The Best Workout Pants for Every Type of Exercise

Best Workout Pants

1/6 SHUTTERSTOCK

Those tight-in-a-good-way pants that keep your badonk secure during a run might be too constrictive for a barre class. Yep, you heard us right—one style does not fit all types of workouts.

Whether you’re hitting the pavement, the dance floor, or a yoga mat, you need exercise pants that help you kick ass, not hold you back. So we polled some fitness pros who know (they do this stuff all day, everyday, after all) how to dress best when you’re sweating it out. Check it out.

Dance
Dance
2/6 SHUTTERSTOCK
DANCE

What to look for: Cool, stay-dry fabric, stretch, medium to high compression

Any cardio dance class that involves a lot of jumping and bouncing requires a strong dose of compression for muscle support, says Sadie Kurzban, founder and CEO of 305 Fitness. However, depending on your flexibility and the type of movement you’re doing, you might prefer to opt for medium compression to maintain a greater range of motion. “I want to be able to bend, snap, and shake all over the dance floor,” says Kurzban.  You’ve got to get your groove on, right?

Luxe:  Nike Epic Lux running tights, $110, nike.com

Budget: Gaiam Women’s Follow My Line legging, $18.17 to 38.08, amazon.com

Barre
Barre
3/6 SHUTTERSTOCK
BARRE

What to look for: high waist, wide waistband, light to medium compression

Any barre-loving woman knows that the deeper you squat, the more you shake—and the shaking means it’s working. So come prepared to dip it low with a pair of pants that offers enough stretch and a compression level that allows you to move, says Tanya Becker, co-founder and CEO of Physique 57. Another must? Skip the low-rise styles in favor of a higher waist. “It helps you hold your abs in,” says Becker.

Luxe: Onzie high rise legging, $69, onzie.com

Budget: Champion PowerFlex Champion Shape tight, $25.67 to $50, amazon.com

Running
Running
4/6 SHUTTERSTOCK
RUNNING

What to look for: high compression, stay-put waistband, temperature regulation

The last thing you want to think about during a run is, quite frankly, your pants. Look for a pair that feels as comfortable as a second skin, says Jennifer Blackburn, Equinox Bethesda Group Fitness Manager, meaning no pinch-y waistbands, a high, supportive compression, and breathable fabric that responds to changes in temperature to keep you warm or cool as needed. (If you’re ready to keep the body sculpting going, check out Women’s Health‘s Ignite routine created by Next Fitness Star, Nikki Metzger.)

Luxe: Vimmia X Impact pant, $180, vimmia.com

Budget: Under Armour Women’s heatgear capri pant, $23.99 to 56.99, amazon.com

Yoga
Yoga
5/6 SHUTTERSTOCK
YOGA

What to look for: light compression, wide and flat waistband, stretch

“No one has time to hike up her pants when she’s trying to flow,” says Sarah Levey, cofounder of Y-7 Yoga. The waistband should be wide and flat, so that it stays put throughout your class—and doesn’t dig into your lower back during mat-based poses, she says. And leave the fancy, tight fabrics at home. “My favorite pants to wear in hot yoga have fabric that’s designed for people who are sweating heavily, as opposed to regular lycra,” she says.

Luxe: Full length tights, $140, vieactivewear.com

Budget: Danskin women’s Ibiza crop legging, 14.83 to 34.85, amazon.com

Pilates
Pilates
6/6 SHUTTERSTOCK
PILATES

What to look for: medium compression, stay-put waistband, non-slippery fabric, no metal parts

“In Pilates, We move and stretch our legs in all different directions, as well as spend time upside-down in exercises, so the last thing I want to worry about is my pants falling down,” says Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at FLEX Studios.

Since you’re spending the entire class pressed against a mat, machine, or other apparatus, you need pants that a) won’t slip and b) won’t snag. “My go-to is a pair with no zippers or metal parts, so that I can safely work out on the equipment,” says  Alycea Ungaro, owner and founder of Real Pilates. Think medium compression with tons of stretch, and no extras like buttons or zippers.

What Are the Best Workout Leggings?

Image

Last summer we heard rumors that the athleisure bubble was about to burst, but let’s face it: Once you start wearing leggings as pants, there’s no going back. We would wear this most comfortable and elastic legwear just about anywhere, but which pair is best when you actually want to work out? Here, ten women weigh in about their favorite pairs for everything from yoga to barre to running an ultramarathon.

For Yoga

“I’d have to say my favorite leggings for yoga have been my Hard Tail leggings. Specifically, a pair of black and gray tie-dyed ones I picked up at Pure Yoga. They’re super comfy and soft, have the perfect amount of stretch so that they hug without squeezing, and they’re cute, so they transition well from the studio to the street. (I’ve never been the everyday-spandex-wearing type.) Most importantly, they’re durable, which is key when I wear them a ton, while moving around on a mat and the floor, and wash them regularly.” —Jessica Caplan, yoga and sound meditation instructor

BUY

Hard Tail Flat Waist Capri Leggings$75 , Zappos

For Running Every Day (and Yoga)

“I run almost every day and in my experience, Nike Dri-Fit is the answer, always. I’ve tried similar stuff from Under Armour and Gap Body but Nike Dri-Fit is just the best. My favorite, and the only one I buy — in bulk, basically — is the Power Legendary training capris from the Nike Dri-Fit line. Compression feels super supportive and taut, and they keep their shape over multiple years, even with constant washings. I also do yoga in them and give them another A+ rating for that … On my body, the fit is really higher-rise than the photo online shows. I have a short torso and they definitely go above my navel, which is how I like it — Under-Armour stuff fits me right at the navel, which makes me feel crazy and is super distracting for me.” —Carmen García Durazo, producer

BUY

Nike Power Legendary Training Capris$85, Nordstrom

For Under $20

“I like my leggings to be several things: cheap (miss me with that $80 nonsense), opaque enough to wear as pants (shush, haters!), and short enough to fit my legs without any extra fabric bunching around the ankles. Old Navy’s leggings excel on all of these points, with the added benefit of being able to pick up an iconic American Flag shirt in the same trip!” —Brennin Cummings, marketing coordinator at Penguin Random House

BUY

Go-Dry Cool Mid-Rise Melange Compression LeggingsFrom $15, Old Navy

For Under $50

“Hands down my favorite leggings are the mid-rise long Adidas Climalite Tight. The mid-rise hits right below my bellybutton and doesn’t grip into my sides, making my waist look smaller. I got sick of spending $120 for a single pair and always buying black to maximize the use. With a lower price point I can buy multiple colors, patterns, lengths, and duplicates.” —Meagan Kong, dancer and movement coach

BUY

adidas Women’s Running Response Long TightsFrom $30, Amazon

For Women With Curves

“Leggings are a huge issue for curvy femmes, and my favorites right now are from Lineagewear and Bombsheller. Both companies use fun printed fabrics that don’t stretch into literal sheer oblivion over fat asses, and they both have high elastic waistbands that stay up even when your belly is hell bent on pulling them down.” —Jessamyn Stanley, yoga teacher and author of EveryBody Yoga: Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body

BUY

Lineage Graffiti Leggings$60 , Lineage
BUY

Bombsheller #TriEchinopsis Leggings$79 , Bombsheller

For Running When It’s Cold Out

“I love this Reebok pair because they have a high-rise fit and they’re skin-tight at the ankle. The lining is moisture wicking but really warm so they’re perfect for wearing outside in the cold. The pair I have says REEBOK pretty big down the calf, so when I wear them I feel SUPER SPORTY. My friend and I liked them so much we bought the same pair … And they have a tiny secret pocket at the waist to hold my tiny secrets — my keys.” —Mariana Garces, PR assistant

BUY

Reebok Brushback Tight$25 , Reebok

For Ultra Marathons

“Okay, so I am really cheap and generally wear whatever, be it secondhand sportswear, etc., but I dabble in ultra marathons and the occasional Ironman, and I love exercising in the cold, so I do need pants that keep me warm but don’t feel like I’m wearing a diaper. My favorite are the Under Armour ColdGear pants. Very warm; they stay dry and they don’t chafe my downstairs. Also, the fit is very slimming, like you are wearing a leg girdle. Sexy.” —Jill Smith, advertising executive

BUY

UA ColdGear Leggings$60 , Under Armour

For Dancing and Traveling

“Beyond Yoga! I love the fit, the materials are the softest and most comfortable around, plus they are really flattering on the leg. I use mine to teach ballet, work out at the gym, and even in my Latin ballroom classes, and of course for travel, which I do a lot. They also have made some really stylish ones that have a crisscross straps on the bottom, which reminds me of how we used to tie our pointe-shoe ribbons.” —Christina Lyon, dance instructor, and founder and artistic director of Gala de Danza

BUY

Beyond Yoga Strappy Midi Leggings$99, Nordstrom

For Cardio Training + For Yoga

“For all things cardio and training, I’m obsessed with my Nike Zoned Sculpt Women’s Training Capris. They offer the right amount of compression, and are high-waisted, so it feels as though my body is enjoying the benefits of my workout in part because of what I’m wearing. And then for all things yoga, especially during the colder months, I like Lululemon’s high-rise Wunder Under pants. They’re especially perfect for non-heated yoga practice environments as they offer the right amount of warmth, with style, perfect fit, and support.” —Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om

BUY

Nike ‘Sculpt’ Training Capris$109.99, Macy’s
BUY

Lululemon Wunder Under Pant$98 , Lululemon

For Spin Class + For Barre Class

“For workouts like spinning or any cross training, I wear Nike knee-length leggings. Any legging with compression is the way to go — leggings without compression will fail you. I like the full-length Outdoor Voices leggings because the material is thick and they hold their shape for light workouts like barre classes.” —Laura Naparstek, researcher at Forrester Research

BUY

Outdoor Voices High-Rise Warmup Leggings$95 , Spring
BUY

Nike Pro-Training CaprisFrom $30, Amazon

For Not Sliding Around

“I like workout leggings that are a bit high-waisted. My Under Armour leggings fit well and don’t slide around too much … I think the worst thing is when leggings slide down or move around when you’re running and you constantly have to stop to adjust them. The UA ones I have stay in place and feel light and comfy. These grip really well to your body and they stay cool during my workouts.” —Sim Hothi, assistant at 3 Arts Entertainment

BUY

Under Armour Mirror Luminous LeggingsFrom $90, Amazon

The Strategist is a new site designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best notebook, black T-shirts, fashion-editor-approved jeans, toothbrush, and apartment décor. Note that all prices are subject to change.

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

12 Pairs of Yoga Pants You’ll Want to Live In

women's yoga pants

If there were space in this article to write a love letter to yoga pants, we seriously would. In fact, if we could wear yoga pants to work, we would (but we’re pretty sure that’s limited to yoga teachers). What’s the deal with yoga pants? Well, yogis are looking for a pant that moves with their body in their practice (and looks good while they’re at it). The rest of us? We’re looking for comfort and style. Lucky for us all, brands big and small have been paying attention. The result? Fun and flattering yoga pants, crops, and leggings in fresh colors and fabulous prints.

Lucy Activewear Studio Hatha Legging

yoga pants for women

from $89 BUY NOW

There are four main things we love about Lucy’s Hatha Leggings: 1) They truly keep their shape, wear after wear. 2) They have chafe-free seams. 3) They come in short, regular, and tall lengths. 4) They come in extended sizes!

More: The Best Yoga Mats on the Market

Sweaty Betty Chandrasana Reversible Yoga Leggings

yoga pants for women

$115BUY NOW

We’re new to the world of Sweaty Betty, and it would be an understatement to say we’re obsessed. Their Reversible Leggings are perfect for a variety of sports — not just yoga. We’re wearing them to barre and pilates, too. We love the high-waist fit, wicky fabric, flashy prints, and seams that flatter for days. This particular print has goats. What else do we need to say?

Outdoor Voices Two-Tone Warmup Legging

outdoor voices yoga leggings for women

$95BUY NOW

We’ve been wearing OV since before Hannah ran through Greenpoint in a matching top and bottoms on Girls. Made for bodies in motion, no matter if it’s yoga, dog-walking, or a couch marathon, Outdoor Voices Warmup Leggings just make you look fabulous.

 

Noli Yoga “Tree of Life” Leggings

noli white tree yoga pants for women

$75BUY NOW

Noli’s yoga pants are made to feel just like a second skin, and they truly live up to that statement.  They have a midrise waistband for those who prefer that versus the typical high waist we are seeing right now. The ‘Tree of Life” pattern with a tree encircling one leg and roots sweeping across the other is their best-seller!

Terez Black & White Glitter Performance Yoga Leggings

terez yoga pants

$78 BUY NOW

Terez makes the most playful leggings we’ve ever seen. Their graphic prints and use of colors can help keep your yoga practice feel fun and light — because it’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect.

More: Yoga Blocks for Better Stretching and Tricky Poses

Lululemon Wunder Under III Yoga Pants

blue lululemon yoga pants

$98BUY NOW

Wunder Unders have been our go-to yoga pant for years. Since Lulu updates their colors every season, we may or may not have a drawerful. They’re great for yoga, but we also run and lift in them.

Beyond Yoga High Waist Leggings

High Waist Leggings from beyond yoga in grey

$97BUY NOW

We’re not quite sure what kind of voodoo magic Beyond Yoga uses in their fabric, but it’s heavenly. The softest yoga pants in this entire mix are also some of the most comfortable, with their high-waist fit.

Elektrix Love Revolt Voltage Hot Yoga Pants

plaid yoga pants for women elextrix love

$72BUY NOW

Elektrix Love is a little bit yoga, a little bit rock ‘n roll — plus, they are super sustainable throughout their process of pattern printing and production. If you’re looking for edgy prints that help you stand out in a sea of black pants, this is your brand.

C9 Champion Women’s Performance Leggings

C9 Champion® Women's Performance Leggings

$25BUY NOW

Target’s brand of fitness gear has truly stepped up its game. They’re made with a poly-spandex blend, just like pricier brands, but we aren’t afraid to toss these bad boys in the dryer, or even toss them out after a season of hot yoga classes.

Alo Airbrush High-Waist Yoga Leggings

alo yoga high waist air brushed leggings

from $82 BUY NOW

Alo’s High Waist Leggings look like you airbrushed them on. They’re super high-rise, for yogis who like full coverage, and are made with antimicrobial fabric so that you can keep wearing them practice after practice. Maybe even skip a wash? Nah.

10 Best-Selling Leggings Of 2017

Fashion leggings, comfortable leggings, workout leggings…. It doesn’t matter. Everybody loves them. While I was at the gym today I saw a very large amount of them, which prompted me to rush home and compile a list of the best-selling leggings of 2016 so far. And like usual, the best place to buy these is Amazon. Lowest prices and free shipping? Yes please.

I decided to throw a twist into this list for your convenience. I divided the list up into two sections, fashion leggings and workout leggings, taking the top 5 best-selling from each category. Why look through two lists when you don’t have to? I digress… lets get to it.

1. D&K Seamless Full Length Leggings

D&K Seamless Full Length Leggings

 

You can’t beat black leggings. They are simple, comfortable, and go with practically anything. That is why this pair of D&K seamless full length leggings tops our list. These leggings look good year-round, and are made of a comfortable material which is not too thin or hot. In addition, these look stylish and expensive, not like a pair of child’s leggings (no offense children, but seriously, your leggings look cheap).

You can wear this pair of leggings with skirts, dresses, or just by themselves. Not into simple black? These puppies come in 44 colors, sure to please even the pickiest of people. Try them out, we know you will love them too.

2. WHITE APPAREL Women Seamless Full & Capri Length Leggings 

WHITE APPAREL Women Seamless Full & Capri Length Leggings

I don’t care what you say. You really can’t beat leggings that are on sale for $0.99. Really, that is cheaper than a candy bar, a gallon of gas, a pair of socks, a soda, or really anything else you can possibly think of. These come in tons of different colors too, making the deal even sweeter.

They are either one-size fits all, or plus size, so take your pick. From the reviews, they seem to fit pretty well. But again, even if they didn’t, they are less than $1.00 so that is completely okay. Get some now before they are all gone.

3. American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Legging

American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Legging

I love American Apparel clothing. While their ads are a bit risque and their CEO was creepy, they produce some quality clothing that is dang comfortable. So it is no shock that these American Apparel cotton leggings are a top spot on the list. These leggings are comfortable, machine-washable, and look great.

As for size, these are true-to-fit, meaning all you have to do is order the size you normally do and you should be good to go. However, make sure to take good care of these because they are prone to pilling. With a little TLC, however, they will look good as new every time you wear them.

4. Stretch Cotton Capri Crop Seamed Leggings Tights

Stretch Cotton Capri Crop Seamed Leggings Tights

Let me be clear here and say these are not pants. I repeat, these are not pants. But they are dang comfortable piece of clothing. These are a great pair of leggings for wearing under a short skirt or dress to complement your outfit. But PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD DO NOT WEAR THEM AS PANTS. You can see through them, but if that is what you’re into, be my guest.

But for only $7.99, they make a perfect addition to your wardrobe if you don’t want to risk ruining your favorite pair of leggings.

5. Womens Girls Faux Leather High Waisted Leggings

SEXY Womens Girls Faux Leather High Waisted Leggings

As we touched on in our list of  best-selling dresses of 2015, retro and vintage is back in full force. If you want to spice your retro game up, then pick up a pair of these Faux leather high waisted leggings.

What are you waiting for? Pick up a pair of these and add a little Grease flair to your wardrobe.

6. iLoveSIA Women’s Capri Legging

iLoveSIA Women's Tights Capri Legging

 

When you pull these out of the box, you will think you got the wrong size and that they won’t fit. But once you put them on, you will be in love. This comfortable pair of iLoveSIA capri leggings will keep you focused at the gym, and ensure you are as comfortable as possible.

And there are plenty of color choices, too. From yellow to pink, they have it all. This pair is great for yoga, running, indoor and outdoor exercise, or just lounging around.

7. Adidas Performance Women’s Performer Mid-Rise Three-Quarter Tights

adidas Performance Women's Performer Mid-Rise Three-Quarter Tights

 

Adidas products have long been known for their performance, reliability, and quality. And with this pair of Adidas Performance women’s Performer mid-rise three quarter tights, you can expect nothing less. These leggings were designed for exercise and come standard with moisture-controlling Climalite fabric to keep you dry, as well as an interior drop-in pocket that is perfect for storing a card, cash, or key.

And there is no shortage of flattering patterns either. You may have trouble choosing from just one of the 19 intricate patterns offered with these, so you may have to get two or three to ease your mind. These are my personal favorites, and I think you will agree that they are a great bang for your buck.

8. CW-X Women’s 3/4 Length Stabilyx Tights

CW X Women's 3-4 Length Stabilyx Tights

This pair of CW-X Women’s 3/4 length Stabilyx tights are perfect for runners and exercise nuts. The 3/4 length tights with targeted knee and core support  is perfect for activities with lateral movement. Cycling classes, dance, running, not a problem.

These also come with variable compression throughout, facilitating circulation to minimize lactic acid build-up during and after exercise. Basically, these will keep you as healthy and comfortable as possible, while looking great at the same time.

9. Under Armour Women’s UA HeatGear® Armour 29″ Legging

Under Armour Women's UA HeatGear Armour 29 Legging

No list is complete without some type of Under Armour product. We love them and in return, they love us back. This pair of Under Armour HeatGear leggings will keep you dry without wearing you down.

The signature Moisture Transport System (ooh, fancy) wicks swear to keep you dry and light, allowing you to focus during your workout and feel the burn. Anti-microbial technology is also included, meaning these won’t start smelling two seconds after you start running.

Pick up a pair of these to complete your workout wardrobe.

10. Adidas Performance Women’s Techfit Capri Tights
adidas Performance Women's Techfit Capri Tights

If you are looking for a compressive fit without compromising great design, you have found a perfect match. These Adidas Performance Techfit capri tights ensure your tight stays in place during active workouts and looks great. The capri-length flatlock seam construction protects against chafing, leaving you comfortable and focused.

The fabric is not too thin so you don’t have to worry about people seeing through. And they are great for running. Just take this recent Amazon customer review, for example; “I love these!! They fit me well! I’m 5″4′ and weigh 135. I wear them on runs that are over 10 miles and they are comfortable, especially around the waiste! Light weight material”. Check them out. I am sure you’ll love them!Fashion leggings, comfortable leggings, workout leggings…. It doesn’t matter. Everybody loves them. While I was at the gym today I saw a very large amount of them, which prompted me to rush home and compile a list of the best-selling leggings of 2016 so far. And like usual, the best place to buy these is Amazon. Lowest prices and free shipping? Yes please.

I decided to throw a twist into this list for your convenience. I divided the list up into two sections, fashion leggings and workout leggings, taking the top 5 best-selling from each category. Why look through two lists when you don’t have to? I digress… lets get to it.