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 women below.
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 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.
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 gym leggings for a good cause: Tikiboo Leopard Heart Leggings
- Leopard Heart 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.
Their high-waisted fit and adjustable drawstring waist ensure a great fit for every body shape.
What's more, by purchasing these amazing leggings, you'll also be supporting a good cause.
Tikiboo will donate 20% of the sale price to Breast Cancer Now.
Why not support the cause further and complete your outfit with the matching bra?
4. Best squat-proof gym leggings: Girlfriend Collective's Compressive High Waisted Legging
- Girlfriend Collective Compressive High Waisted Legging in honey, £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.
5. 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.
6. 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!
7. 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.
8. Best premium cropped gym leggings: GAP's High Rise Blackout Print Leggings
- GapFit High Rise Blackout Print 7/8 Leggings (in Green & Blue Print), £44.95 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!
9. Best classic gym leggings for women: 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.
10. Best print gym leggings: Figleaves's Rebecca 7/8 Shaping Active Legging
- Rebecca 7/8 Shaping Active Legging, £38 from Figleaves – buy here
Clad in a bold and bright geometric print, these shaping leggings from Figleaves are guaranteed to brighten up your exercise regime.
Made from a sculpting fabric, you can comfortably wear these leggings for lengthy high-impact training.
Figleaves also offers a matching tank top: wear both for some glam workout gear that's sure to have you feeling motivated.
11. Best sustainable 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.
12. Best white gym leggings: New Look's Sculpt Pink Marble Print Sports Leggings
- Sculpt Pink Marble Print Sports Leggings, £25 (was £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.
13. 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.
The retailer has a good selection of leggings, tops and shorts, and this is the pair for us.
Pure black, but for the striking pink and red colour block running across the legs – this affordable pair is chic but…just a little a bit different.
Meanwhile the quick-drying fabric is treated with a hydrophilic finish, which absorbs sweat and draws moisture away from the body—ideal for heavy workouts.
14. Best lightweight gym leggings: Under Armour's HeatGear® Armour Hi-Rise Leggings
- HeatGear® Armour Hi-Rise Leggings, £42 from Under Armour – 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
Its 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.
17. Best pastel gym leggings for women: Gymshark's Training 7/8 Leggings
- Training 7/8 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 hot pink.
18. Best bamboo 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 breathable but sustainably made, you'll love these leggings from BAM, made from—you guessed it—bamboo.
Bamboo fabric is antibacterial and highly sweat-absorbent, making it ideal for activewear. These leggings from the new BAM range have just landed online and 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 the new and improved range.
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 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 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 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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