Best High Waisted Workout Leggings Reviewed
If you have ever dabbled into the world of “Fitstagrammers,” you have probably seen extremely fit women posting photos of themselves in the gym rocking a cute sports bra and high waisted leggings. There’s a reason these leggings are so popular amongst women, especially those who love to workout. Not only are they extremely comfortable and supportive, they add a sense of security that other workout bottoms just cannot. With the huge influx of fitness apparel brands hitting the market as of late, it can be difficult to decipher which brand put out the best products. That’s where we come in. We’ve searched high and low to bring you the ten best high waisted leggings that are currently available on the market. Take a look through our buying guide and find the best one for you and your needs.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research
Good wicking properties
Top 10 High-Waisted Workout Leggings Reviewed
1. Nike Sculpt Hyper Crop
Good wicking properties
We’re starting off our top ten list with probably the biggest brand name in the world of athletic wear and gear – Nike! These high waisted workout leggings are made with Nike Power fabric that’s well-known for it's compressive (and supportive!) properties.
Do you sweat a lot while you workout? Thanks to the Nike Dri-FIT technology in these crops, you won’t need to worry about feeling the wetness from your sweat during your gym routines. The fabric will naturally wick away your sweat and any additional moisture to help keep you dry and comfortable during your most sweat-inducing workouts.
Nike knows what its customers want when it comes to athletic wear. Aside from a comfortable, compressive fit and breathable fabrics, the Sculpt Hyper Crops are outfitted with an internal pocket that you can use to store your car key or debit card. Even as a man I know that women’s clothing often lacks in the pocket department so this was a definite ‘pro’ we had to include in this review. Plus, they have absolutely no side seams that can become uncomfortable and distracting once you know they’re there.
2. Adidas Training Long
Runs true to size
Fun color options
May not be “squat proof”
In second place, we have high waisted workout leggings option from another big name brand in the world of sportswear. We loved the mesh-lined gusset that these have, providing an adequate amount of ventilation for particularly sweaty workouts. The wide elastic waist is extremely comfortable and provides a snug and secure feeling.
These Adidas leggings are perfect for the woman who sweats a lot while she works out. They’re outfitted with Adidas’ Climalite fabric. This fabric is made for use during activities where you know you’re going to be warm – spin class, a HIIT day, jogging, wherever you know you’re going to sweat. It has a layer of cotton on the outer fabric with a synthetic material underneath. This synthetic material is where the magic happens. The material not only helps to make the high waisted workout leggings more comfortable, but it also aids in sweat-wicking, so even if you’re drenched in sweat you won’t feel it.
Not a fan of just plain colors? That’s alright, Adidas has your back. These leggings come in eight different color options including the classic plain solids (black, grey, navy) and designs like Black with blue/white print on the side and bright red with print.
3. Under Armour Accelerate Engineered
Venting in legs
Not many color options
Filling out the last spot in our top three is this option from Under Armour. It only makes sense to us that the three top brands in the world of athletic wear take the top three spots in our buying guide. The Accelerate Engineered crops earned the coveted third place spot for a number of reasons.
These crops feature compression technology that is designed to fit tightly and provide a second skin feeling when you’re wearing them. Compression is lovely for people who don’t mind the feeling of tight clothing because it helps to give wearers a locked-in and secure feel. Even if you’re not a fan of compression clothing, you may not mind these crops because they’re made of a really soft and stretchy material that is able to provide coverage in the right places and be supportive as well.
Gone are the days of wet and restricting workout clothes. The Accelerate Engineered crops feature a mesh-like material in specific areas to help take away any excess heat that you may create while getting your sweat on. They also have a four-way stretch construction that will allow you to move in whatever direction your workout might take you making them one of the best high waisted leggings on the market.
4. Reebok High Rise Performance
Lots of colors to choose from
Fit as expected
Fabric may be thin
Reebok has carved quite the name for themselves over the last few years. Being the main sponsor of CrossFit, the brand has received a reputation for being synonymous with tough, hell-ish workouts. The quality of their gear should be tough enough to withstand the hardest workouts and we think this is true when it comes to these high waisted leggings in particular.
These leggings are designed to support you, hug you in all the necessary places and move with you no matter where you go during your workout. They’re made from a fabric that is quick drying and moisture wicking so you’ll never feel that uncomfortable feeling of wetness on your skin during your workouts.
The great thing about these high waisted leggings is that they’re not designed for one particular use. They’re very versatile no matter what kind of activity you’ll be doing in them. Yoga, weight training, running or just running errands, you’ll love the way the Reebok leggings feel and look. These come in 13 different size and design options from dark heather to black camouflage to purple so if you are the kind of person with tons of colors in their workout gear, you’re going to definitely want to get yourself a pair (or two) of these.
5. New Balance Highrise Transform
Fits as expected
Waist won’t roll down
Comfortable to wear
Freedom of movement
Not many colors
The Highrise Transform tight from New Balance is an incredibly well-made garment that’s designed to give you a fit that is not only comfortable but flattering as well. With a waistband that’s contoured and power mesh material, you’re going to feel supported and cool in these no matter what kind of workout you’ll be wearing them for.
Are you sick of women’s clothing not having any pockets? Well, you’ll be happy to learn that these high waisted workout leggings have two drop-in pockets at the hip to help you store your essentials.
These leggings are made from the brand’s NB Dry fabric. This material is designed to be fast-drying and has the ability to pull away moisture to help keep you comfortable even during your sweatiest routine. New Balance also outfitted these with their NB Fresh microbial technology that ensures your workout leggings won’t get smelly no matter how much you sweat in them!
6. Lululemon Wunder Under Super
No fun colors
There is a misconception out there that Lululemon is strictly for yogis. This is simply not true. Lulu has an endless amount of sportswear for both men and women that are designed for use outside the yoga studio. Their line of Wunder Under tights might be some of the most comfortable and well-received high waisted workout leggings out there.
This particular style of Wunder Under’s is the Super High Rise version. They are made from Lululemon’s Luon fabric, the brand’s name for their blend of nylon and Lycra materials. This fabric is well known for the amount of stretch it provides as well as its ability to provide both coverage and support.
These leggings have a pocket found on the waistband of them for you to be able to store some of your personal effects during your workouts. The pocket isn’t big enough for your smartphone, sadly, but it will hold your key and debit card just fine.
We have to talk about the fit of these. Anyone who owns a pair of Lululemon leggings knows just how soft they are. But these, in particular, are incredibly soft. They give wearers a second-skin fit that will help to remove any distractions during your workout or yoga practice.
7. Marika Olivia Tummy Control
Not see through
Nice wide waistband
Fits true to size
Not very stretchy
Now Marika might not be a brand name you’ve heard before but you’re going to absolutely love the Olivia High Rise Tummy Control leggings that we’re reviewing from them today. Not only are these pants affordable, much more so than many other options on our list, but they’re also just as comfortable and supportive.
These come in four different color options – black, heather black, juniper green or midnight blue. The 4-inch curved waistband is lined with power mesh for added comfort, support, shape enhancement, and tummy control.
The company chose to use their signature Dry Wik fabric in the construction of these high waisted workout leggings to help keep you cool, dry and comfortable during the course of your day. They have 2-way stretch construction, which makes them less stretchy than some of the other options we’re reviewing in this buying guide.
8. Athleta Chaturanga
Next up on our list is this bold option from Athlete. With their bold print, these are a great choice for the woman who is not afraid to get noticed. Whether you wear them to your Bikram yoga class or to the grocery store, you’re going to feel comforted and supported in these high waisted leggings.
They’re made with Athleta’s patented Pilayo fabric, which is very similar to Lululemon’s Luon material. Pilayo is 88% nylon and 12% lycra for a stretchy, dry and breathable feel. The waistband on these leggings consists of three layers for the ultimate in comfort as well as a mesh inner lining for further support.
The Chaturanga features a Coolmax crotch gusset to ensure you’re kept dry and odor-free no matter where these pants take you. Coolmax is a polyester fabric that’s marketed as moisture-wicking and breathable which are both very beneficial characters for athletic wear.
9. Spanx Active Compression
Sizes up to 3X
Fabric is lightweight
May fit too small
May be see through
You may not think athletic wear when you hear the brand name Spanx. Usually, their name is synonymous with “shapewear.” You may be surprised to learn, then, that Spanx actually has a line of activewear that includes high waisted leggings, shorts, bras, and tank tops.
These particular high waisted leggings fall just below the knee, making them a great choice for women who can’t stand having extra fabric on their bodies while they workout. They’re made from nylon and spandex (d’uh) materials which make them extra sweat-wicking, breathable and supportive. They are designed to fit on your natural waistline, providing an ample amount of coverage without the annoying muffin top. As an added bonus, these are true compression pants, perfect for any woman who is sensitive about their tummies or have issues with diastasis recti.
The waistband is contoured to help enhance all of your assets and with no seam in the center of the crotch, you won’t need to worry about the dreaded camel toe. The crotch gusset is made of cotton, making underwear completely optional while you wear these.
10. Beyond Yoga Spacedye Capris
Soft and comfortable
Won’t roll down
No true black color option
Though Beyond Yoga may not be a household name in the world of athletic wear just yet (at least not the way Adidas, Lululemon and Nike are), you shouldn’t let that stop you from delving deeper into the brand, their mission and the great quality clothing they manufacture.
These capris come in a few different color and style options including heathered black, blue, grey, green, pink and red aking them one of the best high waisted leggings for those looking to color match their workout outfits. They are designed to feel buttery soft when you put them on and just may become a new favorite in your wardrobe because of that.
They provide a 4-way stretch so you will feel comfortable and supported no matter what you’re doing while wearing them. The extra wide 5-inch waistband is designed to sit across your natural waistline for added comfort.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are plenty of things that can ruin your workout and having pants that are not flexible is one of them. Can you imagine trying to do a heavy squat while wearing blue jeans? It would be so incredibly uncomfortable and darn near impossible, we would think. You need your workout gear to flex and move with you. This is why we took the flexibility of the options on our list into account. Often times, the flexibility is directly related to the material that the manufacturer chose to use in the construction of their pants.
Performance. Fabrics. Need we say more? Well, yes, we do. If you plan on wearing your new high waisted workout leggings, you do not want something that is made from cotton. You’re going to need to invest in clothing that’s made from performance fabrics because they’re not only breathable and moisture-wicking by nature, but they’re quick-drying too. Any workout garment made from materials like polypropylene, spandex or polyester blends should work just fine for your regular gym routines. You may want something made of wool if you plan to do a lot of outdoor workouts in cooler temperatures.
The great thing about purchasing workout gear from popular brands is that these companies often have their own technology when it comes to creating and constructing the gear and clothing they offer their customers. Nike has Dri-FIT, Under Armour has HeatGear and Adidas has ClimaCool, for example. Let’s look a little closer at some of the other fabrics you may find the high waisted workout leggings in our buying guide are made out of.
Spandex. This is sometimes otherwise known as lycra or elastane. It’s a stretchy and synthetic polyurethane fabric. It is pretty much the holy grail in terms of activewear fabrics. It stretches in just the right places when you move and is incredibly comfortable to wear. On the downside, though, clothing made of Spandex can lose elasticity quickly if it is not properly cared for (e.g., repeatedly dried on high in your dryer). Spandex may also not be as able to hide flaws as other material types. If you have a lot of cellulite that you’re self-conscious about, you may wish to steer clear.
Polyester. This material type is relatively inexpensive and can be quite durable. If treated properly, it can have really great wicking and drying properties that’ll keep you dry (and cool) during your workouts. Clothing made of polyester is much less likely to shrink in the wash. It isn’t as soft as a material, however.
Nylon. This is probably the strongest material. Nylon is able to wick away wetness and sweat and will dry quickly if it were to get wet. It can be quite stretchy and is more affordable than other fabric options. Excessively washing and drying your nylon leggings, however, can cause unsightly piling. Make sure you read the care instructions on the tag before you wash them!
Of course, comfort is king when it comes to any type of clothing. You will be much more likely to reach for something in your closet that feels comfortable to wear than something that feels restrictive or falls down while you’re wearing it. The good news is that all of the leggings in our top ten list are extremely comfortable. They’re made from high-quality materials that boost the overall comfort levels of the garments. Sure, you can throw on a pair of sweatpants that have been in your closet since 2003 and an oversized cotton t-shirt when you go to hit the gym, but we promise you’ll be much more comfortable in clothing that is designed to be worn for workouts.
Just like a sports bra provides support to a woman’s breasts during workouts, a pair of high waisted leggings will provide the support you need to feel secure and comfortable during your workouts. Many women prefer the feel of a thicker waistband on their stomachs because they are able to offer the right amount of support in all the places women feel they need it. Not to mention, it’s often much easier to perform certain exercises with a pair of high waisted leggings on than a pair of crops that fall a bit lower on the body. Exercises that have a lot of movement, such as burpees or running, will often cause ill-fitting mid-rise pants to fall down. This scenario is much less likely to occur if your pants fit higher on your tummy and are hugging you in, like a good pair of high waisted leggings would.
Have you ever completed a particularly difficult workout to find your clothes completely drenched from your sweat? Chances are whatever it is you were wearing during your workout was not breathable. Breathable pants will naturally wick away sweat in order not only keep you comfortable but cool as well. If you tend to be the person in the gym who is dripping sweat from head to toe, it is especially important for you to invest in breathable workout gear. Wearing something breathable when you’re sweating so much will help to prevent chafing and painful rashes that can occur from your sweat being trapped between your skin and your clothing.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Buying clothing online can be hard. You see a pair of leggings from an unknown brand for $15 with 1000 amazing reviews on Amazon and compare it to a pair from Nike for $100 with close to no reviews at all. It might be tempting to cheap out and purchase the “more affordable” option with all of the positive reviews. But the truth of the matter is, many reviews you read online have been paid for or are the result of a bribery. It is a sad truth, but a reality of the world we live in today. This is where brand name recognition and reputation come in handy. We all know that names of some of the most popular athletic wear companies in the world right now – Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and so on and so forth. These brands are at the top for a reason. They make high-quality clothing that is going to last you and they have respect globally from millions of customers. Sure, it might cost a bit more out of pocket to invest in clothing from a well-known brand name, but you don’t want to cheap out especially when it comes to your athletic wear. What you’re wearing during your gym routines, runs or fitness classes can greatly affect your ability to perform. Not to mention, many of these well-known brands offer fantastic return policies!
Online shopping is the way of the future. We already are able to see that now as many big name brick and mortar stores are closing out and going bankrupt every single year. The problem with online shopping for things like shoes and clothing, though, is that it is hard to gauge what is going to fit you properly without being able to physically try on the clothes. The great news is that so many online shops recognize this as an issue and offer free returns within a certain amount of days after receiving your item in the mail. But it is disappointing to receive something you’re so psych to get in the mail only to find that it doesn’t fit. This is why we recommend you purchase a measuring tape. You can get them for $1.00 at your local dollar store in the sewing aisle. You’re going to want a soft tape and not something you would use for measuring lumber at the hardware store. Once you have your measuring tape on hand, you can take appropriate measurements to ensure that you’re purchasing a size that is going to fit you. We recommend you read the size charts not only on web merchants like Amazon, but also on the brand’s website as the chart is likely to be more accurate there.
Though not all of the leggings in our buying guide have compressive properties, a fair number of them do. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of wearing compression leggings.
- They help with muscle fatigue by keeping your muscles in place.
- They help to improve your blood flow and reduce blood lactates
- They reduce the likelihood that you’ll have muscle strains.
- They may help reduce swelling and help to stave off DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) post-workout.
- They may be able to increase your power.
- They cause less friction and chafing than other types of pants.
Other Factors to Consider
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with “off brand” clothing, having the security of a big athletic brand name on your workout gear can bring some peace of mind. Though you’ll probably need to dig a little deeper into your pockets in order to be able to afford workout clothing from big brand names like Adidas and Nike, you know that you’re getting a really well-made garment from a company whose focus is predominately on sports and athletic wear. The problem with off-brand clothing manufacturer’s is that they don’t have the reputation behind them that they feel pressured to uphold.
If you love the idea of high waisted leggings (who doesn’t, honestly?) but don’t fancy yourself as much of a gym goer or yogi, you can still buy a pair of these leggings. They are not reserved only for fitness fanatics, believe it or not. You don’t need to be planning a heavy squat day or preparing for a bikram yoga class to be able to reap the benefits of comfortable clothing. So, we say do it, buy a pair of high waisted leggings. Wear them to bootcamp, church, the grocery store or your next PTA meeting. You will be a heck of a lot more comfortable than Deborah from across the street in her business attire (and also ready to run if the zombie apocalypse occurs while you’re running errands).
You don’t need to be a seasoned yogi, hardcore athlete or even a gym go-er to be able to appreciate the comfort and support provided by high waisted leggings. There are a lot of really poor-quality leggings out there that might be attractive at first because of their lower price point. The truth of the matter is, if you want a pair of quality leggings that aren’t going to rip if you bend over or show everyone your brightly colored underwear during your squats, you need to spend a bit of money. The good news is that you will receive a huge return on your investment – you’ll be comfortable, you’ll kill all of your workouts, you’ll look good and, best of all, no one will see your underwear!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do I really need to have specific clothes for working out?
No. It’s not an absolute necessity. All you really need to workout is a body and motivation. But will you be more comfortable during your workout if you’re wearing clothes specifically designed for gym use? Yes! We’ve already said it many times throughout this buying guide, but we will reiterate it again because it is so important. While working clothing might seem like an unnecessary frill at first, especially when you’re already paying big bucks for a gym membership or personal trainer, the clothing you choose to wear to the gym can often make or break your workout. Ill-fitting or poorly made garments constructed from the wrong types of fabrics can cause you to overheat or can encourage the growth of bad bacteria when moisture gets trapped between your skin and what you’re wearing. You will be so much more comfortable (and much more likely to go back to the gym) if you’re wearing clothing that not only hugs you in all the right spots, but is made from athlete-friendly materials, too. Not to mention, proper athletic wear can even help boost your performance!
q: Why would I want a pair of high-waisted leggings in the first place?
Have you ever tried to do a workout in a pair of pants whose waistband rolls down mid-burpee? If so, you know how annoying that can be. No one wants to be tugging at their clothes to keep them on during their workouts. High-waisted legging fit, as you can probably guess, high on your waist. They’re often made from form-fitting material that is designed to provide some support. You’ll feel “held in” while wearing high-quality leggings like you’ll find in our above buying guide and won’t have to worry about tummy bulges or pulling up your pants during your workouts again.
q: Can I only wear high waisted workout leggings to the gym?
No! Of course not. Athleisure is an incredibly popular trend in fashion these days where it is completely acceptable to go out on the town in the clothes you bought to workout in (or maybe you didn’t buy them for workouts, that’s ok too). These garments are very versatile and you can pair them with almost anything to get a complete, fashionable look. Pair them with a cropped hoodie and fashionable sneakers for a comfortable outfit while running errands. You can rock a bright shirt with black leggings and heels for a chic daytime outfit. Try a dress over leggings with boots during the cooler months for a cute and fashionable look. The possibilities are quite literally endless!
q: Why are some of these so expensive?
When it comes to clothing, you often get what you pay for. Sure, you could opt for the off-brand high waisted leggings that are half the price of the options in our buying guide. But we would be willing to bet you that your “affordable” leggings are cheaply and poorly made, resulting in a product that will break down sooner, get ruined in the wash or will just not be able to perform as well as its higher-priced counterpart.
q: Do I need compression leggings?
Maybe. The answer to this truly depends on you, your needs and what you’ll be wearing your leggings for. Compression clothing is designed to hold your muscles in place and is said to be able to boost your athletic performance. Compressive clothing works best for dynamic exercises like running and will be less effective for activities like weight lifting or yoga. If you plan on buying a pair of these high waisted leggings for everyday wear, you probably do not need to opt for ones with compression properties unless you truly want to. The psychological benefits are there. Some people prefer feeling ‘held in’ and ‘hugged’ by their clothing and in that case, by all means, rock your compression clothing! If it makes you feel comfortable and you’re not necessarily looking to boost your athletic performance, you certainly can still buy a pair of these.