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How to choose the right leggings

by Menduh Emirbilek 13 Feb 2023

Get a leg in the door on choosing your workout wardrobe with this Pro Tips guide on how to buy leggings.

You’ve settled on a workout regimen. Now you have another decision to make – what to wear to the gym. Buying the right workout clothes can be just as important as your routine. The wrong attire can have a negative effect on your performance.

With so many options for leggings, it can be hard to decipher which are best for running in the cold and which are best for reps in the gym. Pro Tips is here to help you get a leg up on your search for the best workout leggings.


When choosing leggings, one of the first things to consider is the length. There are three main styles of athletic leggings:

  • Full length: These leggings extend to the bottom of your leg. Full-length leggings are a go-to for running in cooler climates.
  • 7/8 length: These leggings typically hit right above the ankle and below the calf.
  • Capri length: These typically extend below the knee, around mid-calf. They provide more breathability than longer styles and offer more coverage than shorts.

There are also a variety of rises available across multiple lengths.

  • Mid-rise: This style hits below the belly button.
  • High-rise: These leggings hit at or above the belly button. They tend to be a popular choice for activities like spin class.


Another consideration in finding the right leggings is the material. The fabric you choose will depend on your goals and needs.

  • Cotton: If comfort is your main concern, then cotton leggings might be the way to go. However, cotton can lose its shape over time if stretched. It also does not wick moisture well.
  • Synthetics: Synthetic materials may include nylon, spandex and polyester. These materials often have moisture-wicking properties to help keep you dry. While they’re not as soft as cotton, they do have better shape retention.

Some leggings may have a cotton-synthetic blend. This helps to combine the best of both worlds. When choosing a fabric, also be mindful of your climate. Heavier fabrics are favorable for colder temperatures. Meanwhile, lightweight fabrics are good choices for humidity or activities like hot yoga.


Leggings have features that can make your workout experience more comfortable and convenient.

  • Pockets: Ready for a run but don’t know where to put your keys or phone? Finding a pair of leggings with pockets is becoming easier. Pockets are frequently found alongside the pant legs or on the waistband. Some may also have zipper enclosures for more protection.
  • Waistband: Some styles offer a drawstring along the waist. This is a popular feature among runners and can help keep their leggings in place.
  • Seams: Some manufacturers design leggings with contoured seaming to help flatter your body shape.
  • Design: Showing off your personality in your athletic wear is easy. Leggings come in a variety of colors and patterns.


With leggings, it’s important to try before you buy. Your comfort can impact your workout, especially if your leggings are the wrong-size. When trying on leggings, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Consider: If you find that seams are digging into your skin or that the material pinches and pulls, they may be a size too small. Meanwhile, if you have to constantly pull your leggings up, that’s an indication that the waist is too large.

Performing a few squats can help determine if the fabric will give you proper coverage. This can help ensure the waistband is high enough and the material isn’t see-through. Also, try to bend your knees to make sure your movement isn’t restricted. Leggings that are too tight in the knee are more likely to get holes in them.

When it comes to leggings, it’s possible to have both fashion and function. Remember these tips the next time you’re shopping for a new pair.

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