Thanks to the boom of athleisure over the past decade, leggings have never been so popular.
A workout essential, the versatility and comfort of your best leggings (opens in new tab) make them a hardworking piece that you’re guaranteed to wear on repeat. There are plenty of different types of leggings (opens in new tab), but the right pair can also enhance sporting performance – whether you're running a half-marathon or perfecting your Downward Dog. Among the thousands legging brands out there, Sweaty Betty and Proskins are both known for their high-quality, technical leggings made specifically to be worn as activewear.
Launched in 1998, Sweaty Betty was born after founder Tamara Hill-Norton struggled to find active wear with the style factor. Fast-forward twenty years, and the London-based brand has become known for its bum-sculpting workout leggings (opens in new tab) - designed to cater for all manner of activities.
Elsewhere (in Nottingham, to be specific), Proskins has been creating leggings since 2005. Dedicated to pushing the bar of innovation, the brand’s smart use of technology is geared towards boosting both performance and feel-good factor.
But which brand’s leggings are best? We've compared the key factors of both offerings to make sure you're getting the most for your money. Read on for the lowdown...
Sweaty Betty vs Proskins leggings: Which brand comes out on top?
We've broken down our verdict into five key considerations...
Over and above anything else, leggings need to aid and enable performance. From high-impact activities such as cycling, running, and running, to low-impact workouts such as yoga, barre and Pilates, Sweaty Betty has a comprehensive range to suit all. For strenous excercise, try their best-selling Sweaty Betty Power Leggings (opens in new tab). They're made from polyamide-elastane mix to support muscles and wick sweat away.
For low-impact workouts, give the popular Super Sculpt High Waisted Yoga Leggings a go. They contain a high element of stretch for flexibility and ease of movement. In addition, this design features 99% opacity, meaning they won’t go sheer when you bend. Not sure which leggings are best for your activity? The quiz on the Sweaty Betty website will help you narrow it down.
Proskins carries a smaller range of leggings, which are concentrated on the more vigorous end of the exercise spectrum. Stock up for running, spinning and sweaty HIIT classes. Each style features a compression fit to boost circulation and smart Micro Climate Technology to keep body temperature regulated at a comfortable 37 degrees. If that wasn't enough, they're all treated with Antibacterial Silver to diminish odours and keep you feeling fresh. The Proskins SLIM High Waisted Compression leggings (opens in new tab) hold your muscles tight to reduce fatigue. So if you’re striving to smash your PB, these are the ones to try.
While all Sweaty Betty leggings feature a wide, high-rise waist band to flatter your middle, it’s the brand’s bum-sculpting fabric that really wins points. It's even won a celebrity following too; Jennifer Aniston is a fan. Made from interlocking jersey, they lift and support your rear for a perky effect while still remaining lightweight and comfortable.
However, when it comes to flattering features, Proskins really excels. One of the main selling points of the brand is its SLIM technology, which has been developed to bust cellulite. The technology uses billions of micro capsules sewn into the fabric of the leggings, each of which contain five active ingredients. These ingredients (caffeine, retinol, vitamin E, aloe vera and ceramides) are then massaged into the skin while the leggings are worn. When combined with gentle compression, they have been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite in 28 days. Smoother legs while you work out? Yes please!
With a brand motto of ‘make it cool to sweat’ and design at its very core, it’s no wonder that Sweaty Betty’s leggings are among the most stylish on the market. Each style is available in a range of chic shades, from navy, green and burgundy to red, turquoise, pink and yellow. As well as block colours, the brand offers leggings in a variety of stylish prints. Expect tonal camo, snake, tortoiseshell and tie-dye.
Proskins offers a far more limited selection of colourways but they don't disapoint. Enjoy a wearable capsule palette of blue, green, red and, of course, classic black.
Finding right size in your leggings is crucial both for comfort and performance. Sweaty Betty carries an impressive range of sizes with styles ranging from XXS (UK size 6) to XXL (UK size 18). Most come in two leg lengths so you can find the perfect crop. Styles fit true to size and, when washed at no more that 40 degrees on a slow spin, hold their fit.
Winning out on the inclusivity steaks, Proskins leggings run from UK size 4-6 up to size 24. As the fabric contains a good amount of stretch, if you’re in between sizes it’s wise to size down. The exception is when choosing the Slim Boost or Slim and Shape leggings, when sizing up is advised.
At the mid-to-upper end of the activewear price range, Sweaty Betty leggings don’t come cheap. Basic styles start at around £65, while the Zero Gravity High Waisted Running Leggings, which come in super light-weight Italian technical fabric, are £95. Renowned for their good quality, if cared for, these leggings will last. So for regular exercisers, their cost-per-wear will whittle down.
Considering the innovation that goes into each pair of Proskins leggings, their price point is certainly value for money. Starting at £29.95 for the Active Woman Panel Leggings, the range climbs to a reasonable £69.95 for the Women's POWER Leggings. Wash them on a cool setting and allow to air dry (tumble drying will damage the elastane) to ensure they last as long as possible.
Which brand gets your vote? Let us know...
Frankie Graddon is a fashion and beauty journalist and co-founder of @thewingwoman (opens in new tab), a weekly podcast and newsletter about thirty-something life, honestly.
Frankie has over a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, podcaster and consultant. She has been a regular contributor to a number of high-profile publishers including The Telegraph, The Times, Grazia, You Magazine, Glamour and woman&home.
Frankie has interviewed numerous industry experts and celebrities, from Claudia Schiffer and Karlie Kloss to Sam McKnight and Trinny Woodall. She has also created content for numerous fashion and beauty brands including Liberty of London, Whistles, Kitri, Hush and more.
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