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 have to suffer see-through faux pas’ or chafing mares.
As an exercise staple, leggings need to be comfortable, breathable, and flattering (please no knicker-showing pairs). The best activewear is an encouragement in itself.
Whether you need an ultra-flexible pair to downward dog in, or a moisture-wicking gem for those at-home HIIT workouts, great gym leggings come in handy for so many different needs.
As athleisure has become a daily go-to for a lot of women, leggings now accessorise more than just yoga classes.
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 women below. These styles will make you want to work out straight away. You're welcome.
We tested: MyProtein Women's Curve Leggings
- MP Women's Curve Leggings – Energy Green, £36 from MyProtein – buy here
MyProtein's MP Women's Curve Leggings are branded to be ultra body-sculpting and sweat-wicking, and frankly, what more could you ask for in a pair of leggings?
You can choose from 'Galaxy' grey, 'Petal' pink or 'True Blue' too, but we tested out the 'Energy Green' as seen above.
First of all, the sport-friendly fabric deserves a mention for being super stretchy and thick enough to be squat proof. Plus, the wide 'MP' monogram waistband really does pull you in in the right places.
As a UK size 10-12, we tried out medium and the fit was perfect, giving us a flattering silhouette that made us want to wear these post-workout too.
When you're exercising, they wick away moisture well without feeling damp and the tight high-waist makes you feel significantly supported, ensuring that the leggings don't budge for a second as you jump, squat and stretch.
In terms of comfort and flexibility, these can't be faulted, but our only critique would be the shading shape around your butt – we opted for longer tees when wearing these in public for that reason.
We tested: Lululemon Wunder Train HR Tight 25"
- Wunder Train HR Tight 25", £88 from Lululemon – buy here
Designed for training, the Wunder Train HR Tights from Lululemon are cut from Everlux™ fabric which wicks away moisture as you work out and has a flexible, four-way stretch.
We love the Dispersed Light Raw Linen Multi colour way, but you can choose from 14 other shades and prints if it doesn't take your fancy.
Just like everything by Lululemon, the leggings are silky soft, made from a fabric that's cool to touch and makes you feel like you're not wearing anything at all.
The waistband is thick and rises up over your belly button, giving you a fit that feels really secure and supportive – our only fault is that they're not that long with more of a 7/8 length for us (we're tall).
However, they're definitely perfect for a comfortable workout, doubling as stylish loungewear for those days off too.
We can see why people splash out on Lululemon.
We tested: MP Women's Shape Seamless Ultra Leggings
- MP Women's Shape Seamless Ultra Leggings – Deep Sea Blue, £21.99 from MyProtein – buy here
If you want something skin-tight, MyPotein's Shape Seamless Ultra Leggings might be your next sportswear staple.
Available for less than £22, this high-waisted, contouring style are designed to be as close-fit as hoisery yet absorb sweat with quick-drying fabric.
When putting these on, be prepared to pull, but don't size up just because they're tight. We ordered a medium and when we tried to put them on, immediately regretted our decision BUT we persisted and once we got them on and pulled up the high-waist, they fitted like a glove.
The stretch fabric really does contour your hips and butt, giving you support that feels like you're not wearing anything at all – these are a steal for £21.99 as they replicate a lot more expensive leggings on the market.
As the waistband is thick, you feel secure throughout your workout, whether you're running or squat-jumping. Just make sure that you pull them up well and ensure they're on properly before you start your session.
Now to resist buying them in every colour…
We tested: Under Armour Women's UA HydraFuse Leggings
- Women's UA HydraFuse Leggings, £75 from Under Armour – buy here
The UA HydraFuse Leggings by Under Armour are described on-site as "next-to-skin without the squeeze".
At £75, the four-way stretch fabric is embedded with microspheres which activate on contact and help rehydrate dry skin – now, that's fancy.
And wow. These leggings sure are soft. We'd go as far as to say that these are the softest leggings we have ever worn.
As they're so velvety-smooth, they're ridiculously snug and allow you to work out without feeling restricted as they're also extremely stretchy.
Aside from the fabric, the seamless pockets are also really deep, ideal for stashing your keys when you're out for a run, or your AirPod case and phone whilst you exercise.
They fit true-to-size – we're a size 12 and opted for large but they were a bit too big so next time we'd go for medium.
We tested: Pour Moi Energy 7/8 Metallic Print Legging
- Energy 7/8 Metallic Print Legging – Black/Rose Gold, £34 from Pour Moi – buy here
As modelled by TOWIE's Jess Wright above, Pour Moi's Energy 7/8 Metallic Print Leggings are for someone who wants to add a funky edge to their gym-drobe.
Featuring a rose gold sparkle print, they're ankle-grazing length with a high waist and small zip pocket at the back.
As we usually opt for more minimal styles, we were out of our comfort zone a bit in these, but if you are looking for a loud and glamorous style, then they just might be the leggings for you.
They're definitely high quality leggings for just £34, made from a stretchy fabric that's really smooth all over and fits your figure like a glove.
The sizing is spot on too and the extra high waist securely ensures that they don't budge when you're working out, whether you're practising yoga or putting yourself through a HIIT session.
If you're feeling really wacky, you can match them with the sports bra – you'll definitely turn heads at your next gym class.
Best pink gym leggings for women: Gymshark's Training Leggings
- Training Leggings, £25 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 training style which comes in a beautiful choice of hues including this bold shade of pink.
Best cropped leggings: Lululemon's Fast and Free Crop II 19" Non-Reflective
- Fast and Free Crop II 19" Non-Reflective leggings, £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 electric blue or black to suit your style.
Best bum-enhancing gym leggings: Alo Yoga's High-Waist Airbrush Legging,
- High-Waist Airbrush Leggings, £58 from Alo Yoga – buy here
Boasting amazing reviews, Alo Yoga's High-Waist Airbrush Leggings promise to sculpt, smooth and lift! Everything we ever wanted for our butt!
At under £60, they're designed to mould to every figure with flat-locked seams for comfort and high waistline for a simultaneously secure and sculpting fit.
There are twelve colours to choose from including Macaron Pink and Blue Quartz. Black is always a winner though.
Best funky gym leggings: BAM's High Waist 7/8 Enduro Bamboo Leggings
- High Waist 7/8 Enduro Bamboo Leggings, £49 from BAM – buy here
If you're looking for gym leggings that are not only funky and breathable, but also sustainably made, you'll love these leggings from BAM, made from bamboo.
Bamboo fabric is antibacterial and highly sweat-absorbent, making it ideal for activewear. These leggings from the new BAM range feature a higher waistband for improved comfort and support, as well as promising a sleeker, chafe-free fit.
We've tried a pair of leggings from BAM previously and found them to be fantastic quality, with a snug and supportive fit, so you can expect good things from this groovy-printed pair.
Best leopard print gym leggings: Tikiboo Neon Leopard Leggings
- Tikiboo Neon Leopard Leggings, £37.99 from Tikiboo – buy here
These fun and vibrant leggings are made from moisture-wicking fabric and have flat-lock seams for maximum comfort.
Cut from silky soft Lycra fabric, they're high-waisted with an elasticated drawstring waist to ensure a great fit for every body shape.
The best bit? There's even a matching bra. Let's make Carole Baskin-chic happen.
Best seamless leggings: Boux Sport Contour marl seamless leggings – Coral
- Boux Sport Contour Marl Seamless Leggings – Coral, £35 from Boux Avenue – buy here
First of all, how gorgeous is the peachy pink Coral of Boux Avenue's leggings?
Fitted with a four-way stretch, this high-waisted style prides itself on giving you a smooth silhouette.
They look best teamed with the matching crop top. Treat yourself.
Best high-waisted gym leggings: MP Women's Power Colour Block Leggings
- MP Women's Power Colour Block Leggings, £36 from Myprotein – buy here
Manchester-based sports nutrition brand, Myprotein, doesn't just specialise in powders and shakes: it has a brilliant range of sportswear.
Pure black, but for the striking pink and red colour block running across the legs – this affordable pair of leggings is chic but…just a little a bit different.
Best black gym leggings: TALA Zinnia Leggings
- Zinnia legging, £40 from TALA – buy here
If sustainability is what you look for in your activewear then TALA could be your new fave shopping destination.
They design and make their sportswear (and casualwear) from recycled plastic bottles and factory off-cuts, whilst promoting body positivity with flattering fits. Yay.
We tried out a pair of black Zinnia leggings, and immediately noticed how thick and opaque the fabric was. No VPLs here.
Normally a size 12-14, we tried them out in a size Medium and it's worth mentioning that they were a little on the snug side.
We didn't mind this too much as it meant that they didn't budge when we were sprinting around in them, but if you're between sizes or prefer a roomier fit, then we'd suggest going a size up.
Overall, we found them to be really comfortable, pretty flattering and forgot we were wearing them whilst working out – which we'd say is a good sign.
Plus, it's always nice to feel like you're helping the environment out by shopping sustainably.
Best plus-size gym leggings: Nike Training Pro Plus Size Tights
- Nike Training Pro Plus Size Tights, £35 from JD Sports – buy here
Nike have our back with their fabulous plus size range – we're loving the Training Pro Plus Size Tights, available at JD Sports.
Our favourite feature? Definitely the logo waistband, matching the subtle Nike tick on the leg that everyone instantly recognises.
Black is the most versatile of gym-wear staples. Take with that what you will.
Best gym leggings with pockets: Power High-Waisted Gym Leggings
- Power High-Waisted Gym Leggings, £75 from Sweaty Betty – buy here
Brand new to Sweaty Betty's iconic range of leggings, the Power High-Waisted Gym Leggings are a must-have for shaping your figure, and stocking secret handy pockets on either side.
Complete with moisture-wicking fabric, a bonded ultra-high waist band and squat-proof density, these leggings are fit for both high and low intensity workouts.
The pockets are so good that once your phone or keys are safely inside, you don't even notice them as you run. Ideal.
Best petite gym leggings: ASOS 4505 Petite Icon Legging
- ASOS 4505 Petite Icon Legging with Bum Sculpt Seam Detail, £18 from ASOS – buy here
ASOS' 4505 Petite Icon leggings are here to brighten up your day, sporting a zesty orange shade.
They're equipped with sculpting seams, one slip pocket, and breathable mesh panels – enough to make them a staple in your sportswear wardrobe.
For our short queens out there, these are cut with a shorter leg as part of ASOS' Petite range, made for smaller women.
Best cheap 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 jog 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 that 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.
Best maternity gym leggings: Gap's Maternity Low Rise Capri Leggings,
- Maternity Low Rise Capri Leggings, £14.95 from Gap – buy here
It's annoying having to splash out on a maternity wardrobe because you're only pregnant for nine months, which is why we're loving Gap's Maternity Low Rise Capri Leggings, priced at under £15.
Cut from soft rayon knit, these snug leggings feature a low-rise waist, so you won't feel suffocated or hot trying to squeeze your belly into a restrictive high-waisted pair.
At such a low price, you can't go wrong with basics like these for chilling out, working out, and likely everything in-between.
Best grey gym leggings: Gymshark Womens Vital Seamless Leggings
- Gymshark Womens Vital Seamless Leggings, £40 from Gym Shark – buy here
Gymshark's leggings always help you get that moulded silhouette with snug comfort, and the Vital Seamless Leggings are no exception.
They've got contouring patterns, sweat-wicking fabric, and the supportive ribbed waistband is high waist, which will work so well with cropped gym tops.
Grey is another trusty shade that goes just as well with bright colours like orange and pink as it does with dark tones like khaki and black.
Best mesh gym leggings: Reebok Workout Ready Mesh Training Leggings
- Reebok Workout Ready Mesh Training Leggings, Black, £35 – buy here
Mesh leggings not only add ventilation as your work up a sweat, they also look pretty cool too.
Decorated with mesh panels, this is a breathable design, built with speed-wick fabric.
Not only are they stylish sportswear, these leggings are also made from recycled polyester which is a great reason to buy them if you ask us.
Best vegan gym 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, with eco-friendly leggings built to stand the test of time.
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.
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 gym leggings
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 gym leggings
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.
Nylon gym leggings
Nylon is 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 at the right temperature.
Why do my gym leggings ride down?
If your 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 to stop gym leggings falling down
Well, if your gym leggings are falling down then you haven't bought them in the correct size. The best gym leggings contour your figure in a skin-tight shape, tightly hugging your body without budging at all whilst you train.
That being said, if it's a common problem for you then you might want to try sizing down for an even tighter fit, and to always opt for high-waist styles with a thick band that is made to really cling to your waist.
All of the gym leggings on our list are cut from good quality fabrics which means they shouldn't really be falling down if you get yourself the correct size.
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.
Should you wear knickers under gym leggings?
Some people actually go commando under their gym gear to avoid panty lines or chafing. But is that the right thing to do? Well, the answer is that it's entirely up to you.
If you choose not to wear knickers with your leggings, then you should make sure you opt for moisture-wicking fabrics, or even leggings woven with silver which acts as an antibacterial agent to avoid any infections.
However, be careful because if your leggings aren't thick enough, then you're risking contact with bacteria from the floor or seat, or wherever your butt ends up in your workout.
As soon as you finish your workout, you'll want to jump in the shower immediately, especially if you worked out without underwear on, as moisture can cause yeast infections.
But as we said, it's totally down to personal choice.
What pants to wear with gym leggings
Not convinced by the appeal of going commando? We have some top tips for what pants to wear with gym leggings.
First off, we definitely would recommend steering clear of thongs, unless they're specifically crafted to wick away moisture as you exercise – we say that because any friction can cause irritation, from bacterial infections to inflaming shaving rashes.
You should always be wearing breathable, stretchy and sweat-wicking pants, ones that basically make you feel like you're not wearing any.
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Enjoyed our roundup of the best gym leggings for women? 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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