recommended by experts

What Are the Best Workout Leggings for Women?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Lately, you may have found that leggings are a more frequent part of your wardrobe rotation. And while there are plenty of pairs out there that are perfectly suitable for bumming around the house, leggings you wear to actually exercise are a whole other game. The requirements depend on what exercise you favor: Perhaps you want a soft and stretchy pair for Pilates, or some that will keep you dry during a high-intensity workout, or ones that won’t slide down your legs during downward dog in your next Vinyasa flow. To learn about the best pairs of leggings for all kinds of workouts, we consulted with 18 fitness pros and class instructors (who teach everything from sweaty HIIT to meditative yoga) to find out their favorites.

Best overall leggings

Photo: Retailer

Arguably the leggings that started it all, Lululemon’s longtime best-selling Wunder Train leggings still get praise from fitness pros — and four of the experts we spoke to. (They’re also a favorite of Erin Brockovich, who says their thickness is “just right.”) Kate Posch, a yoga instructor at Sky Ting, says the Wunders are her “go-to everyday legging” and praises the high-waisted fit in particular. “I live for high-rise and for not having to keep pulling up my pants while practicing or teaching,” she says. Ashley Rosenberg, a modelFIT instructor, calls the style “the forever classic” that’s “just unbeatable.” Katherine Gundling, a coach and programmer at ICE CrossFit NYC and Oculus CrossFit, agrees that they stand out among a sea of imitators. “I love the way they fit and feel on my body, and the way they allow me to perform in my workouts,” she says. “They will last you years and stay in great condition.” Tiffani Robbins, who teaches a total body conditioning class at FitHouse, appreciates their pared-down design: They’re “not overwhelming — no patterns or cutouts.”

Best leggings for high-intensity workouts

Photo: Retailer

Another Lululemon staple our experts swear by is the Invigorate legging. Vanessa Chu, the co-founder of Stretch’d, knows a thing or two about leggings — “I probably have over 50 pairs” — and wears these for any running, cardio, or HIIT workouts. “I need sweat wicking for cardio and love if they have pockets in the back for stashing my credit card or a side pocket for holding my cell phone,” Chu says. “This way I can have all I need when I’m literally on the run.” These leggings are made in the brand’s Everlux fabric, which is sweat wicking, breathable, and fast drying, and they have pockets on the side so you’re never without your essentials. They’re also high-waisted and feature a drawstring in the waistband so they won’t roll down you don’t have to worry about constantly pulling them up.

Photo: Retailer

These Fast and Free tights from Lululemon won’t roll down on you. That’s a must for Ediva Zanker, founder of intense boxing workout GRIT BXNG. “The last thing I would want is to have to take off my gloves to adjust my leggings,” she says. So she looks for “leggings that hug snuggly against your body and don’t show every drop of sweat.” She says you can’t go wrong with these. They look like the pair above with the same high waist, drawstring, and side pockets. But these have an additional five pockets in the waistband, come in a longer length, and are made in a lighter-weight fabric.

All Access Center Stage Legging
From $40
From $40
Photo: retailer

For a pair with an even higher waist, try these All Access leggings, recommended by Sydney Miller, who teaches at SoulCycle and leads the livestream (and very sweaty) workout class Housework. “They probably have the highest waist of any leggings I’ve ever owned,” says Miller. The bright-color options and smooth texture are part of the appeal, too: “I have them in several colors, and I love the shiny finish,” she says.