The 10 best workout leggings for exercising in the gym or at home, tried and tested by us

These are the best workout leggings to support your session, tested by the woman&home health team

A selection of the best workout leggings, including picks from Gymshark, Sweaty Betty, and TALA
(Image credit: Gymshark/Sweaty Betty/TALA)

The best workout leggings are a sure way to level up your workout - no matter your activity. As well as being more supportive than regular cotton leggings, workout leggings wick away sweat and stretch as you do, making each movement easier. 

Workout leggings are essential if you're exercising regularly but with so many different brands and types out there to choose from, finding the right ones can be a difficult (and expensive) process. The best activewear doesn't niggle or chafe, it's made of sweat-wicking fabric that doesn't stay damp for hours post-workout and has a firm fit that doesn't budge even on the longest run. 

As woman&home's health editor, I've tested a huge range of leggings over the years, from across major names like Lululemon and Nike and smaller brands. I'm a regular runner and gym-goer myself, so I know the importance of a high-quality, reliable pair of leggings. It was a lengthy testing process but I've put together a collection that ticks all the boxes and more, making your search for the best workout leggings easier than ever before. From leggings that match the best sports bras to the top picks for specific activities like running and cycling, we guarantee that our selection meets the mark whenever it comes to performance. 

The best workout leggings, tested by us

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Gymshark Vital Seamless 2.0 leggings

(Image credit: Gymshark)

1. Gymshark Vital Seamless 2.0 Leggings

Best workout leggings overall

Specifications

RRP: £45
Sizes: XS - XXL
Length: Full length
Material: Nylon and elastane
Pockets: None

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable 
+
Range of colours to choose from 
+
Smooth, seam-free material
+
Supportive ribbed waistband
+
Lower in price than others on the list

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for cold weather

The Gymshark Vital 2.0 Seamless Leggings are the best all-rounder on our list, suitable for anything from marathon training to strength training in the gym. High-waisted but without heavy compression, these leggings are supportive while offering plenty of breathing room around the middle, and they stay up through any workout. Made of nylon and elastane, they stretch as you do and feel super lightweight during use.

I've been wearing these leggings myself for over three years now and the only thing that's slightly faded is the colour, having chosen the black colourway. Even three years' worth of wears and washes down the line, they are still holding support and stretch. I have three pairs now - in black, blue, and green - and regularly have them in rotation for all my workouts, from gym sessions to running. They wick away sweat like a dream and even the heaviest workout couldn't bring out sweat stains on the fabric. 

I love how these leggings are also completely seam-free, meaning there's no digging or chafing. The softness of the material, combined with the lightweight support makes them suitable for longer, floor-based classes like pilates and yoga as well. I've also worn them through the day on long countryside walks, so I can confirm they're suitable to wear for hours on end as well. 

Available in a range of bright colours and darker shades, they're an instant uplift to any workout. While I struggle to find a downside to these leggings, their lightweight material offers a second-skin-like feel, so they wouldn't be suitable for intensely cold weather. 

Health editor Grace Walsh
Grace Walsh

Grace Walsh is the health editor at woman&home, covering all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, fitness, sleep, sex, and relationships. From revealing the surprising benefits of everyday activities to debunking the latest health fads, she loves uncovering new ways to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. 

Sweaty Betty Power leggings

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

2. Sweaty Betty Power Leggings

Best workout leggings with pockets

Specifications

RRP: £80
Sizes: XXS - XXL
Length: Various
Material: Polyamide and elastane
Pockets: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Flattering high waist
+
Pull-cord for adaptable sizing
+
2 pockets of different sizes
+
Full and 7/8 leg length choices

Reasons to avoid

-
Sweat shows through before first wash

Sweaty Betty's Power Leggings could have easily made the top pick of the list, so if you're looking for a pair similar to the Gymshark leggings, but you need a pair of the best gym leggings with pockets, then these could be for you.

There are double pockets in the Power leggings: one in the back of the waistband for keys and smaller essentials, and the other on the side of the leg for your phone. They are available in a vibrant range of colours, patterns, and prints. The lightweight, soft, and completely squat-proof fabric won us over in the end though. 

I tested these leggings on a 10km and 21km run, an hour-long yoga session, and an intensive gym class, and found that they had me covered on all bases. The original leggings are mid-rise (but you can buy a high-waisted version) and stay up regardless because of the discreet pull cord in the waistband that you can tighten to fit your shape. While the light material was perfect for a yoga session, we also put Sweaty Betty’s 90% squat-proof promise to the test and can confirm these leggings passed with flying colours. The sweatier they get, the more skin feel they offer, delivering extra stretch and comfort as your workout progresses.

Crafted from a super stretchy elastane blend, I found the fabric was also sweat-wicking, pulling moisture away from the body to keep me cool and comfortable. However, I noticed that the sweat was visible through the material on first wear - and I have a black pair. It was the same with the Power shorts, which appear on our list of the best running shorts for women. I haven't seen this again post-first wash so I'd recommend giving these a spin in the machine to break them in first if you care about sweat patches during your session.

See our full Sweaty Betty Power Leggings review

AYBL grey speckled workout leggings

(Image credit: AYBL)

3. AYBL Balance V2 Seamless Leggings

Best high-waisted workout leggings

Specifications

RRP: £34
Sizes: XXS to XXL
Length: Full length
Material: Nylon and elastane
Pockets: None

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra high-waisted to prevent slipping
+
XXS to XXL size availability 
+
Range of colours
+
Darker colors don't show sweat 
+
Suitable for winter

Reasons to avoid

-
Thick material may be warm in the hotter months

If you want multi-purpose workout leggings with a high waist, a pair you can take from the gym to a run or vice versa without an issue, then these will be for you. They are a little thicker than many of the other leggings on our list so while they may not be the best choice for the warmer months, they do absorb sweat relatively well and help you keep your body temperature up when going to work out in winter, along with keeping you covered in the gym. 

I've had my pair of AYBL's Balance V2 Seamless Leggings for about two years now and I've worn them at least twice a week since then. The higher waistband is their highlight. Sitting just below the ribs, the band fits a lot higher up than many of the other workout leggings I've tried, offering compression as well. Not only does this mean I feel incredibly supported around my waist but they never slip down, even when I'm running. 

I've found that these leggings also stand the test of time. I've put them under constant pressure over the last few years and they've never faded in quality or colour, unlike our pick of the best workout leggings overall, which have faded in colour. There's also a range of colourways to choose from with these leggings, including seasonal reds and pale greens, and an inclusive size range that's grown again recently. 

TALA SkinLuxe workout leggings

(Image credit: TALA)

4. TALA SkinLuxe High Waisted Side Pocket Legging

Best lightweight workout leggings

Specifications

RRP: £54
Length: Full length or 7/8
Sizes: 2XS - 4XL
Material: 76% recycled nylon and 24% LYCRA® SPORT
Pocket: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Skin-like feel
+
High-quality material
+
Great range of sizes and colours 
+
Stretchy
+
Available in full-length or 7/8

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't grip on certain surfaces 

Many of the leggings in this guide offer a lightweight feel but have other credentials that make them a top pick in another category. The TALA SkinLuxe High Waisted Side Pocket Leggings have won the top spot for this coveted category because, as our tester says, "they feel like you're not wearing anything, but they're not so thin that they feel bad quality and they're super stretchy and soft." 

These TALA Leggings are made from 92% recycled polyamide and 8% elastane, making them a good sustainable pick on the list. They are the favourite of woman&home's shopping writer, Hannah Holway. 

Hannah says, "They're so comfortable and feel like a second skin. I've been able to wear them for cardio, yoga, and weights with no worries about them falling down or riding up. The TALA SkinLuxe High Waisted Side Pocket Leggings are especially good for weightlifting because they're made of a flexible material with a lot of stretch in them."

The only downside of these leggings is also one of the positives. The lightweight material means they can be slippery on some surfaces, Hannah notes. "I was in a barre class once and we were using resistance bands. They just wouldn't stay around my thighs because of the material of the leggings. They're not a super thick fabric so they can feel a bit slippery on certain surfaces." 

Hannah Holway.
Hannah Holway

Hannah is the UK Shopping Writer for woman&home. She's written on everything from period pants to wine subscriptions, and is especially interested in sustainable alternatives to well-known products, as well as books and homeware accessories. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hannah also explored evolving shopping trends at New York Magazine’s The Strategist UK, researching everything from face masks to status candles and even pens.

Adidas Own The Run workout leggings

(Image credit: Adidas)

5. Adidas Own The Run Running Leggings

Best workout leggings for running

Specifications

RRP: £50
Sizes: 2XS - XL, plus tall, petite, and plus-size
Length: 7/8
Materials: Recycled polyester and elastane
Pocket: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Great range of sizes
+
Very comfortable
+
Pull-cord waistband for adaptable sizing
+
Fluorescent details for outdoor safety 

Reasons to avoid

-
Some phones may struggle to fit in the back pocket

If you're a runner and you already have a pair of the best running shoes, then you'll need to invest in a good pair of running leggings. These Adidas Own The Run leggings are specially designed to be worn during excessive movement over an intense cardio session. They're not as soft as the Sweaty Betty Power leggings but the material is great at absorbing sweat and offers a light compression feel so you feel supported over the miles. For running, these are undoubtedly the best workout leggings. 

For me, a drawstring waistband has become a non-negotiable in running leggings. Previously, I'd just been relying on the grip of the waistband but I've found this can change depending on how your body is feeling that day, whether you're already a bit sweaty, and how high the waistband is. I love how the drawstring in these leggings is tucked away discreetly in the band, meaning you can adjust it to however fits best that day. 

These leggings also have a sweat-guarded zip pocket for your phone so you don't have to take an additional bag out with you. If you have a larger phone, it's worth considering if you need the pocket, as some larger models will struggle in the space. It's one way that these Adidas leggings have something over the Sweaty Betty Power leggings, which are also great for running. However, the sweat-proof pocket means your phone stays away from your body during your run and doesn't get covered in sweat, which can damage your phone over time and make it hard to use during the run.

Plus, they make running during the darker hours a little safer with multiple fluorescent strips that flash up whenever light hits them. In silver, they're a little more low-key than the bright pink strips on the Rapha leggings, for instance, and I found they were barely noticeable during the daylight hours. 

H&M DryMove workout leggings

(Image credit: H&M)

6. H&M DryMove Seamless Sports Tights

Best budget workout leggings

Specifications

RRP: £27.99
Sizes: XS - XXL
Length: Full length
Material: Polyamide, polyester, and elastane
Pockets: None

Reasons to buy

+
Most affordable pick on the list
+
High-waisted
+
Multiple colour choices available 
+
Long-lasting without stretch

Reasons to avoid

-
May fall down before they get sweaty

If you're looking for the best workout leggings on a budget, I really recommend these from H&M. Under £30, they are almost half the price of many other leggings on the list and offer much the same in terms of versatility, comfort, and support. I've been wearing them myself for just over two years now, mainly for strength training exercises and walking, and have found they're just perfect. 

A simple pair of leggings, they're made from a classic polyester, polyamide, and elastane blend that makes them ideal for any exercise where you need to stretch a little. Although I've found they can feel quite damp after a particularly sweaty session, the grey marl color and unique pattern mean there are no sweat stains to be seen. They're also comfortable to wear for lower-impact workouts like walking, yoga, Pilates, and even hiking. 

However, it's worth noting that they won't be the very best leggings for running. They're great once you're already a little sweaty as the sweat acts as an additional grip between the material and your body, but before this, I found they fell down relatively quickly. 

Universal Performance seamless workout leggings

(Image credit: Universal Performance)

7. Universal Performance Seamless Universal Active Leggings

Best workout leggings for winter

Specifications

RRP: £40
Sizes: S - XL
Length: Full length
Material: Recycled polyamide, recycled polyester, elastane
Pocket: None

Reasons to buy

+
Thick but breathable material
+
Super soft material
+
High-waisted 
+
Made from mostly recycled materials
+
Anti-bacterial fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in black colourway 

When it comes to gym-specific leggings, it's all about squat-proof materials and supreme comfort. These Ultimate Performance leggings deserve a place in the top selection of workout leggings for ticking both boxes, as well as hiding sweat patches without a problem.

They really proved themselves through my weightlifting session, not shifting an inch through the movements. They also feel a little thicker than some of the other leggings on our list, making them perfect for cold weather when you need a little extra material, without being as thick as the AYBL leggings. If you are concerned about leggings potentially going see-through over time, these would be an excellent buy. 

The feature that makes them a winner for me though is the material. Made from a blend of recycled polyamide, recycled polyester, and elastane, they're easily the softest leggings on the list. So much so, I was a little concerned that the material wouldn't fair up well during intense exercise, but I was pleasantly surprised. I ran for half an hour post-strength training session with these leggings on, so I did have a little sweat as an additional grip, but they stayed up the whole time without an issue. Available in three colors at the moment, they're the average price for workout leggings and offer amazing support even after many washes. 

Rapha 7/8 workout leggings

(Image credit: Rapha)

8. Rapha Women's All Day Leggings

Best workout leggings for cycling

Specifications

RRP: £65
Sizes: XXS - XL
Length: 7/8
Material: Recycled nylon and elastane

Reasons to buy

+
Reflective logos for road safety 
+
Double layer waistband
+
Super comfortable
+
Slightly compressive 

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in black

Rapha is a cycling brand by design and these will certainly ensure your rides go smoothly, with a double-layer waistband that stops them rolling down and a useful side pocket in the leg for storing your phone - or snacks. But the All Day Leggings are ideal for everything. They don't have a chamois pad in the shorts so you can move freely, just as in a normal pair of leggings. But with additional high-vis details available when needed, a useful pocket, and a fabric made from recycled materials, they offer something unique. 

I've been wearing Rapha cycling gear for a couple of years now and have a couple of pairs of bibs and other leggings but these are my favourite for more casual riding and exercise. They're super functional, feel soft but also slightly compressive. They're flattering, and importantly, they don't move when I exercise.

Having tested them out on a bike ride, an indoor cycling class, and in the gym, they're firmly in my rotation of the best workout leggings. The logo on the pocket is reflective too, which is great for running and riding without having to carry extra high-visibility clothes, and the tabs can be exposed for pink and reflective visibility. 

Lululemon yoga pants

(Image credit: Lululemon)

9. Lululemon Align High-Rise 25" Pockets

Best workout leggings for yoga

Specifications

RRP: £98
Sizes: 4 to 24
Length: 7/8
Material: 81% Nylon, 19% Lycra® elastane
Pockets: 3

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable
+
3 pockets 
+
Super soft fabric 
+
Extensive size range 

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive on the list

Whether you’re an experienced yogi, love wall Pilates, or are just getting to grips with sun salutations in yoga for beginners, you’ll know that the best workout leggings for yoga put comfort first. 

These leggings have the softest fabric I've had. I wear them for my weekly yoga sessions but also around the house, they're just so comfortable. As I wear them a lot, I've washed them a lot too. These wash really well, unlike some of the other leggings I've tried. They don't bobble and they retain their shape.

Importantly, they're impressively opaque and I found that even seamed underwear goes undetected beneath them. These leggings also have a handy side pocket in the leg, much like the Rapha and Sweaty Betty leggings, for storing your phone and other valuables. There's a pocket in the back of the waistband for more discreet storage of keys and smaller items. 

If Lululemon leggings are a bit out of your price range, keep an eye on their We Made Too Much section. Here they sell excess stock at seriously discounted prices, giving you the chance to bag a bargain. 

Nike One Women's High-Rise leggings

(Image credit: Nike)

10. Nike One Women's High-Rise Leggings

Best workout leggings to buy on Amazon

Specifications

RRP: £37
Sizes: XS to XXL
Length: Full length
Material: 83% polyester / 22% elastane
Pockets: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Sweat-wicking material
+
Stretchy fabric
+
Squat-proof 
+
Comfortable
+
Cheaper on Amazon than on the retailer site

Reasons to avoid

-
Pocket not big enough for phone

Nike are one of the mos famous sports retailers around the world for a reason. The Nike One Women's High-Rise Leggings are a simple, high-waisted pair, suitable for any kind of gym or outdoor workout. They're full-length with a high waistband that feels comfortable and supportive, so they stay up when you're on the move. 

The material is soft and comfortable. Although not seamless like the Gymshark leggings, which they are otherwise very similar to, the seams are unnoticeable for the most part and don't chafe or rub when you're on the move, I've found. 

The pockets in the waistband is useful for holding keys and cards in my opinion, but not much more, unfortunately. You'll need to have a separate armband or pocket to carry your phone if you're wearing these. 

Need a pair of workout leggings in a hurry? The Nike One Women's High-Rise leggings are available on Amazon with next-day delivery for those with a Prime membership.

How we tried and tested the best workout leggings

As the health editor at woman&home online, I've worn a fair few pairs of workout leggings over the years. However, to get a broad spectrum of possible choices for every different activity, I consulted the experts on what makes an excellent pair of workout leggings and put several to the test, enlisting other members of the team to trial pairs as well. We wore them several times each for at least two high-intensity workouts and one longer, low-intensity session. Then, we judged each pair against several important, expert-recommended factors:

  • Comfort: Comfort is key, always. The experts agreed this was the most important factor to consider as you just won't wear uncomfortable activewear, making your purchase pointless. We noted how well each pair of leggings fitted, whether they were comfortable to wear over a long period, and how noticeable they were during each workout.
  • Support: This was another vital factor to consider. We tested a range of different leggings and, ultimately, the high-waisted picks were the best for support as they tended to stay in place for longer with more structure around the waist and thighs. However, we do have some mid-rise leggings in the selection for those who don't enjoy the added length. 
  • Materials: Workout leggings are made from a whole range of different materials, so we tested a selection - including elastane, cotton, nylon, and lycra - to weigh up the positives and negatives of each. 
  • Versatility: As noted, we tested these workout leggings across a range of different activities - including strength training, running, spinning, cycling, and yoga - and have been sure to point out the best all-rounders in the selection as well as more specialist leggings. 
  • RRP: Budget is also an important factor when it comes to purchasing new activewear. To make sure there's an option for everyone, we've included a range of leggings at different price points and highlighted any particularly good deals.
  • Additional details: We've noted whether the leggings have any additional details that may be beneficial - like waistband and side pockets, fluorescent details, and particularly inclusive size ranges. 
Tash Curry

Tash Curry spent 20 years on stage as a former professional dancer before switching her dance shoes for boxing gloves. Victorious in her first boxing match, Tash decided to qualify as a LesMills body combat instructor and group exercise trainer. Shortly after, she completed her Level 3 Personal Training qualification.

How to choose the best workout leggings for you

  • Decide whether you want a high-waist or not: High-waisted leggings aren't for everyone but if you're looking for supportive workout wear, then they're a must, says personal trainer Tash Curry. "When you’re exercising you want leggings that are going to stay in place and make you feel confident as you work out, the last thing you want is to feel your gym leggings slipping down," she says. "A high waist provides great support and that’s what you want to look for when you’re shopping." 
  • Choose leggings based on your activity: "You need to be comfortable in whatever gym leggings you choose, you want to be able to move freely and not have to worry about restriction in movement," Curry, who is also a trainer at Another Round, explains. So, make sure you choose leggings designed for the activity you're doing. "High-impact workouts call for durable leggings and sweat-wicking material is a must, whereas yoga leggings need to be extra stretchy and have a high waist for comfort."
  • Think about breathability: "You want to be able to go hard at your workout, without having to worry about getting hot and uncomfortable or having your sweat show through your leggings. Gym leggings should be made from a breathable material that is also sweat-wicking so that you can sweat comfortably and still feel confident," she says. 
  • Never compromise on support: "Wear leggings that fit you properly to ensure you get the most out of your workout," Curry says. "Unsupportive or loose fitting gym leggings are an accident waiting to happen when exercising, particularly if you're exercising with equipment that your clothing could get caught in. On other hand, if your leggings are too tight, they will become uncomfortable when working out, making you sweat more and slowing you down. 
  • Think about versatility: While you'll want to buy specific running leggings if this is your primary activity, also consider what else you'll be using your leggings for. HIIT workouts in the evenings? Strength training at the weekend? "If your exercise routine is versatile then you should think about buying a pair of leggings you can wear for every activity. Spend your money on sweat-wicking, breathable, squat-proof workout leggings and use them for all activities," the coach says. 

How should workout leggings fit? 

Workout leggings should be comfortable for you always, says Curry. "They should have lasting support and enough flexibility to help you move around with ease, no matter what type of exercise you’re doing." 

Watch out for any digging at the waistband when you first try them on, as this will only get worse when you get hot and sweaty, and be sure to move around the house in them before you pull the tags off. Any pinching or bunching around the crotch area should be avoided as this could be a sign that the leggings are a little too small. Equally, if you find there's a gap between your waist and the leggings or they fall down when you move, chances are that they're a little too big.

"A good quality pair of leggings can last years but the most important factor for me is comfort, comfort should be your priority," says the trainer. "Finding the right pair of leggings is important, a good pair will keep you cool and dry, provide the right support and features and give you much more confidence in and outside of the gym. Once you've found the perfect fit, this will complement your workout."