Home > Apparel > Activewear

The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

We found the best women's travel, outdoor, and workout leggings of 2024. With these options, you can go from the yoga studio or a mountaintop to the coffee shop without a hitch.
3 women wearing Fjallraven leggings while hiking up a grassy rocky trailWomen hiking in the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights Pro; (photo/Fjallraven)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

From hikes and yoga to jet-setting and workouts, leggings are a comfortable and functional choice. Despite their apparent simplicity, they’re not all alike, and there’s nothing worse than a pair of ill-fitting leggings. They ride up, squeeze tight, slide down, and need constant adjustment. It’s not only annoying, but it also gets in the way of being active.

That’s why we took due diligence to test as many activewear leggings — for the outdoors, workouts, and travel — as possible. After traveling, surfing, running, trekking, yoga bending, CrossFit sweating, and generally living in leggings, we narrowed down the best women’s leggings for a variety of action-packed and outdoor pursuits.

We’ve divided the best women’s leggings list into four categories: workout, everyday wear, yoga, and winter. Of course, some leggings intersect multiple categories, and this list doesn’t include every legging on the planet. But it’s extensive, and we created it after thorough research and first-hand experience.

At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart. Otherwise, read our full guide of the top women’s workout and travel leggings.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings guide on January 30, 2024, to include the freshly tested prAna Chakara 7/8 Legging and Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tights among many others.

The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024


Best Overall Women’s Legging

Vuori Clean Elevation Legging

Specs

  • Size range XXS-XXL; short, regular, and long
  • Fabric 87% recycled polyester, 13% elastane
  • Inseam 23", 25″, 28"
  • Pockets 1 small zippered pocket in the waistband
Product Badge The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight and moisture-wicking
  • Extremely soft
  • Ultra high-rise

Cons

  • No side pockets
Best Runner-Up

Nobull Women’s High-Rise Sleek Tight 25″

Specs

  • Size range XS-L
  • Fabric 82% nylon, 18% spandex
  • Inseam 25"
  • Pockets None
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Super dense material hides sweat well
  • Buttery soft
  • Not too thin — a pair we reach for every day, all year

Cons

  • No pockets
  • Doesn't cover ankles if that's your jam
Best Budget Legging

CompressionZ High Waisted Leggings

Specs

  • Size range XS-6XL
  • Fabric 73% polyester, 23% spandex
  • Inseam 24.4-27.2″
  • Pockets 1 thigh pocket large enough for a phone
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Lots of stretch
  • Inclusive sizing
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Not super durable
Best Cropped Legging

Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation Capri

Specs

  • Size range XXS-3XL; regular, tall, petite
  • Fabric Nylon/Lycra blend
  • Inseam 18.5”, 21″, 23”
  • Pockets 1 back drop-in pocket
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Compression
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Ultra high-rise

Cons

  • Less durable than others
Best Legging for Running

Janji ⅞ Pace Tight

Specs

  • Size range XS-XL
  • Fabric 68% nylon, 32% spandex
  • Inseam 24″
  • Pockets 2 large side pockets, pass-through pocket on back waistband, internal front pocket on waistband
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Breathable and quick-drying
  • Great pockets

Cons

  • Fit around the waist wasn’t ideal for some body types
Best Legging for Yoga

prAna Chakara ⅞ Legging

Specs

  • Size range XS-XL
  • Fabric 88% recycled nylon, 12% lycra elastane
  • Inseam 25″
  • Pockets 1 large pocket on back waistband
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Wide waistband
  • UPF 50+

Cons

  • Not super soft
Best Women's Cold-Weather Adventure Legging

Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging 26″

Specs

  • Size Range 00-14
  • Fabric Chira brushed fleece, 81% nylon, 19% elastane 6.5oz
  • Inseam 26”
  • Pockets 2 thigh pockets sit below climbing harness leg loops
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Durable
  • Soft
  • Wide size range

Cons

  • Tight to put on
Best of the Rest

Carhartt Force Lightweight Pocket Legging

Specs

  • Size range XS-3XL; regular and tall sizing (XS-2XL)
  • Fabric 8.5-oz. fabric: 95% nylon, 5% spandex
  • Inseam 29-31″
  • Pockets 1 zippered right hip large enough for a phone, 2 stacked drop-in pockets on left hip
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Multiuse performance

Cons

  • Not ideal for hot weather

Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tights

Specs

  • Size XS-XL
  • Fabric Main Material: 71% polyamide, 29% elastane
  • Contrast Fabric 95% polyamide, 5% elastane
  • Inseam 28”
  • Pockets 2 large zippered thigh pockets
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Durable
  • Light compression

Cons

  • Tight waistband

Stio Women’s Glide High Rise Tech Tight

Specs

  • Size XS-XL
  • Fabric 69% Nylon, 31% Spandex blend with 200g/m2 density, anti-microbial treatment
  • Inseam 26″
  • Pockets 1 zippered thigh pocket, 1 envelope closure thigh pocket, 1 back waistband pocket
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Velvety
  • Wicks sweat fast and well

Cons

  • Back waistband pocket is not secured

Title Nine Crash 2.0 Polartec Tights

Specs

  • Size range 2-16 (XS-XL); comes in regular and cropped length (18″ inseam)
  • Fabric Polartec Power Stretch (90% recycled poly, 10% spandex)
  • Inseam 27″
  • Pockets 1 zippered side phone pocket
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Perfect for cold weather
  • Insulating, thick material still offers stretch

Cons

  • Can bunch up depending on your hips/waist shape

prAna Luxara Pocket Legging

Specs

  • Size XS-XL
  • Fabric 76% recycled nylon, 24% lycra-elastane or elastane
  • Inseam 27"
  • Pockets Two stretchy side pockets big enough for a phone
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Side pockets are nicely positioned
  • Good midweight density
  • Solid rebound and elasticity

Cons

  • Though not super noticeable, some of the seams are bulkier than other leggings

Free Fly Apparel Women’s All Day Legging

Specs

  • Size XS-XL
  • Fabric 80% nylon, 20% spandex (215 gsm)
  • Inseam 26"
  • Pockets Envelope pocket in back waistband
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Very soft

Cons

  • Not an abrasion-resistant tight for HIIT training or other high-octane action
  • Thin means there's not much insulation for chilly conditions

Kari Traa Nora 2.0 Tights

Specs

  • Size XS-XL
  • Fabric 89% Polyester, 11% Elastane, Contrast fabric: 92% Polyester 8% Elastane
  • Inseam 28”
  • Pockets 1 small waistband drop-in pocket
The Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings in 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Loose fitting around the waist
Certain designs of women’s tights are more durable for outdoor activities like boating or hiking; (photo/Free Fly Apparel)

Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Size, Fabric, Inseam, Pockets.

LeggingsPriceFabricInseamPockets
Vuori Clean Elevation Legging$9887% recycled polyester, 13% elastane25″1
Nobull Women’s High-Rise Sleek Tight 25″
$9282% nylon, 18% spandex25″None
CompressionZ High Waisted Leggings$5073% polyester, 23% spandex24.4-27.2″1
Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation Capri$79Nylon/Lycra blend21″1
Janji ⅞ Pace Tight$9468% nylon, 32% spandex24″2
prAna Chakara ⅞ Legging$9981% recycled polyester, 19% elastane25″1
Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging 26″
$140Chira brushed fleece, 81% nylon, 19% elastane 6.5oz26”2
Carhartt Force Lightweight
 Pocket Legging
$608.5-oz. fabric: 95% nylon, 5% spandex29-31″1
Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tights
$120Main Material: 71% polyamide, 29% elastane28”2
Stio Women’s Glide High Rise Tech Tight
$12969% Nylon, 31% Spandex blend with 200g/m2 density, anti-microbial treatment26″1
Title Nine Crash 2.0 Polartec Tights$99Polartec Power Stretch (90% recycled poly,
10% spandex)
27″1
prAna Luxara Pocket Legging
$9976% recycled nylon, 24% lycra-elastane or elastane27″2
Free Fly Apparel Women’s All Day Legging
$8880% nylon, 20% spandex (215 gsm)26″1
Kari Traa Nora 2.0 Tights
$5089% Polyester, 11% Elastane, Contrast fabric: 92% Polyester 8% Elastane28”1
a woman doing yoga in Athleta leggings
Testing the Athleta High Rise Tights; (photo/Mattie Schuler)

How We Tested Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings

Living in the heart of the Rockies in Colorado, GearJunkie tester Constance Mahoney is an avid outdoorswoman. She’s spent countless hours running, hiking, and putting in work on the mat so her body can keep up with whatever adventure comes. Leggings are part of her year-round uniform. Our other lead testers for this guide are likewise all-around outdoors women and educators: GearJunkie Senior Editor Morgan Tilton and contributor Mattie Schuler.

From backpacking to runs, yoga, and indoor weight training, women’s workout and travel leggings are a protective, comfortable, attractive, and functional choice — which is confidence-inspiring. We don’t need to think about whether or not our pants are sagging, see-through, or about to rip open. That’s why we spent hundreds of hours testing countless activewear leggings both outside and indoors.

After traveling, running, hiking, yoga bending, HIIT-ing, and generally living in leggings, our GearJunkie testers across various sizes found the standouts that stay put and secure on-the-go.

Throughout our testing, we examined the quality, fit, value, and function of each pair of leggings. Taking a close look at aspects of the design, we considered the elasticity, stretch, durability, thickness, features (such as pockets), breathability and wicking power of the textile, odor resistance, seams, gusset, and size range as well as how quick drying the fabric is.

In addition to our personal experience, we start by diving into the research and interview experts on the most novel, style-specific, popular, highly rated, and legacy products across a range of price points.

These women’s workout and travel leggings serve a range of athletes, applications, and budgets.

One of our favorite travel and everyday leggings is the Women’s All Day Legging, here; (photo/Free Fly Apparel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Workout and Travel Leggings

Leggings and tights have come a long way in the last decade. The industry has exploded, and you can find the perfect pair for whatever adventure you pick — surfing included. There is a legging durable enough for scrambling ridgelines that will protect your legs where the trail ends. Compression tights to help with recovery. And technical yoga pants that barely feel there. If a design can handle all those tasks, they’re likely suitable for sprinting through an airport or off-road jeep tour.

Read more below to learn what specifics to look for when looking for your next best pair of leggings for workouts and travel.

Fabric

There are many different fabrics and blends used to make the best women’s workout and travel leggings. The most popular blends are polyester or nylon mixed with elastane (spandex). One of the main things to consider when looking at fabric is what activity you will be doing. 

Polyester and Nylon (a type of polyamide) are popular synthetic fabrics for activewear but do shed microfibers.  Both materials feel silky, almost slippery. They are very elastic, strong enough to retain their shape after multiple uses, wrinkle resistant, and dry quickly.

Polyester and polyamide now come in a recycled form, and some brands are shifting to that route to lessen their carbon footprint. 

These products use recycled polyester:

These products use recycled nylon:

Most leggings have a blend like the Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging, which uses a fabric called Chira, a nylon and elastane blend that’s interlocked, which makes the textile abrasion-resistant yet it still breathes and stretches. The Janji ⅞ Pace Tight uses a tightly-woven knit nylon fabric to reduce micro-shedding, which can help with long-term durability.  

Hems and Seams

Hems and seams are crucial for the best athletic leggings for women. Seams are on the interior and exterior of the legs, groin, and around the waist. Hems are around the ankles. They both hold the tight together — but are also what can cause the most discomfort if not done well.

Chafing is the main concern when it comes to seams. When you try on a tight, move in various positions noting how the seams and hems feel. If you notice an area rubbing the wrong away instantly, double-check and make sure nothing is twisted and the seam and that the hem is lying flat. If it is still uncomfortable, it will only worsen, so find another tight.

Most leggings are created by the standard cut-and-sew method, meaning pieces of woven fabric are sewn together. Many brands use a flatlock seam, which keeps the raw edges of the fabric enveloped in the stitching, subsequently reducing bulk and flattening the seams to help eliminate chafing. 

Seamless tights are made with a knit fabric and are created totally differently than woven leggings with seams. Knit tights tend to be more lightweight and have more stretch and shape retention than leggings with regular seams. Because of the lack of stitches, seamless leggings offer maximum freedom of movement.

Additionally, some tights like the Janji 7/8 Pace Tight offer laser-cut hems. Laser-cut hems eliminate fraying, prevent chaffing, and allows for a more expandable hem for ease of putting on and taking off. 

wearing lululemon's leggings for exercise
Some workout leggings show sweat while others hide perspiration well; (photo/Mattie Schuler)

Gusset

A gusset is a triangle or diamond-shaped piece of fabric sewn into the groin of the tight to redistribute the stress that’s placed on the seams. A gusset strengthens the zone that would otherwise be a meeting point for all 4 seams, creating a potential weak spot and potentially, a non-smooth surface. So a gusset helps eliminate chafing in a highly sensitive area. For instance, the Carhartt Force Lightweight Pocket Legging has a gusseted crotch, allowing for more stretch between the legs, which is nice when climbing ladders or doing steep hikes or going on runs.

Whether you are team undies or not in tights, a gusset is usually more comfortable for those going sans underwear and helps eliminate a tight silhouette.

To test the gusset (or non-gusset) do some high knees, leg swings, and squats to see if you feel restricted in any of those motions. Also, look in the mirror to make sure you are happy with how the seam placement looks.    

Friendly reminder, always use proper testing etiquette by wearing undergarments when trying on clothing until they are yours to keep.

Waistband 

Waistband designs are based on individual preferences and those can depend quite a bit on torso length. High-waisted, mid-rise, and low-cut are the standard rises of leggings. When testing out the rise of the leggings, think about what you will be using the them for and make sure they are comfortable for that activity including travel, gym workouts, or yoga.

Many tights now incorporate wide waistbands. A wider waistband allows for a more custom fit across a variety of body shapes. Narrow waistbands can dig and pinch if the design does not fit a person correctly, while a wider waistband can be more forgiving. But, a wider waistband may be too wide for some waists, leaving gaps.

In our experience, some of the best athletic leggings for women include an internal drawstring for a more customized fit. Some designs with drawstrings are permanently looped together so you’ll never lose one side of the string to the abyss of the waistband. Others require you to internally tie off the two ends inside the pants but offer enough string so they won’t slink and get lost. Make sure the drawstring will tighten the waistband enough for what you need.

When trying tights on, be sure to add different motions to check the waistband’s feel and fit. You may find that you prefer a more narrow fit.  Sit down and see how the waist feels: Does it tighten, roll down, or is there a gap in the back? Everyone has a different body shape and each brand has unique designs. Lastly, check each company’s return policy as you look for the right fit for your body.

Really built-out legging have fabric reinforcement on high-abrasion areas like the knees; (photo/Free Fly Apparel)

Stretch and Compression

One of our biggest annoyances is when a pair of leggings sags or stretches out after a wash or a few days of back-to-back wear. High-quality leggings should do neither, but that isn’t always the case. Ideally, a good pair of leggings will be made from both stretchy material and a material that has a little bit of compression to give that nice, tight fit.

Keep in mind the activity that you will be doing. Are you looking for best travel leggings for women? You’ll probably enjoy some compression, so check out the CompressionZ High Waisted Leggings. Or do you want that barely-there feeling? Look into the Free Fly Apparel Women’s All Day Legging.

When trying on a pair of leggings, pull them on like tights. If they slide up too quickly, they might be too big. If you have to squeeze yourself into them and really tug, they are likely too tight, so size up.

Thickness and Density

Along with stretch and compression, the thickness and density of the fabric used in a tight will influence which activewear tight is ideal for your application. Activities have different output levels like yoga versus trail running. Also, the thicker and more dense a fabric is, the warmer and less breathable it will be.

Thicker fabric can also be more stalwart against wear and tear. Textiles with a denser construction can also be less susceptible to holes compared to thinner layers but they’re typically less breathable, too.

To point, the Title Nine Crash 2.0 Polartec Tights utilizes Polartec fleece that keeps you warm even on the coldest of days. That tight is a great choice for winter activities but obviously not perfect for hot yoga. For warmer days when you don’t need extra insulation, look for thinner women’s tights such as the Kari Traa Nora 2.0 Tights.

best leggings
Our testers wore tights from airplane rides to paddle days, yoga, and hikes; (photo/Mattie Schuler)

Rise and Length

Leggings vary so much now, both at the bottom and the top. Think about how much rise you want near your waist. High-rise leggings are great to keep your stomach covered if you’re moving from pose to pose in yoga, but low-rise might be more comfortable on a run.

Similarly, think about the length of the legs. Do you need to protect your ankles with coverage, or do you need the shorter length to help keep you cool? Check out the Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation Capri that will fall below your knees, or a tights with a ⅞-length that ends above your ankles. If you need a full-length tight that covers your ankles look at the Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging. Another option is the Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tights, which has ankle zippers for additional protection and ease when you’re putting the tights on and off.  

Size

Each brand has its own sizing chart that usually consists of the measurements for the waist, hip, and inseam length. It’s important to check each legging’s size chart, which vary not only across brands but sometimes from product to product.

Velocio LUXE Leggings has a really unique and helpful sizing chart to help you get the best fit. First, you find your weight at the top of the table, then follow it down to your size. Then each size has a height range based on weight. Find the range that you fit into and select the one that works best, depending on the level of compression you’d like. They also have a dimensions chart to help you dial in your size. The dimension chart includes chest, waist, and hip sizes. 

If you are unable to try on leggings in a store, remember to check the return policy when purchasing leggings online.

We really appreciate flat seams and well-made gussets to avoid any chafe zones; (photo/Free Fly Apparel)

Durability

The best outdoor leggings for women are made to move with you in any condition. If you’re using leggings to hike or backpack, you’ll want a fabric that is thicker and has reinforcement on the knees and backside like Cordura or a similar material.

For lower-impact activities like yoga or road-tripping, you’ll need to worry less about the fabric wearing out or tearing and focus more on the fit, feel, and comfort. The Vuori Clean Elevation Leggings are a good option. Not every tight is made for moving through rugged terrain, but you should be able to expect some level of durability from the best women’s activewear leggings.

To help preserve the durability in your leggings, wash them according to the recommendations on the tag.

Pockets

We love large side pockets on the thighs of leggings, but not all activities need pockets. For daily use and running, pockets can be pretty useful. For a yoga class, our phones and keys are in the locker room.

Many waistband designs have small slide-in, non-enclosed, stretchy pockets (also called an envelope pocket), which compress and flatten when not being used. These envelope pockets are great for fitting a gel or snack bar or glove liners. Often tights have an internal stretch pocket, which is typically small and placed near the front of the hips.

Other pocket designs have zippers: If you have a super critical item you’d like to carry and you’ll be jumping around or jogging, we suggest opting for a zippered pocket.

vuori pocket
Many tights have pockets and some designs are large enough for sliding in a large phone; (photo/Mattie Schuler)

Odor Resistance

With intense workouts, cookouts, campfires, a stressful day, or back-to-back use, stinky tights are bound to happen even to the best travel and workout leggings.

Leggings can also latch onto smells, because they are made of polyester. Polyester is what makes your tights stretchy, but it also absorbs your sweat. The real kicker is that polyester is also known for being water-repellant, so cleaning them can be tricky. Washing after use will help keep up with diminishing odors. To help find the best laundry detergent for your activewear, check out this article by GearJunkie, which explains what detergent works best and how to wash your apparel and gear. 

However, not all leggings retain odor to the same degree. Wool leggings are naturally odor-resistant. Also, some fabrics are treated to combat smells. The Stio Women’s Glide High Rise Tech Tight uses an antimicrobial treatment, and other tights use Polygiene formula to combat odors. Polygiene prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria at the source. It uses a low concentration of silver salt (silver chloride), which has antimicrobial properties. Because it prevents bacterial growth, often the recommendation is to wash the product less. That said, still wash your apparel as needed! 

Other tights use silver salt for odor control: HeiQ Pure is a silver-salt-based odor-control additive that absorbs the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) also known as smelly molecules. The bonus? Odor treatments like these can help extend a products life and cut back environmental impacts of manufacturing.

Sustainability 

One of the main things to consider when looking at leggings is the footprint of the fabric. Look for recycled or renewable materials.

Many brands are starting to utilize safer, healthier technologies to create durable water repellents (DWR) that make produces repellent to water and oil. Traditional PFCs or Perfluorocarbons are not environmentally friendly. They do not readily break down, meaning they can be stored and spread in their environment including on the person wearing them, which is why they’re illegal in certain U.S. states and countries.

Sustainable DWR can be silicone-based, wax-based, or plant-based. Fjallraven’s parent company, Fenix Outdoor International AG, created a Chemical Guideline for all their brands. ​​The restrictions they list in the guideline go beyond legal compliance and include self-imposed limits, as they proactively research new, less harmful chemical alternatives for their products.

Many brands have been approved by or use Bluesign materials in their products. The third party certification makes sure those materials have been manufactured to strict safety and environmental requirements. These brands are bluesign approved:

Another independent party helping with sustainability is Climate Neutral. The nonprofit organization works to eliminate carbon emissions. Vuori Clean Elevation Leggings uses recycled polyester from a Climate Neutral certified brand. 


Other leggings are Fair Trade Certified sewn, meaning that the people who worked on the product are paid fairly and working in an environment with established healthy standards.

Most of our favorite workout and travel tights function across a range of activities while some are more specialized; (photo/Free Fly Apparel)

Make It Last: 3 Leggings Care Tips

Now that you’ve found the best women’s leggings for you, you’ll want to make them last as long as possible.

  1. Hang up or rinse immediately after working out. It’s tempting to wad up your sweaty leggings and toss them in the bottom of your bag, but take a few extra seconds to treat them with care. At the very least, hang them out to dry while you get changed, and then lay them flat in your bag. Even better, give them a rinse to remove sweat and bacteria that can break down the materials.
  2. Wash in cold water with mild detergent. Avoid fabric softeners and bleach, as these speed up the fabric breakdown and can inhibit the wicking properties. Consider using a specialty soap like our favorite Granger’s Active Wash ($10).
  3. Skip the dryer whenever possible to avoid overheating, stretching, and misshaping your favorite leggings. They’re made of quick-drying materials, so simply hang up or lay flat to dry.

Price

We found the best women’s workout and travel leggings that fall across a wide range of price tags. Some are considered an investment while others are more budget-friendly.

Often, the materials and manufacturing practices drive the price. Producing high-quality and sustainable products is more labor-intensive, and you’ll see the price hike. 

Higher-end leggings don’t sag, lose shape after multiple wears, and are not see-through. Some higher-end designs are built for specific sports or outdoor adventure like the Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging, which has a more complex fabric blend, putting them at a higher price point. Other leggings can have added value like an extra surface finish for softness like the Stio Women’s Glide High Rise Tech Tight.

$100+

Mid-priced tights do not mean you are losing out on quality. They should also be durable enough to hold their shape, not sag, and perform well in a variety of uses. For instance, the Janji ⅞ Pace Tight is a sustainably-made tight that can be worn for a run but also works for yoga. 

$75-100

Less technical tights will be more affordable but may not be as durable in the long term. While the fabric blends may not be as complex, they still should hold up for everyday use.    

$50-75

a woman with cropped hair doing yoga in the Athleta High Rise Elation Capri legging in blue
(Photo/Athleta)

FAQ

When should I wear leggings?

Anytime! Just kidding — leggings are not preferred or appropriate for every situation, though that does seem to be changing as loungewear is getting fancier and slacks are getting more comfortable.

Leggings are a perfect option for most activities where you’d normally wear shorts or hiking pants — think cycling, yoga, running, and backpacking. The specific legging might vary for each activity (see below for needs like durability and pockets), but overall, leggings are a comfortable option for most active and non-active outings.

What is the best brand of workout leggings?

Fitting true to size, prAna is always a consistent go-to for leggings. The brand’s leggings are available in a variety of styles and patterns, and they work for all activities.

Both Athleta and Vuori are also top contenders, with Vuori really making a name for itself lately with high-quality loungewear and activewear. Though any of the options in our guide and top contenders among the dozens of existing options.

What do you look for in leggings?

Before buying, first think about what activities you’ll be using them for. If you’re hiking, look for reinforced knees and rear and deep pockets. For yoga, you’ll want a supportive pair with four-way stretch so you won’t be restricted in your movements. The best travel leggings for women feel comfortable while being worn for many hours and have pockets to hold random items. No matter what you’re using them for, the leggings should be tight and comfy, like a second skin.

Next, think about what size and how many pockets you want and other details like an ultra-high-rise waist, a drawstring waist, and the length (capri, ⅞, or full).

Also, consider the conditions you’ll be using the leggings in. If you’ll be outside in cold weather, consider getting a thicker or insulated pair. If you’ll only be using your leggings indoors for hot yoga and on trips, a thinner pair would work just fine.

Do I need to wear underwear with leggings?

That’s mostly a personal preference. Active tights should be made from moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabric, so you should stay dry during a sweaty workout.

Some also have a crotch gusset — a triangle of fabric sewn in where all the seams meet together. This can help eliminate any unflattering tight seams and make going commando more comfortable.

Are tights see through?

Quality tights, including our top picks here, are not see through. But tights on the market that are not made with thick enough or high-quality material can be transparent.

You can check to see if a tight is see through by doing a squat test. Try the tights on in front of a mirror and squat down or touch your toes. Look back in the mirror and see if you can see any skin or underwear. If you don’t see anything, you are good to go! 

Should I wear pants or leggings for hiking?

Activewear leggings are a comfortable option for day hikes. They are comfortable, quick-wicking, and offer sun protection. Pants have what hiking leggings offer but are burlier. They are more durable, provide extra weatherproof protection, and have additional pockets. Which one you decide to wear depends on the climate, the length of the adventure, and how technical the route is. If you are looking to see what we would recommend for a hiking pant, check out our Best Women’s Hiking Pants guide.

If you decide to wear women’s leggings for hiking, make sure you wear ones that are made for hiking! If you wear traditional leggings, they might not be protective or durable enough against the elements like dew, rain, wind, or even sweat while your body works. Our top picks are: Arc’teryx Essent High-Rise Legging for cold conditions or the Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tights for warmer seasons.

What color leggings should I buy?

Leggings come in a multitude of colors and patterns, so the options are nearly endless. Janji has fun colors and designs as does Stio. You should be able to find whatever suits your personality. Sometimes a new color or fun pattern is just the right pick-me-up we need for some extra inspiration. 


Some folks are concerned about how their leggings will show sweat when they work out. Light colors reveal more sweat, while black or other dark colors can hide sweat marks. Honestly, everyone sweats, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about! We encourage you to buy the leggings in the color you want.

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!