Sometimes my motivation to work out really comes down to one thing and one thing only: Are any of my favorite workout leggings currently clean? If not, it’s that much easier to make an excuse to skip that day’s run or weights session. The best workout leggings are, after all, the ones that make you actually want to work out—or at least make you less likely to skip the said workout. For me, they have a few things in common: They aren’t see-through, they don’t fall down, and they have just a bit of compression to them.
Still, people have different workout leggings preferences. Some prefer workout leggings with a little sheen and stretch—others want them to be 100% cotton and prioritize breathability. Pockets can also be important, as well as variables like length and waistband thickness.
To help you find your new favorite pair, we spent hours researching, running, stretching, and, yes, lounging on the couch. No matter your lifestyle, budget, or workout habits, these are the best workout leggings available now, from Amazon bestsellers to sustainability-focused styles.
Aritzia TnAction TnaBUTTER Cheeky Hi-Rise Legging
Aritzia loyalists know that the company's leggings are so comfy and versatile. They're buttery soft, hug your curves just right, and can withstand a myriad of activities, from carrying your groceries up your walk-up or a jog through the park.
Price at time of publish: $68
Size Range: 2XS-2XL plus short, tall, and taller sizing | Colors: Hunter Green, Spiced Burgundy, Cerulean Blue, Liqueur Orange +more
Old Navy High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft Leggings
There’s a reason why Old Navy has a dedicated following to its leggings—they’re good, affordable, and come in a variety of sizes and lengths. For under $50, they’re affordable enough to buy several patterns or colors.
Price at time of publish: $40
Size Range: XS-4X plus petite and tall sizing | Colors: Heather Gray, Blue Dusk, Black Jack +more
Universal Standard Danica Mesh Legging
If you do a quick Google for workout leggings, odds are you’ll land on a handful of options that only go up to a size XL. The majority of leggings on this list have a wide size range, but none more so than those by Universal Standard. Available up to a size 4XL, these leggings are lightweight, sweat-wicking, and stay up no matter what.
Price at time of publish: $35 for black
Size Range: 4XS-4XL (or 00-40) | Colors: Black, Black Sand, Navy
Nike One Luxe Tights
Looking for the leggings that will help you perform your absolute best in whatever big workout you have planned? Nike's One Luxe Tights should be your go-to pick. They’re high-waisted, full-length compression leggings that make you feel like you can do pretty much anything.
Price at time of publish: $52 for black
Size Range: XXS-3X | Colors: Black, pink, purple, green +more
Best For Yoga
Beyond Yoga High-Waist Midi Space-Dye Leggings
If you are looking for the world’s softest leggings that can work well in a yoga outfit and as cozy loungewear, there's this pair from Beyond Yoga. The buttery leggings will feel easy to move in yet supportive, thanks to a wide waistband and high spandex content.
Price at time of publish: $97
Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: Aubergine Beet, Darkest Night, Nocturnal +more
Best With Pockets
Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket
I didn’t believe the hype about Athleta’s leggings until I tried this pair, and now I am a true, dedicated believer. The ultra-soft and compressive pair look good, feel good, and are my go-to pair of leggings for making me feel like an amazing workout is just around the corner, especially knowing I can keep small things on me, like a credit card or set of keys.
Price at time of publish: $109
Size Range: XXS-XL plus petite and tall sizing | Colors: Aubergine Beet, Darkest Night, Nocturnal +more
Best On Amazon
Colorfulkoala High Waisted Yoga Pants
These best-rated leggings on Amazon check so many boxes for under $30. “The fact that I own three and bought them all within a week of each other says a lot," wrote one reviewer. Select from more than 30 colors and patterns or buy a combination to meet your every workout need.
Price at time of publish: $25 for Black
Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Black, Charcoal Grey, Grey Lilac, Heather Brown +more
Your Day Won You Got This 3/4 Compression Legging
Your Day Won promises great compression across its styles (and with a 28% spandex composition, it's easy to believe that the brand can deliver). They also feature a high waist and a double support waistband with a back, inside pocket big enough for your phone, money, and more.
Price at time of publish: $84
Size Range: 0-14 plus wide sizing from 14/16 to 30/32 | Colors: Black
Best For Pilates
TAVI Spacedye High Waisted Leggings
Take it from Hailey Bieber, who has been seen in this exact style: These leggings are great for low-impact workouts like pilates, because they won't move out of place on your body, and the fabric is super soft for maximum comfort. Aesthetically, the space dyeing creates a textured pattern and provides more color in the fabric, should you want to lean away from solids but stay minimalist.
Price at time of publish: $90
Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Mist
Girlfriend Collective High-Rise Pocket Legging
I’m a longstanding fan of Girlfriend’s leggings and sports bras. The brand’s seasonal color releases have me buying more and more pairs, but it's their great quality and compression that are at the root of my obsession. Their commitment to sustainability (this pair is made from 79% recycled plastic) and size inclusivity makes them that much better.
Price at time of publish: $88
Size Range: XXS-6XL with a 28.5- or 23.75-inch inseam | Colors: Black, Moss, Earth +more
Best For Outdoors
Skims Outdoor Legging
Skims designed these leggings to be outdoorsy (hence the name). Unlike many other offerings from the brand, they feature a breathable cotton, rather than synthetic, blend with the smoothing effect for which the brand is known so you can feel cool and supported in all of your open air endeavors.
Price at time of publish: $62
Size Range: XXS-4X | Colors: Bone, Pacific, Desert, Tigers Eye +more
What to Look for in Workout Leggings
As with any attire, how comfortable you are in leggings will depend on the materials you prefer to put on your body. Fabric plays a role in how leggings look and feel; consider the visual difference between a high-sheen poly blend and a 100% cotton pair. This is especially important if you'll be using your leggings in a work-from-home capacity, too.
What you'll be doing in your leggings should inform which ones you choose. If you do intense HIIT workouts, you'll need stronger construction than if you're a leggings lounger who won't be exercising in them. And if you're a fan of hot yoga, you'll want leggings that will stay put and be breathable when you get sweaty in them.
Pockets and Details
You don't necessarily need pockets in your leggings, but they certainly are convenient for placing keys or having your phone on you. Added details like lace-up details can help improve fit, so that you feel your best in your leggings.
What causes leggings to be see through?
The see-through factor in leggings can have a couple of causes. One is that the leggings may be too small for you, leading the fabric to stretch excessively. Or, they might not be thick enough to be opaque.
How can you determine the quality of leggings?
There are a few key factors to consider. The product should have moisture-wicking abilities so that you don't feel damp as you exercise in them. You'll want to look for a "four-way stretch" to ensure mobility.
Can you wear leggings over 50?
People over forty, let alone fifty, are underrepresented in fashion and makeup. But that doesn't mean leggings are inappropriate for those over 50+. If you like leggings, you can wear them at any age.
Why Trust Byrdie
Olivia Muenter is a contributor for Byrdie who has been writing and editing stories about fashion and beauty since 2012 and was a full-time Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor for Bustle for four years. Currently, she is a full-time freelance beauty and fashion writer. Her work has been published on Glamour, InStyle, Apartment Therapy, Woman's Day, Elite Daily, and other publications.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% 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 workout leggings from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.