If You're a Runner, These Are the 10 Leggings You Need in Your Arsenal
There are people who work out, and then there are runners. Once you get that first euphoric feeling that comes from a great run, you're hooked. People who run are passionate about running. Running can be tough on the body, so it requires the proper gear. You need quality shoes, socks that will stay up and help prevent blisters, a solid sports bra, and, of course, high-quality leggings. We test out leggings all the time, and these are the 10 best running leggings out there right now.
When it comes to great running leggings, you want pieces that are lightweight and breathable because you need to be able to move in them. It's also great to have leggings that help prevent chafing; and leggings with pockets are so useful, particularly for longer runs — or if you want to stop and pick up a coffee once you're finished. Plus, having a great pair of high-waisted leggings that won't roll down are essential. We love our Lululemon leggings as well as some great options from brands like Alo and Girlfriend Collective. Keep on reading to shop our top picks!
Top-Rated Running Leggings: Lululemon Fast & Free Tight II
The Lululemon Fast and Free Tight II ($128–$138) are made with Nulux and give the same second-skin sensation that you're used to from the Lululemon Align leggings with the added bonus of being sweat-wicking and quick drying. If you're looking for something super comfortable but still sweat-wicking, these are the leggings for you. They're high-rise with a drawstring at the waist, so you can make sure your leggings will not budge during long runs or sprint sessions.
What customers say: One customer notes that "these leggings are absolutely amazing and are so versatile. They are perfect for running, but can also be dressed up. The best leggings lululemon makes!"
Why we love them: If you like the feel of something comfortable and cozy but still want something sweat-wicking and high performance, these are the running pants for you. They'll make even the sweatiest workouts comfortable.
What's worth noting: It's good to know about the raw hem at the ankle; they purposefully do not have a band or seam, which many people find to be looser and less constricting at the ankle but can take some getting used to.
The Details: Sizes: 0–20 | Length: 25", 28" | Color Options: 10
Best Running Leggings With a Side Pocket: Under Armour Meridian Leggings
Sometimes side pockets can be obtrusive and feel like they stick out too much at your thigh, but these Under Armour Meridian Leggings ($70) have a discreet side pocket that makes it easy to store everything from your phone to keys and still looks good on. The performance-knit fabric was created to be both soft and sweat-wicking, something we don't see often. If you're going to a bootcamp class where you've got to both get on the treadmill and lift weights or you're just out on a run, pick up these leggings.
What customers are saying: One customer noted: "The meridian leggings are so comfortable and fit perfectly. I could wear them everyday!!" Another person said, "The fit is perfect! They wash beautifully and maintain their look and feel through constant washing and wearing. Phone pockets a bonus!"
Why we love them: These leggings are built for high-performance movement, and runners will love them. The fabric has been specially engineered to be buttery soft but still wick sweat unbelievably well, which is so rare.
What's worth noting: These leggings come in petite and tall sizes. These are also not the most compressive leggings, which is good to know if you prefer compression when running.
The Details: Sizes: XS–XXL | Length: 29" | Color Options: 5
Best Running Leggings With a Back Pocket: Nike Epic Luxe Dri-FIT Pocket Running Tights
If you're getting sweaty on a long run or set of sprints, go for these Nike Epic Luxe Dri-Fit Pocket Running Tights ($57–$95, originally $95). The Dri-Fit collection from Nike is one of the most sweat-wicking lines on the market — it's in the name! You'll be seriously impressed with the performance of these pants thanks to the brand's unique material. They have both back and side pockets, which means you can go out for a run and not have to worry about taking any kind of bag with you. Plus, the back zip pocket means your items will stay secure.
What customers are saying: One customer notes, "For the gym-goer, we know that most colors - other than black - are going to show sweat in 'those areas' and a hard workout will certainly create sweat! If you take plenty of phone breaks or sit out between sets, you may avoid revealing perspiration, but these tights are quick-dry, supportive and energizing."
Why we love them: The legging is built for those who love to run and get sweaty. They have both a back zippered pocket and side pockets, so you'll be protected and comfortable as you move through your workout.
What's worth noting: These leggings have a back zip pocket, so if you're planning on doing mat work or laying down in, say, a yoga class, these may not be the best choice. We'd wear them on a run.
The Details: Sizes: XS–XXL | Length: 27" | Color Options: 2
Best Sweat-Wicking Running Leggings: Lululemon Swift Speed High-Rise Tight
If you love compressive leggings for running, you need the Lululemon Swift Speed High-Rise Tight ($128) in your life. They're made of Luxtreme, a proprietary Lululemon fabric, that's one of the more compressive leggings in the brand's canon. The material is cool to the touch but still sweat-wicking, which is great if you run hot on long runs. There's also no inner seam, so if you have concerns about chafing, these might just be the leggings for you. Plus, it has reflective details, so this is a pant you could wear on an early-morning or evening run.
What customers say: One customer notes, "I have to say they are very nice. Waistband keeps them up even with a phone in the pocket and I like that there is a zip pocket too. No seam on the insides of the legs = no chafing. They are a good mid weight - ok to run in when it is hot and I think they will be ok in relatively cold weather too."
Why we love them: If you're a runner who has real concerns about chafing and comfort during tough training sessions, you'll love how these leggings fit and perform.
What's worth noting: If you want something a little thicker, this is the legging for you. They have both side pockets and a zippered back pocket, so if you're doing an exercise where you may have to lay down, these may not be your top choice.
The Details: Sizes: 0–20 | Length: 25", 28" | Color Options: 11
Most-Flattering Running Leggings: Alo High-Waist Airlift Legging
If you're going on a run where you know you're going to see people and you want to look your best, these Alo High-Waist Airlift Leggings ($118) are the leggings we'd pick. They'll turn heads thanks to the shiny, super-flattering Airlift fabric, and everyone will want to know where you got them. But they don't just look good. These are made of Alo's most breathable fabric, and they have a really high waistband that doesn't roll down, so you won't be constantly adjusting on runs.
What customers are saying: One person said, "I own three pairs of these, all the same color, and two pairs of Airlift capris-- have bought over the years b/c I use them, and only them, 5 days a week to work out in. They're amazing leggings to exercise in (or just wear around), like all the other reviews say, but maybe the best part about them is that each time I add a pair to my collection, I can never tell which pair is new. With proper care, they stay looking new for EVER (or at least three years, can't speak to longer than that). They're much sturdier than you would expect because of how thin they are. All around a great investment, especially if, like me, you wear leggings every day."
Why we love them: These are the leggings you're going to want to be seen in. The shiny fabric is so flattering and feels like a second skin. When you wear them, you feel like you can take on the world.
What's worth noting: These leggings do not have pockets, which is fine if you're headed to the gym or want to take a bag with you on your run, but if you need storage, we'd look elsewhere.
The Details: Sizes: XXS–XL | Length: 28" | Color Options: 14
Best Affordable Running Leggings: Old Navy High-Waisted PowerPress Leggings
If you want high-quality leggings that won't break the bank, these Old Navy High-Waisted PowerPress Leggings ($12, originally $30) are the ones for you. At only $15, they're practically a steal. These are also some of the brand's most high performance leggings. The PowerPress fabric is on the more compressive side, but they're still leggings you can run, jump, and squat in without a problem. If you're just getting started on your running journey, we'd recommend these leggings.
What customers are saying: With over 6,000 ratings, one customer says, "the Power Press leggings are my favorite for exercise - great compression, high-waisted, material isn't too thin or thick, and they're flattering!"
Why we love them: These leggings have just the right amount of compression for running; not too much to be inflexible but enough to hold you in. Plus, anytime we can score quality workout clothes for under $15 is a good day.
What's worth noting: If you've loved Old Navy leggings for a long time, you're going to remember these leggings under a different name: the Elevate leggings.
The Details: Sizes: XS–4X | Length: 26.5", 28", 31" | Color Options: 5
Best Colorful Running Leggings: Outdoor Voices Core 7/8 Legging
If you want a flattering legging that feels like you're wearing nothing, you need the Outdoor Voices Core 7/8 Legging ($34, originally $88). It's made with the brand's TechSweat fabric, which is super lightweight and great for sweaty runs. It's a great option for running because it's so soft and flexible, and our favorite part of these leggings is the waistband. It's thick, comfortable, and does not budge; we've done many runs in these and have never once had to adjust or pull them up.
What customers are saying: One purchaser notes, "Finally a legging waistband that stays in place! These are my first pair of leggings from OV and I'm obsessed with the fit. They are lightweight and breathable and the waistband stays in place without feeling restricted. Love them!"
Why we love them: The leggings have a back pocket where you can store your essentials, and it's one of the only back pockets we've used that fits our phone. It also has a bonded waistband that is designed to stay put no matter how you move.
What's worth noting: These can show sweat in the crotch area depending on the color; if this is an issue for you, we'd go with the darker styles.
The Details: Sizes: XS–XL | Length: 25" | Color Options: 3
Best Cold-Weather Running Leggings: Athleta Peak Hybrid Fleece Tight
Having fleece leggings in the fall and winter is a game changer, and these Athleta Peak Hybrid Fleece Tights ($108) are built for cold weather running. We love the front zippered pockets because they ensure your belongings are secure and won't fall out on long runs; there's nothing worse than realizing your credit card is three miles back on the trail. The back zippered compartment is also useful, and, frankly, we'll take any excuse for more pockets. Plus, the woven fabric is both abrasion- and water-resistant, so tough weather is no match for these leggings.
What customers say: One person noted that "this tight hits it home. These will be perfect as soon as slightly cooler air hits. The wind will not blow through these tights yet you can still wear them indoors without overheating."
Why we love them: If you're going on a fall or winter run, having a pair of fleece leggings is a game changer. This pair are high performance and will certainly keep you cozy.
What's worth noting: These leggings are available in regular, tall, and petite lengths, so it's really easy to find your perfect pair. Plus, since they're fleece, they're better for outdoor runs versus indoor treadmill training.
The Details: Sizes: XS–XXL | Length: 27.5", 29.5", 32.5" | Color Options: 3
Best Running Leggings That Don't Fall Down: Lululemon Base Pace High-Rise Tight
The Lululemon Base Pace High-Rise Tight ($98) are our favorite Lululemon running leggings that are under $100. They're made of Nulux, the same fabric as the Fast and Free, and these leggings were designed to stay in place thanks to the high waistband and added Lycra in the fabric. Shape retention is the name of the game, and these pants will hold up through long runs and constant washes, which will definitely happen since you'll want to wear them so frequently. Plus, they will not roll down thanks to the fabric and drawstring waistband.
What customers say: This is a relatively new style, so there are around 300 five-star reviews. One customer says, "I adore base pace tights. The material is amazing. Whether I wear a size 4 or 6, the leggings never ride down. The seams are unique and very flattering. My favorite feature are the laser-cut ankles. IMO, base pace leggings are underrated. The hold up so well through any type of activity."
Why we love them: If you're looking for comfortable, high-performance leggings that won't ride down and are under $100, these are going to be your new favorite leggings.
What's worth noting: It has an adjustable drawstring at the waist, and there's also no inseam, which is ideal if you struggle with chafing. These leggings have a back pocket, but no side pockets.
The Details: Sizes: 0–20 | Length: 25", 28", 31" | Color Options: 11
Best Black Running Leggings: Athleta Elation Train 7/8 Tight
If you love the feel of a buttery soft tight but want something a bit more sweat-wicking for a good run, you need the Athleta Elation Train 7/8 Tight ($55–$89, originally $89). The SuperSonic fabric is high performance with good compression and sweat-wicking properties but still has that comfort you'd typically expect from a lounge legging. Plus, everyone needs a great black legging in their workout wardrobe, and we really love the look and feel of these. There is a center seam, but no side seams, and customers have not reported any major problems with chafing or sweat showing through, two major pluses.
What customers are saying: One person said, "Great pants! I own them in two colors. Both pairs are very flattering and comfortable. I wear them everywhere - working out, running errands, traveling, hiking, etc." Another person noted, "This is my second pair, a go-to tight for hard gym workouts and serious runs. It supports and holds my athletic-built lower body tight."
Why we love them: If you love the fit of Athleta leggings but are looking for a more sweat-wicking option, these are the pair for you. They're flattering, size-inclusive, and high performance.
What's worth noting: These leggings don't have side pockets, but there is an interior waistband pocket. They also have a V-back seam that makes your butt look great.
The Details: Sizes: XXS–3X | Length: 23", 25", 28" | Color Options: 5