On the hunt for a new pair of workout leggings that won't fall apart after two uses? Look no further: these are the best buys of 2021.
The gyms are open. We repeat: the gyms are open. So if you’re looking for a pair of the best workout leggings to re-emerge into your Legs, Bums & Tums class in but don’t know where to start, don’t worry—you’re far from alone.
With 97,900,000 results for ‘best workout leggings’ on Google alone, finding a pair can feel like a minefield. And that’s before you even start filtering the good, from the not-so-good… you know, the high-waisted, sweat-wicking, smell-banishing wonder tights that don’t go see through every time you squat, from, well, the opposite.
Your workout legging buying guide: What to look for in a good pair
FYI, when you’re on the hunt for a new pair of workout leggings, it’s worth going for a pair that are:
- designed for working out (cotton leggings won’t make the cut here).
That way, you can know you’re spending wisely and investing in leggings that won’t end up going to Oxfam a year later.
We’re aware that not everyone wants to drop hundreds on a pair, especially right now, so have ordered our recommendations from cheapest to priciest. Do bear in mind, generally speaking, that cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean best. Base your buy on your usage. After all, workout leggings are a bit like household appliances: if you’re using them often, it may be wiser to opt for a mid-range price point to guarantee you’ve made a good investment.
That being said, there are some great bargains to be had, too, which is why we’ve included a range of options, from the best cheap leggings to kit for those with a slightly higher budget, too.
There are some incredible deals on offer RN:
Whether you’re purchasing said leggings for a super sweaty Joe Wicks YouTube workout from home, to vinyasa your way through your next yoga flow or to don on your next staycay (scroll the best UK walking routes, here), there’s something for every need.
Without further ado, scroll our picks of the best workout leggings, available to buy now, from Gymshark, Nike, Sweaty Betty and more. While you’re here, do shop our edits of the best sports hijabs, running trainers and period pants. Happy shopping—and squatting.
21 best workout leggings to shop now
H&M have long been known for their functional, bargain gym wear, taking extra steps this year to make the kit sustainable, too.
Pros: These high-waisted leggings are a steal—promising to be both seamless and supportive.
Cons: Although they're 'fast-drying', the material isn't strictly sweat-wicking, meaning you may get a little chilly if your session involves sweatier bursts followed by rest periods.
Adidas are one of the most trusted fit kit brands on the planet, and for good reason. They've been making high quality gym gear at an affordable price since 1949.
Pros: Available exclusively on the adidas site or in stores - no third party retailers - are the new Formotion tights from Adidas. They've got a zoned compression fit, meaning they'll fit like a glove (no saggy knees over here), and an extra high waistband, too. We're into them.
Cons: They're a higher price point and can't be tumble dried, but we'd say they're worth the investment for how much wear you'll get out of them.
One of the biggest global health, wellness and athleisurewear brands, MyProtein originally carved its niche in–yep, you guessed it—protein powders. Fast forward 16 years and they stock own-brand versions of gym kit, food and supplements. Basically, MP is your fitness go-to.
Pros: Having worn them personally for years, I can attest to the MP workout gear being good—and this is coming from someone who works a health editor. Their leggings are consistently quick-drying, soft, breathable and supportive, thanks to the reinforced stitching. Their new Adapt leggings look set to be the same, specifically designed for functional fitness and HIIT training. Most of their designs also focus on maximum comfort and a better fit around your vagina. Because nobody—and I repeat, nobody—enjoys a mid-burpee cameltoe.
Cons: The leggings come sans pocket, which means if you're planning to run in these, you won't be able to take much.
You'll all have heard of TALA, 24 year old Grace Beverley's sustainable sportswear brand.
Pros: These leggings are the definition of flattering, with a high rise waistband to both shape and support you through your workout.
They're made from both a compression and stretch fabric, making them a good all-rounder for yoga, running, weights and more.
Plus, the sustainability creds are impressive. The polyamide they're made from saves 40 litres of water and 2kg of CO2 compared, compared to them made from non-recycled polyamide, per pair.
Cons: There's no pocket or zipped pouch to hold your essentials so do note this if you're a keen runner.
Gymshark owner Ben Francis made headlines last year when The Sunday Times featured him on their ‘Rich List’ and reported the company is worth a whopping £138 million. Not bad for a relatively new company which launched only 8 years ago.
Pros: You can tell why Gymshark is so loved from a quick glance at their new Adapt leggings. The workout tights are seamless, cut into the brand’s trademark supportive shape and available in ombre, animal, camo and marl. Their tag line for the Adapts? “Because when you know you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you perform better”. We’re sold.
Cons: Again, dependent on levels of sweat and colour chosen, poses the potential to be sweat patch problematic.
All hail Lululemon workout leggings, the holy grail of fit kit.
Pros: Their signature quick-drying Everlux material really is a game-changer when it comes to sweaty workouts. When they say quick-drying, they mean it. You can hardly even notice you're sweating. Promising to be sweat-patch proof, too, the material is designed to thrive in hot, humid, and low airflow studio environments, meaning whatever your sweat sesh, it'll dry ultra-fast, remain breathable and still feel silky soft and cool to the touch. And that's before we even get started on the fact their leggings have four-way stretch material, which is highly rated in workout kit world as it means your kit will support you both crosswise and lengthwise.
Cons: Do make sure you get your head around the sizing pre-ordering: they stock American sizing, so for a UK size 8, you'd need a lulu size 4, UK size 10, lulu size 6, and so on. (If you're still confused, there's a handy UK size guide here). Plus, to keep your lulu's in tip-top shape, be sure to respect the material and care rules: machine wash cold, tumble dry low and don't iron or dry clean.
Runners, these ones are for you. ON's kit is top tier: made with high-quality materials and designed by runners, for runners, they've been working on their workout clothes for years and you can tell.
Pros: The ON 7/8 tights are no exception: they're made for movement and have reflective details to keep you safe day and night.
Cons: They are 7/8 tights, so will be cropped at mid-calf length for taller runners, and closer to ankle length for shorter runners.
Owned and run by Louise Thompson of Made in Chelsea fame, you can be confident that the Pocket Sport leggings are put through their paces by Louise herself who seems to be constantly active with PT fiance Ryan.
Pros: They're made from breathable and quick-drying fabric with a flattering high waist and squat proof fabric. Fun fact; the elasticated waistband even has an inner rubber grip so that they don’t move. Neat.
Cons: If you're not a fan of, well, mega bright workout leggings, you probs won't be a fan of the newest Pocket Sport collection. We, on the other hand, love it.
So good we featured them twice - yep, Gymshark designs really are top notch and more budget friendly, for those of you who are on a budget.
Pros: The Vitals are sweat wicking, seamless, high waisted and purse friendly. They tick all the boxes for a purse friendly pair that will actually stand the test of time.
Cons: We loooove the bright yellow, but will guess in advance that it won't be the most sweat patch friendly colour. A word of warning.
LNDR believe in quality over quantity: producing better quality products and less of them. Their website shares: 'We believe the day of fast fashion is over - for state of mind and the planet. We don’t want a new outfit every month. We want hands-down great products that we don’t have to think about.' Plus, fascinating fact: it can take factories up to 20 times longer to knit LNDR seamless leggings, for instance, compared to other brands. Hence the price tag.
Pros: They're called the limitless leggings for a reason and that's because you will be truly limitless wearing them. Yoga, pilates, barre, HIIT, weights, running, you name it, these LNDR beauties are your friend. They're softer than soft, supportive and moisture-wicking capabilities, as well as being flattering and practical (thanks zip pocket).
Cons: Again, a sizeable price tag, but we'd say they're worth the investment.
Nimble’s workout bottoms come with the promise of maximum flexibility and movement combined with support in all the right places: there’s a style to flatter every body shape.
Pros: Featuring their signature sustainable Compresslite fabrics and flatlock seams for zero chaffing, shorter women, these will be your go-to’s for HIIT, runs and just relaxing around the house. Plus, every garment in Nimble Activewear’s Compresslite and MoveLite ranges has been created with recycled plastic bottles, which means the brand has saved over 1,000,000 plastic bottles from going into landfill.
Cons: They don't have a zip-locked pocket, so make sure you've got a running pack to hand, if you're taking essentials like keys and phone out with you on your jog.
They're long loved for their innovative and contemporary fashion designs, and this year, COS launched their first-ever fit kit range. As you can likely imagine, it's gorgeous and functional. What's not to love?
Pros: Seamless, slim fit and with a comfy elasticated waistband, the fashion brands first leggings offering is made entirely from a recycled nylon mix. Cosy and sustainable? Impressive.
Cons: Yep, crotch sweat patches are a thing and could come in to play here, depending on what colour you opt for and how much you sweat. You were warned.
When it comes to workout leggings, Nike knows how to do them the right way. They're worn by most of the top athletes, and if it's good enough for the pros, it's good enough for us.
Pros: Their One Luxe prove this to a tee: made from sustainable, non-see-through, "silky soft fibres" (we're in), they're affordable and actually legit. Want to feel confident from the start to finish of your sweat sesh? You can't go wrong investing in a pair of Nikes. Buy for comfy, lightweight leggings that feel like a second skin.
Cons: Petite girls, it might be best to opt for another pair in a specific 3/4 or 7/8 style. Buyers report that the One Luxe run slightly long.
We bet you didn't know that New Balance was founded in 1908. Fast forward 112 years and the brand is now the official shoe and kit sponsor of the Virgin Money London Marathon. We'll put good money on them knowing a trick or two about workout leggings.
Pros: These aren't your typical athleisure leggings. Inspired by speed, the Q Speed Fuel 7/8 Tight is made with an innovative fabric that's ultra-soft and lightweight, plus moisture-wicking. Let's be honest—workout leggings pull sweat away from your body so you can focus on your run = a big winner. Another great thing about these NB tights: the leggings are decked out with reflective branding to make sure you're clearly visible, whatever time you train.
Cons: If you're purely a gym-workout-kinda-person, the reflective branding may not be totally necessary. Having said that, it's still good to be seen, even if that's only while you're walking to your car post-gym to drive home.
Team Sweaty Betty have been adapting their designs to create the perfect workout legging for over 20 years now. Enter stage right, the Power tight.
Pros: If you're a yoga, pilates, or weights bum, you'll live in these. Actually, even if you just love wearing leggings around the house (guilty) or for brunch at the weekend, these are worth the investment. Think high waisted, bum-sculpting, supportive and flattering in all the right places, the Power leggings are SB's best selling for a reason. Oh, and did we mention they're ultra-lightweight and sweat-wicking with compression technology to ease next day DOMS, too?
Cons: It's hard to fault them, other than the price point. But with 3,901 reviews averaging a 4.6/5 score, we'd say it's worth the payday splurge.
We mean, you can't go too far wrong with Decathlon if you're a once or twice a week kind of workout person. The kit does what it says on the tin - offers a real bargain and supports you through your workouts.
Pros: They're very affordable, plus come in a lightweight, seamless design, which is bound to be both flattering and comfortable.
Cons: They'll get smellier, quicker - with no sweat wicking or anti bacterial properties, you'll likely have to replace them sooner, dependant on your sweat levels.
Under Armour have successfully positioned themselves as one of the leading competitors when it comes to fit kit in the last few years, and they've got some great workout kit currently available.
Pros: The leggings are designed from their trademarked HeatGear® Armour base layer. It's a new and improved version of a fabric that's been with them since the company began, promising never to fall down or slip during your workout. Dreamy.
Cons: Reviewers don't have any - although, again, do note that they don't have any pockets, so may be best suited to the gym, not running.
Did you know period proof activewear existed? Well, you do know, and Modibodi's is about as good as it gets.
Pros: Yes, you read that right - these leggings can hold up to two to three tampons worth of menstrual blood and promise to support you through any sweat session, too. Not bad.
Cons: They won't be for everyone, but if you're trying to make your period more sustainable or just don't like pads or tampons, they're definitely worth a try.