Fashion

My Workout Leggings, Ranked from Favorite to least!

January 16, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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I came to the stark realization the other day that I own more workout leggings than any other pants in my closet. I’ve been collecting them, almost without purge for yeeeaaarsss. And with that realization, came the other very clear epiphany that I wear the same ones over and over–bypassing sometimes entire brands, for my tried and true favorites. The ones that hold me in and don’t fall down or roll at the waist,  and make me feel invincible.

Every morning I roll out of bed around 5:15 to work up a sweat for an hour or so and don clothes that basically only I see, but workout leggings hold a sort of power, don’t they? They can either empower you or leave you yanking them up before every burpee, or cause you to skip an exercise all together. Is this just me? Or do you, too, own workout pants that cause you to pause mid-sweat sesh, to adjust?

The other day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went through my drawer and donated all the ones I haven’t reached for or don’t fit me correctly, and took some mental notes of what I LOVE and what I passed on. I’d love to hear what YOUR favorite workout leggings are! (I’m always on the hunt!)

Here are my notes of which ones I love…and the ones that don’t work for me. I’m putting these in order of favorite to least favorite.

1. Old Navy. When I was telling my sisters that I love Old Navy active leggings, they were shocked they were at the top of my list. But I love them! They come in tall (and regular and petite) and the high rise stays put through squats and jumping jacks and the longest of runs. Also, you can’t beat the price. Don’t tell Old Navy, but I’d happily pay double for any of these that I particularly love (and own):

High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft Color-Blocked 7/8-Length Legging (seen in the photo above) $27

Extra High-Waisted Powersoft Light Compression Hidden-Pocket Legging $25

High-Waisted Elevate CozeCore Color-Blocked Legging $29

High-Waisted Elevate Built-in Sculpt (incredible!) $35

2. FableticsI had a Fabletics membership a few years ago when I was getting back into working out and it really helped me build up my workout wardrobe. I want to say it is about $59 per month and that goes straight toward your purchase. You also get a large percentage off with your VIP membership. If you can swing it, it’s REALLY fun and helps you get excited for working out in new clothes. Eventually I got pregnant again and cancelled my membership. (It was easy, whew!). But recently, I started it up again because I realized I REACH FOR THE FABLETICS PANTS non-stop! They really hold you in and lift you up and stay put. I love the designs and they come in a huge range of sizes. My favorites are:

High-Waisted Sculptknit Reflective Legging $54

High-Waisted Seamless Swift Legging $44

High-Waisted Motion365 Paneled Legging $59 (my fav of the bunch!)

3. Alo Yoga High-Waist Airlift LeggingShoot. I love these. They are in my third spot because I only have one pair because they are $118! Ouch. But, I also get why they are that much. They feel in.cred.ible. I ran 2 miles farther the first time I wore these. They’re incredibly breathable, moisture-wicking and really move with you if that makes sense. I feel supported and empowered in these, honest. (Also, they have the prettiest colors.) I have zero cons to these besides the price. I tell all my friends about them.

4. Lululemon leggings. I have 3 pairs of lulus and they are this far down the list because for the price, I really wanted them to be my favorite EVER and well…they are here on the list. They are fine, good even, but I think for me, the issues come down to sizing. I feel like I’m always adjusting them or it’s not as high waisted as I like. The Align is comfortable, but not exactly supportive and uplifting, you know? I find I wear them more for every day tasks/outfits rather than working out. And it seems like every one of their pants I wear a different size. I’d rather purchase more Alo pants in the future, tbh. I know some people swear by these so I’d love to hear others experiences, too! I have:

Fast and Free Tight 31″ $128

Speed Up Tight 28″ (on clearance for $69, down from $108)

Align Pant 28″ $98

5.CRZ YOGA Women’s Naked Feeling High Waist Tight are marketed as Lulu dupes, for only $24. They have a lot of different designs and colors and the fabric itself is very soft. But for some reason these DO NOT STAY up on me. I’ve sized down, I’ve sized up. I’ve gotten longer. I just realized this brand is sadly not for me. It has over 16,000 nearly 5 star reviews, so I am not saying they aren’t good or even worth a try. I’m just saying that they don’t work for my body and they are the #1 legging that I consistently passed on and never wore. 

I know I’m just scratching the surface of the athletic pant world here! Do you have a favorite I didn’t bring up?! Or maybe a thought on one I did? Would love to hear in the comments!

What do you think?

  1. Jamie says:

    For the price, comfort and fit I don’t think there is a better pair of leggings then the Danskin Supplex Ankle length legging. Because I am a guy I don’t know whether my opinion is worth anything but I do have a pair of Lululemon tights that I don’t think much of.

  2. Shelley says:

    Late to the game here, but which leggings would you say are the most “squat proof?” Currently looking for some new ones, and the biggest issue for me is finding something that isn’t see-through during intense workouts!

  3. Bryana says:

    Aligns really are for athleisure/comfort or yoga, not for running etc. And there is nothing for comfortable on the market in my opinion!

    There is another lulu legging that feels kinda like swimsuit material. It’s not the fast and frees — maybe the speed tight? It has a regular hem, not the infinity edge. Anyway, they are plenty high-waisted and DO NOT MOVE. They’re the perfect workout pant.

    p.s. I’ve tried just about every brand, from low to high end. Most have their pros and cons. If you just will not spend the money on high end, then I recommend ColorfulKoala on Amazon. The 7/8 with pockets. They’re about $24 and very good. But you may have to tug on them once in a while

  4. Jill Cote says:

    I missed this post initially (crazy week) but I wanted to chime in the leggings talk.
    I LOVE my Zyia leggings! Specially the Light n Tights. There are so many options with and without pockets. Quality is comparable to Lulu and Athleta. All the pieces are super versatile!

  5. Amaris Stewart says:

    I swear by xersion from JcPenny. I shop there for almost nothing but these leggings are AMAZING. They have some awesome pairs with cute mesh side panels and pockets. They are durable so they last forever and they suck you in. They also have plus sizes. I size down because I like them tight but worth a try and they have so many styles that you can always get some for $12-15 dollars on sale!

  6. Stacey Morgan says:

    Colorfulkoala leggings on Amazon were a great new surprise to me recently. They feel like BUTTER!!!!!!! And a great price to…always in the $20-$30 range.

  7. huda says:

    GIRLFRIEND COLLECTIVE!
    trusttt, they are eco friendly and so so similar to lululemon with a lower price point, plus they come with a free washer bag to prevent micro-plastics from going into water streams!

  8. A says:

    SENITA SENITA SENITA!!! Small woman-owned business and the activewear can’t be beat!! (Both price and quality!)

  9. Madge says:

    I 100% agree with your top 2! I love Old Navy leggings and Fabletics are my #2. I also have a couple of champion leggings from target that are almost as good as the old navy ones. I need a pocket in my leggings and the old navy lined leggings are my go to for cold days and I don’t need to wear sweats or joggers over them to keep warm. I’ve worn them in 20 degrees F without layers and been comfortable.

  10. JMM says:

    I was wondering if anyone had comments on Costco leggings. For $15 I buy all the tuff brand and some danskin, or just whatever they have, and most of them are great, and if they don’t last long I don’t feel bad since the price was so good. I want to check out the Alo pants, but have a hard time spending money sweating in such expensive clothing.

  11. Kasey says:

    The Balance Collection by Marika–must try. These are my go-to workoht leggings. Squat proof, comfortable, stays put!! I have tried other Marika pants, and will only go to the Balance Collection. Zulily runs deals on these and this is where I splurge (normally 60.00 or so and 19.99 on zulily).

  12. Nina says:

    Oooo I’m going to try old navy. I absolutely refuse to pay more than $45 for something I wear for two hours before each wash, so I’ve never tried most of these brands. I swear by victoria’s secret (except the essential legging, which shows sweat worse than anything I’ve ever seen.) They’re the Perfect winter walking/running since they’re a little thicker/stiffer, but breathable enough for the gym. I’ve had some of them for years and they look great. Size longs are truly long enough. Def going to try old navy based off this list Just got my first high waisted blackout tight from gap and they feel incredible. Really moveable/thin/breathable material. Wind cuts right through them which will feel good when it’s warmer. Size longs are just barely long enough on me (I’m 5’8″, with proportionately long legs.)

  13. Heather says:

    Aerie! The cross-over high waist leggings are AMAZING. They’re comfortable and give me a lovely shape. Plus they go on sale regularly.

  14. Summer says:

    Right now, my favorite are Under Armor ColdGear leggings. Amazing if you live in a cold climate and want to keep exercising outdoors. I wear them running in 20-30 degree weather and they are my favorite winter legging.

  15. Stacy Cook says:

    I too LOVE Old Navy workout leggings. The Elevate with the built in sculpt ❤️????????. It is basically my entire arsenal. The prices are amazing, quality is top notch. If they ever made a seamless one, I’d never buy another brand lol.

  16. I love Old Navy Activewear too!!

  17. Lindsay says:

    Have you ever tried Zyia?!? I love their leggings, especially the light and tights that have pockets! If you haven’t tried them yet you need to!

  18. Jacqueline says:

    I’m living for this discussion. Thank you, Julia! I find that I prefer crops to pants year round; something about fabric on my ankle makes me feel claustrophobic or hot.

    My list, in no order:
    1. R.I.P Lululemon’s Run Inspire crops. These were my gateway to Lulu. I just love the Luxtreme material. IMO, it’s like swimwear the way it holds to my body and is moisture wicking. Lulu’s Pace Rival crops have replaced the Run Inspire. Always always do the bend test with Lulu leggings to make sure they’re not see through. I have never had an issue.
    2. Price point: Fabletics. Boyyyy Fabletics has come a long way in terms of style and materials! I still have my O.G Days Fabletics leggings (so O.G I don’t even think they had a name for the style!) for running errands; the material back then didn’t conform to my body, was not moisture wicking and led to smells. Currently 50% site-wide!!!! The Motion365 is my favorite, for similar reasons of the Lululemon above. The Trinity crops and pants are my go-to, packed with all the pockets and coming in a myriad of colors. I would dare to say that the Trinity have a bit more of a firm hold than the Lulu. I was not a fan of Fabletics’ more cottony material like the Power Hold for running/errands as it made me sweat more and not wick away. I know Andi Dorfan swears by the Power Hold but it’s just not for me.
    3. Cold weather: Under Armour ColdGear Authentic Leggings. These have some kind of fleece inner lining that is cold-rated. I do not use these for workouts because I find the ankle to be reallly tight and like I said above, that makes me feel claustrophobic and like I can’t keep cool! Also, while these have stretch to them they’re not as stretchy as the Lulus or Fabletics to be able to get right up in the crotch for a seamless fit. These are good for running errands and/or hiking and layering for the elements.
    4. Other brands/companies to mention that I’m dying to try: IVL Collective, pretty much anything on Bandier – so cute so pretty, Beach Riot X Love Shack Fancy just adorable, Vuori more for lounge-like leggings – my boyfriend owns some shorts and pants for running and he looks like a dream in them, Spanx for everyday outfits.

    As a beside, I’d also like to throw out a mention for Lume body deodorant (vanilla is my go-to and the smell is something to get used to; it is somewhat musty and not too sweat vanilla-like) to pair with your leggings… if you know, you know. It has been a complete game-changer post-workout.

  19. Lena says:

    I want to thank you and each and everyone that has posted their recommendations. I have one brand so far that works for me whether it is low or high rise and it is Marika. I’ve tried Nike, Under Armour, and Lulemon. When I’m running I need the kind that has pockets and prefer the ones with pockets on the outside of my legs as I’m type 1 diabetic so need my phone which alerts me to any changes in my bloodsugar, I also carry glucose and my insulin pump PDM (like a small phone). I used to wear a thing around my waist, to carry these, but the pockets allow me to check and do things without stopping. Before I never could get things out. Now I can pull my phone out and check my bloodsugar and pull out some glucose and pop in my mouth while I’m still running.

    I loved reading the ones with recommendations of brands that have pockets. Seems hard to find.

  20. Lindsay says:

    You haven’t tried leggings until you’ve tried Beyond Yoga. They’re spacedye are like butter….truly better than being naked!

  21. Amanda says:

    What a great conversation! First online post with no hate in soooo long. Feels just like friends talking:) Love it Julia!!!!

  22. Jennifer says:

    RBX tights are great!

  23. Megan says:

    You should try KIAVA clothing leggings. Super comfortable. And stay put. I love the pockets and they have the cutest patterns. They are the only ones I wear. Plus I love to support small businesses!!

  24. Kay says:

    Love this! If you haven’t already, you should try girlfriend! I love love them and they’re made from recycled water bottles.

  25. Elizabeth T Johnston says:

    As a marathoner and Pilates enthusiast I need them to stay flexible and stay up and bonus points for pockets. Oiselle for their great pockets and Brooks especially their winter fleece lined tights.

  26. Amanda Dickson says:

    I’ve tried so many leggings, everything from Fabletics to Nike to Under Armor and everything in between but I was never satisfied with the fit or feel. In December, I saw a woman at the gym wearing a pair of leggings that made her look incredible, naturally I wondered what they’d do for me, if anything. Naturally I asked her about them. It turns out they’re a brand I’d never heard of – NVGTN. I went to their website but everything was sold out! I started following their Instagram page and discovered they were about to have another launch on December 5. I was ready and waiting! I initially bought three pairs of NVGTN leggings, but after getting them and trying them on, I went back for more. I swear by these leggings! I now own 6 pairs in various colors and styles and 7 shirts/workout bras. Not only do they make my nonexistent butt look amazing, but they don’t roll down at the top! I’m not the only one who discovered these gems as I noticed the majority of the women at my gym now wear them. The secret is definitely out! They fit true to size and feel buttery soft. The price point is perfect. The only down side is that they run out of stock quickly. As a new company(?), I imagine they’ll get better at ordering. In the meantime, I’m eagerly awaiting their next launch! I simply can’t get enough!

  27. Two that I ADORE:

    90 Degree By Reflex Ankle Length High Waist Power Flex Leggings ($19 on Amazon, and WORTH IT), and Colorfulkoala High Waisted Yoga Pants 7/8 Length Leggings ($25 on Amazon). Both live up to the hype!! My fav Mom leggings, postpartum recovery leggings, work out HARD leggings, etc.!!

  28. Sunny says:

    Julia, I so appreciate this leggings content!

    Now can you low-show socks?? I am a size 9 and so often (too often!) the socks slip down while working out (walking, tennis, pickle ball). What are your faves that stay put?

  29. Elizabeth Swanson says:

    Another Old Navy leggings fan! They are SO good. I have lusted after more expensive brands like Athleta and Lululemon. Given my current budget, I cannot justify the added expense, especially when I may end up preferring Old Navy anyway.

  30. Kalan says:

    You MUST try IVL collective. They are all high waisted. They are all butter soft and stay up all day if you so choose! Downside is the price point. If you can choke down the $100-$100+ price tag you will be in for a treat. Size down in the legging and up in the bra. I went through many cycles of returns trying to figure this out. I am a straight size in lulu and one up one down in IVL is a spot on match. If you had to pick one go for the scallop legging…it’s just too cute to pass up. Always get people stopping me when. I have them on AND scallop holds up in the wash. No weird wrinkling or steaming necessary. P.S. this company is. Year old. Love love love it!

  31. Janise says:

    I love Athleta! Particularly the salutation 7/8 with pockets! I’m real short and they are almost exclusively the only brand that looks “right” at my ankle with their petite sizes! They also have tall and plus sizes – something for everyBODY!

    • mockginger says:

      +1 vote for Athleta! I love their Rainier tights for winter outdoor activities, have a few pair of their Contender tights, and love the Ultimate Stash Pocket Tight too! The rest of mine are Lulu Fast & Free because the fabric feels amazing, but Athleta wins me heart for more sizing options and better return policies.

    • Amy says:

      I third the Athleta recommendation! As a tall gal the Salutation 7/8 are a dream to wear- high waist, soft and hugging and they get me through a spin class comfortably.

    • LMH says:

      I also love athleta – the elation 7/8 is my all time fave

      • Crystal says:

        I’m OBSESSED with athleta. They have these elation higher waisted ones online that I live for. butter soft too!

  32. angela says:

    if you’re a runner “rabbit” is amazing!!! for everyday, crz yoga takes the cake on feel and price and you can never go wrong with old navy leggings for anything.

  33. Erin says:

    Great suggestions here!! I reach for my lululemon wunder unders over and over. They hold up really well. The aligns are great for yoga or barre. Old Navy tends to be too heavy for me here in the deep south and the CRZ brand just didn’t stay up in me. Outdoor voices tech sweat is also good for any fellow hot climate exercisers! 90 degree reflex is a good budget alternative. They are always at TJ Maxx!

  34. Hannah says:

    Girlfriend Collective hands down. Amazing fit, comes in lots of colors with matching bras and they are sustainably made.

  35. Katie says:

    Athleta Elation 7/8 leggings are my favorites. I’m slowly trying to swap out my legging wardrobe to this style because I love them so much! I like these better than any Lulu pair I’ve tried, and they are at better price point.

  36. Julie says:

    No one believes me either but the old navy active pieces are the best ! I wash mine on cold and delicate , hand dry and buy every year when they are half off. They don’t move , you can breathe and they maintain their shape.

  37. Katie says:

    I just had a loooong conversation with my girlfriends about this because I recently shelled out quite a bit on girlfriend collective leggings and I hate them! They roll down, I don’t love the feel of the fabric, etc. I’ve come to the realization that old navy leggings also aren’t great for me because they just fall off my butt or something and I end up with a drop crotch situation. By far my favorite are the Carrie Underwood Calia leggings – the fabric feels great and they stay put. Should be noted that I have a huge butt and a smallish waist and I hover between the plus and straight sizes and both fit me super well. I get excited to put them on.

  38. Jane says:

    With the Align leggings, they are one of my top picks but for wearing around the house, yoga and *the best* for pregnancy/postpartum! Better than any maternity ones I’ve tried.

    You’re missing out on Sweaty Betty – I have two pairs and they are my favourite for running and working out. Amazon has some good ones too!

    • Daily Runner says:

      I second Sweaty Betty. Pockets on legs and on back of waist. Lots of cute colors, styles & passes the squat test. Stay put on a run, I don’t have to adjust (like at all). I’ve bought great quality & cute backpacks, tanks, and sweaters too. They have sales so shop wise to be budget conscious & Nordstrom carries some products. I love every piece I’ve bought- worth every penny. Seriously hold up well to time, washing & daily life.

  39. Rebecca says:

    Shockingly American eagle’s aerie leggings are incredibly comfortable – the slicker exercise materials as well as the comfy lounge styles – and they are cheap! Beyond yoga space are my absolute favorite but they are pricey

  40. Brittany says:

    Nike infinalon yoga tights are THE softest, coziest yoga pants I own. Definitely on the pricier side, but they are SUMPTUOUS!

  41. Chantelle says:

    I have a pair from Calia that I got on sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods and I use them all the time!

    I also had a pair from Girlfriend collective and they felt buttery soft! I lost them though ????

  42. Claudia says:

    The All Motion leggings at target are great!!! Just got them and they are great!!!

  43. TORI says:

    Adanola!!!

  44. Sarah says:

    Agree on the CZY Yoga. Mine fall down constantly. My favorites are my Girlfriend Collective high waist leggings and Senita, Lux fabric is good for Compression and SKin is oh so comfy for yoga or around the house.

  45. Lo says:

    The lululemon wonder trains are worth a shot. They feel super supportive, are a smooth mix between align and wunder unders, and best of all don’t pill!!

  46. Whitney says:

    Maybe I’ll have to try Old Navy again. I have an old pair (5+ years) and I HATE them. The line for the top waist trim part falls halfway down my butt and I feel like they never stay up and are unflattering. I don’t run so I’m not moving THAT much. But they might have changed the style since they are so old, also pretty sure they are not high rise.

  47. Erin says:

    Athleta! Recenty tried them out on a recommendation from a friend. Worth every penny. They’re so soft and the stay in place.

  48. Ryan says:

    you MUST try Outdoor voices. I own all brands on your list and outdoor voices are always the ones I’m grabbing before any others. They are incredible. They have different materials for different activities- their yoga ones are a bit thicker than their high-Intensity workout ones – sounds like you would prefer the later! :)

  49. Karla says:

    The Joy Lab leggings (and activewear) at Target are WOW!! And I’m a Lululemon loyal, Joy Lab is pretty great! And can’t beat the price, also cool, modern style.

  50. Gina says:

    I’ve become a huge fan of IVL workout leggings. Not super cheap but they’re the ones I reach for every time. I even own the shorts and love them in summer. Love that it’s a smaller, woman owned company as well.

  51. Natalie G says:

    Based on what you’re saying about lululemon – you should try the Invigorate High Rise Tights!

  52. Lindsey says:

    I’m not a runner but I love Gaiam leggings for yoga and just hanging around the house.

  53. Laura says:

    I am surprised no one has mentioned Everlane leggings! They are my absolute favorite. They are high waisted, super soft, hold you in just right without being too constricting, and move with you but stay perfectly in place! Plus, at about $50 a pair, you can feel good about supporting a very eco/labor responsible company without breaking the bank. My first pair still looks brand new after many trips through the laundry, hard use with a 3 and 1 year old, and lots of workouts! Try them out!

  54. Heather says:

    Zyia!!

  55. Molly says:

    Love this topic! I agree with 90 degree by reflex. I have also had good luck with the Carrie underwood brand Calia.

    • Christina says:

      Yogalicious are my favorite!! So so soft and they stay up so well on me! I always find mine on sale at TJ Maxx!

  56. Chelsea says:

    I totally agree with the Old Navy leggings. They are mostly all that I buy, and they usually have good sales on their athletic wear. Also, I have a few pairs of CRZ yoga pants and I really like them. It sucks they didn’t work out for you (heh heh).

  57. Katherine Y says:

    Outdoor Voices 7/8 medium compression leggings are my absolute favorites! They are pretty and make you feel all tucked in, present and correct!

  58. Deb says:

    Calia by Carrie Underwood and the new Lulu unlimit

  59. Kate F says:

    Leggings are so body-specific, aren’t they?? The CRZ Yoga leggings are indeed my favorites for running, but I fished them out of the giveaway pile very recently to try them one last time and discovered it then. The compression is INTENSE so I’d discarded them for athleisure before I started running (too tight!!), but after yanking up my normally-beloved athleta leggings every 3 blocks for a few months I gave them another try and they don’t budge on me at all. Anyway for the long-torso/short leg girls out there, I’m 5’ 4.5” and they are just right.

    • Vanessa says:

      I love Athleta as well and realized I was wearing the wrong size (too large) and they were sliding down when I was walking or at the gym. Maybe size down for more compression?

  60. Kristin says:

    Essential High Rise by CALIA (by Carrie Underwood) are my new fave! I have long legs, a short torso, and am curvy. These fit great and hold in and lift all the things.

  61. Andie says:

    A lot of the Lulu pants are a tough fit for sure, but I am ride or die for the lululemon wunder under in luxtreme. They are AMAZING. Also, the aligns are amazing for pregnancy and early postpartum!! I don’t love them for exercise either.

  62. Allisom says:

    I’m a new runner and live in Chicago. Do you prefer certain ones for cold weather?

  63. Anna says:

    What cold weather legging is the warmest ?

  64. Kylee says:

    I always thought I was alone in not being a huge fan of lulu!! They never fit well or felt comfortable. I also like Zyia and Nikkib sportswear leggings. Smaller brands that feel good support (while their leggings support you! Haha)

  65. Jessi says:

    Athleta ( Rainier tights for winter) and Under Armour, no contest! I love fabletics and lulu for the bike and working out, but not running!

  66. Julie says:

    If you like more compression than the Align, try the Lululemon Wunder Under. Very similar but a little more supportive. Agreed that it’s a more expensive brand but I feel like they last forever.

  67. Janet says:

    Yes! I have just found Old Navy leggings this year after my Fabletics ones were wearing out and I will never go back. I LOVE the high waisted elevate style and how I never seem to tug at them after running or sitting. They are the best!

  68. Ashly Roberson says:

    For winter?!? bayleaf is where it is at! They are amazing and the price is so good!!
    I loveOld Navy and Ododos for regular leggings and biking style running shorts. Seriously, they are amazing!

    • Jenna says:

      Was coming to comment just this! Love Bayleaf for cold weather leggings and Old Navy are my favorite and price is unbeatable! For everyone saying the longevity of Lulu or other more expensive brands – I have had some of my Old Navy leggings for 5+ years and they still hold up fantastic. One tip for Old Navy tights (note-Im usually an XL for pants of thats helpful) – I tend to go a size down in them (L instead) as I feel more supported (but not tight or restricted!). Plenty of stretch for my tummy while not falling down.

  69. Olivia says:

    I too love Gap althetic wear and LOVE Athleta too. Great quality but more than Gap but prefer it better to Lululemon

  70. Megan says:

    Athleta is by far my favorite! They are pricy but worth it to me. They fit well and stay in place doing all kinds of activities, athletic and not. I usually wait for the sales and see what I can find from there. I’ve had some of mine for over 10 years and they haven’t changed since the first day I got them!

  71. Janelle says:

    Omg! I thought I was one of the only ones OBSESSED with Old Navy workout pants. They are my all time favorite by a long shot

  72. Ivan says:

    Have you tried NEBBIA ?
    Originally made for IFBB & NPC but they are moving in the right direction with activewear for the general fitness population.

  73. Anna says:

    Julia, the Lulu Align tights aren’t for running! They’re literal yoga pants! For running, get the Fast and Frees!

  74. Kim says:

    My Old Navy leggings have held up SOOO much longer than my Lulu’s! Totally agree with your #1.

  75. Kathryn says:

    Totally agree. Old Navy are also my favourite!

  76. Shannon H says:

    BIG Athleta fan here – I do more strength training and boot camp than running, but they always stay in place, pass the squat test, and last for forever, making them worth the investment in my opinion. Almost all of my gym duds are from there – and they’re all super comfortable, too!

  77. Rachel says:

    Athleta Elation and Salutation leggings are awesome! I also can’t do lululemon… Their sizing makes no sense to me!

  78. CINDY KEAS says:

    I love the CRZ YOGA, but in hugged feeling, not naked feeling….they have more Lycra.

  79. Angie Gardner says:

    Love your review. I am curious (as you mentioned in the CRZ review) how much body- style comes into play with preference? You are long and lean, and well- I am NOT, lol. We have an Old Navy near us, thankfully, which makes popping in and trying on a possibility!

  80. Liz says:

    Alo all the way ???? Hurts the pocket book, but I buy a few each year around Black Friday. I love the airlift because it’s good for every activity. Athleta is nice, but I don’t like their slicker fabrics as much as the airlift. I love the fabric on the softer fabrics for yoga, but pills quickly for running or spinning.

  81. Toni C. says:

    Last year, my husband bought me a pair of DSG (Dick’s Sporting Good) leggings & I LOVE ❤️ them !! I’ve bought 3 pair since … High waisted, thick, compress just right & stay in place. And the price is great! Give ‘Em a try… you won’t be disappointed !

  82. Carol says:

    Athleta for me as well (with a couple of Brooks capris on the side). I love the fit and the quality (really, I’ve had some of mine for *years*) and really appreciate their eco-consciousness. There’s a reason that Old Navy clothes are cheap, and it’s because they’re made with exploited labor and environmentally questionable practices. You (and the planet) get what you pay for.

  83. Kelli says:

    The lululemon wunder under train tight is much more supportive than the aligns. It’s all about the fabric – luxtreme, everlux, nulu, luon. Luxtreme is sweat wicking, compressive and cooling to the skin. Everlux is medium weight and compressive. Nulu is buttery soft and not compressive. Luon is warmer and feels like cotton with gentle compression.
    The fabrics work for different seasons or activities! I like more compressive styles. Love the luxtreme (the cooling one) in the summer and everlux (the more weighted one) in the winter. I like luon when I want a softer more lounge-like feel with some compression.
    Once you find the right fit (for me it’s wunder under) – it’s all about the few different fabrics. :)

  84. Erica says:

    JoyLab from Target are my absolute favorites. Very comfortable material, nice high waist that stays put, and side pockets for my phone when I go on runs. I’m also a big Athleta fan.

  85. Michelle says:

    Yes! Old Navy leggings are the best! I too am 6’0” tall and love the fit and length. No readjusting, no worries about support, they are opaque, and they wash so well! I completely agree about the Lulus. I am constantly readjusting them during workouts. I question whether I’ve found the right size but for the price point, I don’t want to experiment with different sizes. This tall girl will stick with Old Navy leggings and be super happy!

  86. Marianne says:

    Love Sweaty Betty- the Zero Gravity high waisted are great for running & I’m about to try the new Power Mission High Waisted (full length- 27” inseam). The All Day legging is a runner up to the Lulu Align to me for lounging/around the house but 100% my go-to when taking my cycling classes!

  87. Lydia says:

    I just assume all leggings roll down because I’ve never had any that don’t ????

    I used to use old navy leggings, but mine gave me such terrible heat rash on my legs during the summer! I switched to Nike leggings for Zumba and it helped soooo much – I think the ON just didn’t wick well enough :(

    For hanging out around the house, I love the Colorfulkoala ones on Amazon as far as fabric, but they roll down just like every single pair of leggings I’ve ever owned do ????????‍♀️

  88. Victoria says:

    Shhhh! Don’t spill the secret on Old Navy leggings. Nobody believes me how awesome ON workout gears are and I’d like to keep it that way to keep my sizes in stock. ???? My other go to is Under Armor. Their cold weather stuff is legit.

  89. Leah says:

    I have to say lululemon is one of my favorites. The fast and frees are my favorite and the only running tight I wear. Now that they have a brushed one for winter, I’m set! The align pant isn’t really for anything more than yoga or low impact workouts. Also, you have to try the wunder train tight. I agree that old navy is also great I just don’t feel like they hold up after a year.

  90. Amber says:

    As a Maryland girl, I love my under armour gear – leggings, shorts, tops, sports bras. I like that I can layer my cold gear leggings under sweat pants for long walks, or wear them everyday from my workout through my work day. I have heat gear ones for summer. I also really like my Eddie Bauer hiking leggings too. Found my aerie ones wore out super fast…

  91. Alexa says:

    The Aerie real me leggings are my favorite & so much so theyre all I have for workouts????. I love athleta & viori for athleisure wear (errands, park with kids, a hike), but for the price aeries are my favorite for daily sweaty workouts.

  92. CB says:

    Old Navy and Athleta are my favorite! I have a random pair of Marmot leggings that I adore, but they are older and haven’t been able to find a suitable Marmot replacement/alternative for them since I purchased. Love the roundup, thanks!

  93. Shalynn says:

    Oiselle are amazing

  94. Jessica R. says:

    I completely agree! I love Old Navy’s high waist sculpt, they stay put no matter what! The only issue I have with them is in the summer if you are really sweating I feel like they don’t absorb the sweat as well as Athleta. Athleta is a close second to Old Navy but only because of price, Athleta pants last forever!

  95. MZ says:

    I love Lululemon, but I only wear the Wunder Under High-Rise Tight in the Full-On Luxtreme fabric. I recommend a size that feels very tight and snug at first, they will morph into the perfect fit after a few wears and washes. I wear a size 4 and am 5’8″ & 140 lbs for reference.

    I love Alo for tops, especially their sweatshirts and jackets. I will try the leggings you love after this recommendation, thanks for sharing.

    • Karleen says:

      Zyia Active leggings are my new favorite! After trying a couple “fancy” brands of quality leggings I still preferred Old Navy or Target too, but after my friend introduced me to Zyia leggings I was sold! They’re soft and comfortable, stay up better than anything I’ve ever worn and reasonably priced for the quality. Love them!!!

  96. Traci says:

    Old navy leggings really are the MVP. Those power soft ones are truly the best workout leggings I have ever owned.

  97. Michelle says:

    I tried Fabletics when it first launched, and the clothes literally unraveled at the seams after just a wear or two. And the company made it extremely difficult to quit my membership. I think I still have a $50 credit that they made impossible for me to actually spend (not that I wanted more cheaply made clothes!). It was such a terrible brand experience. That said, I do love Old Navy leggings; Favorite is probably Girlfriend Collective though.

  98. Kristen M says:

    I’m a longtime fitness instructor, and Old Navy high-rise compression leggings are hands down my favorite!

  99. Kristen Paulson says:

    Hands down – Athleta salutation in powervita. I LIVE in these – working out, or not.

  100. Susan says:

    I love my Fabletics gear! Especially the Motion365 and the Mila capris. I’ve recently gotten into Zyia activewear, especially their Light N Tight line. So many colors and patterns and amazing compression. But they price similar to Lulu, which is the only downfall for me.

  101. Amanda says:

    Oiselle! Lady running company and supports female professional runners!

  102. Lisa says:

    Colorfulkoala for Align dupes and Athleta! But, I do love my old navy ones.. can’t beat the price either!

  103. Kim says:

    I used to love old navy, but they don’t hold up over time. I have some 6 year old lulu’s in perfect shape. My old navy didn’t last a year. I work out at 5 am 6 days a week so I need longevity. But maybe the fit issue is a tall vs short situation (5’4 over here ????????‍♀️) Bc the old navy’s don’t stay in place and my lulu’s do. ????????‍♀️ BUT I HATE the fake lulu’s (crz yoga). I feel like that company must be paying influencers to lie about how good they are. ????

    Also like athlete and zyia.

  104. Ashley says:

    zella! thicker and hold in without feeling suctioned. plus the high rise is perfect. and a good amazon option is 90 degree by reflex.

  105. Amanda says:

    For running I Love the Outdoor Voices techsweat and lululemon wunder train (just got my first pair and now I see the hype)

  106. Nicole says:

    Fellow tall girl here (5’9) and definitely try Athleta!! I love their powervita stash pocket tights. They’re the best!! Tall girls unite!

  107. Caitlin says:

    Aerie offline leggings are amazing! Great compression, different sizes and stays up!

  108. Kellye says:

    Tracksmith leggings for running- they’re perfect and designed for runners. Joy Lab from Target for strength training and yoga- they’re high waist, compressive, and stay put.

  109. Carrie says:

    I fell in love with Old Navy leggings all over again last year! I love the high waist and they DON’T BUDGE! I recently purged a bunch of leggings I didn’t wear either. Now my drawer is full of only ON! :)

  110. Emma says:

    I run four/five times a week and swear by Sweaty Betty leggings. I like in the UK and they are a London based, so not sure if you can get them in America. Their powder sculpt leggings are my favourite; they never fall down, they have a handy phone pocket, and come in loads of cute patterns/colours.

  111. Jennifer says:

    THIS. I’ve been saying this to everyone in my life for years: Old Navy leggings are the best!! Happy to have this post now to back up my claims, because y’know, Julia is the expert on all things.

  112. Kerri says:

    I def will look into the old navy ones! You should check out the athleta leggings. I have two pairs because @lynzyandco recommends them and they are good. I LOVE some of my fabletics stuff and some of it is SO miss.

    • Lori C. says:

      I only wear Brooks green light tights. They stay up, hold me in, and have pockets on the side for my phone and/or water bottle. I have these in full length, Capri length, and shorts!! I love them!!

  113. Shayla says:

    I’m with you. Old Navy is my favorite despite trying Lulus, and CRZ Yoga. The CRZ just don’t fit me either, I too have tried sizing up and sizing down and they’re either wayyyy too snug and rolling down, or way too big and falling off of me. No happy medium. The Lulus I totally adore, but for the price point, I don’t want my barbell to snag them as I drag it up my body for cleans or deadlifts. They are more of an athleisure wear item for me.

  114. LOVE ALL THESE LEGGINGS RECS. My favorite leggings are Savvi leggings. I’m a little biased because my FIL owns the company, but I also have a $25 coupon code for all first-time Savvi shoppers! ????DM me over at @haydenthegirl on Instagram!

  115. Britt says:

    I had a pair of Old Navy leggings from like 9 years ago that were the worst ever, so I haven’t tried them since. I’m thinking I need to give it another go, they have probably improved since then!

  116. Alexis says:

    Fun to see how you ranked them! I’m with you on the lulu’s. I love them for wearing but not as much for working out/specifically running. I have a couple pairs of Nike’s that I love for running but I think my Zella leggings from Nordstrom are my very favorite! You should try them if you haven’t!

  117. Ryan says:

    I only have old navy and fabletics leggings and was so happy that you thought they were best! I hadn’t tried any others (dumb luck) and now it seems I don’t need to!

  118. Emily says:

    Another Athleta fan! I also love their return policy. Wear it, work out in it, and if you don’t like it, you can still return it, even though you removed tags, washed it, whatever. So important for workout gear.

    I’ve also had good luck with Target for leggings and workout gear and it’s definitely way more budget friendly than Athleta.

  119. Megan says:

    Zella Live In High Waist Leggings at Nordstrom! I wear them every day, and they come in a 7/8 and cropped version too.

  120. Cheryl says:

    I wanted to love Senita, but they roll down on me. I have a bit of a belly after having kids. They are also way tighter compared to other brands in my regular size. Though they stretch to fit, maybe if I sized up they wouldn’t roll down as much.

  121. Rochelle says:

    I agree with you on the lululemon. I really wanted them to be my favorites and they just aren’t! I’ve tried multiple styles and sizes and can’t find *the one.* My absolute favorite are the Athleta ultra high rise elation. I can’t say enough great things about these leggings. High rise, just enough compression to hold me in but comfortable enough to wear all day, no roll waist, super soft and flattering. Only complaint is that there aren’t very many color options.

    • Kerri says:

      Agree love the elation!!!!!

    • Michelle in MN says:

      Fabletics has a lot of charm, but I found impulse buying and inconsistent quality led to a lot of buyers remorse. If you are looking for a studio/yoga replacement for Lululemon, I highly recommend Alo. Similar price point, but in my opinion, they are more fashionable forward and quality is what Lulu used to be…Specifically the Airlift and Alosoft fabrications – the latter is a little warmer and I find too much for cardio. As for running, I haven’t tried them yet but believe the Airlift will do just find (thanks Julia for the heads up). Its hard to beat Lulu’s winter running rights, but Nike and Athleta certainly are equal, Nike just makes it hard to sort out the athlesiure from performance wear, imo. After reading this – and nodding along as I recently purged a ton of exercise wear as not being quite right – my question is how many leggings do you really need? I work out 6-7 days a week and have full four season range to consider… is it wrong that exercise wear is 45-50 of my closet?

  122. Poppy says:

    Just an FYI lululemon align pants are not made for running or high impact workouts therefore they are not made to be supportive or uplifting. They are designed for yoga, low-impact workouts and lounge. You should try wunder trains or all the right places for running. Also, they make a super high rise legging if you feel the high rise isn’t high waisted enough. After discovering lulu leggings I donated all my old navy leggings ????

    • Kim says:

      That’s funny bc I have two friends that work for lulu and they swear wunder unders are just for casual wear and I tend to agree. If I want to be sucked in it’s fast and free for me.

    • Erin says:

      Yes! Wonder Trains are the best and most versatile Lulu leggings!!

  123. Sarah says:

    Senita! Got my first pair a few weeks ago and have been wearing them non-stop.

  124. Liz says:

    I am a Brooks girl, through and through. My runs tend to be on the long side, 6-12mi, and love the support and freedom of their Greenlight tights. On very cold days, also like Asics Windblock tights. Run happy!

  125. Chrissy says:

    Thanks for sharing.. I love to workout in Sweaty Betty (my PT always cracks up cause of the name.. so another bonus) and also a big fan of Lorna Jane.

  126. Amy says:

    I LOVE Old Navy leggings, too! My other two favs are Aerie (also very affordable!) and Beyond Yoga. BY are a little more pricey, but they’re sooooo soft and they fit perfectly (lots of lift and support); however, I only wear them for Barre3 and other functional fitness workouts, not running. For running, I like Brooks and Nike.

  127. Caitlin says:

    I’m an Athleta convert to! I’ve worn all these brands but ultimately love any pair from Athleta! Not only do I feel better because most of the clothes are made from recycled or fast growth trees, but the company does a better job then it’s sisters (old navy, banana republic, gap) at being a green company (B certified ????). But also the feel is like no other- they also have tall and petite, and the leggings are guranteed for life ???? so I love them too because if they wear out/a seen rips I can’t just take them back! Even like a year later! Therefore it justifies the price to me- I usually get 1 pair a year!!

  128. Amy says:

    Yes! My daughter swears by her GFC leggings!

  129. Maria says:

    Athleta all the way! They are expensive but last forever.

  130. Corrin toy says:

    Calvin Klein athletics are great I get a lot of them at the maxx and same with adidas

  131. Shal says:

    You need to check out the Aerie Offline Real Me leggings! They feel like you have nothing on. So dreamy.

  132. Diane says:

    Also crazy about Old Navy’s workout gear!

  133. Liz says:

    Athleta elation ultra high rise legging are amazing. They’re probably like a higher end version of the old navy leggings considering they’re all owned by the same parent company. If you wait for a sale they’re not quite as spendy. I’m going to try old navy now!

  134. AJ says:

    Girlfriend Collective all the way! Also a big fan of the Old Navy active leggings, but the sustainability (made of recycled plastic and recyclable!) and quality of GC keep me coming back and totally justifies the cost when I want/need a new pair.

    • Elsie V says:

      I’m so surprised to see no one else mentioning Girlfriend! I love them so much. Their sports bras are also great. My old navy leggings feel like sandpaper compared to Girlfriend!

  135. Courtney says:

    I love how this post just went up and there are already 15 comments, LOL. Leggings are such a hot topic!
    I purchased CRZ a few years ago based on your recommendation in an old post. I don’t think they are Lulu dupes but I do like them for the price. They don’t roll down on me. Colorfolka which is another Amazon brand that is considered a Lulu dupe roll down on me even when I’m not working out and those too have a crazy number of 5 star reviews. I think it comes down to body type and sizing.
    But anyway. I’m with you on the Alo! I have two pairs and I LOVE them but can’t justify buying more because yikes at the price! But it’s so tempting because they have beautiful colors.

  136. Megan Lofgren says:

    Girlfriend leggings are really good and they’re made from recycled materials!

  137. Sam says:

    Free people active and Z by Zella are 2 of my favorites!

  138. Melody says:

    My Old Navy crops are my favorite as well! Not as soft as my Lulus, but they DON’T MOVE and pulling up my pants constantly can be so annoying.

  139. Kali says:

    I am also tall and always loved old navy the most for reasons you were saying, but then I tried zyia-specifically the light and tight style and although they are more than old navy (but less than lulu), I have noticed I now completely gravitate towards my zyia. They don’t move on me at all, compression is amazing, high waist and I have had some for years without any pilling or breakdown!

  140. Elizabeth says:

    Love the post. Leggings are my choice of pants, if I could wear them every day, I would. Alo are one of my favorites too. I agree on the pricing but I only purchase their leggings at their warehouse sales. It’s basically a quarter of their original price.

  141. Jessica says:

    Love the Old Navy ones too! Girlfriend Collective has amazing leggings and an amazing mission. Also really love the 90 Degree by Reflex Power Flex leggings!

  142. Kristen says:

    I wore the CRZ leggings immediately after my c-section and loooooved them. As I lost weight postpartum, they stopped fitting well (even after downsizing). I kinda think they fit best if you’ve got a little something extra for them to hold onto ???? So I highly recommend them for postpartum mamas, especially c-section mamas!! Especially considering the price. It’s nice to have affordable clothes for during those tough in-between months when nothing feels quite right on your changing body. ????

  143. Hannah B. says:

    I love Girlfriend Collective! I like that they don’t have logos or patterns, just beautiful solid colors and matching sports bras. My pairs from 2018 still look brand new, after weekly wear for over 2 years!

    • Tamsen says:

      I second all of this! I’ve had 2 pairs since 2018 and finally increased my collection during Covid since they are pretty much the only thing I wear now. I LOVE THEM!

    • Amy says:

      Yes! My daughter swears by her GFC leggings!

  144. Leigh says:

    I love love Athleta leggings! They are on the expensive side but they are the only ones I have worn every week for years and they still look Amd feel the same! They come in a ton of different styles and it’s hard for me to find what I don’t like!

    • Ashley says:

      I second the Athleta leggings, specifically the Powervita fabric! My leggings have held up for years and still look and feel the same as the day I bought them! After finding Athleta, I haven’t looked or bought from Lululemon since then. I wear them when running, doing weights, and every day wear! Love Athleta!

  145. Brittany says:

    Thanks for sharing! As much as I love your usual chic outfits, I’m probably most likely to buy something from this list, lol. I’m definitely going to try Old Navy.

    The only style of lululemon pants I find worth buying are the wunder unders. I have three pairs of capris and two of the pants. Super comfy and down sag or roll down at all.

    The Zella brand leggings from Nordstrom are another fave! Very thick and high quality. I can usually find them on sale too.

  146. Erin says:

    Oh, good! I hoped Old Navy would make the list. I am also 6’ tall and agree they are the BEST at staying put!! I don’t understand why GapFit leggings aren’t equally good, but they’re loose and the waistband rolls, and they’re 3x the price.

  147. Rachel Meier says:

    I LOVE all of the workout gear from Kiava Clothing. Their leggings are buttery soft, not see through at all, and their sports bras have great support plus they’re cute! It’s hard for find the “cute” sports bras when you’re bustier (DD+) like me. Best part is they’re so affordable.

  148. Maia Illa says:

    Thank you for this list – I have the same pattern in my legging drawer. The workouts are just better in some leggings versus others. I love Athleta, the fabric they use is just ‘chef’s kiss’. But I’ll check Old Navy now since it is the same brand family…

  149. Rachel M. says:

    I LOVE all of the workout gear from Kiava Clothing. Their leggings are buttery soft, not see through at all, and their sports bras have great support plus they’re cute! It’s hard for find the “cute” sports bras when you’re bustier (DD+) like me. Best part is they’re so affordable.

  150. Noreen says:

    Sweaty Betty are my fave leggings, not sure you can get them in America but they’re definitely squat-proof!!! :)

  151. Anna B says:

    I am a recent Athleta convert! They feel a lot like Lulu’s to me but I can get them on sale way more often!

  152. Jodi says:

    Athleta high waisted are so so good!

  153. Lindsay says:

    Lululemon & Sweaty Betty are my favorites! You’d probably like IVL since you’re tall. They are good leggings, but seem more for tall people, which is not me. ????

  154. Kristen says:

    What about Athleta? I LOVE Athleta!

  155. Ashley says:

    You need to try Aerie leggings! They are my favourite!

  156. Old Navy and Fabletics are two of my top three go-tos for workout leggings, too! Old Navy frequently comes out on top for value + fit + comfort. My third place is Under Armour – partly for the cold gear (base layer for skiing/snowshoeing/sledding and around the house on chillier days), but also because WFH = athleisure in our house, and they have some leggings in a slightly thicker fabric that is just right for when Cold Gear is overkill but Old Navy isn’t going to cut it.

  157. Gigi says:

    Great ideas, thanks. Leggings matter, of course, but it’s the jog bra that does all the heavy lifting! Any recommendations of fave support for active ta-tas?

  158. Kristen Van Dinter says:

    I might love my Spanx Booty Boost Active Cropped Leggings the most of all.

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