The best gym leggings for every type of workout

The Best Gym Leggings for Every Type of Workout

Looking for the perfect pair of gym leggings? We've got you covered! The right leggings can make a big difference in your workout performance. Whether you're running, squatting, or lifting, comfort is key. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose.

The best leggings for you will depend on the activity. Your favorite running leggings may not be suitable for yoga, and your go-to high-waisted pair may not be sweat-wicking enough for intense HIIT classes.

Most gym leggings are sweat-wicking, fast-drying, and machine washable. However, some offer extra features that are worth considering. For example, running tights with drop-in leg pockets can eliminate the need for a running belt or phone arm belt. Reflective details are also helpful for visibility during low-light runs. And of course, squat-proof leggings are a must for the gym, so you can move with confidence.

We've hand-picked the top leggings on the market, taking into account performance, comfort, and affordability. Whether you're on a budget or willing to splurge, we've got options for you. We've tested these leggings in various sweat sessions to ensure they meet our high standards.

So, don't settle for mediocre workout gear. Invest in the best gym leggings and take your workouts to the next level.

Best High-Waisted Gym Leggings

When it comes to high-waisted gym leggings, finding the perfect fit is essential. The best high-waisted leggings will sit comfortably above your waist, providing extra coverage and support during yoga classes or any workout. They should stay in place without bunching up or slipping down as you move.

In addition to a secure fit, these leggings should also be sweat-wicking and comfortable. Sweat-wicking properties ensure that moisture is quickly drawn away from your skin, keeping you dry and cool during intense workouts. Comfort is paramount, so look for leggings made from soft, stretchy materials that allow for freedom of movement without sacrificing support.

Investing in high-waisted leggings that offer both functionality and style will elevate your workout experience. Look for leggings with a combination of features like a wide waistband, compression, and breathable fabric to provide the ultimate comfort and support for your fitness activities.

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

Looking for high-waisted leggings for petite women? The Sweaty Betty Super Soft Yoga Leggings are an excellent choice. They are designed with petite sizes in mind, ranging from XXS to XXL. Available in 7/8 or full length, these leggings offer versatile options.

One of the standout features of these leggings is their extreme softness. They provide a luxurious feel against the skin, enhancing comfort during your yoga or Pilates sessions. The high waistband is designed to keep everything in place without rolling or bunching, ensuring a secure fit.

These leggings are sweat-wicking, effectively drawing moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable. They also feature a convenient slip-in side pocket for your phone, making them suitable for gym workouts as well. While they may not have a drawcord waistband for running, they are great for activities like hikes.

With a 90% squat-proof rating, these leggings offer excellent coverage during your workouts. However, keep in mind that you may notice sweat patches after an intense session. Nevertheless, if this doesn't bother you, these leggings are an ideal choice for their comfort and performance.

A photo of a woman wearing the Lululemon Align leggings


Image credit: Lululemon

For Peloton enthusiasts, the Peloton Move Mission leggings are a top choice. These high-waisted leggings are favored by many female Peloton instructors for their exceptional softness, comfort, and performance. They come in a 7/8 leg length, which provides full-length coverage for more petite individuals.

One of the notable features of these leggings is the comfortable high waist. It sits securely without rolling down, ensuring a supportive fit during your workouts on the Peloton Tread or Bike. The leggings also feature a concealed pocket on the waistband, offering convenient storage for your gym card or key.

Designed to be buttery-soft against the skin, the Move Mission leggings prioritize comfort and minimize chafing. The drawcord waist allows you to adjust the fit to your liking, ensuring a secure and personalized feel. The Peloton branding is subtle, making these leggings suitable for gym wear without feeling overly branded.

While the leggings are 100% squat proof, it's worth noting that in the dusky blue colorway, sweat patches may be visible. However, this shouldn't deter you, as it's a natural indication of your hard work. If you prefer to minimize the visibility of sweat, opting for a darker color may be a better choice.

Enjoy the luxurious feel and comfort of the Peloton Move Mission leggings as you tackle your Peloton workouts. With inclusive sizing and a range of matching items available, you can embrace your Peloton experience in style.


If you're in search of running leggings, certain features are essential for optimal performance. Look for leggings with an adjustable drawcord around the waist. This feature allows you to customize the fit, ensuring a snug and secure feel while minimizing movement during your run.

In addition to the drawcord, reflective details are crucial for running leggings. They enhance visibility in low-light conditions, keeping you safe and seen during your runs. Whether it's reflective strips, logos, or patterns, these details make a significant difference in your visibility to others.

When selecting running leggings, prioritize functionality and performance. Look for sweat-wicking and breathable materials that help keep you dry and comfortable throughout your run. Consider leggings with additional features such as zippered pockets for storing small essentials like keys or cards.

By choosing running leggings with adjustable drawcords and reflective details, you can enjoy a secure fit and enhanced safety during your runs. Stay comfortable, visible, and focused on your running goals with the right pair of running leggings.

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

Product Overview

If you're searching for versatile running leggings that excel in various activities, the Sweaty Betty Power High Waisted Gym Leggings are an excellent choice. These leggings have earned their reputation as best-sellers due to their exceptional performance across different workouts.

The Power leggings from Sweaty Betty offer a winning combination of sweat-wicking and fast-drying properties. They keep you dry and comfortable during intense workouts, making them suitable for running, HIIT classes, or even casual activities like walking the dog. Available in a wide range of prints and colors, these leggings allow you to express your personal style.

Featuring Sweaty Betty's "bum-sculpting" technology, these leggings provide a flattering and streamlined look. The flattened seams enhance the overall aesthetic appeal. In terms of functionality, the Power leggings come with three pockets. There are two drop-in side pockets on the legs, along with a zipped pocket on the back for securely storing essentials like keys while running or in the gym.

The leggings are available in two leg lengths: 7/8, which is perfect for more petite women as they will essentially be full length, and full leg length. This ensures you can find the right fit for your height.

It's important to note that while the Power leggings offer numerous benefits, they may not be 100% squat-proof. Certain patterns and colors might be slightly see-through when squatting or stretching. Keep this in mind when making your color selection.

Elevate your running and workout experience with the Sweaty Betty Power High Waisted Gym Leggings. With their sweat-wicking properties, multiple pockets, and stylish designs, these leggings are a top choice for all-round performance.

Best Reflective Running Leggings for Safety and Visibility

A photo of a runner wearing the Brooks Carbonite Tight leggings
(Image credit: Brooks running)

The Brooks Carbonite Tight

The Brooks Carbonite Tight is a top choice for runners seeking the best reflective running leggings. These leggings are designed with safety in mind, featuring 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch reflectivity panels strategically placed in critical motion zones. With this innovative reflective technology, drivers can see you running from up to 600 feet away, enhancing your visibility and safety during low-light conditions.

In addition to their reflective features, the Brooks Carbonite Tight leggings offer sweat-wicking and fast-drying properties, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable during your runs. The thicker fabric used in these leggings provides additional insulation for colder temperatures, making them suitable for year-round use.

The Brooks leggings are available in both full-length and 7/8 leg length options. The 7/8 length is especially suitable for petite runners who prefer a fit that doesn't require folding up the leggings. While these leggings lack a drawstring waist for adjustable tightness, they are designed to stay in place without slipping or bunching up during your runs.

One notable feature of the Carbonite Tight is the pocket on the back, which is spacious enough to accommodate most smartphones. This allows you to conveniently carry your phone during your runs. However, it's important to note that these leggings do not have additional pockets for your phone elsewhere.

For runners who prioritize visibility and safety during evening or low-light training sessions, the Brooks Carbonite Tight leggings are an excellent choice. Enjoy the confidence of enhanced reflectivity and the comfort of sweat-wicking fabric as you tackle your runs with peace of mind.

a photo of the Lululemon Fast and Free Leggings
(Image credit: Lululemon)

The Lululemon Fast and Free Leggings

Widely regarded as the best gym leggings for running, the Lululemon Fast and Free Leggings offer lightweight comfort and convenient pockets. Crafted from Lululemon's Nulux fabric, these leggings provide a "weightless coverage" sensation, ensuring optimal comfort during your runs.

One standout feature of the Fast and Free Leggings is their ample storage options. They feature two spacious drop-in leg pockets for your smartphone, gels, and running gloves. Additionally, there are multiple smaller pockets on the waistband for your essentials. While the pockets are not zippered, many users have found that items securely stay in place during their runs.

The Fast and Free Leggings are available in two different leg lengths: 25 and 28 inches. The 25-inch length is designed to sit above the ankle, effectively functioning as a full-length tight for petite runners. The high waistband sits above the belly button and includes a drawcord for a customizable fit and to prevent the leggings from slipping during workouts.

These leggings are squat-proof and maintain their sleek and cool feel even when wet, making them suitable for both running and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. They are durable and withstand regular washing without developing bobbles. However, it's important to avoid tumble drying them or using fabric softener, as this can affect their quality.

While the Lululemon Fast and Free Leggings come with a higher price tag, they are considered an excellent investment due to their superior quality and functionality. If you're looking for running leggings that offer lightweight comfort, ample storage, and reliable performance, the Fast and Free Leggings are a top choice.


You can't go wrong with a pair of black gym leggings — they go with just about everything and won't show sweat as obviously as colored prints. Here's the best black gym leggings around:


You can't go wrong with a pair of black gym leggings — they go with just about everything and won't show sweat as obviously as colored prints. Here's the best black gym leggings around:

Nike Dri-Fit One leggings

Nike Dri-Fit One Leggings

The Nike Dri-Fit One leggings are an excellent choice for all-round black gym leggings. Here are the key features:

  • Versatile

    These leggings are designed to be suitable for a wide range of activities, making them a versatile option for your workouts. Whether you're doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or practicing yoga, the Nike Dri-Fit One leggings can keep up with you.

  • Size range

    Nike offers a great range of sizes for these leggings, from XXS to 2XL. This ensures that you can find the perfect fit for your body shape and preferences.

  • Squat-proof

    The leggings are squat-proof, meaning you can confidently perform squats and other exercises without worrying about transparency.

  • Waistband

    The waistband sits just below the belly button, providing a comfortable fit. The tighter fit of these leggings offers a body-hugging feel, and the seamless sides help prevent chafing during movement.

  • Pockets

    The leggings feature a hidden pocket at the waistband, which is perfect for storing small essentials like keys or cards while you're working out.

A photo of a woman wearing Lululemon Groove Flared pants
(Image credit: Gymshark)

The Gymshark Adapt Animal Seamless Leggings

The Gymshark Adapt Animal Seamless Leggings are a great choice if you're looking for printed black gym leggings. Here are the key features:

  • High-waisted

    These leggings feature a high waist, providing a secure and comfortable fit during your workouts.

  • Seamless design

    The seamless construction helps avoid any uncomfortable chafing or irritation, allowing for a smooth and comfortable experience.

  • Flattering fit

    The leggings have ruched detailing on the bum, which enhances the appearance of the glutes and creates a flattering look.

  • Squat-proof

    You can confidently perform squats and other exercises without worrying about transparency, as these leggings are fully squat-proof.

  • Variety of shades and patterns

    The Gymshark Adapt Animal Seamless Leggings come in different shades and patterns, allowing you to choose a style that suits your preference.

  • Drawbacks

    These leggings do not have pockets, so you'll need to find alternative storage for your keys and phone. Additionally, they are available in only one leg length, which may require adjustments for shorter individuals to achieve the desired fit around the anklebone.

Overall, the Gymshark Adapt Animal Seamless Leggings offer a combination of style, comfort, and functionality with their high-waisted design, seamless construction, and flattering fit. Just keep in mind the lack of pockets and the limited leg length options.

A photo of a woman wearing Lululemon Groove Flared pants

(Image credit: Lululemon)

The Groove Super-High-Rise Flared Pant Nulu from Lululemon is a top choice for flared leggings. Here are the key features:

  • Soft fabric: Made from Nulu fabric, these leggings are exceptionally soft and comfortable against the skin, providing a pleasant wearing experience.

  • High waistband: The super high waistband sits above the belly button, offering a secure and comfortable fit around the stomach.

  • Flared design: These leggings fit like regular leggings down to the knee and then flare outwards, creating a flattering and elongating effect on the legs. The flared design is well-suited for activities such as hikes, yoga, and Pilates.

  • Size range and color options: The Groove Super-High-Rise Flared Pant Nulu is available in sizes 0-20, offering a wide range of options. Additionally, they come in 13 different colors, allowing you to choose a style that suits your preference.

  • Drawbacks: The leggings have only one leg length option, which is quite long at 32.5 inches. This length may require alterations, especially for individuals with shorter heights. However, Lululemon provides free in-store alterations, making it convenient for adjustments.

Overall, the Groove Super-High-Rise Flared Pant Nulu leggings offer a combination of softness, a high waistband, and a flattering flared design. They are particularly suitable for activities like hikes, yoga, and Pilates. Just keep in mind the need for potential alterations due to the long leg length.

How to choose the best gym leggings for you

You've outlined some essential factors to consider when choosing the best gym leggings for your needs. To recap:

  1. Fabric: Look for sweat-wicking properties to ensure the leggings keep you dry during intense workouts. Quick-drying fabrics are particularly beneficial.

  2. Fit: Find a pair of leggings that fit your body well. Consider factors like waistband height, leg length, and overall comfort. High waistbands provide support, while different leg lengths cater to individual preferences.

  3. Design: Consider your specific workout activities and requirements. If you're a runner, pockets for essentials might be crucial. For yoga, a soft and flexible fabric with a high waistband can enhance your practice.

By taking these factors into account, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect pair of gym leggings that meet your functional and stylistic preferences. Remember to refer to brand size guides for the best fit.

How we tested the best gym leggings

That sounds like a thorough and practical approach to testing gym leggings! By actually wearing and testing the leggings during various workouts, including sweating and squatting, you can evaluate their performance and comfort in real-life scenarios. Assessing features like pockets and drawcord waistbands helps determine their functionality and convenience for different activities.

By combining your hands-on testing with the information provided about the leggings' features and specifications, you can make a well-informed decision when selecting the best gym leggings for your fitness needs.

What makes leggings 'squat proof'?

Squat-proof leggings are designed to provide adequate coverage and opacity, ensuring that the fabric doesn't become see-through or stretched too thin when you perform exercises like squats or lunges.

When choosing gym leggings, particularly for activities that involve bending or stretching, it's important to consider the fabric's thickness, stretchiness, and quality to ensure they are squat-proof. This ensures your comfort and confidence during your workouts without worrying about transparency or fabric strain.

Should you size up or down in gym leggings?

Most of the time, you'll be able to buy your normal size. When purchasing gym leggings, it's advisable to choose your normal size or refer to the brand's sizing chart for guidance. However, it's important to note that sizing can vary between brands, so it's always a good idea to check their specific size recommendations.

Are lululemon leggings squat-proof?

In a word, yes! During testing, we found all of the best Lululemon leggings to be completely squat-proof.

Back to blog