From squats to sprints: The best women’s gym leggings 2024

Squat-proof styles: Take a look at our list of women's gym leggings that deliver on durability.

A woman running up stairs at sunset wearing a pair of the best gym leggings for women

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

Are you tired of sitting through the endless racks of leggings, claiming to be 'the best gym leggings for women' when you want to pick a pair to help you work out comfortably? Are you trying to find that perfect balance of comfort, performance and style in your gym clothes? Well, you're in luck. For women who frequent the gym, yoga studio, or run the trails, having the right pair of gym leggings (just like socks and trainers) can be an absolute game-changer. These versatile pieces of activewear offer style, unmatched comfort, and functionality.

You can choose from various brands and designs, each promising to enhance your athletic performance and keep you looking stunning. But with so many options available, how do you pick the ideal pair?

The best gym leggings for women, at a glance

• Best overall gym leggings for women: Gymshark Flex High Waisted Leggings - View now on Gymshark
• Best yoga gym leggings for women: Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant - View now on Lululemon
• Best non-see-through gym leggings for women: Nike One Women's High-rise Leggings - View now on Nike

In our guide, we'll explore the top contenders in the world of women's gym leggings, after all, they are a gym essential. From moisture-wicking marvels to squat-proof champions, we'll delve into the key features that make these leggings stand out. So, whether you're a seasoned fitness enthusiast or just starting your journey, this article will help you navigate the gym leggings landscape.

SHOP: The best gym leggings for women

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

Best overall gym leggings for women

Gymshark Flex High Waisted LeggingsGymshark

Gymshark has gained immense popularity in the fitness world, and its Flex Leggings are a hit for a good reason. Its leggings offer the perfect balance between chicness and performance. They are designed with seamless knit and body contouring patterns that flatter your figure while providing exceptional support. The moisture-wicking nylon and elastane material ensures you stay dry, even during the most intense workouts.

Pros

  • Secure high-waisted fit so your leggings don't fall during exercise
  • Body contouring patterns for a flattering fit
  • Great selection of colours to suit your personal taste

Cons

  • The high-waisted design might not suit everyone's style

Best yoga gym leggings for women

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant Lululemon

Known for its high-quality activewear, Lululemon has a cult following. Its Align leggings feature a high-rise waistband that not only provides the essential tummy support but also ensures they stay in place during the most intense workouts. What truly sets these leggings apart is the weightless Nulu fabric, renowned for its ultra-soft and buttery feel against the skin. This makes it feel like you're wearing a second skin, not a pair of leggings.

Pros

  • Features a hidden waistband pocket that fits a card or key in that won't get in the way of your workout
  • Additional Lycra fibre for stretch and shape retention, meaning your leggings won't lose their fit
  • Made from Nulu Fabric for a weightless feel and maximum comfort while practicing

Cons

  • These leggings have a double layer for thickness, and this isn't to everyone's taste

Best non-see-through gym leggings for women

Nike One Women's High-Rise LeggingsNike

The Nike One leggings are an excellent choice for individuals who prefer a minimalist look. Its leggings are made from a soft, sweat-wicking fabric, which is also non-sheer and passes the squat test. The high-rise waistband keeps everything in place, making them perfect for yoga, running or weightlifting. Nike offers its leggings in various colours, including blue, brown and black, so that you can mix and match them with your workout attire.

Pros

  • Seamless sides and contoured V-shape waistband to give you a smooth silhouette
  • Hidden pocket in the high-rise waistband to hold your essentials during a workout
  • Dri-FIT Technology moves sweat from your skin for faster evaporation to ensure you stay dry

Cons

  • One reviewer found the seams around the thigh and hips a bit tight

Best flared gym leggings for women

The YUSHOW Flare Trousers are designed with a contemporary twist on a classic silhouette, featuring a flattering high-rise waist and a wide-leg flare at the bottom. Made from quality polyester and spandex materials, they offer a comfortable fit and freedom of movement. They are perfect for various occasions, from casual outings to yoga classes and the gym. The YUSHOW Flare Trousers provide a chic and timeless look that can be easily dressed up or down, making them an essential piece for any fashion-forward woman.

Pros

  • Flattering bootcut fit, so you can look great while you work out
  • High waist and tummy control for extra shaping
  • Flat seams to minimise any chafing or irritation

Cons

  • Slightly long on individuals smaller than five foot four inches
  • Hand-wash only

Best all-round gym leggings for women

Adanola Ultimate LeggingsAdanola
Price: £39.99

adanola.com

The Adanola Ultimate leggings represent the pinnacle of activewear innovation. These leggings seamlessly blend (no, actually, there is no front seam) comfort, style and performance, making them an essential addition to any woman's activewear wardrobe. Made with precision, the high-rise waist offers an excellent fit and a flattering body-contoured look. The fabric is not only crafted from recycled polyamide but also blends both softness and durability, ensuring that they're gentle on the skin while withstanding the rigours of intense workouts.

Pros

  • Made with recycled polyamide for the more environmentally-conscious fitness enthusiast
  • Squat-proof for all types of exercise
  • High waistline for extra support and body contour so you feel fierce and motivated to work out
  • Regular and tall options available

Cons

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

Best gym leggings for women for colour selection

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. We've voted the CRZ YOGA Women's Workout leggings as 'the best gym leggings for women for colour selection' because they come in over 30 colours, including turquoise, leopard print and lilac.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Hand-wash only

Best metallic gym leggings for women

Under Armour HeatGear Armour LeggingsSports Direct

Another budget-friendly option is these Under Armour HeatGear leggings. They're made with HeatGear fabric that wicks away sweat and dries quickly. The compression fit offers excellent muscle support, perfect for intense workouts or long runs. If you want something to make you stand out while you're in the gym, its leggings are available in a variety of metallic colours, including purple, baja blue and pink.

Pros

  • Compression fit to minimise muscle fatigue and impact
  • Heat Gear 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

Cons

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

Best patented gym leggings for women

Alo Yoga High-Waist Moto LeggingAlo Yoga
Price: $120.00

Alo Yoga is a brand beloved by yogis and fitness enthusiasts alike. The Moto Leggings, in particular, have gained a reputation for their unique and stylish design. With mesh and glossy panels and moto-inspired stitching, its leggings are fashionable and functional. The four-way stretch fabric ensures that you have the freedom to move, whether you're practising yoga or hitting the weights.

Pros

  • Mixed-media panels for body contouring
  • Four-way stretch for a move-with-you feel while exercising
  • Front-smoothing panel for comfort (no camel toes around here!)

Cons

  • One reviewer found the panels and seams can cut into your legs

Best gym leggings for women for comfort

ColorfulKoala Women's High-Waisted Workout LeggingsAmazon

Rrp: $30.00

Price: $25.00

These leggings set a new standard for comfort in athleisurewear with their high-waisted, tummy-control design that ensures a flattering silhouette and superb support. Made from a polyester and elastane blend, they strike the ideal balance between flexibility and resilience. Including a side pocket provides a handy solution for carrying essentials such as keys or a phone. Available in a wide range of colours, these leggings perform exceptionally and add a fashionable flair to your activewear wardrobe.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Best fit for shorter individuals

Best gym leggings for women who prefer a cardio workout

Nike Go Women's Firm-Support High-Waisted Full-Length Leggings With PocketsNike
Price: £76.49 (was £89.95)

www.nike.com

These Nike leggings are among the top running leggings available from Nike, perfect for those who never step out without their phone, keys, lip gloss, or wallet. Featuring an impressive six pockets, the Nike Go leggings have two angled pockets on either side, three drop-in pockets, and one zip pocket for secure storage. Nike has also incorporated flattering elements such as an extra-wide waistband and InfinaLock compressive fabric, ensuring you look and feel fantastic.

Pros

  • Features a whopping six pockets; two angled, two side pockets, three drop-in pockets and a zip pocket
  • Dri-FIT technology moves sweat away from your skin for quicker evaporation
  • Extra wide waistband to reduce rolling, pinching and sliding

Cons

  • The firm-support and compression might be too much for some runners

A buyer's guide to the best gym leggings for women

Should I size up or down in gym leggings?

Determining whether to size up or down in gym leggings depends on two things: your personal preferences and the sizing of the brand. If you prefer a snug and compressive fit that offers muscle support, sizing down might be your preferred choice. However, if comfort and flexibility are your top priorities, sizing up can provide a more relaxed fit. Sizing can vary from brand to brand, so it's essential to consider the specific brand's size chart. Ultimately, the perfect fit is the one that makes you feel confident and comfortable during your workouts and daily activities.

What's the difference between normal leggings and gym leggings?

At first glance, normal leggings, running tights and gym leggings may see similar. But, there are notable differences.

Gym leggings are typically designed with a focus on functionality and performance for use during workouts. They're often made out of moisture-wicking fabrics that help keep you dry during those intense sessions, whereas normal leggings won't have this feature. Gym leggings also tend to have a higher waistband for extra support, making them suitable for all drills, whether that be squats or deadlifts.

On the other hand, normal leggings are more versatile, and comfort is often prioritised. They can be worn casually or dressed up for various occasions, whereas gym leggings tend to be optimised for workouts. Additionally, gym leggings offer compression and support to enhance muscle performance, which isn't a common feature in everyday leggings. Ultimately, choosing between the two depends on your specific needs and where and when you plan to wear them.

Is investing in gym leggings worth it?

Investing in a pair of high-quality leggings is, of course, worth it for those committed to an active lifestyle. These leggings provide a range of benefits, from exceptional comfort to support during squats and style. While they may come at a slightly higher cost, they often outlast the cheaper alternatives, which will save you money in the long run.

Moreover, you don't just have to limit yourself to wearing leggings in the gym. They can double as athleisurewear (much like joggers), allowing you to seamlessly (pardon the pun) transition from the gym to everyday activities, whether that be going to work or catching up with a friend over coffee. In short, the comfort, performance and versatility of quality gym leggings make them a wise investment for fitness enthusiasts, or anyone who values both style and functionality in their wardrobes.

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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