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10 of the Best Leggings for Every Shape and Workout

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Whoever coined the phrase “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” clearly didn’t understand her relationship with leggings. Quite possibly the world’s most perfect pants, leggings are flattering, forgiving and pajama-level comfortable. And they’re pretty much the definition of versatility—there aren’t many garments that can go seamlessly from lounging on the couch to kicking butt in the gym to walking laps around the parking lot during the kids’ soccer practice. Oh, and most can even be dressed up with a tunic and flats for a day at the office or a casual dinner out.
 
Just as there are no two identical pair of legs, one pair of leggings do not fit all. Depending on the route of your curves, which assets you prefer to showcase or suppress or what activity you’re engaging in, your definition of the perfect pair might be very different from your BFF’s, co-worker’s or gym partner’s. That said, there are some common criteria that most of us want out of our body-hugging bottoms. Before you go on your next quest for leggings, take a spin through this handy cheat sheet. You just might stumble upon your next favorite pair.


The Best Leggings for Every Body Type


Short
 
If you’re, shall we say, vertically challenged, you’ve probably spent more time than you’d care to admit tugging at all that extra fabric that tends to bunch up around the waist and ankles when wearing full-length leggings. Short of wearing capris under duress or dealing with the cost and hassle of having your pants hemmed, what’s a petite girl to do? Your best bet is to look for petite-size leggings made especially for more diminutive frames.
 
Yogipace Petite High-Waisted Leggings ($21.99): Designed for women 5’4” or under, these leggings are billed to “pass the squat test” and also feature a high-rise elastic waistband. “These are the best yoga pants ever!” said one reviewer. “I have never found the perfect length being 5’1” until now! Perfect for petites. Hits right at the ankle and I love the higher waist!”

 
Pear-Shaped
 
If you’re one of the many women who are rocking a pear-shaped figure—smaller on top with a larger butt and thighs—you might have struggled to find leggings to complement those lovely lower-level curves. But don’t give up just yet—there are plenty of options out there to accentuate pear shapes. You might have better luck with leggings that have a higher waist and thicker, figure-shaping fabric.
 
Zella Live-In High Waist Leggings ($54): Although these are a little on the pricey side, the body-positive blogger and pear-shaped fashionista at Lipgloss and Crayons includes these in her list of go-to leggings. “While I usually think of Zella leggings as workout wear, they're my favorite everyday black leggings,” she says in her blog. “Stretchy without being too much, high-waisted and just the right thickness.”
 
Tall
 
There are plenty of great things about being tall, but shopping for leggings isn’t necessarily one of them. There’s nothing more vexing than finding a pair that fits perfectly in every way—until you look down. If you’re tired of sporting the perpetually cropped look, it’s time to raise your tall leggings game. Luckily, there are many options designed for those with an elevated stature that will keep you safely out of floodwater territory.
 
Yogipace Women's 34" Inseam High-Waisted Goddess Extra Long Leggings ($28.99): These versatile leggings can be worn over your heel or scrunched up to the ankles. Either way, the 34” inseam won’t leave your ankles high and dry. “I usually have a hard time finding the perfect leggings due to my height, but these are amazing and super long,” says one reviewer. “The material is very soft and light. Perfect for yoga or anything, really.”

Wide-Hipped
 
If you have ample hips, you might find yourself in a constant struggle to keep your leggings securely in place while avoiding the dreaded “muffin top” effect. To keep your pants put while also flattering your curvy hips, try leggings with a fold-over waistband.
 
Unique Styles Ombre Fold-Over Waistband Leggings (from $12.99): Made from a stretchable compression material, these go-anywhere leggings feature a high, fold-over waistband that sits comfortably on the hips while smoothing out the midsection.
 
Plus-Size
 
For our gorgeous plus-size gals, a pair of on-point leggings can be the boost you need to kick some serious booty—both in and out of the gym. But an ill-fitting pair is enough to make you swear off sweating forever and take refuge under your favorite blanket on the couch. If you’re fuller-figured and are spending half of your workout time trying to squeeze into (or out of) your leggings or struggling to keep them from going the way of gravity during downward dog, it’s time to find a better fit.
 
Torrid Black Full-Length Premium Leggings ($22.90): Specializing in fashion for women’s sizes 10-30, Torrid gets rave reviews for their true-to-size leggings that feature a thicker fabric and wide, belly-smoothing waistband. “I literally live in these things—they are non-see through, made with thick, yet stretchy material that is very breathable, and never, ever ride down,” raves one buyer.

The Best Leggings for Every Workout


Hot Workouts
 
Sweating is a sign of a successful workout—but overheating, not so much. When you want to hit a hot yoga class or head out for a walk or run on a warm day, dressing cool is key—but that doesn’t mean you have to bare it all in a pair of shorts if you’re not quite ready to take that leap. With the right leggings, you can stay in your coverage comfort level even in high temps. Look for styles that have high-tech fabric to wick away moisture. Many leggings are even made with on-trend mesh panels for extra ventilation.
 
Mission Women's VaporActive System Mid-Rise Capri Leggings (from $39.83): Not only are they super cute, these stay-cool capris are made from VaporActive fabric that rapidly removes sweat.
 
Cold Workouts
 
When the weather’s frosty, that doesn’t mean you have to dress like the Abominable Snowman—nor does it mean that you have to abandon your outdoor adventure altogether. With the right pair of warm leggings, you can tackle your winter workout while staying comfortable (and cute).
 
90-Degree By Reflex Fleece-Lined Leggings ($24.99): They may look like regular leggings, but these are lined with soft, cozy fleece to keep your skin warm even on the chilliest days. “Super comfy and warm. I've worn these several times this winter and they've kept me warm even on below-freezing-temperature days,” says one reviewer.


Running
 
When it comes to running leggings (often called running tights), it seems there are as many styles out there as there are running routes. Your perfect pair will depend on factors that are unique to you, like your body type, height, need for pockets and personal fit preference. That said, some commonly desired features in a great pair of running tights include the optimal balance of snugness and comfort, opaque fabric that won’t cause any embarrassing sneak peeks, a stay-put waistband, non-sagging fabric that retains its shape and the right amount of coverage.
 
Compression Z Women’s Leggings (from $24.98): Although there’s no such thing as one perfect running tight for everyone, these got rave reviews for their snug yet flexible fit, sweat-wicking properties and complete opaqueness. “They are soft, extremely comfortable, they hold you in and don't stretch out,” one reviewer notes. “As far as I am stretching them, they are still opaque, which is just magic to me.”


 
Spinning
 
When getting your spin on, you want a comfortable yet form-fitting pant that won’t interfere with the bike’s equipment. A stay-put waistband is also a must, as there’s nothing more annoying than having to stop and hitch up your leggings in the middle of a sprint or a steep hill. Spin studios are usually on the warm side, so opt for a cooling, wicking fabric that won’t absorb sweat. Some spin tights even have extra padding to reduce seat soreness.
 
Baleaf Women's 3D Padded 3/4 Cycling Compression Tights ($29.99): Moisture-wicking fabric stays dry and won’t weigh you down, and the wide waistband stays comfortably in place. Silicone grips keep the tights from riding up during even the toughest workouts. “These are excellent pants for spin class,” says one shopper. “Nice amount of padding. Material doesn't slide on the seat and they stay put.”


 
Yoga/Pilates
 
When you’re practicing yoga or mat Pilates, it’s best to avoid any zippers, ties or other embellishments that could dig into your skin as you lie down on your back or side. If you’re doing Pilates on a reformer machine, choose a simple, form-fitting legging, with no extra fabric to interfere with the equipment. For both yoga and Pilates, stretchable and opaque fabric is key to a successful session.
 
ODODOS High Waist 4-Stretch Yoga Pants (from $18.98): Not only are these leggings supremely comfortable and flexible, they have built-in tummy control, a convenient side pocket and are made from non-see-through, moisture-wicking fabric. Namaste!
 

What are your favorite brands of leggings for your body type and/or activity?

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Comments

LIVEANDLAUGH 11/5/2019
Thanks for the info! I now hope to avoid the "trial and error!" :) Report
FYODORAWILSON 7/7/2019
Thanks for sharing such an informative blog. As I am also related to this business and I learn new information from your article. Great job! Report
KOALA_BEAR 3/2/2019
I agree w/ others Nothing available for tall, long legged gals who are queen sized. I have some for work that have an attached skirt & pockets, made by Legacy. Had for some years, bit pricey for spandex & nylon but got on EZ pay from QVC. Some colors longer than the rest but none reach my ankle. This needs serious updating B4 featuring article again. 🐨 Report
MARKSMOM3 2/11/2019
I wear leggings a lot, so I appreciate this article. Report
MUSICNUT 1/16/2019
Thanks for a great article! :) Report
EBETHE07
I am 66, 50 lbs overweight and I love leggings. I wear with a loose top and love the comfort. I buy mine at Target and Wal-mart. I am 5'1 and they fit great Report
No mention of leggings for heavy legs. Report
ANITAMJ1
So, you can't buy anything off of this site, you could before. Disappointed. Report
BONDMANUS2002
Absolutely great Report
Great Article!!
Canadian based Lululemon is my go to brand. My pieces have been very durable, and survive through Pilates, Jogging, TRX. I have leggings that are a decade old, that I still use. Has not gone out of style or diminished in elasticity. The style is now being reintroduced by Lulu as “classics”. The brand is not for everyone, it runs very slim, is expensive. I only buy from the outlet or online when on sale. Report
I'm still wearing the two much-mended pairs of leggings I purchased in the 1990s because I can't find any that I like! I want LYCRA/SPANDEX (not cotton or anything that feels cotton-like) that are NORMAL ride (not "low" or "mid-rise") that have a DRAWSTRING and are LONG enough! ESPECIALLY the drawstring; how are you supposed to keep them from sliding down without one??! Report
SKY12310
Great info about leggings, I like to wear this https://shop.bootybands.com/collect
ions/new-bra-and-legging/products/b
lack-bootyfit-sports-bra-mermaid-le
ggings-set scrunch bum leggings during my workouts. Report
KHALIA2
Great list! Thanks! Report
Good information. I need to get some and try them. Report
I recently had to get something new to wear because my workout pants were wearing out and all the others collected every hair or piece of lint I got anywhere close to. I never thought of getting leggings, but found some at Walmart (sorry, can't get anything higher priced) that I really like, plus they had a top that was really cute. Lately, I live in these. By Avia, I think. The pants have a small pocket and one pair has a pocket going down each side. Normally I would wear jeans instead of these comfortable leggings. I fight with a really big butt and belly and long legs for my height and these fit great. Report
Great article! Report
Very informative! I love leggings!! Report
and what would be a good choice for someone who is plus sized but also tall? because I don't particularly enjoy short pants on a daily. Report
Lots of choices for those who wear leggings Report
Lots of choices, thanks! Report
Great info. Thanks for the recommendations. Report
Roamans and Women Within Report
Thanks for sharing, but maybe more info for guys... :-) Report
WINNER61
Love the plus size style and color! Report
SUSANBEAMON
Leggings, even those for full figured plus sizes women, give me such a workout just getting them on, I don't need to go to the gym. I'll stick with sweat pants. Report
Being both hippy and vertically challenged, this was helpful! Report
Looks worth looking into! Report
I like heavy fabric & boot cut. I have 3 pairs, came from Costco several years ago, they came in long!!!! Yeah! Report
I’ve got to go over these leggings again. Report
Love my leggings. Report
Skirt Sports!! I love the new pocketopia - lots of pockets and cool colors! Report
I have saved this article and will refer to it again and again until I find a pair of leggings that fit and are comfortable. I wonder where I can purchase some specific brands that are mentioned. I will google them. AWESOME!! Report
Not ever size. I'm still plus size, and have a lot of difficulty finding leggings long enough! Some of us are also tall, thanks. Report
Great article! Report
I LOVE the Torrid & Lane Bryant leggings. Torrid leggings are usually made of a more wicking material. Lane Bryant leggings are more fabric material. Either way, since I have short legs and a larger waist, I go for the capri leggings every time. Report
Since when is a 34inch inseam extra tall?? Where is the 36 to 38 inch inseam for the woman that are in need of real extra tall leggings? Yes, I am 6ft 1 and hate trying to buy clothes. Report
MARSHASHADOW
Livi Active at Lane Bryant are the best. Love their new sculpted leggings. Report
High waisted leggings are not for me. I like champion short boot cut leggings. They're for fitting but have stretch. I love the pair I've been wearing . And you can get them at target. Report
I cannot do leghings. Report
Leggings are not for this girl! Report
TWOTONTESEE
I can't see spending that much money for leggings. Report
Never had a pair of leggings, they don't look very comfortable Report
Great. Report
Didn't know there was a fit for nearly every body type: we broad-hipped, backside-free, skinny-legged types will just have to stick with what we've got. 8-) Report
Good info - my favorite yoga leggings are Puma found at Costco last summer.. Report
I think I must be from another planet than the author. I HATE leggings. I don't find them at all comfortable, and they are definitely not flattering on me, no matter the type of legging. I much prefer capris, jeans, sweats, anything but leggings. Report
I don't like full pants/leggings when I'm working out. I stick to capris and the best I've had are from TJ Maxx and Old Navy. Never paid more than $16- they last, stay up. Report
Size 10 will never be plus size! It is because manufacturers and the labor for these garments are made in countries where a short, tiny framed body is the norm, NOT America or Canada! Do not even waste your time on this hype. When I was 5'6 and 125 pounds, I looked like skeleton, because of my body-frame. At 135-140, I looked great. Report
Is 10 really the beginning of the range for a "plus sized models"? That bothers me a lot. When I was younger and was 5'7" and weighed 125 lbs (and VERY fit/18% body fat by measurement), I wore a 10-12. I was not "plus sized". Report
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