Nowadays, leggings are not just workout attire. Thanks to the WFH era (and their general comfiness), they now function as activewear, workwear, casual wear, and of course, loungewear. Needless to say, leggings have become a wardrobe staple and appropriate at a variety of activities. From pilates classes to hot girl walks around the neighborhood, leggings go through the ringer - perhaps that’s why we can never have enough.
The right pair of leggings depends on when you wear them. Whether you are headed to spin class or bottomless brunch, we rounded up the best leggings brands for you to find your next go-to pair. Athleta won best overall brand for their longevity and variety of styles, but if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, Old Navy creates high-quality pairs for a fraction of the price of more premium brands.
Regardless of your preference, we chatted with experts and spoke to our staff about their favorites to find the best brands of leggings and activewear.
Athleta’s leggings are designed for people on the go. From running errands and sports practices to even just lounging around the house, they have a pair of leggings for everyone. Plus, these leggings are known for their longevity, ultimately ensuring a super low cost-per-wear ratio. They have high-waisted, printed, 7/8-length, and more, along with sizes from XXS to 3X.
The Salutation Tight is one of their best-sellers for yoga or studio practices and the Transcend Tight is buttery soft with a second-skin feel.
Size Range: XXS-3X | Price Range: $89-$129 | Lengths: Petite, Regular, and Tall
What Our Editors Say
"Not only do these leggings feel like nothing when you have them on, but they also last a very long time. I have had a Salutation Stash Pocket Tight pair for about 3 years, and when I tell you they look good as new, they look good as new." —Angela Trakoshis, Beauty Commerce Reviews Editor
Best For Yoga
Yogis everywhere need leggings that are durable and breathable, allowing them to move and twist in any position. Alo’s leggings are just that for them. They’re lightweight and cool, which make for an ideal feel while doing yoga, or even pilates. As a celebrity favorite (Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, and Alessandra Ambrosio basically live in them), you have to assume they're doing something right. It's worth noting that these run long, so if you're below average height, we recommend going with a shorter length.
The Airlift Leggings release in new colors each season and are one of the most popular products that the brand makes.
Size Range: XXS-L | Price Range: $98-$128 | Lengths: N/A
High-waisted leggings are designed to be comfortable, so that when you move, they move with you, too. Plus, they maintain holding you in all the right places. At Aerie, they design high-waisted leggings with all of this in mind. “We’ve loved playing around with what we can do with these tall waistbands and are continually challenging ourselves to explore different details–like our viral Crossover “V” shape in Real Me–with super flattering lines, and now, most recently in foldover,” says Andrea Jagaric, Chief Design Officer at Aerie, OFFL/NE by Aerie, and Unsubscribed.
The OG OFFLINE High-Waisted Leggings and new Double Crossover Leggings are also worth checking out. The best part? While the prices start around $50, they frequently go on sale, so you can snag a deal.
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Price Range: $50-$65 | Lengths: N/A
Best For Running
If you’ve finally decided to get back into running and need some workout gear, Lululemon’s leggings are for you. Their Fast and Free leggings are designed specifically for running, as they’re sleek and weightless. They even have pockets if you want to bring a snack on your journey! “If you are looking to use it for a bike ride or run, consider snagging a pair with pockets that will keep all your necessities close and out of your hands,” says Stitch Fix Stylist Stephanie Valponi.
Size Range: 0-20 | Price Range: $88-$128 | Lengths: 17 in.- 31 in.
What Our Editors Say
"I’m partial to Lululemon’s Align pants for yoga, and the Fast and Free high-rise crop for running. Beyond fabric that is silky smooth (it’s like pulling on sweatpants), the waistband pockets are the true hero. When I head out for runs, I can just stash my keys in one and my phone on the side or flat against my low back. Plus, as someone who’s only 5-foot-2, the option to have leggings that are actually capris, or hit just above my ankle bone is rare. No more cutting off the hems to make them fit me!" —Meg Lappe, Senior Editorial Director, New & Deals
Want leggings delivered right to your doorstep? Then look no further than Fabletics. To get started with Fabletics, take their quiz to figure out what kind of leggings you need. You can shop by activity or compression, legging length, type of waistband, and more. They drop new styles all the time and are a good value if you're looking to expand your athleisure wear, seeing as you can get a two-piece workout set every month for only $50 when you join.
Size Range: XXS-4X | Price Range: $50-$85 | Lengths: N/A
What Our Editors Say
"I needed a major activewear update since I'm training for the marathon, and Fabletics seemed like the most cost-effective way to get high-quality running gear into my wardrobe. There really is something for everyone and the leggings are durable and comfortable. I always get the high-waisted versions for running." —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor, Commerce
Who said leggings can’t be fun? Wolven’s printed leggings add some excitement to your wardrobe and, at the very least, will stand out in your next workout class. The range of patterns and sizes will have you feeling chic and comfortable. Beloved by celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens, the kaleidoscope-like prints are perfect for modern-day hippies.
Size Range: XXS-4X | Price Range: $50-$85 | Lengths: N/A
Best for Tennis and Golf
EleVen by Venus Williams
Planning your next golf or tennis outing and need an outfit? Founded by tennis pro Venus Williams, EleVen’s leggings are designed for both tennis and golf; their dry and cool material, along with UV protection, will get you through your next match or round. Not to mention you are meant to stand out in these leggings, with bold colors, high shine, and flared options that will help you do just that.
Size Range: XS-XXL | Price Range: $98-$118 | Lengths: N/A
Best 7/8 Length
Outdoor Voices’ range of 7/8 leggings provides enough coverage to let you feel cool and comfortable while you wear them; they’re designed to hit just above the ankle on most people, so a bit of skin still shows. These 7/8 leggings from Outdoor Voices come in a range of colors, fabrics, and waistbands. They're really an everyday legging since they're designed to be worn for a wide range of activities, from running and hiking to just lounging around the house.
Size Range: XS-XL | Price Range: $78-$118 | Lengths: N/A
Best for Work
Looking for your newest outfit to wear out for a night on the town? Try a pair of leggings from Spanx. We love that their faux leather leggings give a dressy vibe, so you can style them in a variety of ways, and the Jean-ish Ankle Leggings look like the real thing. You'll feel like you're cheating the system once you dress these up while still enjoying the comfort and support that only leggings can offer. The wide size range allows you to find a perfect fit, as well.
Size Range: XS-3X | Price Range: $98-$128 | Lengths: N/A
Matching sets have been trending in activewear for years, and TikTok has only fueled the fire. Instead of spending time scrolling through styles on some activewear sites, Set Active makes it easy. In addition to a bunch of comfy leggings, the site offers a variety of sports bra styles in an array of elevated neutral shades. With regular color drops, you can add new sets to your collection any time, but be warned, new shades sell out quickly.
Here’s a quick guide to navigate their styles: Sculptflex is high-waisted and seamless, Sportbody has a sweat-wicking material and stay-put waistband, and Luxform has a buttery soft, smooth feel.
Size Range: XS-XL | Price Range: $78-$82 | Lengths: N/A
These days, leggings are a dime a dozen, but not all leggings are created equal. Varley leggings are supportive enough to have your back (err thighs?) in the gym yet chic enough for an OOTD photo at brunch after. Beyond their versatile design, the fabric is so soft one reviewer describes it as “peach skin.”
Size Range: XS-XL | Price Range: $88-$110 | Lengths: N/A
Old Navy’s leggings are the best bang for your buck. If you want a pair of leggings that are both affordable and durable, then you’ll want to get a pair of these. As someone who’s stocked up on numerous pairs of leggings in the last year, Old Navy has been the place to go for me. They also offer an incredibly wide range of sizes and patterns, and with a small price tag, you can snag a few of these for the price of one from almost any other legging brand.
If you’re looking for a comfy, everyday lounge style, buy the PowerChill leggings, yoga or pilates will appreciate the soft fabric and stretch of PowerSoft, and people looking for a performance fabric should opt for the PowerLite line of leggings.
Size Range: XS-4X | Price Range: $20-$45 | Lengths: Petite, Regular, and Tall
What Our Editors Say
"I am newly obsessed with the Old Navy extra high-waisted Powersoft line. They are like if [Lululemon] Align and Wunder Train had a baby. Pure butter, amazing compression and control—perfect fit." —Sara Hines, Senior Director of Product, Commerce
Best Size Range
Girlfriend’s leggings are sought after for their widest range of sizes. They have a variety of high-rise, lounging, and even maternity leggings in sizes from XXS to 6XL—all sustainably made from recycled water bottles. The Float leggings are perfect for hot yoga or when you want that lighter than air feeling, whereas the Compressive styles offer hold and a squat-proof fabric. What's unique about Girlfriend is also their unique range of colors that you don't normally find in activewear leggings. Even more, they offer a recycling program called reGirlfriend to dispose of your old or damaged items.
Size Range: XXS-6X | Price Range: $78-$92 | Lengths: 23 and ¾ in. and 28.5 in.
In need of an essential pair of leggings that can go with just about anything? Tommy John has some pairs for you. They have a variety of solid colors that can be worn with T-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters, and will last through all the seasons. For the colder months, we recommend the brand's Zen Waffle Leggings or Fleece-Lined Brush Leggings for optimum warmth.
Size Range: XS-XXL | Price Range: $55-$108 | Lengths: N/A
If you’re looking for sustainably made leggings that come in a variety of sizes and fun prints, then Summersalt is the brand for you. We're especially smitten with the Modern Zebra print, which would look stellar with a T-shirt and Vans—if you're being casual. They also use recycled materials to create the fabrics of their leggings, as well as the product packaging, and its sizing widely ranges from 2 to 22.
Size Range: 2-22 | Price Range: $80 | Lengths: N/A
If you’re pregnant and having a hard time finding pants that fit *just* right, then Hatch is your solution. They have leggings that work for before, during, and after pregnancy—they even have a pair that literally works for all three—and are so comfortable that you won’t even notice them on your body. If you have sensitive skin, these may be a good choice for you, too, since they are Oeko-Tex certified (simply meaning that the manufacturing process is free from potentially harmful chemicals).
Size Range: XS-XL | Price Range: $98 | Lengths: N/A
Whenever you’re on the go, you want to make sure you’re feeling the most comfortable. The solution: compression leggings. Nike’s compression leggings are designed to be long-lasting and stretchy, while also giving you the best overall experience while wearing them. They can improve blood flow, keep you cool, and enhance your reason for wearing them in general. You can't deny Nike has some experience when it comes to formulating comfortable, durable activewear.
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Price Range: $45-$110 | Lengths: Regular and Tall
What Our Editors Say
"Nike’s leggings are what I reach for when I’m heading out on a long run, or to dance cardio or HIIT class. The brand is constantly dropping new styles and fabrics, but I highly recommend the AeroAdapt collection and Dri-Fit styles. I prefer the high-waisted options—it means I’m not constantly pulling the legging up once I start sweating. The variety of styles, range of size options, and colors are what make Nike shine." —Meg Lappe
While leggings are a relatively recent phenomenon, Tamara Hill-Norton, founder of Sweaty Betty, was in the industry before it was cool. Since starting her store in Notting Hill in 1998, the brand has gone global—one item is sold every 60 seconds. The high-waist and compression fabric of the Power Leggings sculpts and lifts your bum—no squatting necessary. Plus, the lightweight fabric quickly wicks sweat, so you can feel comfortable during long-distance runs and HIIT workouts.
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Price Range: $78-$128 | Lengths: ⅞ and Regular
Best on Amazon
Amazon is full of brands from all over, but Beyond Yoga is definitely one you can trust. Made in LA from responsibly sourced fabrics, this ultra-comfortable activewear brand is bound to be one of your next favorites. Available in a wide size range, you are bound to find your perfect fit. Oh, and the two-day shipping doesn’t hurt either.
Size Range: XXXS-4X | Price Range: $83-$135 | Lengths: N/A
Best For Pilates
Free People Movement
Forget about weird gapping and slipping. Designed in a variety of styles and colors, the Free People Movement leggings are meant to stretch with your body. Our team is partial to the high-waisted styles (hello Good Karma) for how they hold you in and complement a crop top.
Size Range: XS-XL | Price Range: $50-$290 | Lengths: N/A
Meet the Expert
- Jasmine Caccamo is a celebrity and athlete fashion and wardrobe stylist based out of New York and Los Angeles. She has worked with Alex Morgan, Taylor Swift, Kelly O'Hara, Camila Cabello, Katie Ledecky, and more.
- Andrea Jagaric is the Chief Design Officer at Aerie, OFFL/NE by Aerie, and Unsubscribed. She has also designed for Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret. She graduated from FIT with a degree in fashion design.
- Stephanie Valponi is a stylist and the California Styling Team Lead at Stitch Fix. She previously was the sales manager of the women's ready-to-wear division at Macy's.
What to Look For in Leggings Brands
“Check for the right fit at the waist,” says Valponi. “Choosing your preference is key, but be sure the waist lays smoothly. Be sure to bend and twist as a test to make sure you are getting that support without prohibiting movement.”
Wardrobe Stylist Jasmine Caccamo also says the waistband is the first thing she looks for when shopping for leggings. “This can make or break a pair of leggings,” she says.
“The core of a great pair of leggings is the fabric,” says Jagaric. “For each fabric, we seek out the perfect stretch, softness, opacity, and technical properties, like [sweat-]wicking, based on our vision for the style.”
Jagaric also says that they offer different ranges of support levels of fabric, from software to slicker, and lighter to heavier. “This allows our customers to experience different options and choose their favorite. We always recommend choosing an option with wicking, or other technical properties, for life’s sweatiest moments, and saving those comfy cotton styles for coffee runs.”
Considering climate to determine fabric thickness for warmth or moisture is also important, says Valponi. The weight of the fabric and whether you are wearing them indoors or outdoors and in hot or cold climates will guide your selection.
“We make sure that our leggings feel even—nothing too tight or too loose—and that they stay in place while moving around,” says Jagaric. “Attention to detail is crucial—even down to the type of thread and stitch each garment is sewn with.” You want the leggings to stay up and not gape or sag, but not be so tight and compressive that you are uncomfortable.
Our experts say that, overall, finding leggings that hit at just the right length is important but can be difficult. “You never want them to hit your ankle too long, or fall at an awkward length mid-calf, depending on your height,” says Caccamo.
If you love the fit and fabric of a certain legging, but they're too long, we recommend taking it to your local tailor for a simple alteration. Valponi says that you can check the length of your favorite denim jeans and use that as a starting point for how long you want your leggings to be.
What are 7/8 leggings?
7/8 leggings are ones that hit just above the ankle on most people. They’re designed to only show a small amount of skin, prompting those who wear them to feel a bit cooler, as well as make legs look longer. However, this may only work for those of average or above-average height. Many shorter people may benefit from wearing 7/8 leggings as a full-length style.
What are compression leggings?
Compression leggings are designed to increase blood flow while wearing them. They’re ideal for exercising or participating in more high-intense activities—especially outdoors. If you’re planning on going for a run, hike, or just standing for a long time, you’ll want to invest in a pair.
How do you know what to wear with leggings?
“My favorite looks to style are daytime to nighttime athleisure looks,” says Caccamo. "For an easy look, pair your favorite leggings with a perfectly fit cropped white tee for daytime, and throw on an oversized blazer.”
If you’re looking for a glam option, Valponi says to not be afraid to play with colors and textures. “A faux bomber jacket looks great paired with deep-hued leggings and instantly elevates your day look. Add some gold touches like hoop earrings and a bold lip.”
For more casual looks, Jagaric says that, at the end of the day, you can live in [Aerie] leggings and wear them with just about anything.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Anneke Knot is a freelance writer and content creator specializing in beauty and fashion. Before freelancing, she was on staff at Real Simple and Health magazines. She has since written for publications like InStyle, PopSugar, Well+Good, Forbes, and many more. She is on a mission to un-complicate the beauty conversation through approachable how-tos and slipping in a joke or two. If you are interested in more of her beauty advice or checking out her chaotic OOTDs, visit her TikTok.