The 13 Best Workout Leggings of 2021

Dress the part no matter your exercise routine

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Our Top Picks
The high-rise waist means you don’t have to worry about slipping and discomfort, and the wicking fabric keeps you comfortable.
Because of the affordable price tag, you can stock up on a few pairs of these leggings without breaking the bank.
The leggings are cool and comfortable and stay put without requiring constant adjustments.
They provide all the coverage and control of full-length leggings, but also provide some breathing room below the knee.
The leggings come in sizes ranging from extra-extra-small to 6XL and in a variety of colors inspired by the natural environment, including "Shadow," "Midnight," "Fig," and "Fern."
The structured high-rise waistband of these leggings keeps them up, even when you're working out at a high intensity.
Featuring the signature three-stripe design, these Adidas leggings offer an easy way to complete your sporty-chic look.
Founded by a yogi-turned-entrepreneur of South Indian descent, Sunia Yoga makes beautifully patterned leggings.
These figure-flattering pants protect you from the sun, making them the perfect fit for your open-air lifestyle.
Athleta's durable leggings are made with sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable material.

Perfect for everyone from athletes to non-athletes, leggings have become a closet staple. A must-have in every wardrobe, leggings allow us to go from yoga class to a zoom meeting to coffee with a friend. 

With many brands emerging over the past several years, the choice for leggings is endless. Some brands are known for bold colors, while others are known for their material, sustainability, or perfect fit. 

From the studio to the street, here are the best workout leggings on the market.

Best Overall: Lululemon Align Pant

Align
Pros
  • High-rise, no-slip waist

  • Soft, buttery fabric

  • Sweat-wicking fabric

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Fabric occasionally pills

They may not be in the bargain category, but for buttery soft leggings that look good and perform well, the Align pant from Lululemon is the one to beat. The high-rise waist means you don’t have to worry about slipping and discomfort during downward facing dog, and the wicking fabric keeps you comfortable even during hot yoga. They come in an array of pretty colors and seasonal patterns and in cropped lengths, too. They also have a pocket in the waistband to hold a credit card, keys, or other small items you want to take on the go.​​

While the price is on the steeper side, these pants are so comfortable you’ll find yourself wearing them around the clock and for years to come. While some people report problems with pilling, most say they hold up incredibly well over time, and if they don’t, Lululemon’s customer service is top-notch.

The leggings come in sizes 0 through 14 in three inseam options—25, 28, and 31 inches.

Rise: High-rise | Length: 25 inch-inseam, 28 inch-inseam, and 31 inch-inseam | Sizes: 0 through 14 | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold and tumble dry low | Pockets: Yes

What Our Editors Say

"As a barre instructor and low-impact workout enthusiast, I keep the Lululemon Align legging in high rotation. The buttery Nulu fabric is soft and smooth and has held up beautifully through countless washes. And since I'm 5'11", I love that these come in a 31-inch inseam option!" Ashleigh Morley, Editorial Director of Verywell Health Commerce  

Best Budget: Lands' End Women's Starfish Mid Rise Knit Leggings

Mid Rise Knit Leggings
Pros
  • Wide variety of colors

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Not available in high-rise

  • No pockets

If you have a closet full of leggings but feel you need more, you'll love Lands' End's Women's Starfish Mid Rise Knit Leggings. Because of the affordable price tag, you can stock up on a few pairs of these leggings without breaking the bank. 

Made for a variety of workouts and everyday wear, these comfortable leggings don't look cheap. They're made of 89-percent cotton and 11-percent spandex, so they're stretchy but won't expose you as you move.

The leggings come in regular, petite, and tall sizes in a women's 2 through 18. As far as colors, they offer the basic black and grey colors for everyday use. But more eye-catching colors, like Sunwashed Red and Global Green, are also available for those looking to stand out.

Rise: Mid-rise | Length: Regular, 27 inch-inseam, Petite, 24.5 inch-inseam, and Tall, 29 inch-inseam | Sizes: 2 through 18 | Care & Washability: Machine wash | Pockets: No

Best for Running: Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Crop 23" Non-Reflective

Fast and Free High-Rise Crop 23" Non-Reflective
Pros
  • Tighter waistband and drawcord keep leggings in place

  • Drop-in pocket for phone

  • Available in both basic black, as well as standout designs

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Compression may feel a little tight around waist for some

These Fast and Free High-Rise Crop 23-inch leggings from Lululemon prepare runners for just about everything. 

The leggings are powered by Nulux fabric, providing unrestricted movement and outstanding lightweight coverage. The four-way stretch material is also sweat-wicking and quick-drying. The leggings are cool and comfortable and stay put without requiring constant adjustments.

They also come with a side pocket that's big enough to stash running essentials including your phone. These pants don’t run the miles for you, but the high-tech features and dazzling colors—like Hawaiian Blue and Chroma Fusion Multi—will give you the motivation you need to go the extra mile.

The leggings come in sizes 0 through 14 in two inseam options—19 and 23 inches.

Rise: High-rise | Length: 19 inch-inseam and 23 inch-inseam | Sizes: 0 through 14 | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold and tumble dry low | Pockets: Yes

Best Cropped: Neonysweets Women's Capris Exercise Gym Running Yoga Pants

Pros
  • Flap pocket ideal for holding phone

  • Comfortable

  • Attractive color-block design

Cons
  • Sizing runs small

  • Limited colors

When things heat up, whether it’s outside or in the gym, a pair of cropped workout leggings is a great choice. They provide all the coverage and control of full-length leggings, but also provide some breathing room below the knee. These cropped leggings from Neonysweets get rave reviews from customers who believe they’re the “cream” of the crop, so to speak.

Made of 92 percent cotton and 8 percent spandex, they’re stretchy, soft, and great for activities including yoga, running, or hitting the gym. Customers particularly love the side pocket and say it’s perfect for holding their phone while they’re walking or running. The leggings come in sizes small to xtra-large.

Rise: Mid-rise | Length: ⅞ length | Sizes: S through XL | Care & Washability: Machine washable | Pockets: Yes

Best Size-Inclusive: Girlfriend Collective FLOAT High-Rise Legging

Seamless High-Rise Legging
Pros
  • Made from recyclable material

  • Soft, buttery fabric

  • Lightweight fabric

Cons
  • Pocket is small

  • Thin fabric

The Girlfriend Collective began in 2017 on a mission to provide sustainable size-inclusive athleisure. So it's no surprise that the brand's FLOAT High-Rise Leggings are sewn from yarn made of recycled plastic bottles. To make the yarn, manufacturers take the caps and labels from plastic bottles, shred them into tiny chips, and process these chips into fibers. 

The high-rise leggings are sweat-wicking and quick-drying, keeping you cool but dry during your sweaty endeavors. The leggings come in sizes ranging from extra-extra-small to 6XL and in a variety of colors inspired by the natural environment, including "Shadow," "Midnight," "Fig," and "Fern."

Rise: High-rise | Length: Full length 23.75-inch Inseam, 28.5-inches Inseam | Sizes: XXS through 6XL | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold with like colors and dry flat | Pockets: Yes

Best No-Slip: Outdoor Voices TechSweat 3/4 Leggings

outdoor voices techsweat 3-4 leggings
Pros
  • Colors don't fade

  • Compressive waistband

  • Lightweight fabric

Cons
  • Limited colors

  • Small pockets

There's nothing worse for your willpower and concentration than having to readjust your legging mid-workout. That's why we love the structured high-rise waistband of these leggings from Outdoor Voices that keeps them up, even when you're working out at a high intensity.

What's more, the waistband hugs your body and makes for a more flattering fit without constricting you while you move. The leggings are made with lightweight, breathable TechSweat that will keep you cool while you sweat. They're available 0 through 14 and in five unique colors.

Rise: High-rise | Length: ¾ length | Sizes: 0 through 14 | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold and tumble dry low | Pockets: Yes

Best Sporty: Adidas Originals Women's 3-Stripes Leggings

Adidas Originals Women's 3-Stripes Leggings
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Can be used for working out or lounging

Cons
  • Limited colors

  • Waist can be too tight for some

Ready to add some patterns to your solid-colored leggings assortment? If you’re not quite ready for something like ombre coral or a tie-dye prism, switch it up by adding stripes. 

Featuring the signature three-stripe design, these Adidas leggings offer an easy way to complete your sporty-chic look. Whether you’re running an errand or running on the treadmill, these leggings are comfortable and made of quality materials that last over time. The leggings are made of a stretchy fabric that's a blend of cotton and lycra, with 93-percent cotton and 7-percent elastane.

These mid-rise pants feature an elastic waistband that moves with you while staying in place. They fit your body in a flattering way without pulling you in too tightly, as is often the case with compression leggings.  The leggings come in various sizes, from extra-extra-small to extra-large.

Rise: Mid-rise | Length: Full-length | Sizes: XXS through XL | Care & Washability: Machine wash warm| Pockets: Yes

Best Design: Sunia Yoga Eco Friendly Recycled Fabric OM High Waist Womens Yoga Pants

Sunia Yoga leggings
Pros
  • Breathable fabric

  • Size-inclusive

  • Stay-put waistband

Cons
  • No pockets

Founded by a yogi-turned-entrepreneur of South Indian descent, Sunia Yoga makes beautifully patterned leggings right here in the United States—and they deserve a place in your closet. The female-owned business makes eco-friendly leggings made of recycled fabric with unique designs, inspired by the founder's childhood memories of Kerala, South India.

Choose between various high-rise leggings with four-way stretch fabric—including a pair with a peacock design, "purple passion" design, a blue and gold mandala design, a "shades of nature" design, and more. The leggings come in various sizes, from extra-extra-small to extra-extra-large.

Rise: High-rise | Length: full-length | Sizes: XXS through XXL | Care & Washability: Wash in cold water and turn the leggings inside out and always air dry | Pockets: No

Best for UV Protection: Luminora Basic High Rise Leggings

High-waisted
Pros
  • Lightweight fabric

  • Quick-drying

  • Fade-resistant

Cons
  • Limited sizes

  • Limited colors

If you favor outdoor workouts, check out Luminora’s Basic High Rise Leggings. These figure-flattering pants protect you from the sun, making them the perfect fit for your open-air lifestyle.

Made with high-performance Luminology Technology fabric with built-in UPF 50+, it blocks 98-percent of UVA and UVB rays, giving you comfort from the sun if you find yourself out all day.

The leggings come in various colors, including Leopard, Black/Gray Camouflage, Black, and Navy. Available in sizes small to large. Done with your workout? Pair the leggings with a sweater and boots and head into town looking fabulous. You’ll be so happy with your look you'll want to order more. 

Rise: High-rise | Length: 23 inch-inseam | Sizes: S through L | Care & Washability: Hand wash in cold water and tumble dry low | Pockets: No

Best with Pockets: Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket

Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket II 7/8 Tight
Pros
  • Breathable fabric

  • Soft, buttery fabric

  • Flattering look

Cons
  • Waist occasionally rolls down

  • Can run small

From morning runs to yoga class to coffee with a friend, leggings have made our daily lives more comfortable and convenient. The only thing that can top that convenience is to have a suitable and roomy enough pocket on our leggings to stash some money, credit cards, and (most importantly) our phones.

Lucky for us, somebody over at Athleta heard our request, and they’ve come up with the Salutation Stash Pocket II 7/8 Tight. The stash pocket featured on these leggings makes it easy to slip your phone in and be hands-free on your run or at the gym.

Athleta's durable leggings are made with sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable material. Featuring Powervita fabric, they are buttery-soft, supportive, and cozy.

Choose from a variety of trendy colors, including Canyon Orange, Spiced Cabernet, Coffee House and more. The leggings come in sizes extra-extra-small to 3X.

Rise: High-rise | Length: ⅞  Regular/Plus: 25 inch-inseam, Petite: 23 inch-inseam, Tall: 28 inch-inseam | Sizes: XXS through 3X | Care & Washability: Machine wash and dry | Pockets: Yes

Best Printed: Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Powersoft Light Compression Leggings

Extra High-Waisted Powersoft Light Compression Hidden-Pocket Leggings for Women
Pros
  • Stylish

  • Breathable fabric

  • Gusseted creates easy movement

Cons
  • Can become loose around waist

  • Tends to run long

To jazz up your workouts, check out these leggings from Old Navy that come in colorful patterns and colors. From Snake, Pink Marbled, and Cool Tie Dye's designs to colors like Lime Real Estate and Green Camo, these pants stand out in a gym full of black leggings. 

Made of a polyester and spandex mix, they’re soft, comfortable, and constructed to perform. The leggings come with an extra high-rise comfort waistband with a hidden pocket that fits your phone. Go-Dry moisture-wicking technology keeps you dry and comfortable as you sweat. The Flat-lock seams prevent chafing and are gusseted for ease of movement. 

Sizes range from extra-small to extra-extra-large. You might be drawn to the eye-popping designs, but the super-soft and comfortable fit will have you wearing them every day of the week. 

Rise: High-rise | Length: Full length Regular: 28 inches Petite: 26 inches Tall: 32 inches | Sizes: XXS through XXL | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold and tumble dry | Pockets: Yes

Best Maternity: Gap Maternity GapFit Full Length Leggings in Sculpt Compression

Maternity Leggings in Sculpt Compression
Pros
  • Light compression

  • Panel stretches over the belly

  • Flatlock seams help prevent chafing

Cons
  • Baggy around ankles

  • Thin fabric

Maternity leggings are a must-have for all moms-to-be. No matter what trimester you’re in, these leggings always have your back (in this case, your growing belly). You can also wear them postpartum, especially in the immediate weeks after your baby is born. 

Stylish and (most importantly) comfortable, these leggings are made of 71-percent polyester and 29-percent spandex. They're also machine-washable—an added convenience that busy moms and moms-to-be will surely enjoy.

Available in two colors—True Black and a dazzling Black Floral—the maternity leggings come in sizes extra-small through extra-extra-large.

Rise: High-rise | Length: Full length Regular 26 inches | Sizes: XXXS through XXL | Care & Washability: Machine wash | Pockets: Yes

Best Seamless: Gymshark Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings

Seamless Leggings
Pros
  • Seamless contouring patterns

  • Sweat-wicking fabric

  • Outstanding customer service

Cons
  • Leggings can sometimes tear

  • Limited colors

Unless you’ve been living off the grid, chances are you’ve heard of Gymshark, a fitness brand and online retailer based in the United Kingdom. Created in 2012, the brand is supported by millions of highly engaged social media followers who rave about their apparel—and for good reason. Gymshark leggings are soft and fit like a glove to your body, flattering all shapes and sizes.

Not your garden-variety legging, Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings' fit is incredibly comfortable and body-contouring in all the right ways. Made of 93-percent nylon and 7-percent elastane, the high-rise leggings are form-hugging but stretchy enough to move in comfortably.

Available in sizes extra-small through extra-large, the leggings come in both bold and more subtle colors—including Black Marl, Blue Marl, and Taupe Marl.

Rise: High-rise | Length: Full length | Sizes: XS through XL

Final Verdict

If you can only choose one pair of leggings, go with the Lululemon Align Pant. While it is more money than you might want to spend, the quality of the material will last several years without losing shape or fading color, functioning just as well as on day one of your purchase. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable but still high-quality pair, consider the Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings. With its high-waisted fit, supportive ribbed waistband, seamless shading patterns, and sweat-wicking fabric, we guarantee you'll keep coming back for more.

What to Look for in Leggings

Material 

Leggings come in an array of fabrics, and the most common reason you might be disappointed in a leggings purchase is if they're not performing the way you envisioned. Workout leggings need to reliably stay in place with a secure waistband that doesn’t fold over or inch down as you move. They need to be durable but stretchy and compressive but breathable. 

The best bet is to choose from a cotton and polyester blend, a mix that results in sweat-wicking and breathable material. Polyester often comes in the form of spandex, which helps keep the waistband secure and adds compression. If you go with 100-percent cotton, you may feel and look great, but the cotton won’t wick sweat away during your workout, leaving you feeling uncomfortable.

Function

A legging’s function goes beyond ease of moment. Consider what you’ll be doing in your leggings. If you’re going to use them for your morning run, you'll want lightweight wicking materials, preferably cropped and snug. You can even find leggings on the market made specifically for running. These will likely feature lightweight and seamless fabric to avoid chafing. The same goes for a low-impact workout. Look for leggings that hug your body but don't restrict your movement. 

Fit 

Leggings must fit comfortably and make you feel confident in your skin, so you can focus on your workout. Leggings that are too tight won't inspire you to go to the gym or even make a snack run. They must fit well, without hugging your body too tight or feeling too loose.

Leggings that bunch at the knees, fold over at the waistband, or sag around your behind aren't helping your exercise plan. If your leggings are too loose you also run the risk of getting them caught in exercise equipment or hindering your workout. Look for a fit that allows you to move and perform your desired exercise.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Julie Evans is a writer and editor specializing in health and wellness content. Her work has appeared on USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, CafeMom, SheKnows, and more. She received her master's degree in nonfiction writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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