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What Are the Best Faux-Leather Leggings?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Faux-leather leggings are the ultimate chameleon. They’re super-stretchy, providing sweatpants-style comfort, but they also add a certain edge to your outfit. Whether you’re dedicated to your monochromatic capsule wardrobe or favor a more maximalist aesthetic, a pair of faux-leather pants can slip seamlessly into your closet. And since we know lots of faux-leather looks, well, faux, we consulted 15 experts for the ones that actually look real and are worth the money. From skintight soft leggings to more structured patent pants, you’ll find options for all budgets (and all body types) below.

Best overall faux-leather leggings

This highly recommended pair from Spanx gives you the structure of faux leather with all the comfort of athleisure. Some of the leggings on this list are a bit more structured and resemble more of a pant, but these fit “like an actual legging with a faux-leather look,” says stylist Rasheena Liberté. Liberté says that also makes them “the perfect starter legging.” They come in a wide range of sizes — the inseam comes in petite, regular, and tall, and the sizing goes from extra-small to 3X. And because they’re from Spanx, who specialize in shapewear, our experts tell us they’re quite “sliming”. Fashion writer Belle Bakst, known as Little Fashion Stylist on Instagram, thinks these are a staple because they feel comfortable yet look polished. She says, “Whether you’re layering with a band tee, an oversize sweater in a bright color, or just running out to grab a coffee, you’ll feel put together enough to run into someone you know.”

Another Spanx favorite is this patent-leather pair, an even more elevated version of our most popular faux-leather legging. “I love a black patent-leather legging worn with an oversize hoodie or T-shirt and cowboy boots — or Uggs for the colder months,” says Devine Blacksher, founder of To Many More and senior fashion editor at Essence. “It gives a comfortable casual look some edge.” Liberté agrees, saying, “If you’re looking to add a bit of Sass to your wardrobe while still feeling timeless this legging will take you there.” And because these are Spanx brand, it’s no surprise that the compression feature is a big sell. “This liquid legging is not only timeless, it will keep you snatched as Spanx makes sure to keep the quality high,” she says.

Best faux-leather leggings under $50

Photo: Retailer

Dawn Ellerbe, a former Olympian turned plus-size fashion influencer, suggests this H&M pair if you’re looking for a smart option, especially because of the universally flattering high waist. “They have the polish of a pant with the comfort of leggings. Even while many of us are still working from home, these give loungewear a stylish upgrade,” adds Ellerbe.

Photo: Retailer

Real leather is actually pretty cozy, but warmth can vary when you’re talking about faux leather. That’s why Baskt likes this thermal-lined option. “Prevent the cold from ruining your #ootd with a pair of the Calzedonia faux-leather leggings,” she says. “They’re thermal on the inside, keeping you warm, toasty, and still cute.” And, unlike many of the leggings on this list, these come in shades other than black. The colorway shown here is what the company calls “yellow dark gold,” but they also come in dark gray, wine purple, and, of course, black.

Liberté says “Zara is a great place to shop for high fashion dupes,” and these leggings are no exception. Not only are they affordable, she says, but the leather (albeit fake) looks nice and not plasticy as sometimes faux-leather leggings are. She does note that the sizing runs a little small so “if you have curves, be sure to size up.”

Ellerbe likes the fact that these leggings offer a way to dip your toe into the leather legging trend. “If you’re not ready to go full on leather, these faux-leather panel leggings offer the leather look in the front and the softness of knit leggings in the back,” she explains. In addition to the regular length, there’s also petite and tall options — “I like the fact that they are budget friendly and also size inclusive,” says Ellerbe.

Best faux-leather leggings under $100

Kamara Williams, founder of Kharma Media and In Thing, says “faux-leather leggings are a must for two reasons: they’re super versatile and have a major style pay off.” Because these have a button and functional back pockets, she thinks they can actually “substitute for your jeans.

This is another faux–patent leather legging, but with even more edge than the aforementioned Spanx pair, due to the front slits. “This Blank NYC patent legging is the definition of cool and polished,” says Bakst. “The front slits are perfect for accentuating a pair of pointy toe pumps … or your favorite sneakers.”

Liberté recommends these leggings for risk-takers — they’re the ultimate skintight fit. “Naked Wardrobe is known for their excellence in formfitting leggings and this leather Drip On legging lives up to the hype,” she says. The fabric provides some light compression, for “a different take on the traditional leather legging while adding character to everyday looks,” Liberté says. “it’s definitely a wardrobe enhancer!” And there is also a range of matching bodysuits, tops, and even gloves available, if you want to add more faux leather to your look.

Best faux-leather leggings under $150

Photo: Retailer

Commando comes recommended to us by Blacksher, who wears them when she’s “feeling spicy.” She owns the now sold-out crocodile version, but former Strategist writer Chloe Anello owns the plain faux-leather leggings from them as well, and she warns that they’re very tight and that you should definitely consider sizing up, but promises they feel comfortable once you get in them. Plus, “they actually look real,” she says.

Laurent says she’s “utterly in love with” these ruched vegan leather leggings. “It’s not too often you see a nice ruched legging, so when I first spotted these on a young woman in Soho, I immediately stopped her in her tracks to ask where she got them,” she adds. Maniere Devoir, a U.K. brand that ships internationally, prides themselves on their fit, claiming they “measure each and every piece on a model for pieces that are tailor-made to you,” an aspect Laurent says comes across in the garments. “I especially love how these leggings hug my body,” she says. “Notice I use ‘hug’ because the fit does not only form perfectly around my curves but they’re comfortable.”

“Manière De Voir is known for their exceptional quality at an affordable price point,” says Liberté. These leggings have been designed to create a sculpted look, with carefully placed contour lines, concealed zips, and a high waist. “This legging is a standout because it offers details and texture to elevate a look instantly,” says Liberté. “It is definitely for the individual that’s looking to add layers of styling to their everyday look.”

Photo: Retailer

“As a resident curvy girl, House of CB gets it right when it comes to pants that actually fit my body shape,” says PR manager, podcaster, and fashion writer Gisele Milan Smith. Smith typically avoids faux-leather leggings because when you have a curvy frame, she explains, “even if they are high-waisted, they rarely actually stay up on my waist, resulting in a low rise moment I did not consent to.” These leggings changed her mind because “they have the same elasticity as a traditional legging but have belt loops and a zip front to mitigate any sagging.” Plus, they look real, she promises.

These are the third pair of Spanx leggings recommended by our experts. Ellerbe considers black leather leggings “a staple”, and she’s a fan of this pair, with detailing inspired by motorbike leathers. “They add a little edge,” she says “I think they add some spice to a cozy sweater and a cool factor to a blazer and button up for the office.” And Ellerbe points out that this style is available in an inclusive range of sixes, up to 3X.

Photo: Retailer

Linh Niller, a New York City–based model and stylist, calls these pants “buttery-soft,” thanks to the Japanese vegan leather. She owns the cropped version and notes that this pair “contours to your body and doesn’t get baggy or loose.”

Best faux-leather leggings over $150

Laurent found these biker-style leather leggings on Etsy, of all places, and says “they fit my frame nicely and I like that at first glance you would think they were an actual pant” rather than a legging. She adds that “the ribbed knee panels and embellished metal zippers give it a grudge feel that has made these my perfect nightlife leather leggings.” She also likes that they’re versatile. “I’ve worn these with a leather bra and leopard print faux-fur coat to a festival and raved the night away,” she says. “I plan on also pairing these with an oversized cashmere sweater and my Dr. Martens on my next date.”

Julia Gamolina, associate principal at Ennead Architects and founder of Madame Architect likes these leggings from AllSaints so much that she bought them twice. She describes them as “The sleekest legging I could find — they’re “super skinny” and feel like a second skin.” Gamolina also appreciates the high-rise fit along with their versatility — they are “so easy for any outfit,” she says.

But if you’d actually prefer pants

Williams also suggests pants “if you’re not into the skintight-legging look” or aren’t quite ready to give up your sweatpants yet. According to Williams, “It’s a great option to wear in place of your trousers, too, and pairs well with both sleek and chunky knits.” The slightly baggy fit and flexible material makes this affordable pair from H&M a good option if you’re dipping your toe into the trend.

Photo: Retailer/4849

It’s not uncommon to love the look of leather but the feel of sweatpants. “But what if you could have both styles in a more elevated design?” asks Mandy Madden Kelley, founder of Pagerie. To her, these joggers from Commando are the perfect combination of the two. “The fit and style of these pants are roomier and less constrained. You can wear them for a long time,” she adds.

These faux-leather pants — which have gone viral on TikTok — were one of Strategist writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell’s impulse buys. She had been eyeing them after seeing how well they fit several curvy bloggers she follows. Unlike with leather leggings where you are guaranteed some stretch, pants — faux leather or real — are likely more rigid, and Aritizia’s sizing isn’t always forgiving, she says. So she sized up, and to her surprise, they fit perfectly. Even better, the vegan leather feels like butter and they’re extremely warm.

Kate Leder, partnerships and marketing manager at Cherry Bombe has this pair of J. Crew leather pants on her wishlist. The pocket detailing, belt loops and button provide structure, while the glossy black or khaki colorways will go with any shirt. Leder is envisioning wearing them with some statement shoes, as “the slight flare cut on the leg is perfect to go with a pair of fun mules or heels.” And, she also notes that “patent leather makes them a bit more festive for the holiday season”.

“When I’m looking for a piece that I’ll be wearing on repeat — like leather pants — I always start by checking Mango’s site,” fashion writer and creator Olivia Marcus tells us. “The styles are always elevated but very wearable.” According to Marcus, they’re an excellent partner for shoes you want to show off, as they “have a looser fit through the leg and are slightly cropped at the ankle. This makes them a great choice to pair with kitten heels or ballet flats.”

In Marcus’s opinion, Nanushka makes the best faux leather around. “It’s soft, durable, and doesn’t come with that gross fishy smell a lot of fake leather has,” she explains. Although these faux-leather pants are at a higher price point, Marcus feels that they could be a good investment piece to add to your wardrobe.“The cost-per-wear will be relatively low because they’ll hold up for years and years,” she explains.

Katie Sturino, founder of Megababe, points out the clever combination of style and comfort of this pair from the Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love range, which is available in 15 waist sizes and four lengths for a personalized fit. “I love these leggings because the zipper and back pockets give a dressed up look, yet they have the comfort and stretchability of a workout legging,” Sturino says.

Additional reporting by Jenna Milliner-Waddell and Chloe Anello.

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What Are the Best Faux-Leather Leggings?