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The Best Leggings for Women: 13 Options for Work, Fun, and Fitness

Best Leggings for Women
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Updated November 9, 2023

Whether you’re running errands or marathons, the right pair of leggings can do wonders for your wardrobe. Comfortable and versatile, this hard-working piece of clothing is a staple for everyone, regardless of age or size. With so many styles available—from simple black leggings to faux leather—it’s easy to get decision fatigue. To help you find your new favorites, we rounded up the best leggings based on style, fit, and function. 

How to pick the right legging

When shopping for leggings, consider what material you prefer, what works best for your body, and where you plan to wear them. 

Compression, style (capri or full length), fabric, and color choice should all be considered when purchasing a pair. Leggings may look similar, but there are differences in brands. It’s worth trying on various pairs, asking friends and fitness colleagues (my go-to advisor for leggings is my amazing pilates teacher), and reading up on reviews and recommendations before you buy. 

Our picks for the top leggings for women

Best budget leggings: Old Navy’s Extra High-Waisted Power Chill Hidden Pocket Leggings for Women

Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Leggings for Women

With over 3,000 five-star reviews, these leggings are a great choice, if you’re on a budget. They work well for coffee runs or sprints around the park because they not only keep their shape while you move, the Go-Dry moisture-wicking technology plus added tencel material means you stay cool even when you’re hot. There’s a hidden interior pocket just big enough for a key and a card, so you can go hands-free, and the wide high waistband will support and hug your curves—with staying power when you’re in downward dog. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Polyester 22%, TENCEL™ modal 13%, cotton 53%, spandex 12%
  • Fit and compression: Four-way stretch, fitted through leg and thigh
  • Sizes: XS to 4X
  • Colors: Charcoal gray, black, navy and light blue

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Versatible

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say pocket isn’t useful
  • Few color options
  • Some reviews felt the material could be thicker 
Best budget leggings
Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Leggings for Women

Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Leggings for Women

Best leggings for running: Sweaty Betty Zero-Gravity High-Waisted 7/ 8 Running Leggings

Zero Gravity High-Waisted 7/8 Running Leggings

These leggings are designed specifically for runners and are made from a technical fabric with an incorporated honeycomb structure that is SPF 40 to protect your legs from the sun. The design’s ultra-lightweight and quick-drying fabric may not be suitable for consumers who want a thicker legging, but for runners, it should tick all of their boxes—especially if you love a high-waist look and enjoy wearing bright patterns.

Zero-Gravity comes in two lengths, ⅞ and full-length, with two pockets (side and back-zip) that will fit most phones, a credit or debit card, and potentially a car key that allows you to stay hands-free when you run. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Ultra-lightweight, quick-drying Italian fabric (59% Polyamide, 41% Elastane)
  • Fit and Compression: High-compression, form-fitted
  • Sizes: XXS to XXL 
  • Colors: Green, purple, blue, and pint (eight choices of prints)

Pros: 

  • Runners rave about its fabric, compression 
  • High waist that stays put whether you are walking or sprinting
  • Contains SPF 40

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • It may be too opaque for some consumers
Best leggings for running
Zero Gravity High-Waisted 7/8 Running Leggings

Zero Gravity High-Waisted 7/8 Running Leggings

Best leggings with a high waist: Lululemon Align High-Rise Pants with Pockets 

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pants with Pockets

Lululemon’s popular Align High-Rise leggings were upgraded with added pockets to hold slim essentials. Highly recommended by Lululemon fans, these stretchy and comfortable (described as “buttery soft”) leggings work for hanging out or working out. We love how the high rise holds everything together without being too tight, thanks to a special Nulu fabric with added lycra for retention. Like most Lululemon leggings, they are definitely in the higher price range. Shopping tip: The Lululemon Align Wide-Leg Pant made our list of the best yoga pants for women.

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Body: 81% Nylon, 19% Lycra® elastane
  • Fit and compression: Extremely comfortable, low compression for low-impact sports like yoga
  • Sizes: 0-20
  • Colors: 14 colors (from Kelly Green to Sonic (hot) Pink)

Pros: 

  • Great for yoga; it won’t slip down

Cons:

  • Expensive
Best leggings with a high waist
lululemon Align™ High-Rise Leggings with Pockets 25"

lululemon Align™ High-Rise Leggings with Pockets 25"

Best leggings for yoga or pilates: Alo High-Waist Airlift Leggings

7/8 HIGH-WAIST AIRLIFT LEGGING

Alo is a brand pilates and yoga instructors love because its leggings stay put. “I love anything with a higher waistband, like Alo, because it means not having to adjust or hike up your pants or shorts when you are practicing on the reformer,” shares Melia Marzollo, M.Ed., pilates and yoga instructor and the founder of the Ascend Center + Collective

She recommends Alo for its comfort and performance stretch. “I appreciate that it will stay on your body so you can focus on your practice,” she says. These leggings run from size 0 to 18, although a little long, according to reviews, making Alo one of the more size-inclusive brands on the market.  We love that this legging shapes and sculpts and that even though it has compression, it’s comfortable. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Signature, micro-performance, double-knit Airlift fabric
  • Fit and compression: Medium compression. Snug, size up for a looser fit
  • Sizes: XXS (0) to XL (16-18)
  • Colors: 18 colors, like hot pink, bright green, and a range of neutrals

Pros:

  • Extremely soft but stretchy
  • Stays put on your waist 

Cons:

  • Expensive
Best leggings for yoga or pilates
7/8 HIGH-WAIST AIRLIFT LEGGING

7/8 HIGH-WAIST AIRLIFT LEGGING

Best leggings to wear as pants: American Giant No BS Pant

American Giant No BS Pant

American Giant No BS Pant is a legging living its best life as a pair of pants. Made from a custom-developed double-knit ponte fabric, it gives wearers a polished non-activewear look in a legging. (Honestly, these could pass as a pair of women’s dress pants for work.) American Giant No BS Pants hold their shape and, like most pants, even have a front pocket. If you prefer your leggings a little more pant-like, American Giant also makes a flare in the same fabric. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Ponte (54% pro modal, 40% nylon, 6% spandex)
  • Fit and compression: Four-way-stretch, light compression
  • Sizes: 0 to 16
  • Colors: Gray, super black, and black

Pros:

  • Made in the U.S.A. 
  • It has a front pocket

Cons:

  • Limited colors
  • Expensive
Best leggings to wear as pants
No-BS Pant - Super Black

No-BS Pant - Super Black

Best workout leggings: ThirdLove Kinetic Performance Pocket Leggings

Kinetic Performance Pocket Legging

If you want a legging to wear from the studio to the street, these performance leggings from ThirdLove do it all. We love its high waistband and stretchy, breathable material that allows you to work out comfortably. And its pocket provides space for a credit card, phone, and key so that you can travel light and in style. ThirdLove does a great job of being size inclusive with offerings up to size 3X. Shopping tip: ThirdLove also made our list for the best cotton underwear for women, best lingerie brands, and best pajamas for women.

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 88% polyester/12% spandex
  • Fit and compression: Lightly compressive fit, high-waist
  • Sizes: XS to 3X 
  • Colors: Blue granite, midnight teal, and black

Pros:

  • Wide variety of sizes
  • Size inclusive
  • Pockets

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it runs a large, so consider sizing down if you’re between sizes.
  • Only three color options are available
  • Branding on the ankle 
Best workout leggings
ThirdLove Kinetic Performance Pocket Leggings

ThirdLove Kinetic Performance Pocket Leggings

Most comfortable leggings: Vuori Daily Leggings

Daily Legging

These daily leggings by Vuori are just as soft and comfortable as its popular performance jogger. We love the details in its design, like cuffed angles and a drawstring high waist, which elevate its style. Soft and with a no-slip fit, these leggings are so comfortable, you may want to wear them all day and night.  And if pockets are important, you’re in luck. You can buy this version with cute ones on the side to hold a key, phone, and credit card.

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 72% Polyester, 28% Elastane
  • Fit and compression: Light compression, comfortable fit
  • Sizes: XXS to XXL
  • Colors: Black, lavender-gray, black camo, baltic blue, and ink 

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Drawstring waist
  • No-slip technology

Cons:

  • Expensive
Most comfortable leggings
Vuori Daily Legging | Black | XS, Size Extra Small

Vuori Daily Legging | Black | XS, Size Extra Small

Best maternity leggings: Spacedye Love the Bump Maternity Pocket Midi Legging

Spacedye Love the Bump Maternity Pocket Midi Legging

You could just wear a larger pair of leggings when pregnant, but why should you when there are so many great ones designed specifically for maternity? We chose Spacedye Love the Bump because it is designed for multi-use wear from the first trimester to the weeks after you give birth. 

Its wide and high waistband can fit over or under a pregnant belly depending on what you feel is most comfortable, has generous hip pockets and UV protection; plus, these leggings are extremely soft. They come at a higher price point than others, so they might not be the best choice if you are on a budget.

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
  • Fit and compression: Four-way stretch and low compression
  • Sizes: XS to XL 
  • Colors: Comes in three core colors—black, blue, and bluish gray, plus a range of rotating seasonal shades, including ultra-violet heather and desert dusk.

Pros:

  • Designed to support growing bodies in every trimester
  • Pockets

Cons: 

  • Expensive
Best maternity leggings
Spacedye Love the Bump Maternity Pocket Midi Legging

Spacedye Love the Bump Maternity Pocket Midi Legging

Best faux leather leggings: Commando Faux Leather Leggings

Faux Leather Legging

Commando’s faux leather leggings are buttery soft, comfortable, form-fitting, and unlike real leather, machine washable. While you probably don’t want to take these to exercise class, the four-way stretch and comfortable waistband allow you to wear them comfortably throughout the day.  Commando lovers say they don’t stretch out, sag, or bag after a day of continuous wear, which can be an issue with some faux leather garments. We also love that Commando is extremely size-inclusive, and these leggings run from extra-small petite to 3X. Reviewers report that they felt chic and comfortable. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: Four-way stretch faux leather leg (55% polyurethane, 44% viscose, 1% elastane), waistband (72% nylon, 28% elastane)
  • Fit and compression: Stretchy with light compression
  • Sizes: XS petite to 3X
  • Colors: Seven colors, including black, white, navy, and sand

Pros:

  • Soft and doesn’t stretch out after continuous wear
  • Wide range of sizes

Cons:

  • Expensive
Best faux leather leggings
Faux Leather Legging

Faux Leather Legging

Best flared leggings: Backcountry Flare Legging

Flare Legging - Women's

These leggings are both comfortable and cute, with flared legs for when you want to switch from a skinny-pant look. These affordable leggings have low compression, but a high stretch factor. Reviewers say they run on the small, so you should size up for more room. These work well during trail runs or heading into town and have a smooth and slimming fit on your form. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 76% nylon, 24% spandex
  • Fit and compression: Slim fit, light compression
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Colors: Black and cold brew (brown)

Pros:

  • Stylish flared leg
  • Resists pet hair

Cons:

  • Runs small 
  • Only runs to XL
  • Limited colors
Best flared leggings
Flare Legging - Women's

Flare Legging - Women's

Best shapewear leggings: Shapermint Essentials High-Waisted Active Shaping Leggings

Shapermint Essentials High-Waisted Active Shaping Leggings

Shapermint's highly rated high-waisted black leggings are a go-to for smoothing bulges and lines for a contoured and comfortable fit, and they have three pockets to carry all your essentials. 

Reviewers say these leggings are great for working out or simply going to work, and they pass the squat test. We love that Shapermint sells affordable and size-inclusive shapewear for all body types, and despite low compression, these leggings hold everything in place.

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
  • Fit and compression: Fitted with a compressive fabric
  • Sizes: Small to 4XL
  • Colors: Black

Pros:

  • Size inclusive
  • Low compression but maximum control
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • One color
Best shapewear leggings
Shapermint Essentials High-Waisted Active Shaping Leggings

Shapermint Essentials High-Waisted Active Shaping Leggings

Best lightweight (for warm weather) leggings: Outdoor Voices Sculpt Kneecap Legging

Sculpt Kneecap Legging

These leggings are lightweight and end at the knees for warm-weather comfort. Outdoor Voices’ fabric is soft with a fold-over waistband. Created for yoga, pilates, and low-impact sports, it works under dresses and tunics for running errands or lounging. The fabric is on the thinner side, which will keep you cool, but may show lines. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 75% recycled polyester, 25% spandex
  • Fit and compression: High waist, low compression
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Colors: Black and pine (green)

Pros:

  • Lightweight, good for warm weather
  • Fold-over, stay-put waistband

Cons:

  • Thin fabric
  • It may show lines or bulges
Best lightweight (for warm weather) leggings
Sculpt Kneecap Legging

Sculpt Kneecap Legging

Best compression leggings: Girlfriend Collective High-Rise Compressive Leggings

Girlfriend Collective Compression

Compression leggings are designed to support your legs pre- and post-workout by keeping your blood flowing without tight compression. While most of the leggings on our list offer some form of compression from their material, some have more than others. 

We love these high-rise compression leggings from the all-around awesome eco-friendly Girlfriend Collective. With four-way stretch, they are designed for high-impact activities but also perfect for low-impact walking, traveling, or hanging out. 

These are comfortably compressive, pass the squat test, and the Girlfriend Collective is a great size-inclusive brand. These leggings come in three inseam choices (28.5 inches, 23 ¾ inches, or 19.5 inches) to help you find your best fit. 

Specifications:

  • Fabric: 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and 21% spandex
  • Fit and compression: High-rise and good compression
  • Sizes: XXS to 6XL
  • Colors: Seven colors, including black, white, moss, and brown, plus limited editions colors, such as atlas blue and citrine yellow

Pros:

  • Extremely size inclusive
  • Great compression and comfort
  • Designed for high-impact activities

Cons:

  • While the compression level is rated highly, some may want higher compression
Best compression leggings
Black Compressive High-Rise Legging

Black Compressive High-Rise Legging

How we selected the best leggings for women

We analyzed the fit, compression, style, and packaging of all of our leggings. We selected our top picks from various retailers by consulting with pilates instructors, fashion designers, fact-checking, personally testing, and searching hundreds of reviews.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is Lululemon so expensive? 

Lululemon is expensive for many reasons, including the company’s commitment to research and development, manufacturing, and well-constructed clothing. Its popularity and brand notoriety may also play a role in pricing. Most Lululemon customers say the price reflects the quality of its fabrics and designs. 

Can you wear leggings over 50? 

“The idea that certain ways of dressing are or aren't age appropriate has evolved,” says Ra'el Cohen, co-founder of ThirdLove. “People of all shapes, sizes and ages can and should dress whatever way makes them comfortable,” she adds. She suggests that women choose high-quality leggings that offer good coverage and are made from thicker fabrics to ensure a flattering fit. 

Some ways to wear leggings in addition to donning them as workout clothing, are pairing them with a t-shirt, tank, or crop top. Leggings can be worn as pants (especially faux leather or flares), and worn under tunics and dresses, or layered with shirts and sweaters. Leggings are extremely versatile, says Cohen. She suggests (for legging wearers of any age):  

  • Pair leggings with longer tops, tunic-style blouses, or oversized sweaters for added coverage and a balanced look.
  • Layer leggings with longer cardigans, jackets, or blazers to create a more polished and put-together outfit.
  • Consider wearing leggings with knee-high or ankle boots, flats, or low-heeled shoes for a chic look at any age.

Do leggings make you look “bigger”? 

No. Leggings do not make you look bigger. Many leggings have built-in compression that may give you a more slender appearance. 

What leggings do not wrinkle?

Most leggings have lycra or spandex in the material, so unlike 100% cotton, they don’t typically wrinkle. 

What are the best ladies leggings?

Many great legging brands exist including Girlfriend Collective, Lululemon, and Commando.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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