women's activewear

The 11 Very Best Yoga Pants for Women

For working out or working from home.

A woman wearing yoga pants
Photo: Marcus McDonald
A woman wearing yoga pants
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

I am definitely happiest when wearing a pair of stretchy tights, and whether you’re working out or working from home, yoga pants are probably somewhere in your day-to-day wardrobe rotation too. In theory, these should be the most comfortable pants you own. But wading through all the styles and brands to find a pair that fits well, stays put when you move, and actually looks nice is no easy task. Although the term “yoga pants” might mean different things to different people, here I’ve defined it to be pants made of a thick enough material to cover your butt (even when you’re in Downward Dog) and stretchy and sweat-wicking enough to get you through your class, a run around the park, or a day at your desk comfortably — regardless of silhouette. I’ve tried out the pants on this list for myself and noted how they differ, while also consulting fitness instructors, yogis, and other experts about which they recommend. Whether they’re durable tights approved by personal trainers or super-stretchy maternity leggings, you can find options at various price points below. While you’re here, I’ve also written guides to the best women’s swim goggles and hiking shoes.

What we’re looking for

Size range

Because the whole point of wearing yoga pants is to be as comfortable as possible, my focus was on finding those offered in the widest range of sizes. I’ve noted available sizes for each pair below.

Rise and compression

Yoga pants vary in how high they sit on the waist as well as how thick and compressive their fabric is. These design features will affect both form and function. Compressive, high-rise leggings will create a streamlined silhouette and won’t fall down when you run or do a Downward Dog. Sky Ting Yoga co-founder Krissy Jones, who has “been living in yoga pants for the past 12 years,” compares the supportiveness of compressive yoga pants to an ankle brace: “It just gives you a little extra firmness and actually supports your muscles to activate and work tighter towards the bone, which is a good thing.” All good yoga pants will cinch your legs and waist somewhat, but if you’re a runner or wearing them for more intensive workouts, you’ll probably want to invest in a more compressive pair than you would use on the mat. As for the rise, Jones notes that if you’re doing yoga, “you want to be able to breathe through your diaphragm,” which means super-high waists are less ideal, because they can restrict belly movement.


I looked for yoga pants designed for those of us who don’t wish to exercise without our phones. While Jones says that pockets can get in the way when you’re on the mat — “Anything with extra seams, zippers, or buttons is distracting, because you’re rolling around on the floor a lot” — pants with pockets may be preferable for runners, gym goers, or anyone who likes to wear yoga pants as regular pants. On this list, you’ll find pants that can stash your AirPods and phone, pants with a smaller waistband pocket for your apartment key, and several completely pocket-free options.

Best yoga pants overall

Size range: 0 to 20 | Rise and compression: High-rise, mid-compression | Pockets: None

I’ve been testing out a pair of Lululemon’s Wunder Train tights for more than a year now, and they look and feel as good as new even after all that time spent in my local laundromat’s industrial-strength dryer. That quality of construction is partly why Lululemon’s workout gear has been recommended to us by many, many fitness experts. Wunder Train tights are the brand’s longtime best-selling pair — and a favorite among yoga instructors. “Lululemon has nailed the yoga pant,” says Jones. “They’ve really refined it over the past 20 years, and it has gotten better and better.” Kate Posch, who teaches at Sky Ting, 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.” They’re also a favorite of Erin Brockovich, who was very particular about what she likes and does not: “If I’m doing yoga, and I’m down on my knees and lifting my butt up, I don’t want to wear leggings that you can see through. At the same time, I’m like Goldilocks: I don’t like the superthin ones, but some are too thick. The Lululemon material is just right. It isn’t so heavy, but I have assurance that you can’t see my butt in them.” Ashley Rosenberg, a modelFIT instructor, calls the style “the forever classic” that’s “just unbeatable.” While originally designed for the mat, I usually wear my Wunder Train tights when running, and they’re ideal for all sorts of workouts. Katherine Gundling, a coach and programmer at ICE CrossFit NYC and Oculus CrossFit, says that they stand out among a sea of imitators: “They will last you years and stay in great condition.”

Best (less expensive) yoga pants

Size range: XS to 3XL | Rise and compression: High rise, mid-compression | Pockets: Waistband pocket for keys or cards

Baleaf’s affordable yoga pants have been a Strategist favorite for years, and our contributor Maggie Slepian recently tipped us off to her go-tos, the Freeleaf Yoga Leggings. She’s tried all the expensive legging brands out there (Alo, Lululemon, Prana), but these are her favorites. “They are a standout in versatility that I haven’t found in other pants,” she writes. “The special sauce lies partially in the material. These are midweight leggings built with a polyester blend that includes 18 percent elastane, which puts them right between compression levels of more supportive tights (which can feel too restrictive for all-day wear) and super soft leggings (which can sag and lose their shape).” They come in three inseam lengths — 20 inches, 25 inches, and 28 inches.

Best yoga pants with pockets

Size range: 0 to 20 | Rise and compression: High-rise, mid-compression | Pockets: Two side pockets

And here are those same Lululemon Wunder Train pants, but with pockets. As a die-hard, large-screen-loving iPhone Max user, I can confirm that big phones will wedge easily into these pockets and stay there — whether you’re lounging around rewatching Girls or jogging the Prospect Park loop. Stashability aside, these pants have exactly the same look and feel to the pair above.

Best sustainable yoga pants

Size range: XXS to 6XL | Rise and compression: High-rise, mid-compression | Pockets: None

I’ve been testing out a pair of these tights too, and I find them to be truly comfortable. Though they’re a little less compressive than the Lululemon pair above, I’ve had no issue with them falling down when running. Made from recycled plastic bottles, they’re fabricated from soft and smooth material that feels surprisingly luxe. Jones is a fan, saying that these are by far “the most sustainable” yoga pants that are “still concerned with fit and look.” Health-care entrepreneur Hil Moss, a breast-cancer survivor who has undergone a mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, says that Girlfriend Collective’s leggings made the process just a bit easier: “They are insanely comfortable. I have multiple pairs in different colors — that’s how much I love them.”

Best plus-size yoga pants

Size range: XXS to 3X | Rise and compression: High-rise, low-compression | Pockets: Two side pockets

When we asked experts about the best plus-size workout clothes, three women pointed to Athleta’s Salutation Capri Leggings, which go up to a size 3XL, as the best yoga pants. Jessica Rahil, a yoga instructor and body-positivity advocate, says they’re hands down the best leggings she’s ever worn. “The material and waistband hug the body perfectly,” she explains, adding that the material is entirely opaque without feeling overly restrictive or thick. Fitness influencer Chasi Jernigan likes them, saying that “the stretch fabric allows you to move unrestricted.” And model Tatiana Lewis says she especially likes the high-rise waist, which offers full, comfortable coverage.

Best (less expensive) plus-size yoga pants

Size range: XS to 4X | Rise and compression: High-rise, low-compression | Pockets: None

For a pair of plus-size yoga pants at a third of the price of the Athletas above, both Lewis and Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst prefer Old Navy’s high-waisted pair. Denton-Hurst says she lives in hers ever since becoming a gym rat. “ I don’t have to worry about them falling down,” she says. “These come up very high and stay up. I don’t have to constantly readjust during a workout and can walk, jog, and lift with ease.” As for the fit, she describes it as flatteringly compressive “but not restrictive.”

Best maternity yoga pants

Size range: 0 to 20 | Rise and compression: Super-high rise, low-compression | Pockets: One waistband pocket for keys or cards

For pregnant people, experts again recommend Lululemon’s yoga pants, specifically the brand’s not-too-tight, waistband-free Align style. Tori Thain Gioia, a co-founder of the prenatal- and postnatal-vitamin company Perelel, wears the super-high-rise version of these pants, telling us they “grow with you throughout your entire pregnancy and postpartum.” Pilates instructor Anna Anderson owns multiple pairs and has worn them throughout her three pregnancies and beyond. “During pregnancy, I liked the feeling of wearing tight things with support but didn’t want them to be constricting,” she says. “These were the right balance.” Tenia Skinner, a certified personal trainer and member of Mater Mea, a community for Black moms, agrees, saying that the Align pants “feel like a second skin” and were “so comfortable all 40 weeks.” (Find more maternity-workout-gear recommendations we’ve written about here.)

Best stylish yoga pants

Size range: XS to XL | Rise and compression: Mid-rise, mid-compression | Pockets: None

It’s rare that a pair of yoga pants can even be described as pretty, but these ones from Live the Process are “shockingly beautiful,” as Jones puts it. “If anyone wants to splurge on the nicest yoga pants out there, their shapes and colors are amazing. So is the quality of the material.” She notes that a V-shaped waist is “probably the most flattering style” for yoga pants to wear with a cropped top.

Best super high-waisted yoga pants

Size range: XXS to 4XL | Rise and compression: Super-high rise, mid-compression | Pockets: No pockets

When I asked Taylor Borenstein and Millie Blumka, the co-founders of foldable-yoga-mat brand Stakt, which pants they themselves wear, both recommended this pair from Beyond Yoga. “The material is extremely soft and formfitting,” they tell me. The pants are compressive yet stretchy: “They offer support without feeling too heavy and thick.” This means that they “feel great to wear in all seasons.” They’re designed to sit at the wearer’s natural waist, which means they should fully cover your belly button — it’s a universally flattering look, and a 25-inch inseam means most people should be able to avoid any annoying ankle scrunching.

Best yoga sweatpants

Size range: XXS to XXL | Rise and compression: Mid-rise, low-compression | Pockets: Two side pockets

For those who want something looser than legging-style and bootcut yoga pants, yoga sweatpants are a good alternative. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, Strategist contributor Anna Carey bought these yoga sweatpants for at-home yoga. They’re not baggy, but they have a loose fit around the hips and legs, with a long cuffed ankle. “They make me feel pulled together, in a way other loungewear doesn’t,” Carey says. The material is heavier than leggings but thinner than a typical sweatpant. “They are, needless to say, extremely comfortable,” Carey says.

Best (less expensive) yoga sweatpants

Size range: XS to 3XL | Rise and compression: Mid-rise, low-compression | Pockets: Two side pockets

For a third of the price of the Sweaty Betty sweatpants above, Baleaf’s yoga sweatpants are a crowd-pleasing pick. You can wear them for yoga, but they’re just as great for lifting at the gym, lounging around at home, or running errands.

Some more women’s loungewear we’ve written about

Our experts

• Anna Anderson, Pilates instructor
• Taylor Borenstein and Millie Blumka, co-founders of Stakt
Erin Brockovich, environmental activist
Anna Carey, Strategist contributor
Tembe Denton-Hurst, Strategist writer
• Tori Thain Gioia, co-founder of Perelel
• Katherine Gundling, coach and programmer at ICE CrossFit NYC and Oculus CrossFit
Hannah Jean Hildreth, instructor at 305 Fitness
Chasi Jernigan, fitness influencer
Krissy Jones, co-founder, Sky Ting Yoga
Tatiana Lewis, Curve model
Jennifer Milliner-Waddell, Strategist associate editor
• Katch Posch, yoga instructor at Sky Ting Yoga
Jessica Rahil, yoga instructor and body-positivity advocate
• Tiffani Robbins, total body conditioning instructor at FitHouse
• Ashley Rosenberg, modelFIT instructor
• Tenia Skinner, personal trainer
• Maggie Slepian, writer and film wrangler

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The 11 Very Best Yoga Pants for Women