Ah, leggings. Although somewhat of a divisive topic, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that their versatility and comfort are undeniable, deeming them an essential building block of both indoor and outdoor wardrobes. And even as fashion becomes fun again (and, you know, we have places and events to wear said fun fashion), it’s clear that they’ve earned a permanent place in our hearts and our closets. Still, sometimes a classic legging can feel a little, well, boring…cue the flared legging, which gives the classic style a chic upgrade.
While many flared leggings are designed for yogis and couch-loungers alike, today’s offering boasts options that can be worn well beyond the comfort of your studio or home—or errands, for that matter. Think stylish slit hems perfect for showing off your ’90s platforms and early aughts ballet flats; colorful ribbed knits that, if you’re an avid follower of runway trends, can be styled under a skirt; and faux-leather finishes that make a great companion for a night out dancing. And in addition to their styling versatility, they’re all supremely comfortable.
Given the countless options out there, searching for the right pair of flared leggings can prove to be somewhat daunting—that’s why we set out to find the best for any and every situation, whether you’re running errands or running to work. To narrow down the list, we scoured the internet, read through countless customer reviews, consulted with team members who've tried them, and tapped several expert stylists and designers to weigh in on the topic.
Madewell MWL Flex Flare Leggings
These flares from Madewell check all of our boxes, which is why we’re giving them top honors. For starters, they’re crafted from a super-soft, four-way stretch fabric that’s sweat-wicking (ideal for hot yoga or a busy errand-filled afternoon) and derived from recycled materials (always a plus in our book). Couple that with its flattering high-rise waist, ultra-wearable colorways, and inclusive size offering, and you have yourself a winner. Did we mention they also boast a secret waistband pocket?
Price at time of publish: $78
Size Range: XXS–3X | Material: 79% recycled polyester, 21% spandex | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash
H&M Flared Leggings
A good pair of leggings shouldn’t necessarily break the bank, which is why we're a fan of these under-$20 flares from H&M. They feature a figure-flattering high-waisted cut and are made from a soft jersey material with just the right amount of stretch. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for rigorous workouts, these are ideal for day-to-day activities or dressing up with an oversized blazer and kitten heels for the office.
Price at time of publish: $18
Size Range: XS–4XL | Material: 97% polyester, 3% spandex | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cool with like colors; no dry clean; only non-chlorine bleach when needed; medium iron; line dry
Khaite Roonie Stretch-Knit Skinny Pants
If you’re going to shell out on a pair of flared leggings, they should have a luxurious look and feel to match their price tag. This chic knit pair from Khaite is a great example. It’s crafted from a comfortable stretchy fabric with a substantial (not flimsy or sheer) feel. “This pair of flared leggings from Khaite is my favorite right now,” says stylist and consultant Sydney Engelhart. “The longer length and side ankle zipper add something unexpected. I think they’re perfect if you’re in the mood to splurge on a pair you can dress up with heels.”
Price at time of publish: $880
Size Range: XS–L | Material: 58% viscose, 30% elastane, 12% polyester | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash and dry
Re Ona Signature Wide Leg Modal Pants
For every day, you’ll want a pair of flared leggings that are not only comfy but can be worn for a multitude of situations—think working out, running errands, and throwing under a blazer for work. That’s why we love this leggings-pants hybrid from Re Ona, which wins this category for its easy styling versatility. “These pants are definitely a staple piece that is easy to wear every day, whether you're running errands or going to brunch with friends,” says Philiscia Abayomi, co-founder of Re Ona. Crafted from the brand’s signature double-layered Lenzing modal fabric, this chic option is soft, ensuring the flattering high waist is supremely comfortable, too.
Price at time of publish: $125
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 93% modal, 7% spandex | Rise: High | Care: Hand wash in cold water
Aerie OFFLINE Real Me High Waisted Crossover Legging
When it comes to athletic leggings, some qualities are non-negotiable. First, they should perform well, fitting comfortably and staying in place throughout your workout. Opacity is also important, as you won’t want them to become sheer mid-squat. Quality fabrics that won’t shrink or stretch out over time, too, play a role. And of course, you should feel good in them. This pair from Aerie checks all those boxes. As our tester notes, these have a beautiful fit that remains the same throughout a month’s worth of wearing and washing—and they make your butt look amazing, albeit being on the thinner side and not the most smoothing. Thanks to its versatile waistband that can be worn pulled up, rolled down, or with a V-shaped dip, you can style them whichever way makes you feel most confident, and you can trust they’ll stay in place with minimal bunching.
Price at time of publish: $33
Size Range: XXS–XXL with options for long and short lengths | Material: 88% nylon, 12% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash
Commando Faux Leather Splitfront Pants
In most cases, we wouldn’t deem a pair of leggings occasion-worthy, but when they’re crafted in glossy faux leather and feature a trend-forward split hem and seamed creases like this pair from Commando, they’re fit for fancy gatherings when paired with a tailored blazer or a slinky going-out top. The brand is beloved for its faux leather legging offerings, and with good reason—it’s truly worth the hype. The material is super comfortable despite its polished, luxurious appearance.
Price at time of publish: $168
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 55% polyurethane, 44% viscose, 1% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Wash cold
Zara Slit Flared Leggings
This pair of flares from Zara fuses the comfort of leggings with the sleek sophistication of work trousers. A hidden in-seam zipper ensures the perfect fit, while the stylish split hems are key for showing off your slingbacks and loafers. We love how these can instantly look dressy when paired with a silky blouse, but you’ll be just as happy wearing them to lounge around the house post-work hours.
Price at time of publish: $46
Size Range: XS–XXL | Material: 56% polyester, 34% viscose, 10% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cold on a delicate cycle; do not tumble dry or use bleach
Athleta Salutation Stash Flare Pant
If you’re in the market for leggings that’ll smooth and flatter, a high waist is the way to go. Cue this versatile pair from Athleta, which is as sleek as it is soft and supportive (meaning you can wear them to the gym or the office). “Our Powervita fabric is so soft and buttery, and the sophisticated colors make it easy to dress up or down,” says Sarah Stubbs, the brand’s senior director of concept, color, and surface. “The added functionality of the Stash pocket has these in my weekly pant rotation for anything from hitting the gym to heading into the office.” It also boasts UPF 50+ protection, making it a perfect option for safer sun salutations.
Price at time of publish: $119
Size Range: XXS–3X | Material: Nylon, lycra | Rise: High | Care: Dry clean
Best Size Range
Mango Flared Leggings
Deceivingly comfortable and stretchy, these tailored flares from Mango are as chic as can be. Thanks to their decorative seams, these moonlight as trousers, allowing you to easily get away with wearing leggings to the boardroom—just add your favorite heels or boots. Most of all, we love the super-inclusive size offering.
Price at time of publish: $50
Size Range: XXS–4XL | Material: 66% viscose, 30% polyester, 4% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash
Ganni Velvet Jersey Flared Pants
Truly, there’s no shortage of black leggings on the market, making choosing the best somewhat tough. From a style standpoint, we’re big fans of this velvet pair from Ganni. While we wouldn’t recommend them for a sweaty hot yoga class, they make for comfy lounge pants that you can also feel confident wearing to work. Not only are they soft, but the lightweight jersey fabric boasts great stretch.
Price at time of publish: $195
Size Range: FR32–FR44 | Material: 94% recycled polyester, 6% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cold
Alo Alosoft Low-Rise Foldover Bootcut Legging
If you want to embrace the Y2K low-rise renaissance, bust out your favorite baby tee and grab these flares from Alo, stat. Snug at the top with a dramatic flare at the hem, these are the epitome of early aughts fashion. Designed with a foldover low-rise waistband, you can easily adjust these to sit exactly where you’d like them, making them a flattering pick for all sizes.
Price at time of publish: $108
Size Range: XXS–L | Material: Alosoft fabric | Rise: Low | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors; tumble dry low; low iron; do not dry clean
Aritzia TnAction TnaLIFE Atmosphere Flare Hi-Rise Legging
We’re big fans of Aritzia’s activewear offerings because they're equal parts functional and cute. We love this pair for its signature wide, smoothing waistband and sweat-wicking, curve-hugging fabric, as well as its chic color offerings. We’re partial to this rich mocha brown, a flattering hue for a range of skin tones, but they’re available in a handful of other very-wearable muted, neutral shades.
Price at time of publish: $78
Size Range: XXS–XXL with options for tall and short lengths | Material: 82% nylon, 18% elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash
Best Color Options
Lululemon Groove Super-High-Rise Flared Pant Nulu
Not a fan of basic colors? Look no further than these leggings from Lululemon, which are available in over 10 colors, including a mix of vibrant brights and deep, muted hues. The extra-high waist and buttery-soft lightweight performance fabric ensure you’ll look and feel good throughout your workout. Plus, two of our testers say the fabric looked as good as new, even after frequent washing. Ditto for the split-hem version, which two other testers gave five stars in the categories of quality, opacity, fit, performance, and overall value after wearing them to their workouts for one month.
Price at time of publish: $118
Size Range: 0–20 | Material: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra elastane | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors; tumble dry low; do not bleach, iron, or dry clean
Simon Miller Rib Swish Pants
We rarely consider a pair of leggings apt for lounging around and a night out, but this pair from Simon Miller proves it's possible. Crafted in the brand’s beloved ribbed material, these boast a fine balance of comfort and stretch, while the knee-high split hem deems them a sartorial conversation starter. Add the fact that they’re designed in the most vibrant, dopamine-boosting shade of green, and you’ve got a pair that’ll leave you feeling as great as you look.
Price at time of publish: $230
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 92% viscose, 8% spandex | Rise: High | Care: Not listed
Beyond Yoga Spacedye Retro Cropped Pants
Whether to give you a better range of motion or simply show a bit of ankle, a cropped flare can be a fun way to try the flared leggings trend. This pair from Beyond Yoga is constructed from an insanely soft, four-way stretch performance fabric you’ll want to live in, and its moisture-wicking properties make it ideal for a sweat sesh. Most of all, we love how its length lends a retro feel to any look, no matter how you style them.
Price at time of publish: $99
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: Polyester, spandex | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cold
Our top pick is Madewell’s MWL Flex Flare Leggings. They’re soft and stretchy, flattering, and affordable, plus it doesn’t hurt that they’re made from recycled materials. If you’re willing to splurge on something a bit more luxe, you can’t go wrong with Khaite’s Roonie Stretch-Knit Skinny Pants.
What to Look For in Flared Leggings
Comfortable, Flattering Fabrics
Whether you’re wearing your flared leggings for working out or going out, there’s one main reason you’re wearing them in the first place: to be comfortable. That said, it’s key to look for a pair with a fabric that feels good and flatters, regardless of whether it’s a stretchy performance material, a dressier knit, or faux leather. “The material needs to hug and highlight curves with the perfect balance of stretch and hold,” says Abby Gordon, Vice President of Design and Merchandising at Alo. “The right material can also accommodate different heights and desired lengths if it has the right amount of stretch.”
Aboyami recommends looking for those crafted from a lightweight compression fabric with two- or four-way stretch, providing a sleek, smoothing (yet comfy) fit. Also important? The opacity. You’ll want to ensure these pass the squat test, especially if you’ll be wearing these for a workout.
The rise of your leggings is also key to consider. From a style standpoint, Stubbs considers high waists to be an all-around flattering cut, helping to elongate the body. “While, albeit a bit more daring, mid- and low-rise flares tap into the resurgence of Y2K aesthetics,” she adds. Of course, the comfort and functionality of the rise are also important. Higher waists are usually a safe bet for working out, so long as the waistband stays in place and isn’t overly tight. On the other hand, to avoid a potential wardrobe malfunction, you may want to skip lower-rise styles for something like yoga or any workout that involves a lot of bending and stretching.
Width of the Flare
In general, the term “flare” is pretty broad and encompasses a wide range of styles. “Flares can come in a variety of widths, from the cropped kick flare to the slim flare, to the more nostalgic bell flare—all of which offer a different take on the trend,” says Stubbs. That said, the style you ultimately opt for will be based on personal preference, but we recommend trying on or finding an on-model shot of the pair you’re considering before you purchase to ensure it’s a width that works for you.
Interesting Design Elements
If you’re in the market for a pair of leggings that can be dressed up for work or a night out, Engelhart is drawn to styles that are more interesting than your average pair. “Right now, there are a lot of flared leggings with really great design elements,” she says. “I personally love split hems, ankle zip details, heavy knits, and the variety of colors different brands are doing.”
How do you style flare leggings?
“Flared leggings have so much versatility when it comes to styling,” says Stubbs. For one, she notes that the novelty leg shape helps breathe new life into the coordinated workout set trend. That said, you can easily swap your usual leggings for a flared pair to elevate your current activewear ensembles, or pair them with a cute baby tee and a chunky cardigan for a cozy-chic loungewear look. However, for Engelhart, it’s all about taking them off the couch or mat. “I enjoy the juxtaposition of wearing them with more elevated pieces,” she says. “I usually reach for a sweater, button-down, or even something more structured like a long tailored coat or suede jacket.”
What shoes do you wear with flare leggings?
What shoes you pair with your flared leggings depends on why you’re wearing them in the first place. If you’re wearing them for a yoga or pilates workout, you’ll likely forgo shoes altogether and instead throw on a pair of grippy socks. However, for a casual look, Aboyami says you can’t go wrong with sneakers. If you plan to go a more elevated route, Engelhart suggests reaching for something more polished that, as she mentions above, balances the casual silhouette with more trend-forward pieces. “I recommend adding a shoe like a loafer, a ballet flat, a sandal, or even a heel,” she says. Looking to add a little height? Gordon recommends reaching for a pair of platform clogs.
Can you make flare leggings shorter?
Finding a pair of flared leggings that are your ideal length off the bat can be tough, especially if you’re on the petite side—and when there’s a flare involved, this presents a whole new set of challenges. But can you hem them without losing their signature shape? According to Stubbs, this *should* be possible. “It will depend on the fabric and original construction, but in most cases, a trusty tailor should be able to make adjustments to the length while still maintaining the balance of the shape and proportion,” she says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Jenna Igneri has been working in fashion and beauty media for over a decade and has written for publications such as Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, Vice, Coveteur, and more. To source the best flared leggings the internet has to offer, she read through countless reviews and tapped a handful of style and design experts to share their insights. She also used insights from Dotdash Meredith’s in-house testers.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15 percent of products in our newly published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough flared leggings from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of some we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.