Best Leggings for Running Reviewed
Sometimes, the difference between a good run and a great run depends upon the clothes that you are wearing. We love popping on a good pair of running leggings because they are comfortable and easy.
Using a simple stretchy layer of material, these products offer an unmatched range of motion so that you will not feel held back by the clothes that you are wearing. Plus, most designs are made to be breathable and lightweight, wick sweat away from your body, and can actually keep you warmer in the colder months.
Wear them alone or under your favorite pair of sweatpants the next time you head out on the trails for a crisp early morning run. In this guide, we have listed some of our favorite pairs of best running leggings to keep you high and dry no matter the conditions for which you are training!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Top 10 Most Comfortable Leggings for Women Runners
1. Nike Pro Tights
You can’t really go wrong when you select Nike running leggings. What we loved about this design is that it is made to fit incredibly tight so that it fits and feels like a second skin. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it riding up or rolling down because it has a flat elastic waistband that rides high up on your hips that keeps them securely in place.
As with any piece of Nike gear, it is made using their patented Dri-FIT technology that goes that extra mile wicking sweat away from your body to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable. It uses a blend of 80% polyester and 20% elastane. This slightly higher percentage of elastane is what makes them fit so snugly against the body which is great to wear on its own, or you can even wear it as a base layer when the temperatures start to drop.
Another thing that we really liked about these running leggings is that they come in a few different colors and designs from your basic black. Users can select from colors that include gray and navy blue, and each design sports the Nike name on the waistband, and the swoosh on the upper thigh.
With a wide variety of sizes to select from, there is no reason that you won’t be able to find a pair that fits your unique body shape perfectly. Plus, according to previous users, this option passes the see-through test with flying colors!
2. CompressionZ High Waisted
Transparent light colors
You may not have heard of the brand CompressionZ before, but we feel that they are worth checking out. They were founded by a group of runners that wanted to make clothing and gear that would appeal to the everyday athlete. Not only is this option comfortable and stylish, but it is designed to ease pain from the dreaded shin splints. Paired with great running shoes for shin splints is an excellent way to prevent this issue.
What we found users loved most about this high-waisted option is that it is made to be comfortable. It uses flat-locked seams that won’t rub up against your skin, and this will prevent itching as well as chafing. The higher waistband will hold in tummies, and due to the fact that it sits above your hips means that will not shift down as you move.
These leggings for runners are made from a blend of 73 percent polyester and 27 percent spandex. This higher percentage of spandex is what provides excellent compression and it also provides an excellent range of motion so that you can really dig into your stretches after a long and grueling trip on the treadmill.
With a wide variety of colors and patterns to select from, you can look incredibly stylish while you get the most out of your workouts. This option is made to keep you cool and dry, and it fits tightly enough that you can even wear it under a pair of sweatpants to keep warm on those cooler days.
3. Under Armour ColdGear
What makes these running leggings from Under Armour unique is that they are made from two layers of fabric that are designed to keep you warm and comfortable in cooler climates, but is it also lightweight enough that it can be worn in warmer temperatures as well. As with any Under Armor product, you can expect high-quality materials that are will stand up to whatever you can throw at it.
Using a blend of 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex, this option is just a little less nimble than designs that use over 20 percent stretchy materials. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to dig into your stretches as well, it simply means that it won’t feel as lightweight as some of the other single layer designs that we have seen out there on the market.
The basic structure of these leggings for runners is something that is incredibly comfortable. Under Armour uses flat-locked seams to reduce chafing and irritation, and the higher single layer waistband that sits just about the hips will keep them from shifting down as you begin to move. An impressive 86 percent of users found that this design fit them exactly as expected, and there is a wide variety of sizing options top select from.
If you live somewhere that is cooler more often than it is warm, this ColdGear option from Under Armour may be the best way for you to stay warm without hindering your full range of motion in the slightest. The only downside, however, is that it is only offered in basic black.
4. Degree By Reflex
Many unique colors
Runs very long
This brand may not exactly be a household name, but when we researched the materials used as well as the style and versatility we found that they are certainly worth checking out. If you want something that comes in every color of the rainbow while still allowing you a full range of motion- this is one of your better choices.
The very first thing that we noticed about these leggings is that they are offered in pretty much every color that you could imagine. If you are tired of the basic black bottoms, Reflex leggings give you quite a few choices such as Twilight Mauve, Pink Ocean, Fig Berry, and Moonlit Ocean. Sometimes when it comes to lighter colors you run the risk of them being see-through, but based upon what previous users have had to say, you can bend and squat without the entire gym knowing what color underwear you are wearing!
The materials used for this design are incredibly lightweight and durable. It is made from a blend of 87 percent nylon and 13 percent spandex. This blend will wick away moisture from your body to keep you cool and dry, and it also moves right along with you like you are wearing a second skin.
It may not be one of the heavy hitting brands such as Nike, but this design is made from the same high-quality materials and uses a lot of the same styling and advanced comfort features as some of the big brands. If you want something that adds more style to your workout gear without sacrificing quality, we feel this is an excellent fit!
We really like Baleaf because they always take into consideration the little things that athletes want in their gear. What makes this design stand out from the rest is the little improvements and additions that will make your life a lot easier. Plus, it is made from stretchy materials that will be able to keep up with you and will not slow you down in the slightest.
The seams on this design are smartly placed so they won’t dig into your skin or limit your range of motion. They are also flat-locked, which means there will be little chance that they will rug against your skin that causes chafing. The waistband sits a little bit lower than some of the high rise designs, and it offers a small little pocket that is perfect for placing a key or a phone securely in place.
About 85 percent of users feel that these running leggings fit them as expected, and this higher number is because they provide a very detailed sizing chart. This sizing chart takes into consideration your weight, height, waist, hips, and inseam so you know exactly what you are getting.
While there are quite a few color options offered, many of the colors are pretty dark. It won’t give you that extra pop of color that you long for, but you know that darker colors are less prone to be see-through. Color options include basic black, dark magenta, navy blue, gothic grape, and ruby wine.
6. Adidas Originals 3 Stripes
Perhaps you like the idea of a pant that fits a little tighter than your basic sweats, but you don’t want to feel like you are squeezing into a sausage casing! If that’s the case, you might want to check out this design from Adidas. It gives users all of the benefits of a legging but provides a slightly looser fit that some users really appreciate. Plus, it sports that classic 3 stripes so everyone knows you are wearing an Adidas product!
As we mentioned earlier, the fit of this design was the very first thing that we noticed. Instead of using a high elastic thread count in their material, the blend of this design is mostly made from a jersey knit cotton. More specifically, the blend is composed of 93 percent cotton and 7 percent elastane. The small addition of a stretchy fabric provides users with a great range of motion without adhering to your legs like a second skin.
Another thing that we really liked about this option is that it comes in a ton of unique styling options. Users can select from colors that include red, gray, pink, and blue, as well as floral, snakeskin, and camo patterns. It doesn’t matter if you opt for basic black or floral, each design is accented with the classic 3 stripes that run down the outside of the leg.
As with any Adidas product, you can expect it to be made from high-quality materials that are manufactured with athletes in mind. User not only love the performance of this design when they are out on the trails or working out in the gym, but they also love how they feel when they are wearing them.
7. Spalding Essential Capri
You already know that Spalding has been manufacturing basketballs for quite some time (since 1876, to be exact!), but you may not know that they also make some pretty great athletic gear. What we liked about their Essential Capri is that it is designed with athletes in mind. It has a nice and easy fit that allows for easy movement, and it is something that you can throw into the washing machine over and over again without losing shape or durability.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this running capri design. It is made from a blend of 92 percent cotton material and 8 percent spandex. This means that it feels incredibly soft against your skin, but the 8 percent spandex gives it great movement as you work out. It also sports a wide 4-way stretch waistband that sits high above the hip bones that keeps it in place with every stride.
One of the downsides to this design is that it only comes in basic black. If you are looking for something that offers more color and design choices, this isn’t won’t be the selection for you. However, for those that want something that will fit well and be comfortable to wear at the gym, we feel this will to be an excellent choice. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of sizes that start at small and run all the way up to 3XL.
Keep in mind that the Capri cut will fall roughly in the middle of your calf (depending upon your height). This means that if you want to wear them in cooler climates, you will have a portion of your lower leg exposed. Users often love the Capri design for warmer temperatures because it protects against chafing while still keeping them cool and dry.
8. Champion Jogger
Most people don’t know that the trusted brand of Champion that was founded in 1919 is actually a subsidiary of the Hanesbrands. So, if you love your Hanes undergarments, the Jogger design from Champion is worth a look. This brand makes gear for everyday athletes, as well as those competing in the NFL! What we liked about this design is that it provides an incredibly comfortable fit and it has a few features that users really appreciate.
If you want something that is a little loose, this is a great choice. It has a snug waistband that uses a drawstring so that you can adjust it to fit as loose or tight as you like. Plus, the addition of cuffed ankles pulls the fabric away front your skin but prevents the cuffs from dragging on the ground.
One feature that this design has that many of the others do not offer is the addition of dual pockets along the side that are deep enough to hold your cell phone in one pocket, and your wallet or car keys in the other! If you don’t like the feel of elastic in the body of your pant, this design leaves it out completely. It is composed of a blend of about 60 percent polyester and 40 percent cotton which means that will wash up quite well.
For those that want something that has an easier fit that uses drawstrings to adjust the tightness rather than elastic (which can sometimes be constricting), this design from Champion is worth checking out.
9. Nike Sportswear Club
What we liked about these running leggings from Nike is that they offer users an easy fit while still providing a good deal of support as well as a little bit of compression. The very thick and pronounced high waistband will keep them from sliding down as you move, and unique color choices and design will add just a little pop of classic Nike style.
The materials used for this design are made up of a blend of about 92 percent jersey cotton and 8 percent spandex that provides that great stretch and movement. Users especially love this design because it feels incredibly comfortable against their skin, and washes up quite well.
There is a wide variety of sizing options that users can select from, starting from extra small and running up to XXL. User can select from colors that include powder pink, black, heather gray, and royal blue. Each design has a pronounced waistband with the Nike name repeating around the band, and a large Nike Swoosh on one of the lower thighs.
If you love your Nike products and you are looking for something that has an easy and comfortable fit with great style, this option is worth checking out!
10. ASICS PR Tight
ASICS is a brand that has been providing users with great quality gear since they were founded in 1977. What we loved most about the PR Tight is that it provides a good deal of compression to fight against the dreaded shin splints, and it also stays firmly in place as you move.
These leggings are composed of just 79 percent polyester and an impressive 21 percent elastane. A higher elastane count means that it offers compression and it fits just like a second skin. Plus, the high waistband will suck in tummies to help with core stabilization, and it will prevent it from falling down with each stride.
There are a few additional features on this design that can really help you out when you are out on the trails. The waistband is equipped with a secret stash pocket that is big enough for keys, cards, or a bit of extra cash. It also has reflective features that are sewn into the fabric that helps you to be seen by fellow travelers and motorists in low light conditions.
If you are looking for something that fits like a second skin, this is a great selection. Plus, it is offered in a few more bright colors that add a little pop of style to your workout wardrobe!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The materials that are used will help you stay dry and comfortable during your workouts.
Almost all of the designs out there on the market used a blend of various fabrics that are engineered to keep you dry and comfortable when you workout. We have broken down a list of the fabrics that were included in these blends, and the reasons that they can be very beneficial to your workouts.
Polyester/nylon: For almost all of the designs out there on the market, polyester is the number of fabric found in their blends. The reason why polyester is perfect for these garments is that it is incredibly durable (which means you can toss it into the washing machine over and over again) and it works great at wicking away sweat. Plus, we like that it feels comfortable against the skin. The type of fabric has a natural give to it which is great for promoting an effortless range of motion, especially when paired with spandex or elastane.
Elastane: This is the material this is responsible for your range of motion. It is what gives the garment the ability to fit on your legs like a glove, and move and stretch right along with you. The more elastane (or spandex) that is found in the blend of materials that were used means the more compression that it will provide. For those that are looking for something that is super stretchy and that provides a lot of compressions, you want to select a fabric that is made with 20 percent or more of elastane. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to feel like you are in a sausage casing, less elastane will be more ideal for your preferences. This is the material that makes it very versatile and can be a great addition to your next yoga class.
Jersey Cotton: When it comes to workout gear, we typically shy away from cotton. Cotton is a fabric that tends to absorb sweat like a sponge. However, in this instance, we found that users quite liked a blend that used cotton when it came to long pants. Everything below your upper thighs doesn’t really sweat all that much even when you are hitting the treadmill pretty hard. Cotton will provide a very comfortable fit, and it will also wash much a lot nicer than polyester of nylon.
Finding the right fit will be the key to success.
What we found in our research is that many of the modern styles all reflect a very similar shape that will be able to keep up with you in your training sessions. We have broken down some of the key designs that will ensure that they will stay put as you run.
High waist: Most of the designs that we came across all sported a high waistline, which has a myriad of benefits. The first benefit of a high waist is that it will be less likely to shift down on you as you run. Designs that cinch at the smallest point on your waist really have nowhere to travel. A high waist will help suck in your stomach which helps with core stabilization. Keeping your core tight is great when you run, especially if you are hitting the pavement to shed a few extra pounds!
Sizing options: One of the most important things to consider when making your selecting is to ensure that you get the right size for your body shape. An ill-fitting garment is a recipe for a dropped crotch or loss of circulation below the waist! To ensure that you get the right size for your body, a detailed sizing chart is key. That’s why we wanted to make sure that we selected designs that provided users with a sizing chart that not only used measurements of the waistline but also included the inseam, height, and weight.
User reviews: The quickest way to determine just how well a will fit is to comb through all of the user’s reviews. We want to make sure that we selected designs that a lot of users felt fit exactly as they expected it to fit. If we came across a design that had an overwhelming number of users that found that the garment just didn’t fit right, we often moved on to another product. If there were simply a few users that felt that their product did not fit them right, we sometimes would simply chalk it up to users not selecting the right size for their body type.
Basic black goes with just about anything, but sometimes you want something more than that!
Expressing your personal style through your clothing is something that is important and we wanted to provide you with a lot of interesting choices. However, there are some styles out there on the market that come with a few issues, so it is important to keep a few things in mind when venturing outside of your basic black options.
Light colors often do not pass what users call the ‘squat test’. While a light color option may seem perfectly fine when you are standing upright, there may be a problem when you squat down. Due to the fact that these products are typically made from incredibly lightweight and thin materials, when you stretch them they become even thinner and may present to the world the color of your underwear. This is simply not acceptable, because stretching at the end of a long run is the best part!
If you plan on venturing outside of the traditional black design, make sure that you look to see what previous users have had to say about a product passing the ‘squat test’!
To ensure that you are getting the best quality available, the big names will be one of your better options.
Brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are already known for their quality and innovative design, but that doesn’t mean you should write off the lesser known brands. We included a few brands that you may not have heard of that provide users with some exception gear that is made from materials that are just as great. Plus, they have something to prove in this competitive marketplace! We broke down some of the lesser known brands that were included on this list, and a few reasons why you should give them a shot.
CompressionZ: This company was founded by a few exercise enthusiasts that wanted to create a brand that would craft products that they would want to wear themselves! The reason that we loved this brand is that they utilize a patented fabric that provides users a good deal of compression (which is always nice), but it is also something that will feel nice and relaxed against your skin.
Baleaf: Baleaf is a brand that we feel is always changing and perfecting their products. They really do take into consideration what their customers want from their products, and always try and bring a little something extra to the table. The reason that we liked this brand so much is that it is innovative, but it is still made from high-quality materials that will be able to hold up to whatever you can throw at it.
90 Degree By Reflex: What we liked most about this brand was the level of versatility. They design their garments to be something that you will not only want to wear when you are running on the treadmill at the gym, but also serve as something you will want to wear while running errands after your workout. We loved that they use high-quality materials that wash really well, and are comfortable enough to be something that you will want to wear all day.
A few extra features here and there will make your life so much easier!
Selecting styles that offered just a little bit extra really made a design stand out from the rest of the pack. While there are no features that will help you run for longer distances, there were a few things that we kept our eye on. Below, we have broken down some of our favorite additional features and the reasons that we selected them.
Pockets: Everyone loves pockets! The downside to selecting a design that fits like a second skin is that it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for pockets. When you are going for a quick run at a local park, you don’t want to have to carry them in your hands. The addition of a discrete mini pocket on the inside of the waistband offers a great place to store a key or a credit card securely in place.
Reflective materials: When going for a jog in low light conditions can be a little dangerous if other drivers cannot see you, which is why we loved it when brands added a little bit of reflective material right into the base of the garments. Staying safe when training in congested areas in low light is incredibly important!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you are looking to up the compression from your pants, spandex is the material you should keep an eye on. Spandex is the main material used in almost all compression gear.
The 'squat test' is how most users check to see if their pants are going to be able to keep up with their workouts. You can tell a lot from a squat! It will indicate the garments range of motion, and how well it will hold up under stress.
You can always spot an Adidas product by those classic three stripes. The three stripes (that are positioned in the shape of a mountain) actually represent the mountain of challenges that athletes often face.
Other Factors to Consider
If there was just one piece of advice that we could give you when selecting a design that will work for you, it would be to make sure that you pick the right size for your body type. A poorly fitted garment means that it will run the risk of rolling down or hiking up with every stride- and no runner wants that.
So, how will you know if it will fit you in all the right places? The truth of the matter is that it may not, in fact, for you in all of the right places because everyone is different. However, to make sure that it’s comfortable, be sure that you pay attention to the waist measurements in the sizing guide. Sure, it may offer other sizing suggestions depending upon your inseam, height, and weight, but the waist size is will be the most important.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How will running leggings benefit my workout?
Managing sweat and promoting flexibility is a big key to getting the most out of your workout. What we like about this type of gear is that it is made to fit like a second skin. If you are someone that struggles with chafing with each and every step, you might want to check out this style of pant.
The flexible blend of materials that are used to make up these garments offer a superior range of motion that you often don’t find with other designs. You won’t have to worry about it rolling up your thigh because it is positioned far below the knee. Plus, the addition of a thick, high waistband provides further protection against them riding down.
q: Will they offer any compression?
The answer to this question depends on the blend of materials that you select. Compression happens when the fabrics sit tightly against your skin and essentially hold muscles firmly in place. Just because you opt for a style that fits tight does not necessarily mean that it provides any compression support.
For those that want more compression in their garments, you want to look for styles that have a high elastane percentage. From our research, we found that garments that have over 20 percent elastane in their fabric blends offer the most compression. If you are looking for something that will not hold you in so much, you can either elect to skip the stretchy fabrics altogether or opt for a design that has under 10 percent elastane in their fabric blend.
q: How should they fit?
Getting something that doesn’t fit right is a recipe for disaster. If you like your gear to fit tight, we suggest that you select brands that offer over 20 percent spandex. However, be sure that you don’t select a size that is too small. Designs that fit a little too tight may do a great job at compression, but you will find that they will shift down your hips as you start to run, or they can even cut off circulation (which can be a real problem!)
Not all gear has to fit as tightly, however. If you want to put a stop to chafing but you don’t like the idea of gear that will feel like a second skin, we recommend selecting options that have a very limited amount or spandex or elastane. These designs will not offer any compression, but they will help provide a layer of protection to keep your skin from becoming irritated and chafing.
q: Can I wear leggings for running in cold weather?
Absolutely! The beauty of this design is that it can be worn alone on hot days when you want to help keep dry and cool, but they can also serve as a killer base layer. Due to the fact that they typically fit so snugly against your skin means that slipping an additional layer of sweat pants over top will be an excellent way of staying warm.
When used as a base layer, the stretchy fabrics will help wick sweat away from your skin which will keep your skin dry. When your skin is dry in cooler temperatures, your body will stay warm. Plus, as your body starts to warm up, you have the option of shedding your sweatpants.
q: How can I keep them from falling down?
A drop crotch may be something that is fashionable in your everyday wear, but it can be a real annoyance in your workout gear. So, what can you do to prevent them from slipping down with each and every stride?
One of the biggest reasons that they slip down is because you don’t have the right size for your body. Ensuring that you select the right size will be the key to success. Sure, they need to hug your body like a second skin, but there is a limit to how tight that they should be. We always recommend that you consult a sizing chart, but you may find that your special shape doesn’t conform to their traditional sizes. If you find that your shape doesn’t quite fit, we recommend selecting a size that matches the measurements of your waist.
Another way to ensure that they won’t shift down to your knees is to elect for a higher waist. Higher waistbands that ride up above your hips will be less likely to slip down down each stride. A bonus benefit to a design that rides higher is that it will help you naturally stabilize your core as you work out.
q: Can I wear them for anything else?
Of course! In fact, many users like to wear this style of pants for their morning workout, and then continue to wear them throughout the course of their day. They are designed to really be able to move, so they will be a perfect addition to your weightlifting routine, or even when you are engaging in a little bit of yoga.