The 14 Best Leggings of 2023 for Working Out and Living In

The iconic Lululemon Align is the one to beat, thanks to its super comfy, super flattering design

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Best Leggings

Girlfriend

Even though simple in concept, leggings are the one item that needs to be as close to perfect as possible: comfortable, soft, practical, and molded to your body through any movement. And they should work just as well for the gym as running errands. We know the choice is personal, but if you don’t have a favorite yet, we found the best ones out there with the help of a few experts, extensive research, and even lots of tests.

Our favorites are made from butter-soft, stretchy material, look amazing on, come in an extensive color selection, and are suitable for a bunch of different activities. We even gave out bonus points for sustainability and size inclusivity, too. The iconic Lululemon Align™ High-Rise Pant 25" got our main vote, thanks to its super comfy, super flattering design, and versatility.

But scroll down to read the rest of our favorites.

Best Overall

Lululemon Align Pant 25"

Lululemon Align™ High-Rise Pant 25"

Lululemon

What We Love: They’re extra comfy for just about any activity.

What We Don’t Love: Certain colorways are double-lined, making them on the thicker side.

Candy Nicholson, personal trainer and fitness instructor at Candy Gyrl Fitness, is hopelessly devoted to the Align legging, and so are we. I’ve purchased a small but respectable collection of these high-waisted pants over the years, in various lengths and colors, and I’ve worn them indiscriminately for lounging and yoga, as well as for higher-impact workouts. (They’re not technically designed for sweating, and lighter colors will definitely show sweat marks, though — you’ve been warned). 

Nicholson is on the same page: “The Lululemon Align pant is great simply for casual wear, and is super comfy for yoga and jogging alike, so makes for a great overall legging for diverse workouts,” she says. While we’re a little giddy about the number of color options here, avoid the ones that are thickly double-lined if you’re not looking for extra warmth. You can recognize these by the extra seam they feature on the outside of the leg, whereas single-lined colorways have just one seam on the inside. 

Price at time of publish: $98-118

Size: 0-20 | Colors: 24 | Fit: High-Rise, 25-, 28-, 31-inch inseam | Material: Nylon, lycra elastane

Best Budget

Rue21 Super Soft Pocket Leggings

Rue21 Super Soft Pocket Leggings

Rue21

What We Love: They look sleek and are functional, too.

What We Don’t Love: The plus-size version costs more.

Allison Weiss Brady, a model with Click Models Philadelphia, owns these leggings in black and recommends them “because they are made of a super soft knit. They are not sheer, so I tend to wear them as an everyday pant or to work out.” Brady loves their sleek look, but also their functionality. “They also have these handy horizontal pockets on the outer thighs that I use to hold my cell phone or keys,” she adds. We like that these come in up to a size 4X, but it’s not great that the plus version is sold on a separate product page and for $2 more. Other than that, these are a very solid basic.

Price at time of publish: $17

Size: XS-4X | Colors: Heather Gray, Black | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best Splurge

Dai Power Move™ FLOW Legging

Dai Power Move™ FLOW Legging

Dai

What We Love: They’re versatile as well as sustainable.

What We Don’t Love: The size range could be improved.

We love a legging that works just as well for yoga as it does for a work presentation, and this pair from Dai is exactly that. They’re made from stretchy fabric designed for movement, but tailored details such as the wide waistband and small split at the hem basically turn these into dress pants. “These Power Move leggings are great for when you have a hectic day running around, but also need to look [elegant],” says sustainable stylist Cassandra Dittmer. “The fabric used in these leggings is produced at an Italian mill that uses 100 percent certified renewable energy, including its own solar panel system which generates enough energy to approximately power its shipping warehouse — pretty amazing!” These leggings are also carbon-neutral, so you can feel good about spending a little more. We’re not super impressed with the size range, though; we hope they work on expanding it soon.

Price at time of publish: $165

Size: 0-12 | Colors: Black, Midnight, Jungle | Fit: High-Rise, Cropped or Full-Length | Material: Polyamide, elastane

Best Plus-Size

Superfit Hero Superhold Pocket Leggings

Superfit Hero Superhold Pocket Leggings

Superfit Hero

What We Love: They provide amazing comfort and support for hiking, working out, and everyday wear.

What We Don’t Love: The fabric attracts pet hair and lint.

Any brand that goes up to a 7XL is a winner in our book, but Superfit Hero doesn’t limit itself to just inclusivity. People are obsessed with their Superhold leggings thanks to their compressive, soft, and stretchy fabric, their high-waisted design that actually stays put, and their handy side pockets. These leggings are just as ideal for hiking as they are for running, gym workouts or everyday wear, plus they come in four beautiful shades, including one two-toned option. The only snag is that they tend to attract pet hair and lint, so you might want to keep a roller handy.

Price at time of publish: $99

Size: L-7XL | Colors: Cobalt, Black, Burgundy/Blush, Evergreen | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best Petite

Alo Yoga 7/8 High-Waist Airlift Legging

Alo Yoga 7/8 High-Waist Airlift Legging

Alo Yoga

What We Love: They work just as well for high and low-impact exercise.

What We Don’t Love: Fun colors sell out — and fast.

For the petite among us, opting for a 7/8 length legging is often a good idea — and this pair is a winner for shorter women, thanks to its compressive and sculpting properties. We love that it comes in such a beautiful range of colors, but as with many Alo products, the fun, limited ones (think: fuchsia, cherry red, and violet) have a terrible tendency to sell like hotcakes, meaning they’re often only available in a few sizes. People love the look of these, and they find them just as suited to a sweaty HIIT workout as a low-impact yoga flow.

Price at time of publish: $118

Size: XXS-XL | Colors: 4 Core, 14 Limited | Fit: High-Rise, 7/8 Length | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best Tall

Athleta Salutation Stash II Tight

Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket II Tight

Athleta

What We Love: They’re butter-soft.

What We Don’t Love: The waistband sometimes rolls down.

Athleta (and sister brands Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy) is a consistently great go-to for tall women. Shoppers say this particular pair of leggings has a butter-soft feel that’s perfect for all your legging-based needs: from lounging to spin class, from yoga to running, and it has pockets, too. Unfortunately, the waistband has been known to roll down, but this doesn’t seem to stop people from buying multiple pairs so we’ll let it… slide. 

Two more reasons to love Athleta: their B Corp certification and their inclusive sizing, with petite and tall options, and the regular version available in sizes XXS to 3X. You can often snatch certain colorways on sale, too, which never hurts.

Price at time of publish: $109

Size: XS-XL | Colors: 7 | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Nylon, Lycra

Best Faux Leather

Spanx Faux Leather Croc Shine Leggings

Spanx Faux Leather Croc Shine Leggings

Nordstrom

What We Love: These are both fashion and activewear leggings.

What We Don’t Love: You might need to size up for a better fit.

“I love these Faux Leather Croc Shine Leggings as they are so versatile; they can be worn both during the day and evening and as activewear for workouts, too,” says celebrity stylist Lalla Bronshtein. “They give you that leather [pant] overall look — but are lighter to wear, so perfect for autumn or winter looks.” We love that Spanx goes up to a 3X, though they do recommend sizing up if you’re unsure which size would fit you best. As is the brand’s M.O., these are shaping, comfortably high-waisted, and center-seam-free.

Price at time of publish: $98

Size: XS-3X | Colors: Brown Croc | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Nylon, elastane with Polyurethane

Best Gym

Core 10 Women's All Day Comfort High-Waist Full-Length Yoga Legging

Core 10 Women's All Day Comfort High-Waist Full-Length Yoga Legging

Amazon

What We Love: These are basically a Lululemon Align dupe.

What We Don’t Love: The brand needs to be more transparent about its production process.

Core 10, an Amazon brand, is a little too good to be true, with its accessible price tags and sky-high ratings. As you might expect, where it delivers on quality and fair pricing, the brand doesn’t provide any sustainability credentials or production information, so you know it’s not a planet-friendly product. Despite that, these leggings fit beautifully on diverse body types, with sizes from an XS to a 3X available, and are amazing for the gym (and yes, they’re squat-proof). Reviewers say these hold up to scrutiny as a Lululemon Align dupe, plus they come in a wide range of colors and prints, too, so there’s something for everyone.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: XS-3X | Colors: 22 | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Polyester, elastane

Best Running

Saucony Women’s Solstice Tight

Saucony Women’s Solstice Tight

Saucony

What We Love: They featured reflective details and three pockets.

What We Don’t Love: The mid-rise fit hits in a weird spot for those with wider hips.

For anyone who prefers an outdoor workout (aka running) to being cooped up inside, you understand how important the proper layers are. We were sent these leggings to try and can confirm your search can stop here. These are perfect for outdoor activities once the weather starts to turn. We love the clever additional features that make these a great fit for running at night — the reflective details ensure you can be spotted when crossing the road and the two side pockets and sealed back pocket easily store your phone and keys during your run. 

These are made from partially recycled material, which is a nice nod to sustainability, though the brand could be doing more on that front. While we’re not huge fans of mid-rise pants ourselves generally — and that fit typically cuts off those with wide hips in a weird spot — anyone without hang-ups about the rise will love them. 

Price at time of publish: $85

Size: XXS-XXL | Colors: Black, Black Heather, Crystal, Sodalite Heather | Fit: Mid-Rise, Full-Length | Material: Polyester

Best Lightweight

Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Tight

Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Tight

Lululemon

What We Love: These leggings are supportive yet breathable for weight training or longer distance running.

What We Don’t Love: Lululemon is a little slow on implementing sustainable and inclusivity practices.

Lululemon tends to be a go-to for fitness enthusiasts, and it’s not for nothing. “The Fast and Free legging fits a little more snug, with an adjustable waistband and deep pockets,” Nicholson explains. “These I love for longer distance running and on hotter days, because the material is a little more lightweight and breathable enough for weight training.” As with many Lululemon products, these leggings are regularly re-edited in a ton of fun or basic colorways, come in a respectable size range, and are available in 25’’ or 28’’ lengths depending on your height and preference. While the brand intends to implement a number of great sustainability initiatives by 2030, we just wish they would do a little more for the planet right now.

Price at time of publish: $128-138

Size: 0-20 | Colors: 10 | Fit: High-Rise, 25’’ Length | Material: Nylon, lycra elastane

Best Compression

Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Legging

5
Girlfriend Collective Black Compressive High-Rise Legging

Girlfriend Collective

What We Love: They offer great compression without falling down.

What We Don’t Love: They wear down too fast for reviewers’ taste.

“I literally live in leggings,” says Laurice Wardini, co-founder and editor-in-chief at ClothedUp — which is why we’re taking her word for it when she shares, “Girlfriend Collective has some of my favorite leggings, especially since I've gained a few COVID pounds. They're super compressive and the high-waisted leggings are the best — they hold everything in and never roll down.” If that’s not enough to sell you on these, they also come in an almost unbelievable number of colorways, plus three lengths, and sizes XXS through 6XL. Once again, Girlfriend Collective stays true to its ethical and sustainable ethos, with leggings made from 79 percent recycled plastic bottles (you can recycle those, too, through their ReGirlfriend program). 

They’ve now made the exact same legging in BioCompressive material (and in funky neons), which uses a special technology that helps synthetic material to biodegrade naturally much faster. Unfortunately, though, these leggings let themselves down by wearing out faster than is ideal.

Price at time of publish: $78

Size: XXS-6XL | Colors: 5 Full-Price, 31 Sale | Fit: High-Rise, Full-Length | Material: rPET, spandex

Best Maternity

Isabella Oliver Kerrison Maternity Leggings with LENZING™ ECOVERO™

Isabella Oliver Kerrison Maternity Leggings with LENZING™ ECOVERO™

Isabella Oliver

What We Love: These are ethically and sustainably made.

What We Don’t Love: They’re a little too thin for some people.

When wellbeing author and style influencer Jasmine Hemsley was pregnant with her daughter, “these black leggings became a staple that worked for nearly every occasion,” she says. She loves that they are “stretchy and thick — but not too thick to make them a pain pulling them up or down,” and that they are easy to wash. It doesn’t hurt that these are a sustainable find that is also more affordable than many mainstream leggings. They’re made from an eco fabric called Lenzing Ecovero in ethical factories in Europe, and the brand uses little water and carbon in the production process. While Hemsley found these to be beautifully thick and opaque, some reviewers actually found the fabric a little too thin, so they may not be a fit for everyone.

Price at time of publish: $45

Size: 2-14 | Colors: Caviar Black, Classic Navy | Fit: Over-the-Bump, Full-Length | Material: Lenzing Ecovero Jersey

Best Sculpting

Halara High Waisted Side Pocket Shaping Training 7/8 Leggings

Halara High Waisted Side Pocket Shaping Training 7/8 Leggings

Halara

What We Love: They’re designed to sculpt from waist to ankle.

What We Don’t Love: The color range isn’t the most extensive.

Here’s another Lululemon Align lookalike at a fraction of the price, this time with a V-shaped seam at the front. Though these don’t come in as extensive a color selection as the ones from Lululemon and Core 10, people love the quality and fit so much that they tend to come back for more. They’re designed to sculpt around your stomach, crotch, and legs for a look you’ll love, with compressive fabric that still allows for plenty of movement — whether you’re weightlifting or stocking up on groceries. They come in sizes XS to 4X, too.

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: XS-4X | Colors: Deep Taupe, Black, Oxford Blue, Deep Navy | Fit: High-Rise, 7/8 Length | Material: Nylon, elastane

Best With Pockets

Wolven Threads Crossover Pocket Legging

Wolven Crossover Pocket Legging

Wolven

What We Love: These leggings are made from recycled plastic bottles, yet still manage to feel super soft and comfy.

What We Don’t Love: They’re better for yoga or lounging than for sweaty workouts.

You can put your phone in one of these leggings’ two nifty side pockets without fear of it falling out in the middle of a run: These mid-rise, crossover-waistband pants stay beautifully in place as you move. That said, they tend to show sweat marks more than your average athletic legging, so keep that in mind when picking a colorway (you can find them all on this page). Otherwise, they may be best kept for low-impact activities. Reviewers love how comfortably these fit and how soft they are, but the true clincher is that they’re made from mostly recycled plastic bottles and that the brand is Climate Neutral Certified. Plus, it works with ethical manufacturers in China who enforce fair and safe production practices. 

Price at time of publish: $72

Size: XS-XXL | Colors: 9 | Fit: Mid-Rise, Full-Length | Material: rPET, spandex

What to Keep in Mind

Rise

The most popular leggings, like Lululemon’s Align leggings, are typically high-rise, meaning the waistband falls over your belly button. These are the ones we prefer, because they don’t create any awkward or uncomfortable folds in your stomach, and adapt with your body as you move and as you eat. They also provide extra coverage, which makes them ideal for pairing with just a sports bra, or with a cropped athletic shirt. We have included a couple of fantastic mid-rise leggings on our list, whose waistband falls just under your belly button, like Saucony’s Solstice Tight. These are typically better paired with a slightly longer shirt, but it’s definitely a question of preference. While low-rise leggings (whose waistband falls at hip height) are easy to find, they’re not the most popular choice out there — exhibit A: None of the style experts we spoke to recommended a pair because they fall down easily, so working out in them is not typically comfortable.

Details

While leggings may seem like a very straightforward piece of clothing — and in many ways they are — sometimes the little details make all the difference. Pockets in particular make a great addition for carrying around your keys and/or phone during a run or if you don’t like bringing a bag with you to the gym. For example, our picks from Athleta, Rue21, and Superfit Hero have amazingly functional pockets that make them fan favorites, while those from Core 10 and Dai have more discreet pockets that don’t take away from their sleek look. We also love features like adjustable waistbands, reflective details, or compressive fabric that holds everything in place while you move.

Material

Most popular leggings (and most of the ones on our list) are made from nylon and elastane, or polyester and elastane, for stretch and comfort. Brand-specific blends often make the finish more or less soft — for instance, people love Alo’s proprietary Airlift fabric, and Lululemon’s Nulu, which they use for Align products. The fabric blend can also create a shinier finish (see: Girlfriend Collective, Saucony) or a more matte finish (see: Core 10, Rue21). Other fabrics used for leggings include polyamide, rPET, and viscose, among others.

Your Questions, Answered

What material is the best for leggings?

Which material is best for leggings depends a fair bit on what you’re planning to use yours for. But when it comes to sweaty workouts, “the best material for leggings is generally nylon fabric with Lycra elastane to give it that nice stretch to fit each individual body type,” Nicholson says. We think this remains true even if you just plan to wear your leggings for lounging or running errands. We all love a good stretchy fabric, after all. 

That said, if you’re looking for that eco-factor, you might prefer to look for a recycled fabric such as rPET (made from plastic bottles) or the Lenzing Ecovero jersey used in the Isabella Oliver leggings, which is a sustainable viscose fabric.

How do you style leggings without looking too casual?

Leggings are a wardrobe staple that absolutely can be dressed up for cruising around town and even for work if you play your cards right. “I love styling leggings with an oversized blazer or textured sweater,” Dittmer says. “Leggings can be a practical and flattering base for a long trench coat or oversized puffer and scarf. Also, the right legging can pass for a pair of tights with a long skirt and mid-calf boot.” Last but not least, “a legging in a unique color can be really chic when the entire outfit is tonal or a bold color block,” Dittmer says. In short, feel free to experiment with your leggings-based outfits; they’re a truly versatile piece.

Why Shop With Us

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based freelance journalist, author, and copywriter. She covers everything from celebrities and relationships to fashion and beauty for numerous publications, like InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Women’s Health, and many more. For this story, she interviewed numerous experts — including, Candy Nicholson, personal trainer and fitness instructor at Candy Gyrl Fitness, Allison Weiss Brady, a model with Click Models Philadelphia, Cassandra Dittmer, sustainable stylist, Laurice Wardini, co-founder and editor-in-chief at ClothedUp, Jasmine Hemsley, wellbeing author and style influencer, and Lalla Bronshtein, celebrity stylist — about what leggings are the best for everything from workouts to lounging. 

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