The best budget leggings (that aren’t see-through)

Wallet-friendly leggings that won't leave you feeling exposed (or red in the face).

Three women on a walk, each wearing a pair of the best budget leggings

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

There's nothing worse than putting on a pair of leggings to find they leave nothing to the imagination. And, that's sometimes the case with cheaper leggings, or dupes to high-end leggings – or some gym clothes in general. But with our list of the best budget leggings, you'll never have to worry about feeling exposed again.

The best budget leggings, at a glance:

• Best overall budget leggings: Uniqlo Ultra Stretch AIRism Leggings With Pockets - View now on Uniqlo
• Best Gymshark budget leggings: Gymshark Training Leggings - View now on Gymshark
• Best budget leggings with tummy control: ColorfulKoala Women's High Waisted Tummy Control Workout Leggings - View now on Amazon

A good pair of gym leggings will feel like a second skin and move with your body, allowing you to bend, stretch and lunge easily. It's not just that. Leggings also offer the right amount of compression to keep everything in place and feeling supported – even if you're in the middle of a HIIT class.

If that wasn't enough to convince you to ditch your old leggings and invest in a new pair, nothing boosts your confidence like a killer pair of leggings that make you feel empowered.

Let's dive in and discover the perfect blend of affordability and durability – because who says you have to sacrifice quality for price? Not us!

SHOP: The best budget leggings under £40

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall budget leggings

Uniqlo Ultra Stretch Airism Leggings With PocketsUniqlo

Coming in at just under £25, these Uniqlo AIRism leggings are a great choice for those wanting to flatter their figure without breaking the bank. Made with Uniqlo's signature AIRism fabric, these leggings offer a second-skin feel that's so light and breathable you'll forget you're even wearing them (but also hopefully not). With their seamless design at the front and convenient pockets, these leggings are as practical as they are stylish.


  • Seamless at the front for added comfort
  • Features AIRism functionality and has added elements like UV protection and Cool Touch
  • Side pockets that are big enough for a phone


  • Material may start to bobble if washed on too high of a temperature

Best Gymshark budget leggings

Gymshark Training LeggingsGymshark

Whether you're hitting the weights, mastering yoga poses or going for fun, Gymshark's Training leggings make for the perfect companion. The high-rise waistband offers a flattering fit that hugs your curves in all the right places. Meanwhile, the blend of polyester and elastane moves with your body, providing flexibility and freedom of movement, even during the most intense workouts.


  • Great selection of colours available
  • High-waisted design made to flatter
  • Suitable for a variety of workouts


  • Not entirely squat-proof

Best budget leggings with tummy control

ColorfulKoala Women's High Waisted Tummy Control Workout LeggingsAmazon
Price: $25.00

These leggings redefine comfort. That's thanks to their high-waisted, tummy-flattering design that offers outstanding support. Crafted from a mix of polyester and elastane, the ColorfulKoala leggings perfectly combine stretchability with durability. Plus, a side pocket adds convenience with a secure spot for your keys or phone. With a wide range of colours available, their leggings excel in performance and inject a stylish touch into your workout wardrobe.


  • Four-way stretch buttery soft fabric for comfort and flexibility
  • Tummy control (without a sewn-in elastic band)
  • V-contour seam on the back to flatter your figure


  • Best fit for shorter individuals

Best budget leggings for various heights

Another great budget option is a pair of M&S Magic Shaping leggings. With a high-waisted design, these leggings offer maximum coverage and support, giving you the confidence to conquer whatever your workout throws at you. The real magic lies in their tummy control and subtle darts on the waistband for added compression and a more flattering look. All that's left to say is abracadabra...


  • High-waisted for added compression
  • Ankle-grazer length
  • Available in various lengths: Short/Petite, Regular and Long


  • Some reviewers found them hard to get on and off

Best budget leggings for all-day wear

Gymshark Everyday Seamless LeggingsGymshark

Made for everyday wear, the Gymshark Everyday Seamless leggings are a great staple piece. Although they're great for running, cycling, light exercising and nipping to the shops, beware - they're not so great for heavy lifting or high-intensity training. This is because they're made of a lightweight seamless material that can sometimes become sheer when stretched. So, stay away from the squats and instead opt for something less intense.


  • Made from a seamless material that's great for running, cycling and light exercise
  • High-waisted fit for comfort
  • Available in three different colours: Black, Blue and Teal


  • Not squat-proof

Best sweat-wicking budget leggings

My Protein Women's Velocity Ultra LeggingsMy Protein
Price: £14.99 (was £46)

Everything about these leggings screams comfort. With a fabric that's both sweat-wicking and quick-drying, you'll never have to worry about having soggy legs again. Plus, these leggings have built-in side pockets to store your essentials and a zip opening at the ankle for easy on and off. Also, a unique addition to the Velocity Ultra leggings is that they've been treated with an anti-microbial finish to prevent the growth of odour-causing bacteria.


  • Zip opening at the ankle for easier on-and-off
  • Technical fabric is sweat-wicking and quick-drying
  • Anti-microbial finish to stop the growth of odour-causing bacteria


  • Some reviewers found they roll down at the waist

Best budget leggings for colour selection

Adanola Ultimate LeggingsAdanola
Price: £39.99

The Adanola Ultimate leggings offer the perfect fusion of comfort, fashion, and functionality that's crucial for any woman's sports attire collection. Remarkably designed without a front seam, these leggings ensure an unparalleled blend of style and comfort. The high-waisted design guarantees a superb fit and enhances the silhouette with a body-hugging appearance. Constructed from eco-friendly recycled polyamide, the material combines both softness and resilience, providing a gentle touch against the skin while enduring the demands of vigorous exercise sessions.


  • Made with recycled polyamide for the more environmentally-conscious fitness enthusiast
  • Squat-proof for all types of exercise
  • Regular and tall options available


  • Sometimes can be difficult to get hold of due to popularity

Best metallic budget leggings

Under Armour HeatGear Performance Tights Womens Sports Direct
Price: £23 (was £44.99)

These Under Armour leggings present an affordable choice, crafted with HeatGear material that efficiently removes moisture and dries swiftly. Designed to compress, they provide superior support to muscles, ideal for rigorous training sessions or extended running. For those seeking to shine during gym sessions, these leggings come in an array of metallic hues like purple, blue and pink.


  • Compression fit to minimise muscle fatigue and impact
  • HeatGear Technology fabric to keep you feeling cool and dry during exercise
  • Features an elasticated waistband and flat lock seams to prevent any irritation during wear


  • Some of the colours are very bright and may not be to everyone's style

Best budget leggings for shorter individuals

CRZ YOGA Women's Workout LeggingsAmazon
Price: $26.00

A basic Amazon find that's perfect for yoga, running or simply unwinding, the CRZ YOGA leggings provide a second-skin feel. The fabric resembles that of a swimsuit rather than your typical leggings. Although they don't entirely pass the squat test, the secure, elastic high waist ensures they stay firmly in place.


  • Features a no-dig waistband for comfort
  • Great selection of colours available, so you can match your leggings to the rest of your activewear
  • Hidden waistband pocket for storage of keys or headphones


  • Hand-wash only

Best budget Adidas leggings

The Adidas Essentials leggings are the cheapest on their website, but that's not to say they're not a great pair of leggings. With a minimalist design and the iconic three stripes logo adorning the leg, these leggings are a testament to your dedication to both fashion and fitness. Made with precision, the Essentials leggings offer a flattering high-waisted design to accentuate your silhouette and provide optimal support for your every move.


  • Minimalist design
  • Flattering high-waisted fit
  • Single jersey material to keep you cool


  • Some reviewers found the black colour fades after a couple of washes

A guide to budget leggings

Should leggings be tight or loose?

As a general rule, leggings come up tight. This is so you can reap the benefits of the compression they offer, to help with muscle support and enhancing circulation during workouts. Tight leggings also allow for unrestricted movement - which is ideal for workouts like yoga and running. On the other hand, looser leggings will provide a more relaxed and breathable fit, which may be preferred when you're lounging around or wearing them in a more casual setting rather than the gym. If you are struggling to know what to wear to the gym for the first time, opt for something you feel most comfortable in.

Do leggings look good on everyone?

Leggings are one of the easiest things to just throw on and look like you've made an effort - they're a gym essential. If that's your jam, and you want to feel put together, leggings will look great. Leggings aren't just for the gym anymore, they're a wardrobe staple that looks great on everyone!

How do you tell if your leggings are too small?

An easy tell-tale sign of when your leggings have become too small is when you're engaging in a battle of wills (with yourself) just to squeeze into them. If you dread putting on your leggings because of the struggle, then it might be an idea to get rid. Secondly, if the seams in your leggings are digging into your skin, again, it's probably time to get rid, or at least reconsider your size. Finally, let's not forget about the dreaded transparency test. If your leggings suddenly look (and feel) a little more opaque than usual, they're definitely too small. Ultimately, your leggings should be comfortable - not see-through, dig-in or feel like a chore to put on.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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