WE know too well the struggle of finding the best gym leggings.
They are supposed to be comfortable to work out in – no one should suffer see-through faux pas’ or chafing mares.
As every woman’s exercise staple, leggings need to endure all the blood, sweat and tears (while obviously looking fab too).
Of course, the gym isn’t a fashion show but everyone feels most at ease when they look good and feel comfortable.
Also, as activewear has become a daily go-to for a lot of women, leggings now accessorise more than just yoga classes.
Simply putting on a great pair of sports leggings is encouragement in itself…whether you’re playing tennis or going for a run, their supportive and flexible nature provides the perfect motivation.
With athleisure infiltrating street style, so many celebs are always papped running errands in gym leggings, from Kim Kardashian to Bella Hadid.
Their skintight silhouette, and flattering body-shaping effect is what makes them so irresistible as casual wear.
From blackout pairs to control pants, we’ve rounded up the best gym leggings for you.
These styles will make you want to get straight to the gym.
1. Best unique fabric leggings: Lululemon's Fast and Free Crop II 19" Non-Reflective
- Fast and Free Crop II 19" Non-Reflective leggings, £69-£98 from Lululemon – buy here
Developing technologies mean there's an ever-increasing choice of fabrications out there when it comes to leggings: ever heard of Nulux?
We hadn't either, but according to athletic brand, Lululemon, it's the lovechild of nulu and luxtreme—making it great for high-friction workouts like running, as it has a slightly slicker feel to nulu alone.
Promising a barely-there feeling and weightless coverage, these leggings are not only perfect for runners but they look great too, in a choice of five shades to suit your style.
2. Best vegan leggings: Organic Basics's SilverTech™ Active Leggings
- SilverTech™ Active Leggings, £71 from Organic Basics – buy here
If buying consciously is at the forefront of your mind when shopping, sustainable brand Organic Basics is a brilliant place to start.
Unlike fast fashion, their designs are built to last, so you can pick up a pair of gym leggings safe in the knowledge that they won't fall apart after several washes — never a good look!
Ethically made from recycled nylon, these leggings are treated with a safe, recycled silver salt called Polygiene which stops the growth of bacteria on the fabric.
They also come PETA 'Vegan Approved', which ensures they are cruelty-free and don't contain any animal products.
3. Best squat-proof gym leggings: Girlfriend Collective's Black Compressive High-Rise Legging
- Girlfriend Collective Compressive High Waisted Legging, £62 from The Sports Edit – buy here
Another go-to brand for responsibly-produced, luxurious activewear, Girlfriend Collective's number one selling leggings feature a flattering compressive fit and even claim to be totally squat-proof!
Crafted from a stretchy fabric made in part, from 25 recycled water bottles, these must-have leggings can take high-impact sport… but to be fair, they look just as good pounding the pavements.
4. Best sculpted gym leggings: NIKE's Sculpt Lux
- Nike Sculpt Lux, £69.95 from Nike – buy here
Nike have the best body-hugging beauties. If you’re into yoga, pilates or barre – this one’s for you.
These black sculpt tights fit like a glove – they definitely won’t ride up and distract you.
The Dri-FIT fabric also features sweat-wicking technology so you can fulfil your potential.
With a stylish Nike swoosh on the hip, these leggings can take you from ballet to brunch.
Just team them with an off-the-shoulder jumper and you’re good to go.
5. Best textured gym leggings: Boux Sport's Textured Rib Leggings
- Boux Sport textured rib leggings, £35 from Boux Avenue – buy here
Keen to upgrade your workout gear to something more exciting? Look no further than these textured leggings from the Boux Avenue Sports range featuring lazer cut detailing.
We've tested out this particular pair ourselves and found that they are incredibly comfortable and great value for money.
In a bold grape hue, these are high waisted and have a supportive ribbed waistband, meaning great support even during intensive workouts.
They're made of a 2-way stretch fabric with wicking and muscle support technologies, and have a seamless design.
They're a great pair of gym leggings to have, especially for the days when you need some extra sparkle in your life!
6. Best budget cropped gym leggings: M&S's Cropped Gym Leggings
- Go Move Cropped Gym Leggings, £19.50 from M&S – buy here
Black leggings are a versatile must, whether you’re going for a relaxing job or going hard at the gym – especially when they’re less than £20! Thank you M&S.
These cropped leggings are high waisted, so they’re extra supportive.
But it also means you can team them with a sports bra and not feel too exposed.
In moisture-wicking fabric, you’ll stay a normal temperature when working out and the quick dry design will keep you feeling fresh.
7. Best premium cropped gym leggings: GAP's GFast High Rise Crop Capris
- GRise High Rise Blackout Crop Capris, £43.96 from GAP – buy here
See-through leggings are the absolute worst. Don’t worry though, GAP has your back with these high-tech blackout saviours.
From the moisture-wicking fabric, to the flexible contouring shape, there’s a reason these are a little more expensive.
View them as an investment that’ll see you through years of comfortable, supportive and dynamic sessions – ideal for high-intensity workouts. Get pumping that iron!
8. Best classic gym leggings: Adidas Adicolor 3-stripes Leggings
- Adicolor 3-stripes Leggings, £27.95 from Adidas – buy here
If you buy these black Adidas 3-stripe leggings, they'll probably become your second skin – a trendy athleisure pearl.
Partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative, helping to improve cotton farming globally – Adidas’ leggings aren’t only soft, they’re also motivated by goodwill.
The tight cotton-blend is stretchy and flexible – ideal for working out or running errands in style.
9. Best print gym leggings: FREYA's Kinetic Active Leggings
- Freya Kinetic Active Legging, £52 from Figleaves – buy here
Dipped in stunning blue waves, these Freya Kinetic Active tights from Figleaves will brighten up your exercise regime.
Made from a lightweight stretch fabric, you can comfortably wear these leggings for lengthy high impact training.
Figleaves also offer a matching sports bra – wear both for some glam workout gear sure to have you feeling motivated.
10. Best white gym leggings: New Look's Sculpt White Marble Print Sports Leggings
- Sculpt White Marble Print Sports Leggings, £35.99 from New Look – buy here
These funky print leggings from New Look are proving single-handedly that sportswear doesn’t need to be basic.
These marbled beauties are a cool and quirky change from ordinary workout attire – and a great way to do white, without feeling too exposed.
You can also mix and match them with a sports bra from New Look's range.
11. Best high waist gym leggings: Boohoo Fit's Laser Cut Running Leggings
Boohoo might not immediately come to mind when thinking about gym gear.
But the fashion retailer has a good selection of leggings, tops and shorts, and this is the pair for us.
Pure black, but for the striking laser cut running across the legs – this affordable pair is chic but…just a little a bit different.
Available in sizes 6-16, we love them.
- Fit Laser Cut High Waisted Running Leggings, £12.60 from Boohoo – buy here
12. Best lightweight gym leggings: Under Armour's Crop Leggings
- Under Armour HeatGear Armour Ankle Crop Leggings, £25 from Figleaves – buy here
You can always rely on HeatGear® by Under Armour to provide technologically enhanced exercise get-up.
These flattering high-rise leggings are made from the brand’s specially-designed performance fabric which both wicks sweat away and dries fast – keeping you cool and dry during gym sessions.
With a slight sheen to the black colour tone, they’re also an extra sleek option. So slide into these and show ‘em who’s boss.
13. Best UV protection gym leggings: Adidas's Alphaskin Sport 3/4 Tights
- Alphaskin Sport 3/4 Leggings, £20.96 (Was £29.95) from Adidas – buy here
If you’re an outdoor sports kinda woman then these black Adidas leggings are made for you.
They’re a high-tech dream – UPF 50+ UV protected, with a compression fit that helps reduce muscle vibration.
Plus, with climacool ventilation and anti-odour fabric, you’ll have no excuse not to exercise – even in a rare British heatwave.
The Adidas logo waistband is a trendy touch – wear them with the matching crop top for an Instagrammable #fitspo.
14. Best grey gym leggings: Boux Sport's Jacquard Mesh Leggings
- Boux Sport Jacquard Mesh Leggings, £32 from Boux Avenue – buy here
Boux Avenue has recently entered the activewear market and has made quite a splash.
It's affordable, stylish and comfortable gym gear has been a big hit – including with us.
We had the chance to test out this specific pair of gym leggings and put them through their paces.
Through boxing, HIIT and spin classes, we found these to be breathable, ultra-comfortable and supportive.
The high-waisted band doesn't cut into you, and the wicking fabric keeps you cool during your workout.
The only thing to mention is that we found they came up slightly big – so bear that in mind when choosing a size.
15. Best pastel gym leggings: Gymshark's Dreamy Leggings
- Dreamy Leggings 2.0, £35 from Gymshark – buy here
We couldn't have a best gym leggings roundup without mentioning Gymshark, could we?
Gymshark has shot up in popularity in recent years and it's easy to see why.
Their leggings are flattering, comfortable and affordable – what's not to love?
We've got our eye on the 2.0 style which comes in a beautiful choice of pastel hues including this ice cream shade of pistachio.
What are gym leggings made of?
Your gym leggings can be made of different fabrics.
The best one for you will depend on your personal preference and your favourite type of exercise.
The most popular leggings fabrics include cotton, polyester and nylon among others.
Cotton is usually a very soft and breathable fabric, making it suitable for those looking for something comfy to wear at the gym.
Bear in mind that it doesn't always hold up well to stretching and absorbs moisture, so it's better fitted to low-sweat workouts or gentler activities like yoga.
Polyester is known for its sweat-wicking properties making it ideal for those who love cardio. Less breathable than cotton, it can harbour smells so it needs to be washed on a regular basis.
This bring us to Nylon, a lightweight material that dries very quickly meaning it can stand out to the sweatiest of workouts.
It does have a tendency to shrink, so make sure you wash it a the right temperature.
Why do my gym leggings ride down?
If you're leggings are falling down, it might be due to a few things.
The simplest explanation is that you've picked the wrong size for you.
If your tights are loose and baggy around your crotch area, then try a size down or two. Excessive fabric in that area might cause chafing.
You can also try a higher waisted legging, which might be more appropriate to your body type.
Your leggings might also be sliding down because they are worn out and the elastic band is losing its elasticity.
Invest in a pair that ensures non-stretching in the wash and pick up detergent made for activewear to make your leggings last longer.
How tight should gym leggings be?
Again this will largely depend on your favourite activity.
If you're a runner or you like high-intensity training, it's best to choose leggings that feel like a second skin.
This means they should feel comfortable but relatively tight around your calves and tights.
If you notice a bit of your belly spilling out over the waistband, it probably means your leggings are too tight and you should move a size up.
Those who practice yoga might opt for softer fabric – like cotton – which hugs the body without being too restrictive.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best gym leggings? Then you may also like our selection of the best sports bras on the market.
We've created Sun Selects so you could find the best items when shopping around the web.
If you want to check more of our sport related recommendations, visit Sun Selects' health and fitness page.
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