Fabric earns high marks for being extremely flexible and comfortable. Seamless design provides a sleek appearance. Available in numerous sizes and several colors. Great choice for leisure days and casual wear.
Not quite as slimming as some competing options.
Consumers feel these leggings offer excellent quality for the cost, designed with light, comfortable fabric that's soft and not too sheer. They also stand out for their great fit and vibrant colors, which include pink, purple, and more.
A few felt these were thinner than expected, and some felt the sizing ran a little long.
Users appreciate the low cost per pair in this six-pack of leggings, as well as the pretty colors and excellent fit. They stand out for being good quality for the price and having a wide, comfortable waistband.
Occasionally, users experienced runs in the leggings, and some felt certain colors were too sheer. While the waistband was praised by most, a few felt it was too wide.
Signature Nulu fabric is high-quality, incredibly soft, and comfortable. Flattering fit and great color selection. Designed with minimal seams to maximize comfort. Sweat-wicking and four-way stretch. Available in multiple lengths for the perfect fit.
A pricier choice than many alternatives, but most feel they’re worth it.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
In the rapidly changing world of women’s fashion, leggings are no longer mere workout clothing or loungewear. They have emerged as one of the most versatile pieces in a woman’s wardrobe. Leggings are ideal for the gym, running errands, and traveling, but they can also be dressed up for a night out on the town. That doesn’t make choosing a pair of women’s leggings less daunting, however.
Women’s leggings are made from form-fitting, stretchy fabric. While black is by far the most popular color, leggings can be found in a wide variety of solid colors and prints. Speaking of variety, you’ll also find plenty of on-trend leggings, featuring unique materials, embellishments, and cuts.
Our buying guide has all the information you need to choose a pair of women’s leggings that fit well, feel great, and give you a fashion-forward look. For our picks for the best women’s leggings on the market, see the matrix above.
Athletic leggings are designed for exercise or performance, so they have high tensile strength and maximum flexibility. These styles tend to be thicker than fashion leggings. Athletic leggings also require special care when washing to preserve the stretchy materials in their blends.
Fashion leggings are designed for casual wear, and they are either worn on their own or beneath skirts and oversized tops. These leggings tend to be on the thinner side, though that sometimes means they can be slightly sheer, which isn’t always popular with wearers. On the upside, these leggings are generally machine-washable.
Women’s leggings don’t follow the same sizing as women’s pants and jeans. To find your correct size, consult the manufacturer’s size chart. You’ll often need to know your height, weight, inseam, and waist or hip measurements.
In terms of sizing, most women’s leggings are available in XS through XL. Some manufacturers make plus-size leggings up to 4XL. Some also make XXS women’s leggings, though this size can be hard to find.
While leggings are typically associated with ankle-length cuts, women’s leggings now come in a variety of other lengths. A cropped cut lands just above the ankle, though if you have shorter legs, this cut will fit like a full-length style. There are also mid-calf, skimmer, and capri cuts, which are more popular for athletic leggings than fashion ones.
Regular waistbands have either a high, low, or medium rise. These waistbands tend to have thinner elastic bands of one to two inches. Regular waistbands are more popular on fashion leggings as their design isn’t very conducive to high levels of activity.
Wide waistbands have either a medium or high rise, and they are usually found on athletic leggings. On average, these waistbands are between three and five inches. They don’t always rely on an inner elastic band. Instead, they often have a panel of material that hugs the torso and acts as tummy control.
While plain black leggings are always in style, there are plenty of colors, patterns, and trendy designs to choose from as well. Mesh panels are a popular design element that give leggings a modern, sporty edgy. They’re most commonly located on the sides of the thighs or calves. In addition to adding curb appeal to leggings, mesh panels also provide ventilation, which is why they’re a popular choice for athletic leggings. A popular trend for women’s fashion leggings is faux denim with zippers and pockets to mimic jeans.
Women’s leggings are made from unique material blends that usually include cotton, polyester, rayon, spandex, and microfiber.
Cotton is extremely breathable and soft but stretches out easily. To minimize this, cotton is often blended with spandex to help retain its shape and hide moisture stains.
Most women’s leggings are made from a blend of polyester and spandex. Polyester has decent stretch and holds onto dye well, but it’s not breathable. Spandex has both breathability and extreme stretch, so it’s an ideal pairing.
Microfiber blends are more popular for fashion leggings than athletic styles. This ultra-soft plush material is comfortable and stretchy, but it isn’t the most breathable. That’s not always a bad thing – since they help retain warmth, microfiber leggings are ideal for cooler temperatures.
Fleece-lined leggings can either be athletic or fashion leggings. When fleece is present in athletic leggings, they are usually intended for outdoor exercise in cold weather. These leggings are much thicker than their unlined counterparts, so there’s a bit of adjustment when exercising in them.
Fleece-lined fashion leggings are a popular choice for casual winter wear. While you could use them for layering under clothing, the fleece is a bit bulky, so you’re better off wearing oversized sweaters with these.
Let’s keep it real: you can’t talk about women’s leggings without mentioning the squat test. This involves trying on a pair and squatting or bending over in front of a mirror to determine how sheer the leggings are. It’s an important consideration, especially since it’s hard to tell when leggings are on a hanger.
To find a pair of leggings that pass the squat test, there are a few details that are telling even before you try them on. One test is to hold the seat toward a light and stretch – if you can see through the leggings, they’ll probably fail the squat test, too. Another thing you can do is look at the seams in the seat of the leggings. If they’re not particularly well-reinforced, chances are the leggings will be pretty sheer.
On average, women’s leggings cost between $10 and $70. While you certainly get what you pay for with leggings, it doesn’t mean that all the styles at the top of the range are the best. Many of them are just made by better-known manufacturers.
If you’d like an affordable pair of leggings, expect to spend $20 or less. These leggings include many cotton-blend fashion leggings as well as some athletic styles. They tend to be hit or miss with the squat test, so if you really like them, expect to cover up your bottom.
Once you get into the $20 to $40 range, you’ll find a drastic leap in quality and style. Leggings in this price range fit better and come in far more colors, cuts, and designs. You’ll also find a broad range of lesser-known brands as well as major manufacturers.
At the top of the price range, closer to $70, are mostly high-quality and name-brand leggings. Fashion leggings in this category generally pass the squat test and often come with unique embellishments. There are also a number of high-performance athletic leggings in this range.
If you’re looking for leggings with fun designs, take a look at the Colorfulkoala Women’s High-Waisted Patterned Leggings. These top-rated women’s leggings come in unique patterns, including camo, floral, and animal-print styles. With a blend of 75% polyester and 25% spandex, they’re flattering and comfortable. They have a high-waist, no-roll waistband that’s ideal for hitting the gym.
For simple black fashion leggings, we like the Hue Women’s Cotton Ultra Leggings with Wide Waistband. The unique blend of cotton, rayon, Lycra, and spandex means the leggings retain their shape while remaining flexible and comfortable. As the material is on the thinner side, these women’s leggings are ideal for wearing under skirts and with oversized tops.
Q. How should I wash my leggings?
A. Women’s leggings require special treatment since they contain stretchy materials. They’re generally machine-washable, though it’s a good idea to stick to cool water and gentle, bleach-free detergent. You’ll also want to avoid fabric softener as it causes stretchy fabric to deteriorate more quickly. Avoid the dryer, and line or hang dry instead.
Q. Can I wear thermal underwear under my leggings?
A. It depends on the thickness of the thermal underwear and the fit of the leggings. Ultra-thin thermals are ideal to wear under form-fitting clothing. However, you may want to consider a pair of fleece-lined women’s leggings for an all-in-one solution.
Q. The ankle cuffs on my leggings are too wide. What can I do?
A. You could take them in, but the tailoring bill might not be worth it. Instead, you could stick to wearing your leggings inside boots to hide the cuffs. With athletic leggings, try rolling them up to cuff them.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.