I test leggings for a living - these are the 16 best pairs of high waisted gym leggings you can currently buy

That won't roll down, sag, or cut you in half.

ally wearing some of the high waisted gym leggings tested in this article
(Image credit: Future)

So, you're after a pair of high waisted gym leggings but don't want to spend money on a pair that'll roll down mid-workout.

No one likes workout kit that doesn't deliver what it promises, and the core tenant of a good pair of high waisted workout leggings is that they're just that: high waisted, supportive, and don't roll down at any given opportunity.

As with all our product reviews (scroll our edit of the best gym leggings, here), Marie Claire UK has tried and tested all of the leggings in this roundup. If you're after the best petite gym leggings, patterned leggings or leggings with pockets, we've got round-ups for those, too. 

A little about those of us who have tested, before we share our recommendations: I'm Ally Head, MC UK's Senior Health Editor, and I run marathons and strength train regularly. To thoroughly put these leggings to the test, I've enlisted the help of our Contributing Wellness Editor Hayley Hasselhoff (your go-to for all things self-care), alongside Junior Shopping Editor Valeza Bakolli and Producer Sofia Piza. While Sofia loves a long-distance run to stay active, Valeza prefers at-home HIIT, Pilates and yoga workouts (especially in this cold weather), so these leggings have been tested across multiple workout styles and intensity levels.

Keep scrolling for your ultimate guide to the best high waisted workout leggings on the market.

Testing process for the best high waisted workout leggings

So, what do I look for in a good pair? Support, compression, and sweat-wicking comfort that last the test of time. I'll never include a pair of leggings that isn't squat-proof, leaves you with crotch sweat patches, or falls down mid-squat.

Keen to know how team MC test all of the products we include? Do read our guide, and know that all fit kit is tested by the team pre-inclusion (basically, if I wouldn't buy it myself, I won't feature it). 

The leggings below were worn for at least four to five workouts before the reviews were written.

What did I look for when deciding the best high waisted gym leggings?

Aka, what’s the success criteria? Good question.

  • Supportive: First and foremostly: are the leggings actually high waisted and does the band stay put, supporting you through your session?
  • Well fitting: Are the leggings well-fitting (no crinkly knees or baggy bums), and do they run true to size?
  • Sweat wicking: Are they sweat-wicking and do they keep you the right temperature during your session? 
  • Coverage: Are they non-see-through, do they pass the squat test, and do they offer an adequate amount of coverage?
  • Material: Was the material prone to bobbling or piling? Does the design offer compression? 
  • Longevity: How well did the leggings retain their structure over time, and did they wash well?
  • Price: Is the product a reasonable price? (We know times are tough right now - don't miss our guides to free home workouts and how to exercise for free).

Health Editor Ally Head and Contributing Wellness Editor Hayley Hasselhoff trying high waisted gym leggings

Contributing Wellness Editor Hayley Hasselhof and Health Editor Ally Head in some of the leggings featured in this article

We test kit for a living: 16 best high waisted workout leggings to shop now

1. Affordable high waisted gym leggings

amazon crz yoga high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Amazon)

CRZ YOGA Women's Naked Feeling Workout Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Supportive
+
Move with your body

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as long-lasting as pricier styles
-
Lighter styles may show sweat

What we thought when testing? "I was pleasantly surprised with these Amazon dupes - sure, they won't last as long as the higher price point designs, but for £23, I found them to be both supportive and flattering. On the high waisted front - the design felt similar to more high-end alternatives, hugging my mid-section in a soft yet supportive way. They didn't roll down through either sweat session I tried them in and I liked that the leggings move with your body but don't end up around your lower tummy as a result. If you're a sweaty person like me, do note that you'll likely get sweat patches in lighter colours, though." - Ally Head, Health Editor

2. Gymshark high waisted gym leggings

gymshark high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Gymshark)

Gymshark Flex High Waisted Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Mid price point
+
Sculpting and supportive
+
Didn't roll down
+
Thicker material - perfect for winter workouts

Reasons to avoid

-
Tighter on the waist than other styles
-
Not petite-friendly

What we thought when testing? "A mid-price point option, I liked these leggings from Gymshark and found the high waisted design to be both sculpting and supportive - it didn't roll down but did nip me in at the waist more than other pairs I tried. I found them to be a good workout companion and flattering, too, but do note that they're a lot thicker than other options, so not ideal for summer sweat sessions. They are great for cold winter workouts, though, or wearing around the house as energy bills continue to rise. Short girls, do note: they run slightly long, and are extra high rise on the stomach, too." - Ally Head, Health Editor

3. Seamless high waisted gym leggings

adanola ultimate high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Adanola)

Adanola Ultimate Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Chic style
+
Supportive

Reasons to avoid

-
This popular style sells out often

What we thought when testing? "Forever the go-to of the more fashion-forward gym goer, I was sceptical that Adanola leggings wouldn't genuinely perform well - all too often, kit that looks this good doesn't sweat wick or support. But I was wrong - I've worked out in my Ultimate Leggings at least 20 times now and they've never rolled down, crinkled around the tummy or waist, or left me feeling unsupported. They're great and an affordable price point, too." - Ally Head, Health Editor

4. High waisted gym leggings with pockets

lululemon wunder train high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Lululemon)

Lululemon Wunder Train High Rise Tight

Reasons to buy

+
Three pockets
+
Drawcord for extra adjustment
+
Don't move around
+
Stay cool through sweaty workouts

Reasons to avoid

-
Full-priced leggings are on the pricier side

What we thought when testing? "As well as being the perfect mid-torso amount of high waisted, the lululemon Wunder Train leggings have not one, not two, but three pockets - one on your lower back and one on either thigh. Plus, this particular design has a drawcord around the waist which means you can make sure you've got the perfect fit. When testing, I loved how they hugged my waist and really didn't move during any workout. Plus, they stayed cool no matter how sweaty I got (and trust me, some sessions were sweaty)." - Ally Head, Health Editor

5. Super high waisted gym leggings

p e nation high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: P.E. Nation)

P.E. Nation Tempo Legging

Reasons to buy

+
Super high waisted
+
Great quality
+
Sculpting

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point

What we thought when testing? "After a pair of workout leggings that aren't just high waisted but, well, basically reach your underboob? Enter stage right, the P.E. Nation designs, which promise not only to support you around the waist but sit even higher than usual, too. They're a higher price point option, for sure, but the leggings are really great quality and sculpting, too. I've extensively tested the Status leggings and felt at ease in them knowing - like all P.E. Nation leggings - they were 100% squat-proof (trust me, I tested them extensively)." - Ally Head, Health Editor

6. High waisted gym leggings on sale

adidas high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Adidas)

Adidas Techfit Hyperglam 7/8 Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable 
+
Comfortable
+
Versatile

Reasons to avoid

-
Waistband digs in a bit
-
Not as high waisted as some other styles

What we thought when testing? "While most adidas leggings are great, what they certainly aren't is high waisted - that is, apart from the Techfit range, most of which are a comfortable high waisted design great for both working out in and wearing for brunch. When I tried, I did notice that the support band around the waist dug in a little but I didn't find it noticeable after a while." - Ally Head, Health Editor

7. Best black high waisted gym leggings

sweaty betty black high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

Sweaty Betty All Day High-Waisted Gym Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Sculpting and supportive
+
Soft and comfy
+
Great for Pilates and long-distance runs

Reasons to avoid

-
They come up a little big

What we thought when testing? "Sweaty Betty knows how to design high waisted, supportive leggings. Carving the perfect mid-point between soft and sculpting, these All Day leggings really live up to the hype. I loved that they supported me through everything from Pilates to long distance runs to strength training, but are also quality enough material to wear to the office with an oversized jumper and boots, too. I'd size down for the most supportive fit as SB do come up a little large." - Ally Head, Health Editor

8. High waisted compression gym leggings

2xu high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: 2XU)

2XU Form Stash Hi-Rise Compression Tights

Reasons to buy

+
Helps boost recovery
+
Reduces the risk of injury
+
Stay up while running
+
Sweat-wicking

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point

What we thought when testing? "Another great high waisted option, 2XU is known for its compression tights. Not sure what that means? Well, making sure your tights have adequate compression (that quite literally translates to pressure, FYI) has been found to boost recovery and reduce your risk of injury, too. When I tried, the leggings stayed up and sweat-wicked well - IMO a great high waisted option for runners." - Ally Head, Health Editor

9. High waisted gym leggings with tummy control

pocket sport high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Pocket Sport)

Pocket Sport Claude Pocket Legging

Reasons to buy

+
Non-stick grip along the waistband
+
No sweat patches - even on lighter shades
+
Pockets
+
Sweat-wicking material

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most affordable

What we thought when testing? "I've been a fan of Pocket Sport since I tried their workout shorts in this colourway and didn't get a crotch sweat patch - which, if you workout regularly, you'll understand is quite rare. They're a really great high waisted option as they hit that sweet spot of being comfortable but actually staying up, thanks to the non-stick grip that lines the waistband. The quality is outstanding and I've never been disappointed by a product of theirs. Buy for a mid-range option that feels more expensive, will last for ages (I've had mine for 3+ years now and they still feel new), and sweat-wick seamlessly, too." - Ally Head, Health Editor

10. Nike high waisted gym leggings

nike high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Dri-FIT One Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and soft
+
Super high waisted
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many colour options

What we thought when testing? "These leggings call themselves a "second skin" - which, when I try, I agree isn't far off. They're great, rivalling the higher-end versions in their high waisted-ness, but also their comfort, support and sculpting abilities, too. They're spectacularly lightweight and soft, making them really easy to wear. Plus, they won't break the bank." - Ally Head, Health Editor

11. High waisted gym leggings 3/4 length

lndr high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: LNDR)

LNDR The Limitless 6/8 Legging

Reasons to buy

+
Hidden technology for extra support
+
Three length options

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point

What we thought when testing? "You may not have heard of LNDR, but you won't forget their leggings once you've tried them. Cleverly, they offer hidden technology at the front of the waistband which makes you feel extra supported and gives you a streamlined silhouette. They have three length options - full length (8/8), ankle length (7/8), and calf-length (6/8). Worth the price tag." - Ally Head, Health Editor

12. Best plus size high waisted gym leggings

spanx high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Selfridges)

Spanx Booty Boost Active High-Rise Stretch Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Four-way stretch
+
Wide, high waistband
+
Hidden pocket for your phone

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point

What we thought when testing? "As a curvier girl and someone who already loves to feel tucked in regardless of the occasion, I've mastered finding the right high-waisted leggings that are perfect for all workouts. Spanx has been a go-to for undergarments when it comes to their incredible smoothing technology (I can attest that they offer core sculpting magic). These leggings have the above and more, with additional performance fabric for unbeatable stretch and a breathable finish."  - Hayley Hasselhoff, Contributing Wellness Editor

13. Best plus size high waisted running leggings

lululemon high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Lululemon)

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 28"

Reasons to buy

+
Go up to UK size 24
+
Supportive
+
Soft and lightweight
+
Pockets

Reasons to avoid

-
Lightweight material might not keep you as warm during winter workouts

What we thought when testing? "When I think of running leggings, the first thing that comes to mind is support. To me, this means a high-rise fit, and lululemon are known for their designs (not to mention their incredible weightless soft-to-touch fabrics). However, being a curvier girl, I don’t just want soft fabric but also adequate support so I can go faster and achieve new goals without tugging at my waistline. While the lulu Align leggings are designed for yoga, they've always been my go-to for running. I particularly like the invisible pockets to hold your key and keep you feeling hands-free." - Hayley Hasselhoff, Contributing Wellness Editor

14. Best sustainable high waisted gym leggings

gngr bees high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: GNGR Bees)

GNGR Bees Terra Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Made from re and upcycled materials
+
Squat Proof
+
Has pockets
+
10% of profits from each sale is donated to wildlife charities

Reasons to avoid

-
A little long for petite frames

What we thought when testing? "GNGR Bees is my favourite sustainable athleisure brand, and I've worn their flattering and stylish workout clothing for years. They have an "everything unwasted" ethos, meaning they make high-performance workout gear without wasting tonnes of fabric in the process. I adore the flattering fit of the Terra leggings and find them great for HIIT classes as they don't roll down at all. They're squat-proof, sweat-wicking, and super comfy. They also feature two deep side pockets which securely hold my phone and keys while out and about." Valeza Bakolli, Junior Shopping Editor

15. Best seamless high waisted gym leggings

Conscious Citizen high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Conscious Citizen)

Conscious Citizen Basics Seamless Leggings

Reasons to buy

+
Seamless
+
Super high waisted
+
Comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best for running

What we thought when testing? "Okay, I lied. There are two sustainable activewear brands that hold my heart, and Conscious Citizen is the other. Made using 85% recycled nylon, these leggings are probably the most high waisted style I own, and they hold me in snugly without rolling down. These are my go-to leggings for Pilates and yoga as they're just so incredibly comfy. Paired with a form-fitting top, they create a sleek silhouette thanks to their seamless finish." Valeza Bakolli, Junior Shopping Editor

16. Best high waisted yoga leggings

alo yoga high waisted gym leggings

(Image credit: Alo Yoga)

Alo 7/8 HIGH-WAIST AIRBRUSH LEGGING

Reasons to buy

+
Great compression
+
Perfect for low-intensity workouts
+
Comfy and supportive

Reasons to avoid

-
On the pricier side

What we thought when testing? "I've been raving about these Alo Yoga leggings for a year now and still can't get enough of them. They hold a medium compression, meaning they offer enough support for medium to low intensity workouts and you don't constantly feel the need to pull them up as you go. The high-waisted cut is super comfortable and effortlessly contours the body, too." 

"Even though these leggings stand on the pricier side, they've proven to be a great durable investment. Case in point: I've used these leggings at both the gym and pilates studios and can safely say they've stood the test of both heavy weights and aerobic movement. Like most of Alo Yoga's pieces, these leggings are designed for the studio and beyond - I was even wearing these leggings when I got engaged!" - Sofia Piza, Producer

Happy shopping - and sweating.

What is the point of high-waisted leggings?

Good question. As above, they're more supportive than their low-rise competitors, meaning if you like that held in feeling while you're working out, high waisted is probably your best bet.

One study published in the journal of Social Behavior and Personality found that feeling confident in your clothes has a direct correlation on your emotions, sociability, and work productivity, with further research by Barbell Apparel finding that 69% of people say they push themselves more mid-workout if they feel confident in their fit kit.

Point being, if you feel more confident in what you wear when you head to the gym, you might just get more out of your session. You heard it here first..

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and is a stickler for a strong stat, too, seeing over nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.