colors: Available in 5| Materials: 94 percent organic cotton, 6 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for a Reformer Class
Not to be confused with Pilates. Yes, it’s in the Pilates family, but when you take Solidcore, SLT, or Tremble, you know it’s different. Reformer classes are a bit more high-intensity, and you’ll need a legging that can keep up with your small but mighty movements. This seamless pair from Pink stands its ground. It’s comfortable and soft and sweat wicking.
Sizes: XS- XXL | Colors: Available in 11 | Materials: 58 percent polyamide, 31 percent recycled polyamide, 11 percent elastane
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.
Sizes: XS–XXL | Colors: Available in 2| Materials: 87 percent polyester, 13 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for Cycling
These Instagram-friendly leggings can hold up to a wide gamut of activities, but I prefer them for cycling. Despite the fabric being ribbed they are incredibly comfortable no matter how intense your biking session is.
Sizes: XS–XL | Colors: Available in 11 | Materials: 85 percent nylon, 15 percent spandex active rib
The Best Sustainable Leggings
Girlfriend Collective’s leggings are made with recycled water bottles. 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 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.
Sizes: XS–XL | Colors: Available in 7 | Materials: 79 percent recycled plastic bottles (RPET), 21 percent spandex
The Best Leggings for an Adventure
The North Face is always the best brand for adventures. These leggings are quick-drying with a high-rise waist and zipped and drop-down pockets. Perfect for a weekend trip lounging and hiking in L.A.
Sizes: XS–XL | Colors: Available in 5 | Materials: 91 recycled front fabric, 80% recycled back fabric
The Best Leggings for Studio and Barre
When doing a barre-style class, you need something that stretches and can withstand movement without being too constricting. These FreeForm fabric 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.
Sizes: XXS–3X | Colors: Available in 2 | Materials: 85 percent polyester, 15 percent Spandex
The Best Leggings for Running
Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson wrote about these capri-length leggings in her Best Women’s Running Clothes roundup, and they’re a solid buy. The light material fits snugly, like a second skin, while keeping you cool, and an interior waist drawcord prevents the pants from slipping down every few strides.
Sizes: 0–20 | Colors: Available in 2 | Materials: 84 percent nylon, 16 percent lycra® elastane
The Best Leggings for Yoga
If you’re looking for buttery-soft leggings, these are the gold standard. The Nulu fabric with added Lycra is stretchy and supportive, moving with you even through extra-sweaty flows. The small pocket in the front of the waistband can fit an ID or credit card and lies flat with a high rise. The 25-inch length has the widest size range, but there are 28- and 31-inch options as well. That’s all to say, yes, they are worth the hype.
Sizes: 0–14 | Colors: Available in 14 | Materials: 81 percent nylon, 19 percent lycra® elastane
The Best Leggings for Lifting
Our beauty writer, Asia Milia Ware, swears by Gymshark. Its leggings are lightweight and breathable for your most intense training sessions and have plenty of support for weight training. The material is super-stretchy, so if you think you may be between sizes, you can size down for a more compressive fit.
Sizes: XS–XL | Colors: Available in 9 | Materials: 93 percent nylon, 7 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for Indoor Bouldering
I may not know much about indoor bouldering, but I do know that these leggings were the ideal pair for this beginner to the sport. They stretched accordingly with my body and made me feel as though I knew what I was doing.
Sizes: XXS–XL | Colors: Available in 7| Materials: 87 polyester, 13 percent elastane
The Best Leggings for Trampoline Workouts
Sweaty Betty Leggings are known to be the leggings to make your butt look great. You take that and pair it with a trampoline workout class? Your behind will look and feel great. Trust me.
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Colors: Available in 26 | Materials: Polyamide elastane fabric