These Are the Best Workout Leggings for Any Exercise Routine

lululemon's Align Pant is made of sweat-wicking fabric to keep moisture away

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Beyond being a wardrobe must-have for workout enthusiasts, leggings have become a day-to-day closet staple for everyone from athletes to busy parents. Designed for lounging, exercising, or navigating your daily routine, leggings allow you to comfortably go from yoga class to running errands.

When looking for a workout legging, check for size, fit, material, and the exercises you'll be completing while wearing your workout leggings. Leggings should be soft and stretchy enough to move with you through your workouts while maintaining their opacity and hold. We researched dozens of workout leggings and evaluated them for comfort, size, price, and materials. A certified personal trainer and yoga and pilates instructor from our Review Board reviewed the claims in this article for accuracy surrounding function, fit, and longevity.

Editor’s Note About BPA in Activewear

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in some types of plastic. Research has shown that exposure to high levels of BPA can lead to obesity, hormonal imbalances, and uterine cancer, among other health complications. 

On May 18, 2023, building on its findings from last fall, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced that, after testing, it found high levels of BPA in certain activewear pieces containing blends of polyester and spandex. California law states that your skin can safely absorb up to 3 micrograms of BPA daily. CEH found that some leggings, sports bras, shorts, and athletic shirts may expose wearers to over 120 micrograms in a day, according to CNN. 

CEH found high levels of BPA in sports bras from Sweaty Betty, leggings from Nike, Athleta, Champion, Patagonia, and Kohl’s, shorts from Champion, Nike, and Adidas, and athletic shirts from Fabletics. We may recommend some of these products or similar items from these brands in this list, as these products have not been recalled and the science on transdermal absorption of BPA is still not settled. As a precaution, it is best to limit the amount of time you spend in activewear by changing out of it when you are finished working out.

Best Overall

Lululemon High-Rise Align Pant 28"



  • High-rise, no-slip waist

  • Soft, buttery fabric

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Expensive

  • Fabric occasionally pills

If you want buttery soft leggings that look good and perform well, we recommend the Align pant from Lululemon as our top pick. The high-rise waist means you don’t have to worry about slipping and discomfort during downward-facing dog, and the sweat-wicking fabric also keeps you comfortable during high-intensity exercise. The versatility and quality of these pants is why we chose them for our best overall pick.

Available in an array of colors and seasonal patterns, there's an option for everyone's style. They have a pocket in the waistband to hold a credit card, keys, or other small items you may need with you. Although, like other premium Lululemon leggings, they're more expensive than some options, we think they make up for it by being versatile, durable, and great for everything from workouts to lounging. Plus, we have tips to navigating the lululemon "We Made Too Much" section. And if you discover that the leggings pill or wear quickly, Lululemon has a good exchange policy for peace of mind.

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

Price at time of publication: $98

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 25-, 28-, and 31- inch inseam | Sizes: 0-14 | Care and 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, Commerce

Best Budget

Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Powersoft Light Compression Leggings

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

  • Breathable fabric

  • Gusseted creates easy movement

  • May become loose around waist

  • Tends to run long

Looking to jazz up your workout wardrobe? We recommend 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 with a blend of polyester and spandex, we love that 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, and the Flat-lock seams prevent chafing. 

Sizes range from XS to XXL. You might be drawn to the eye-popping designs, but the super-soft and comfortable fit will have your legs longing to wear them every day of the week, whether pulling hard on a rowing machine or moving on a treadmill desk

Price at time of publication: $40

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 26, 28, and 32 inches | Sizes: XXS-XXL | Care and Washability: Machine wash cold and tumble dry | Pockets: Yes

Best for Running

Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Crop

Lululemon fast and free crop


  • Fitted waistband and drawcord

  • Drop-in pocket for phone

  • Available in multiple colors

  • Expensive

  • Compression may feel tight around waist

The Fast and Free High-Rise Crop 23-inch leggings from Lululemon are powered by Nulux fabric—providing unrestricted movement and outstanding lightweight coverage, two things our experts highly recommend for running. The four-way stretch material is also sweat-wicking and quick-drying. We love that the leggings are cool and comfortable and stay put without requiring constant adjustments. For complete comfort, pair with Lululemon underwear, voted some of the best underwear for working out.

There's a side pocket that's big enough to stash running essentials, including your phone. And while these pants don’t run the miles for you, the high-tech features and dazzling colors—like Hawaiian Blue and Chroma Fusion Multi—will give you the motivation you need to push through your workout.

The leggings come in sizes 0-14 and in two inseam options, including 19 and 23 inches.

Price at time of publication: $118

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

Best Cropped

Neonysweets Women's Capris Exercise Gym Running Yoga Pants

Amazon Workout Leggings


  • Flap pocket for holding phone

  • Comfortable

  • Attractive color-block design

  • Run small

  • Limited colors

When things heat up, whether it’s outside or in the gym, we always opt for a pair of cropped workout leggings. This pair is a great pick if you want a cooler feel, and they come with all the control of full-length leggings while also providing some breathing room below the knee. These leggings from Neonysweets showcase a cropped style matched with a comfortable and breathable design.

Made of 92 percent cotton and 8 percent spandex, they’re stretchy, soft, and great for all kinds of workouts, whether that's yoga, running, or time on an elliptical machine. The side pocket is a convenient way to hold your phone, and the leggings come in sizes S-XL.

Price at time of publication: $20

Key Specs:
Rise: Mid-rise | Length: 7/8 length | Sizes: S-XL | Care and Washability: Machine washable | Pockets: Yes

Best Size Range

Girlfriend Collective FLOAT High-Rise Legging

Seamless High-Rise Legging


  • Made from recyclable material

  • Soft, buttery fabric

  • Lightweight

  • Pocket is small

  • Thin fabric

When Girlfriend Collective began in 2017, they were on a mission to provide sustainable size-inclusive athleisure. And we love 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. 

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

Price at time of publication: $78

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 23.75- and 28.5-inch inseam | Sizes: XXS to 6XL | Care and 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

 Courtesy of Outdoor Voices

  • Fade-resistant

  • Compressive waistband

  • Lightweight

  • Limited colors

  • Pockets are small

There's nothing worse for your concentration than having to readjust your workout clothing and leggings mid-gym session. That's why we love the structured high-rise waistband of these leggings from Outdoor Voices. It 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 fabric that will keep you cool while you sweat. They're also available in sizes 0 to 14 in five unique colors.

Price at time of publication: $88

Key Specs:
High-rise | Length: 3/4 length | Sizes: 0 to 14 | Care and 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

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Comfortable

  • Machine-washable

  • Limited colors

  • Waist may be too tight for some

Featuring the signature three-stripe design, we recommend these Adidas leggings to anyone looking to complete their sporty-chic look. Whether you’re running an errand or running on the treadmill, these leggings are comfortable and made with quality materials that last. The leggings are crafted with a stretchy blend of cotton and Lycra (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. You can find them in various sizes, from XS to XL.

Price at time of publication: $40

Key Specs:
Rise: Mid-rise | Length: Full-length | Sizes: XXS-XL | Care and Washability: Machine wash warm | Pockets: Yes

Best Design

Sunia Yoga Eco Friendly Recycled Fabric OM High Waist Womens Yoga Pants

Sunia Yoga leggings

Courtesy of Sunia yoga

  • Breathable

  • Great size range

  • Non-slip waistband

  • 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 we think 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 a wide range of sizes, from XXS to XXL.

Price at time of publication: $69

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: Full-length | Sizes: XXS-XXL | Care and 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

  • Lightweight

  • Quick-drying

  • Fade-resistant

  • Limited sizes

  • Limited colors

If you favor outdoor workouts, check out Luminora’s Basic High Rise Leggings. The figure-flattering pants protect you from the sun, so we highly recommend them for outdoor exercise, especially during hot summer months. Made with high-performance Luminology Technology fabric with built-in UPF 50+, they're designed to block 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays—giving you protection from the sun.

The leggings come in various colors, including Leopard, Black/Gray Camouflage, Black, and Navy. They're also available in sizes S through L and in a 23-inch inseam.

Price at time of publication: $79

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

Best Pet Hair-Resistant

Halara Patitoff Pet Hair Resistant High Waisted Crossover Plain 7/8 Leggings

Halara Pet Hair Leggings


  • Soft, nylon-blend material

  • Form-flattering crossover waist

  • Machine-washable

  • Limited colors

Pet owners know more than anyone how annoying it is when pet hair sticks to your clothing. For legging-fanatic pet owners, we recommend Halara Patitoff Leggings because they're made with a nylon-blend material that resists the attraction of pet hair that comes with static electricity. According to the brand, the leggings are coated in a protective film that eliminates some of this static. And if pet hair does come in contact with the material, it can be easily brushed off.

The high-waisted leggings feature a crossover design that is both flattering and supportive. Breathable and crafted with four-way stretch fabric, they're also great for lounging or high-intensity activities. Find them in four colors in sizes XS through XL.

Price at time of publication: $55

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 7/8 regular | Sizes: XS-XL | Care and Washability: Machine wash cold with leggings turned inside out | Pockets: Yes

Best With Pockets

Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket



  • Breathable

  • Three inseam options

  • Quick-drying

  • Waist occasionally rolls down

  • Run small

Can't live without leggings with pockets? Then we recommend Athleta's Salutation Stash Pocket II 7/8 Tight, which offers a convenient and roomy pocket to stash money, credit cards, your phone, and any other essential you need on the go. Durable and comfortable, the leggings are made with sweat-wicking fabric that's exceptionally breathable. Plus, the Powervita fabric will dry quickly while offering you a supportive and cozy fit.

Choose from a variety of trendy colors, including Canyon Orange, Spiced Cabernet, Coffee House, and more. The leggings come in sizes XXS to 3XL and in three inseam options for petite, regular, and tall individuals.

Price at time of publication: $109

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 23-, 25-, and 28-inch inseam | Sizes: XXS-3XL | Care and Washability: Machine wash and dry | Pockets: Yes

Best Maternity

Gap Maternity GapFit Full Length Leggings in Sculpt Compression

Maternity Leggings in Sculpt Compression

Courtesy of Gap

  • Light compression

  • Panel stretches over the belly

  • Flatlock seams help prevent chafing

  • 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). We love that they can also be worn 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. Find them in two colors and in sizes XS to XXL.

Key Specs:
Rise: High-rise | Length: 26 inches | Sizes: S-XXL | Care and Washability: Machine wash | Pockets: Yes

Best High Waisted

Leonisa Extra High Waisted Firm Compression Legging

Leonisa Extra High Waisted Firm Compression Legging

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Flat seams prevent chafing

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Non-slip waistband

  • Thin fabric

  • No pockets

The Leonisa High Waisted Compression Slimming Leggings deliver everything you need to shape and contour your body. Featuring advanced fabric technology, these full-length, high-waisted leggings are made with soft DuraFit—offering moderate compression to sculpt and support your body.

The extra-high waistband includes a keep-in-place anti-slip lining. With various colors to choose from, these flattering and stylish leggings can be worn under slacks, jeans, or under a dress or tunic. The leggings are available in sizes S to XXL and come in various solids, like gray and green, along with two eye-catching camo prints.

Price at time of publication: $75

Key Specs:
Rise: Extra High-rise | Length: Full-length | Sizes: S-XXL | Care and Washability: Hand wash cold and air dry in shade | Pockets: No

Final Verdict

If you can only choose one pair of leggings, we recommend the Lululemon Align Pant (view at Lululemon). While they are more expensive than some legging options, the material is built to last—designed to keep its color and shape wear after wear.

If you’re looking for a more affordable but still high-quality pair, we suggest Old Navy's Extra-High-Waisted PowerSoft Leggings (view at Old Navy). With a high-waisted fit and supportive ribbed waistband, these leggings will stay put through your most intense workouts.

What to Look for in Workout Leggings


Leggings come in a variety of fabrics, and each type is designed for a specific purpose. But no matter the material, workout leggings need to stay in place while still being breathable, stretchy, compressive, and comfortable.

Your 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'll likely feel great, but the cotton won’t wick sweat away during your workout, leaving you uncomfortable.


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 movement. 


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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should you wear under workout leggings?

    Because workout leggings are form-fitting, it might be difficult to find something to wear underneath. Unfortunately, what might work for one person may not work for another.

    If you're opting for underwear, wearing the right kind can make a difference in your overall comfort. You want to make sure your underwear is made with breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics. Cotton is typically best for all-day wear when breathability is most important. Meanwhile, wearing a spandex-blend pair is best for intense workouts where you'll likely be sweating more.

    Another option is to go without anything. Most doctors agree that it's completely safe to go commando when working out but recommend finding leggings made with the same moisture-wicking materials if you wear underwear.

    In terms of style, it all depends on your overall comfort. Some women prefer thongs while others feel more comfortable in boy shorts.

  • How should workout leggings fit?

    With a variety of workout leggings on the market, you want to make sure you find a pair that fits your body type. Comfort is the most important consideration—especially if you're engaging in exercise as the discomfort can hinder your workout.

    When you put on a pair of leggings, they should fit snug all over—this includes your butt, thighs, calves, waist, and even ankles. If there is loose material, you'll run the risk of chafing from excess fabric rubbing on your skin.

    With that said, you don't want them to be so tight that you're hesitant to perform certain movements in fear of them tearing or falling down.

    Consider what exercises you'll be engaging in while wearing your workout leggings. Ones with a snug, high waist might be better for movements like squats, lunges, or yoga.

  • Is it better to exercise in leggings or shorts?

    When choosing to exercise in leggings or shorts, your first thought might be your environment. And while it makes sense to cover more skin if you're exercising outdoors in colder temperatures, it can be more complicated to decide on which style to choose if you're working out in a gym or an indoor class.

    If mobility is a priority, shorts won't limit your movements as much as some leggings will. Shorts are also great for bike exercises (both indoors and outdoors) as less fabric limits the possibility of the material snagging or getting caught on the bike chain.

    Leggings are great if you're looking for more support—and this is especially true if you opt for compression leggings. For this reason, leggings are a good choice if you're doing high-intensity workouts and want to avoid worrying about them falling down.

    While the temperature of your environment is also something to consider, you can find leggings and shorts made with moisture-wicking material, which make them great for any weather.

  • Why do my workout leggings keep falling down?

    If you find your workout leggings falling down while performing your favorite exercises, it could be due to wrong fit and/or material.

    Some fabrics are more likely to slip on your skin—these include spandex, Lycra, and nylon. However, you're more likely to find compression leggings made with these materials. Cotton may not feature the same level of compression as these materials, but it won't slip on your skin as easily.

    Fit is another key factor that may cause slipping. Finding a pair with a compressive elastic waistband is likely to prevent major slipping. But if your leggings continue to fall down even with non-slip characteristics, they may be the wrong size.

    It's important to look at size charts provided by the brand as this will help you decide what size is best for your body type.

  • How do you wash workout leggings?

    If you want your workout leggings to last for their expected lifetime without significant wear and tear, you have to know how to wash them correctly. And since most workout leggings are made with high-performance materials, they can't always be thrown in the washing machine like your regular cotton t-shirt.

    No matter the material, a vinegar soak can help remove nasty smells from your workout leggings. Mix one part white distilled vinegar to four parts cold water and let your leggings soak for up to 30 minutes before rinsing.

    When it comes to washing, turn your workout clothes inside out. After all, most of the sweat, dead skin, and bacteria are on the inside of your leggings. Whether you're hand-washing or machine-washing, using cold water is best since extreme heat can break down the elasticity of the fabric. And if you're using a machine, throw them in on a gentle cycle.

    Although it may be quick and easy, you don't want to put your workout leggings in the dryer. Cotton can shrink, and heat can damage materials like spandex, Lycra, and nylon. Hang-dry your leggings instead.

  • How long do workout leggings last?

    The lifetime of your workout leggings will depend on a few factors, including the material, design, and level of use.

    High-performance materials typically last longer, and pairs that feature characteristics like double-stitching or a multi-layer waistband may also extend the life of your leggings.

    But no matter the material, the way you take care of your workout leggings will ultimately determine how long they last. Make sure to follow the brand's recommendations for washing and drying.

    Another important factor is how often you wear them. If you only have a couple of pairs of leggings that you wear for all of your workouts, you'll notice them wearing quicker. When you recognize tears, significant pilling, or loose stitching, it may be time to buy a new pair of workout leggings.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Megan Foster is a seasoned commerce writer and former college athlete. She prioritizes health and fitness in her daily life, and she’s always looking for new, reliable, and expert-backed fitness products to share with her readers. She practically lives in leggings most days and she particularly likes ones that are supportive enough to wear for a workout, but also cute enough to wear on a quick grocery run.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Ohore O., Zhang S. Endocrine disrupting effects of bisphenol A exposure and recent advances on its removal by water treatment systems. A review. Scientific African. 2019;5:e00135.

  3. Kavilanz P. A growing number of sports bras, shirts and leggings brands found with high levels of toxic chemical, watchdog warns | CNN Business. CNN.