Leggings are tight-fitting pants that resemble tights or skinny jeans but have an elastic fabric like spandex, polyester, or Lycra that gives them stretch and flexibility. They’re often made for casual wear and marketed as activewear, but they can also be worn as undergarments and even under a dress or skirt.
Women’s leggings tend to be more form-fitting than those marketed to men, and they come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They can be worn as pants or skirts, or under a dress to add warmth in cold weather and protect the legs from sunlight in the summer. Some leggings are also sold as shapers or sculpting leggings, which use fabric compression to reduce the appearance of the waist or belly.
Choosing the best women’s leggings involves finding the right fit, material and features for your needs. We interviewed several experts on what to look for in a hard-working pair, including a hot yoga instructor and a longtime runner who wears leggings seven days a week. We also tested a number of pairs from top brands in the fitness category, and looked at how well they stood up to abrasion, pilling, fade, and wrinkling.
The Turnover leggings eschew ankle zippers and oversized pockets in favor of an unbroken seam that goes all the way to the crotch, which prevents them from riding up. The high-performance poly-spandex fabric is both soft and sturdy, and a test editor who’s been wearing them regularly says they’re holding up to lots of washings. In fact, they’ve actually held up better than another pair she has from Align, and they haven’t attracted odors or gotten pilly as much either. women’s bamboo leggings