We put 6 top leggings brands to the test—here’s the verdict

Kate Desmond

3. Old Navy

The leggings: Go-Dry Cool Mid-Rise Leggings

Price: $32.94

These Old Navy leggings are super soft and really, really comfortable, but they definitely feel a bit thinner and slightly less sturdy than their expensive counterparts. As a result, they don’t hug in all my parts quite as tightly. The support feels somewhere in between the LuLaRoe (non-existent) and Lululemon (full-on suction)—which in my opinion makes for the ideal daily legging. Not too tight, not too soft or shiny, just right.

Keeping up with the Joneses, the Old Navy leggings feature the same inside tiny pocket as the Lululemon and Under Armour pants.

On the downside, during a workout they gap a bit in places and my legs felt particularly sweaty after just a few intervals. After several washes these pants started to feel a bit fuzzy too.

Pros: These leggings are super comfortable and have a great matte finish. Plus, they are really inexpensive.

Cons: That comfort also means less support and the fabric doesn’t seem to breathe as well as some of the higher-priced options.


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4. Under Armour

The leggings: Women’s UA Mirror Legging

Price: $69.99

These Under Armour leggings are pretty great. They are comfortable yet tight. I felt like they most closely resembled the Lululemon pants in terms of fit. While not quite as tight-feeling, I find they still hold me in where I want to be held. As a bonus, they don’t feel so uncomfortable when driving a car or running errands. This coupled with their lack of sheen make them a great option for everyday wear too.

As for how they stack up in a workout? I’d say true to Under Armour’s reputation. They wick sweat well and stayed nicely in place.

Also worth noting, a seam runs down the backside of the leg, and I didn’t love that. Nor do I understand why Under Armour still has a big old white tag in the back. Even the cheapest leggings have gone tagless. Remove the tag and I’d recommend these to anyone willing to invest in a solid pair of black leggings.

Pros: These feel good during and post-workout, but fit and look good enough to wear every day.

Cons: A big tag and thick back-leg seam keep these high-price leggings from being as comfy as they could be.


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5. Athleta

The leggings: Chaturanga Tight

Price: $69

I really like the softness and texture of these tights. When trying to pull off leggings as pants, I don’t really want a whole lot of shine and Athleta delivers. The matte finish doesn’t look or feel quite so slippery. Like its competitors, these feature a tiny front pocket, but with an extra flap for added security.

But, the Chaturanga Tight aren’t just a pant replacement. These leggings are great for a workout too. Really, I have run, biked, done circuits in these pants and have never once complained of pant movement or sweat.

After dozens of times through the wash and dry cycle, my Athleta leggings look and fit as they did the day I purchased them.

I compare these to my favorite pair of jeans—because I always want to choose them. They are reliable and make me look and feel great. While the price point is on the higher end, for all the reasons above, I’d say it’s worth it.

Pros: Great fit, super comfy, feel good even when sweating, hold up in the wash and can be worn as actual pants.

Cons: The only thing not to love about these leggings is the high price.


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6. LuLaRoe

The leggings: Adult OS Leggings

Price: $25

Let’s start with “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”-like sizing of the LuLaRoe leggings. There are two options: One Size or Tall and Curvy. One Size is supposed to fit gals between sizes 0 and 12, while Tall and Curvy is for sizes 10-20. But, let’s just say you are thin and tall? Or short and curvy? The idea of a one-size fits all magic pant is a bit flawed. I tested the One Size, which fit my body, but were a little too short.

Length issues aside, these leggings have been called butter soft and it’s for good reason. They are ridiculously—think newborn kitten fur—soft. The kind of softness that makes you forget you’re even wearing pants.

All that buttery softness may come at a price, however. Maybe it’s all the recent lawsuit chatter or the fact that the company has a how-to guide, but I kept wondering with each wear, is today the day the butter melts?

With rumors of holes and rips, LuLaRoe legging-wearers have been encouraged to wash their leggings separate, inside out and hang them dry. But, really, who has time for that? I wear leggings because they are easy. I’m lucky the laundry is getting done. I really can’t have a separate load for my LuLaRoe pants.

So, I washed mine straight up and then *gasp* dried them. They did shrink a little, and became a bit more flannel-like, but still maintained their extreme softness and—so far—no holes.

As far as a pant replacement, I wouldn’t wear these without a long shirt for optimal butt coverage and to hide the inevitable camel toe. I also wouldn’t dream of working out in these—who wants to work out with baby kittens on their legs? But they are seriously the softest piece of clothing I own. LuLaRoe is famous for their wild and fun patterns—I have a rhino pattern that I adore. But whether rhinos or basic black, in truth I don’t feel comfortable wearing LuLaRoe leggings outside my home. They are, in effect, super comfy pajama pants.

Pros: There is not a softer pant on the planet.

Cons: The one-size fits all sizing doesn’t necessarily fit, and then there’s the whole “they might fall apart” problem.

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About the Author

Kate Desmond

Kate is a freelance writer, mommy blogger, safe sleep crusader, and wannabe inventor in search of her next great idea. She lives in Bentonville, Arkansas with her husband and two little girls. They are the loves of her life, but also drive her to insanity. She writes about living on that brink on her blog, The Tiny Fashionista. Learn More.