The 15 Best Running Leggings That a Running Coach Recommends

Our running coach agrees: Athleta’s Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights are the best

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Verywell Fit / Lecia Landis

Leggings are a must-have for many runners, but finding the right pair is key. Since runners tend to get sweaty, no matter the season, they need leggings made with moisture-wicking fabrics to stay dry and prevent chafing. Leggings should also have the right amount of compression without feeling too tight.

Reviewed & Approved

Athleta’s Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights are our top choice because they’re breathable, come with three deep pockets, and come in a wide range of sizes. We also recommend Under Armour’s HeatGear Leggings, which feature a wide waistband, moisture-wicking fabric, and mesh panels for ventilation.

“Running leggings should have a good, snug fit so that they stay in place and don't creep down during runs,” Lauren Sheu, an RRCA-certified running coach and the owner and founder of Running for Wellness, says. Aside from fit and material, pockets are also important so you can keep your phone and other essentials secure.

To choose the best running leggings, we researched over 30 pairs and consulted experts for their advice on what to look for in the leggings. We also considered fit, comfort, features, materials, performance, durability, and more.

Based on our research, here are the best running leggings on the market.

Best Women's Overall: Athleta Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights

4.8
Athleta Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights

Athleta

Pros
  • Wide range of sizes

  • Made with recycled materials

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

These Athleta leggings are our top overall pick because they’re comfortable, breathable, and supportive. Great for short or long runs, as well as other high-intensity workouts, they’re made with soft, stretchy fabric that moves with you. The recycled polyester and lycra mix quickly wicks away sweat and dries fast, keeping you comfortable while you run.

With two side pockets and a back pocket, there’s plenty of room to stash your phone, snacks, and other items. And we love that this pair comes in regular, petite, and tall inseams in sizes from XXS to 3X.

Thanks to a high-rise, no-slip waistband, the Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights offer a secure fit and excellent coverage. These leggings come at a higher price point, but we think their quality, durability, and performance are worth it.

Sizes: XXS-3X, petite, regular, tall | Fabric: Recycled polyester, lycra | Rise: High | Pockets: Two side pockets, back pocket | Care: Machine wash and dry | Colors: Four

Best Men's Overall: Under Armour Men's HeatGear Leggings

4.8
Under Armour Men's HeatGear Armour Leggings

Under Armour

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Mesh panels for ventilation

Cons
  • Only one pocket

Under Armour’s HeatGear Leggings are our top men’s overall pick because they feature the ideal blend of comfort and performance. We recommend them for runners who want lightweight leggings or an extra layer under shorts or pants when temperatures dip.

The thin fabric, a blend of polyester and elastane, wicks sweat away and dries quickly. With a snug, compressive fit, these leggings offer plenty of support without feeling too bulky or constricting. They also feature strategically placed mesh panels for extra ventilation right where it’s needed. 

We like that this pair’s seams are designed to help prevent irritation and that the wide elastic waistband helps them stay in place. Plus, the leggings come with a side drop-in pocket that’s perfect for holding your phone.

Sizes: XS-4X | Fabric: Polyester, elastane | Rise: Mid | Pockets: One side pocket | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: 12

Best Women's Budget: Old Navy High-Waisted PowerSoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings

4.8
old-navy-powersoft-high-waisted-leggings

Old Navy

Pros
  • Deep side pockets

  • Wide range of sizes and colors

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Compression may be too light for some

If you're looking for high-waisted leggings that are budget-friendly and comfortable for running, we recommend this pair from Old Navy. They’re made from a breathable, lightweight fabric that feels soft against the skin and offers support—although some runners may prefer more compression. We like that this pair is moisture-wicking and has flat-lock seams to keep you dry, comfortable, and chafe-free.

The PowerSoft leggings feature two deep side pockets to hold all of your necessities. They’re also available in a wide range of inseam lengths and sizes, from XS to 4XL, so it’s easy to get a custom-like fit. And with more than a dozen colors to choose from, you may want to grab more than one pair.

Sizes: XXS-4X, regular, tall, petite | Fabric: Polyester, spandex | Rise: High | Pockets: Two side pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: 15

Best Men's Budget: BALEAF Men’s Leggings with Pockets

BALEAF Men’s Leggings with Pockets

Amazon

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Four-way stretch

  • Deep side pockets

Cons
  • Inseam may not be long enough for some

We recommend these budget-friendly BALEAF leggings for runners who want to build up their cold weather running wardrobe without spending a fortune. They’re durable and come with a range of features you’d expect to find in more expensive pairs.

The leggings are designed with quick-drying, breathable material that stretches with you while you’re running. The smooth fabric and flatlock seams help prevent chafing. Whether you want to wear this pair alone or as a base layer, the elastic waistband holds them securely in place.

We like that they have two side pockets that are big enough to hold your phone and other items without weighing you down. But there’s only one inseam option, and it may not be long enough for some wearers.

Sizes: S-2X | Fabric: Nylon, spandex, cotton, polyester | Rise: Low | Pockets: Two side pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: 10

Best High-Rise: Lululemon Fast and Free Tight 25"

Lululemon Fast and Free Tight 25"

Lululemon

Pros
  • Wide waistband

  • Seven pockets

  • Wide range of sizes and colors

Cons
  • Expensive

Known for its ultra-soft leggings, Lululemon delivers our top high-rise pick for runners with their Fast and Free High-Rise Tights. They’re made from a stretchy, moisture-wicking fabric that'll keep you dry, even during the sweatiest runs. We like that this lightweight pair has a four-way stretch, allowing you to run without restriction. And the wide, high-rise waistband is supportive and comfortable.

The Fast and Free Tights come in sizes 0 to 20 and two inseam lengths, 25 or 28 inches, so you can find the right fit. While this pair is more expensive than others on our list, they come highly recommended by plenty of runners.

Sizes: 0-20 | Fabric: Nylon, Lycra elastane, elastane | Rise: High | Pockets: Five waistband pockets, two side pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: 11

What the Experts Say

“I really like the Fast and Free tights because they’re made from a comfortable, lightweight material and have two side pockets and five waistband pockets—seven pockets total, which is a runner's dream.”Lauren Sheu, RRCA-certified running coach

Best With Pockets: Fabletics Trinity Mid Rise Pocket

Fabletics Trinity Mid Rise Pocket

Fabletics

Pros
  • Wide range of sizes

  • Four-way stretch

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Sweat may show through

If you’re sick of small, shallow pockets, we recommend Fabletics’ Trinity Leggings. Their innovative triple-pocket design offers a total of six side pockets that overlap, so you can keep all your essentials organized in separate slots. Two pockets are large enough to stash your phone, and you don’t have to worry about your cash, keys, or snacks spilling out when you reach for them.

We like that these leggings are made from comfortable, lightweight nylon and elastane. A combination of moisture-wicking fabric and mesh paneling along the thigh area helps you stay cool and free from chafing or irritation. But note that the thin fabric may show sweat.

Although they’re breathable, this pair still has enough compression for a fit that leaves you feeling supported. You can choose from a wide range of sizes and colors for your desired fit and look.

Sizes: XXS-4X | Fabric: Nylon, elastane | Rise: Mid | Pockets: Six side pockets | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low | Colors: Eight

Best for Plus-Size: Girlfriend Collective Compressive Pocket Leggings

Girlfriend Collective Compressive Pocket Leggings

Girlfriend Collective

Pros
  • Four-way stretch

  • Sheer-proof

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons
  • Sizing may run large

Designed for high-impact workouts, Girlfriend Collective’s Compressive Pocket Leggings feature a soft four-way stretch material that swiftly wicks away sweat. We like that the fabric is supportive and sheer-proof, providing good coverage without feeling tight. The leggings also have a wide, elastic waistband and a high-rise fit, so they stay put from warm-ups to cool-downs.

With two deep side pockets and a back pocket, there’s plenty of room to store your phone, keys, cards, and more. This pair comes in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to 6XL, and in 23.75-inch and 28.5-inch inseams. Note that the sizing, especially in the waistband, may run large.

The leggings are made with recycled materials, so you can do your part for the planet by wearing them.

Sizes: XXS-6XL | Fabric: Recycled plastic bottles (RPET), spandex | Rise: High | Pockets: Two side pockets, one back pocket | Care: Machine wash cold, hang dry | Colors: Six

Best Moisture-Wicking: Sweaty Betty Power Pocket Workout 7/8 Leggings

Sweaty Betty Power Pocket Workout 7/8 Leggings

Amazon

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Wide range of colors and patterns

  • Internal drawstring

Cons
  • Expensive

If you’re worried about sweat showing through on long runs, we recommend these breathable, moisture-wicking leggings from Sweaty Betty. They're made with a polyamide and elastane blend that pulls the sweat away from your body and dries very quickly. An internal drawstring at the waist is easy to cinch for a customized fit. Plus, the leggings won’t slip or slide around while you’re running, and both pockets will securely hold on-the-run essentials, including a large phone.

With a sleek design and a soft feel, these versatile leggings are also great for casual wear, so there’s no need to change after you work out. They come in a wide range of bright colors and patterns, so you’re bound to find a pair that suits your needs and style.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Fabric: Polyamide, elastane | Rise: High | Pockets: Side pocket and back zip pocket | Care: Machine wash low spin | Colors: 22

Best Lightweight: Outdoor Voices Zoom 7/8 Leggings

Outdoor Voices Zoom 7/8 Leggings

Outdoor Voices

Pros
  • Internal drawstring

  • Deep side pockets

  • UPF 50 sun protection

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Expensive

Lightweight and soft, we recommend these Outdoor Voices leggings for running in warm or cool weather, as well as for lounging around. They feature just the right amount of compression, so you feel supported but not restricted. An infinity drawstring ensures that the high-rise waistband stays up while you’re running, even on rough trails.

Made from a blend of nylon and lycra, the Zoom leggings are breathable, fast-drying, and moisture-wicking. We love that they have UPF 50 sun protection, so you can feel confident while exercising outdoors. And while the leggings have a barely there feel, you don’t have to worry about them being see-through.

They also feature deep side pockets that are large enough to hold your phone without pulling the leggings down. However, they’re more expensive than other options on our list, and they only come in a few colors.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Fabric: Nylon, lycra | Rise: High | Pockets: Two side pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: Four

Best Capris: Nike One Mid-Rise Capri Leggings

Nike One Mid-Rise Capri Leggings

Nike

Pros
  • Squat-proof

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons
  • Only one color option

For that in-between weather when it’s too cold for shorts and too hot for full-length leggings, we recommend these capris from Nike. They’re made with a stretchy blend of polyester and spandex that quickly wicks sweat away from your skin. Although it feels lightweight, the fabric is not see-through and keeps you covered. And we like that it’s made from recycled polyester fibers.

The versatile leggings come with two hidden pockets in the waistband that are perfect for securely stashing almost anything, while the back pocket is big enough to hold your phone. The seamless sides prevent chafing and irritation during runs, while the mid-rise waistband is contoured with a V-shape on the back for a smooth silhouette.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Fabric: Polyester, spandex | Rise: Mid | Pockets: Two waistband pockets, one back pocket | Care: Machine wash, hang dry | Colors: One

Best for Hot Weather: Adidas Own the Run 3/4 Tights

Adidas Own the Run 3/4 Tights

Adidas

Pros
  • Internal drawstring

  • Reflective elements

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons
  • Limited color and size options

For runs in hot temperatures, we recommend Adidas’ Own the Run Tights. At 3/4 length, they’re not quite capris, but they do come below the knee. Made with polyester and elastane fabric that effectively wicks away sweat, they’ll keep you dry and comfortable when the weather heats up.

The leggings also have a sweat-guard back pocket that’ll protect your phone and other necessities from getting wet, no matter how intensely you’re running.

A high-rise, supportive waistband with an internal drawstring prevents the leggings from sliding down or creeping up. We also love that this pair has reflective elements for anyone who likes to run outdoors at night. Plus, they’re made with recycled materials. But, the range of sizes and colors is limited.

Sizes: XS-XL | Fabric: Polyester, elastane | Rise: High | Pockets: One back pocket | Care: Machine wash, hang dry | Colors: Two

Best for Cold Weather: Under Armour ColdGear Authentics Leggings

Under Armour ColdGear Authentics Leggings

Under Armour

Pros
  • Dual-layer fabric

  • Warm, brushed interior

  • Moisture-wicking

Cons
  • No pockets

We recommend Under Armour’s ColdGear Authentics Leggings for runners who enjoy exercising outdoors in cold weather. The polyester and elastane fabric has two layers to help wick away sweat, so you'll stay dry and chafe-free. And a soft, brushed interior will keep you warm and comfortable in chilly conditions.

Unlike some winter running pants and leggings, we like that this pair isn’t bulky and feels like a thin, second skin. With a wide elastic waistband, they also don’t sag or ride up, so you can stay focused on your run. These versatile leggings are a great option to wear alone in cold conditions or under another layer in more frigid temperatures. While they don’t have any pockets, you can always pair them with a running vest, pants, or jacket that does.

Sizes: XS-XXL | Fabric: Polyester, elastane | Rise: Mid | Pockets: None | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: Eight

Best for Long Distance: Brooks Method 7/8 Tights

Brooks Method 7/8 Tights

Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Perforation adds ventilation

  • Three deep pockets

  • Interior drawstring

Cons
  • Only one inseam length

Distance runners need leggings that are supportive but won’t restrict movement. Designed with motion in mind, the Brooks Method 7/8 Tights offer a comfortable fit with the right amount of stretch and compression for distraction-free miles. An adjustable infinity drawstring gives you even more assurance that the leggings will stay put.

We like that the fabric is breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking and that strategic perforations help with airflow. Distance runners will also appreciate the deep back pocket and two side pockets that are large enough to hold a phone. Although they come in sizes XS to XXL, they’re only available in one inseam length, so they may not work for petite or tall runners.

Sizes: XS-XXL | Fabric: Polyester, spandex | Rise: Mid | Pockets: Two side pockets, one back pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Colors: Eight

Best for Trail Running: Janji 7/8 Groundwork 2.0 Tights

Janji 7/8 Groundwork 2.0 Tights

Janji

Pros
  • Reflective elements

  • Odor-resistant

  • Interior drawstring

Cons
  • Limited range of sizes

For trail running, we recommend these Janji 7/8 Groundwork Tights because they’ll keep you dry and comfortable. This pair provides light, supportive compression that won’t interfere with your stride. And the waistband prevents slippage, so you don’t have to worry about pulling them up in the middle of a run.

The nylon and spandex blend is moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and will retain its shape over time. And we like that reflective elements on the front and back help you stay visible to cars and other runners if you’re exercising outdoors in low light. 

To carry all your essentials, these leggings have two deep side pockets, two slits in the waistband, and an external back pocket. The dual-entry back pocket can be used to store items or as a pass-through pocket to hold a shirt or lightweight jacket in case conditions change.

Sizes: XS-XL | Fabric: Nylon, spandex | Rise: Medium | Pockets: Two side pockets, two waistband pockets, back pocket | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Colors: Six

Best Compression: Under Armour Motion Leggings

Under Armour Motion Leggings

Kohl's

Pros
  • Odor-resistant

  • Wide waistband

  • Four-way stretch

Cons
  • May run small

We recommend these leggings from Under Armour for runners looking to prevent muscle fatigue or get some post-workout relief for tired legs. This pair offers good compression, and they’re moisture-wicking, so they’ll be reliable from mile 1 to 100.

With a wide, high-rise waistband, the Motion leggings stay comfortably in place without digging in. The four-way stretch material moves with you and is odor-resistant to keep you feeling and smelling fresh. We like that these leggings come in a range of sizes and three inseams—short, regular, and tall—so you can find the perfect fit.

Sizes: XS-XXL, short, regular, tall | Fabric: Polyester, elastane | Rise: High | Pockets: Side pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low | Colors: Nine

Final Verdict

The Athleta Ultimate Stash 7/8 Tights are our top overall pick because they’re soft, supportive, and made with recycled materials. We also like that they come in a wide range of sizes.

For runners who need more ventilation, we recommend Under Armour’s HeatGear Leggings, which are breathable and feature mesh panels. The thin, moisture-wicking fabric is comfortable enough for light jogs, marathons, and everything in between.

How We Selected the Best Running Leggings

First, we asked Lauren Sheu, an RRCA-certified running coach, and Ashtain Rothchild, a NASM-certified personal trainer, what features they look for in a quality pair of running leggings.

Then, we researched over 30 pairs and considered fit, comfort, materials, sizing, and storage. We also looked at price, color options, and the number of pockets in each pair.

What to Look for in Running Leggings

Material

Synthetic performance fabrics, such as polyester, nylon, or elastane, are ideal for running leggings because they are stretchy, soft, and durable. Mesh panels in targeted areas can add even more ventilation. Cotton is not breathable or moisture-wicking, so it’s best for everyday leggings. 

A blend of these fabrics is ideal, so you can combine the benefits of each material. “I want to feel in sync with the fabric to ensure it's running with me, not against me,” Ashtain Rothchild, a NASM-certified personal trainer, says. “If the fabric feels good, I feel good, and my run, without a doubt, is great.” 

Rise

The rise of the waist can affect the leggings’ overall fit and comfort. High-rise leggings fall above your waistline, offering the most coverage and support. Mid-rise leggings will usually fall just below the belly button, while low-rise will sit just below your waist. Choose the rise that makes you feel the most comfortable and confident while you run.

Pockets

Most runners prefer leggings with pockets to store essentials. Whether it's a drop-in side pocket that’s big enough for your phone, a zipped back pocket to hold your keys, or a waistband pocket to stash a credit card or snacks, extra storage is always a plus. 

Fit

To get a comfortable, secure fit, look for features like an elastic waistband and a drawstring. Also, choose an inseam that reflects how long you’d like your leggings to be. Some leggings are full-length, while others are meant to hit just above your ankle. Taller runners should look for long inseams and full-length styles. Shorter runners who want to avoid folding over the bottom of their leggings may want to opt for capris, petite pairs, or 3/4 and 7/8 lengths.

Care and Maintenance

Some running leggings can be machine washed and dried, but others require hand-washing and air drying. If you prefer low-maintenance leggings, be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of leggings are good for running?

    Leggings for running should have a snug, supportive fit, so they don’t fall down or ride up when running. “The material should be lightweight and moisture-wicking,” Sheu says. “Another plus is if the leggings contain pockets.” Running leggings can come in various lengths, including capri, 7/8, and full-length.

  • How should running leggings fit?

    Running leggings should feel snug around your butt, calves, and thighs but not so tight that they affect your range of motion. The best running leggings will move with you and stay close to your skin to help prevent chafing. Make sure that the leggings don’t slip down or feel loose at your knees or waist.

  • Do running leggings keep you warm?

    Some running leggings can keep you warm, but certain pairs are better for running in cold weather than others. Look for leggings that are thermal or fleece-lined for added warmth in the winter months.

  • What is the difference between leggings and running tights?

    Running leggings and tights are sometimes used interchangeably. But tights are generally more compressive than leggings since they’re designed to increase circulation and keep your muscles warm. And tights are usually made from a thinner, more sheer material, while leggings are constructed with thicker, opaque fabric.

    Leggings can be worn as stand-alone garments, while tights are typically worn under another layer. Tights may cover the whole feet or have a loop ring at the bottom, while leggings usually stop at the ankle.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A certified personal trainer, running coach, gym buff, and fitness writer, Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, spends countless hours researching and testing the latest exercise gear and gadgets. She only recommends products that she can genuinely stand behind and that she believes would be a good investment for her readers.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.