Exercising in ill-fitting clothes can make dragging yourself to the gym an even bigger chore. And nothing can disrupt your groove more than a bad pair of workout leggings. Maybe the waist band constantly falls down or the fabric leaves you a wet, clammy mess — any discomfort can make it hard to hit those fitness goals. On the flip side, the right ones can sneakily motivate you to establish a consistent routine. That’s why we decided to comb through all of our favorites, all guaranteed to keep you focused on the sweaty task at hand.
The Best Budget High-Waist Leggings
While they don’t stack up to the more expensive pairs in terms of quality or compression at the waist, they do come in a variety of heights, so you can find your fit whether you’re petite or over 6 feet.
The $20 Amazon Pick
For the Gym Flexxer
The fancy paneled design gives them the look of those expensive leggings you’d pay over $100 for at places like Shadowbox and Flywheel. Buy the matching bra top and you have a cute complete set for under $70 made for selfies.
The Pair Everyone Loves
Is it really a best of leggings list without a pair from Lululemon? As cult-y are their leggings are, there’s absolute reason why they remain the gold standard. Try them out for yourself.
The Instagram Favorite
Virtually no one heard of Gymshark a few years ago, but now the British brand has pretty much created a monopoly over the Fitness Instagram scene. With every fitness influencer wearing the sets, how do they stack up? If you’re into super high-waisted leggings that feel breathable, these are the pair for you. The Seamless Energy leggings are one of my personal favorites — especially for the price.
The Best for Super Sweaty Workouts
You might not think you need mesh on the backs and sides of your knees but the strategically placed ventilation makes a world of difference. Try it if you’re into hot yoga or if you’re just an extra sweaty person.
If You Hate the Smell of Sweat
Of course when you’re at the gym, you’re ready to work hard. That leads to plenty of sweat and potential body odors. These leggings are made out of moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric so they won’t smell like death before your next laundry day.
The Best Prints and Colors
Don’t you love it when something is so good, you want to buy it in every color? You can buy these affordable leggings in over 25 different prints and colors. Made out of polyester, they’re soft and stretchy, but don’t be fooled: they’ll keep you compressed like their nylon counterparts.
The Summery Pair
You probably switch up your dark winter wardrobe for summery pastels and whites. Why not do the same for your workout clothes? The mesh inserts will also feel nice while you kill your quads on the stairmaster.
The Best Pair for Your Butt
Sweaty Betty refers to these as bum-sculpting power leggings, and I’d agree that those claims are pretty accurate. These will make your lower half look downright buoyant. I loved that the material is UV 50+ protective, and after a session of HIIT on the treadmill, my butt never looked better.
The Pair You Can Customize
Amazon took the workout clothes game to a whole new level with their in-house fitness label, Core10. For the flat price of $65 you can tailor your black leggings to tweak everything from the inseam, waist style, leg opening, and length. Oh, and of course it’s available for Prime shipping.
For the Fashion Girl
Translate one of the season’s most desirable prints into your athletic wardrobe. With SPF 30+ protection built into the fabric and a drawstring waist, they’re also great on the technical front.
The Cool Ones
Does a workout even count if you don’t Instagram it? For those of you who care about the influencer capabilities of your workout pants, you’ll want Outdoor Voices. The brand has great branding plus they know how to make your butt look good while you’re suffering through a class. Their compression isn’t quite as intense as Lululemon styles but still holds you in. The only downside is the rougher fabric, which some might find uncomfortable.
The Athleisure-y Leggings
From Nike swoosh to the logo waistband they teeter the line between cool athleisure pants and performance gear.
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