Women go through monthly pains and carrying children, but thank God for yoga pants. All the woes of womanhood seem insignificant when you slide on the perfect pair of stretchy pants. But not all athletic wear is made equal, and with so many options, I’ve found it difficult to determine what pair is worth its price, especially if you’re not the standard size 4 athletic build. How hard could it be to find a great quality pair of leggings that flattered my body? Let’s find out.
I posted this idea in an Instagram story and got a really great response, but this yoga pants showdown needed some rules:
- They had to be “popular” – among bloggers, ratings, or social media.
- They had to be “quality” – I wouldn’t be shopping at TJ Maxx like usual. All three pairs I purchased for this test would be between $50-$150.
- I had to ask for help – I tried on multiple pairs and got opinions from the experts in store (or online).
After a full day of shopping at Houston’s Galleria, I left with three pairs for this test. I chose high-waisted styles of each brand, some cropped and some full length. I linked the exact pairs for this test below. I decided to test them all on different days, doing a similar workout – kickboxing.
Cost: $54.95/ VIP $39.95
Style: High-waisted 7/8
Style: Performer Heathered High-Rise Tights
Purchased: In-store, on sale $42
Style: Tight Stuff Tight II, 25”
***I also tried leggings at Athleta, Victoria's Secret, and Nike, but did not leave with any purchases from those stores.
Kate Hudson’s athetic and leisure brand is one of my favorites. I love how size-inclusive it is and I own 5 workout tops from Fabletics. The quality is fine, similar to something I would buy discounted at Marshalls. What I like about the brand is how many options you have and the benefits of being a subscriber. When you sign up for VIP, you are required to spend $50 each month (or you can skip the month), but you get all items at greatly discounted prices, and it’s easy to assemble your own outfits or buy some of their matching sets. Though the clothes are stylish, I always find glitches in the website – whether it’s slow or just frustrating to click through. This is the only pair of leggings I bought online for this test, and I used their sizing guide and reviews to make my final choice. This pair has over 11,000 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars and comes in too many colors and patterns to list.
What I liked:
- The fabric – If you’re a fan of thick leggings, you’ll be a fan of all of Kate Hudson’s styles.
- The squat test – These are the only leggings that completely passed the squat test -- they don’t show your underwear, even in the deepest lunge or squat.
What I didn’t like:
- The band -- I’m 6’2”, so this it’s not abnormal that leggings don’t go all the way up to my belly button. I've since bought tall styles that help with this problem!
- The sweat – I’ve noticed the three Fabletics pants I currently own smell significantly worse after my workout than other brands. I'm not a fabric expert, but I've found that lighter spandex styles tend to breathe better and not get as stinky.
Overall rating – 4/5
I originally wanted to try Gym Shark leggings, which are worn by almost every tiny-waisted celeb on Instagram. After watching some YouTube try-ons, I decided my frame wouldn’t work with the leggings, so I went with another popular brand – Adidas. To be honest, I went in to the store to get some training shoes because all Adidas are my favorite. I had seen the seamless leggings online and decided to try these Heathered Leggings, which looked similar. They were also on sale, which is a huge perk. I tried on several pairs, and these were the most comfortable and booty-boosting for me.
What I liked
- The look -- I love the color, the material, the patches of gray.
- The price -- $42 on sale seems fair for a nice pair of leggings, and these made me feel like I could conquer the world, which any good yoga pant should.
What I didn’t like
- Compression - I didn’t feel like this pair offered enough compression during my workout. They look great for walking around, but I like my thighs to be wrapped in enough spandex to give a thigh gap while squatting – that’s what every girl wants, right?
- The material – though I loved how they felt initially, I think the “heathered” aspect felt more like jersey and less like spandex.
- The squat test – this pair barely passes, and only for light workouts.
Overall rating – 3.5/5
I admit I was hesitant to even walk into the store due to all the negative press the brand has received for their limited sizing. Their bottoms only go up to size 12, which I wouldn’t consider an actual size 12. I honestly didn’t think I could even fit into them – they look so tiny in the store. Nevertheless, I went in and asked for some help from one of the many bubbly retail associates. I was given the Wunder Unders, their most popular style. And though they felt AMAZING, I could see how see-through they were just looking in the mirror. Though honestly, it could be because I’m not really a size 12, and I was pushing it a little by fitting into these leggings. I did love the material though. I tried on probably 10 pairs and was sweating by time I left the dressing room. Forget working out AFTER putting them on, you can get your cardio in while getting dressed. I decided I didn’t want to spend $80 on a see-through pair, so I started walking out and saw a styled called “Tight” and spontaneously jogged to the register with them in hand. That whole moment is a thoughtless blur, but I figured I could return them if I didn’t like them. When I got home and tried them on, I was a believer instantly. I loved the way I looked in these, and the material was everything I was lacking in the first two pairs.
What I liked:
- The material – As I mentioned before, this is everything you ever dreamed of and completely worth the hype.
- The style – the pants have a scalloped hem that you will love and the color is both trendy and flattering.
- How I looked and felt -- these give me the most confidence, feel the softest, and hold me in the best.
What I didn’t like:
- The sizing – if it was available, I would have gotten a size up.
- The squat test – these FAIL miserably for me. I don’t blame the brand, though, I really think sizing up would have solved this problem.
- The cost, obviously. I could buy a lot of Chipotle with that kind of money.
Overall rating – 4/5
Which pair is worth it? I will continue to buy Fabletics because the price is right and the quality is slightly better than Target or other “affordable” brands. For the Adidas, the name brand isn’t worth the price for tights. And though I absolutely love the Lululemon pants and will work out in them as much as possible, the price is really steep, and they were way too see-through for $150. If they included more sizes, I would definitely try one up to help with the sheerness.
What are your favorite leggings?