1. Expert reviews

Top 11 Best Workout leggings for women of 2021

Katarina Stenskytt

Updated July 27, 2021

A good pair of workout leggings is comfortable to wear and keeps you dry throughout your workout. We tested seven pairs of popular workout leggings for women – so you can find the right model for you and your workout. Aim’n Line Up Tights from Aim’n are our best in test with their excellent fit and functionality, high waistline, attractive design and the fact that they aren’t see-through.

Top 11 Best Workout leggings for women of 2021

How we did the test

Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. In our test of women’s workout leggings, we asked normal women to try out the leggings, both during strength training and high-intensity interval training, to see how they perform during different movements and how well they wick away sweat. In our test of workout leggings for women, we mainly assessed the following characteristics:

  • Fit: Are the workout leggings small, correct or large in size? How do they sit on the body? Are they long or short in the leg? Do the workout leggings have a waistband? Is the waist high or normal? Do the leggings have seams that chafe during your workout? Are they difficult or easy to put on and remove? Is the fabric see-through or not? Do they stay up during movement, or does the waistband roll down?

  • Ventilation and absorption capacity: How thick is the legging fabric? Do the workout leggings wick away sweat well? Does it feel like the fabric absorbs the moisture or do the leggings become heavy and damp when you sweat?

  • Functionality: Are the leggings sewn so that all movements can be carried out without limitations?

Is there one or more pockets for keys or your mobile phone? Do the leggings have compression properties?

1. Reebok High-Rise Lux Perform Perforated Leggings

Comfortable, stylish and well-fitting workout leggings with a high waist and ventilating perforations

Material: 72% nylon and 28% spandex

Reebok High-Rise Lux Perform Perforted Leggings Women - Black

High-Rise Lux Perform Perforated Leggings from Reebok have a really well-thought-out design. These leggings combine style with function in a great way. And the fact that the leggings are good quality and still look like new after a dozen washes makes them good value for money.

Workout leggings that fit well

The leggings are made of a pleasant and flexible material. They are easy to put on and fit close to the body. They are just the right size, meaning you can order your regular size.

On Reebok's website, they are described as compression leggings. Compared to compression leggings from other brands, however, there is no compressive feeling around the leg muscles to increase blood circulation or make the muscles recover faster. The leggings are great at wicking sweat away from the body. The perforations along the legs are a nice detail and also help make the leggings feel extra cool during tough workouts. Although the fabric breathes well, it doesn’t become transparent, not even during deep squats. However, seamless knickers are recommended if you’re bothered about the edges of your underwear being visible.

High waist with large pocket

The well-thought-out design is also noticeable at the waist. The waist reaches up above your navel, and the high, wide waistband remains in position during all types of exercises. On the back, the waistband is equipped with a slightly stronger mesh panel that protects against chafing and wicks away sweat in an almost magical fashion. The waistband on the back also has a large pocket for keys or a mobile phone. However, it would have been better if the pocket had been at the front of the waistband. A pocket on the back is somewhat impractical, for example, during sit-ups or other exercises done lying on your back.

High quality workout leggings

In addition to design and function, these are also high quality workout leggings. After lots of tough workouts and dozens of washes, they still look and feel like new. Due to the perforations, it’s recommended to wash these leggings in a laundry bag.

Ideal for gym or yoga

Reebok High-Rise Lux Perform Perforated Leggings are aimed at people who place high demands on function and fit. These leggings are suitable for all types of workouts. The fabric is strong enough for strength training or CrossFit but flexible and soft enough for yoga and pilates. The medium class price combined with the quality means that these workout leggings offer good value for money. You get a pair of stylish, durable and comfortable workout leggings that allow you to focus completely on your training.

Well-ventilatedsweat-wickingnice detailshigh quality
No feeling of compressionthe pocket is impractically placed on your back

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Reebok Training Lux performance high waist leggings in black

£50.00

2. Adidas Formotion Sculpt Tights

Stylish workout leggings with a high waist, made of a strong fabric that fits like a glove, available in both standard and plus sizes

Material: 84% recycled polyester, 16% elastane

Adidas Formotion Sculpt Two-Tone Tights Women - Legend Ink/Crew Navy

Formotion Sculpt Tights from Adidas are a pair of stylish workout leggings offering an excellent fit and well-thought-out details. The strong, ribbed fabric is of good quality and guarantees that these rather pricey leggings will last a long time, making them good value for money. The fabric is partly made of recycled material. One factor appreciated by some of our testers was that this model is available in both standard and plus sizes.

Leggings with compressive properties

These workout leggings have supportive compression zones, indicated by patterned areas on the fabric. These not only give a nice visual effect but also offer a feeling of real support. The leggings have few seams, which makes them more comfortable during workouts. The waist is high which is also good. The waistband is very wide and gets a plus because it doesn’t roll down during exercise.

Thick fabric workout leggings

These leggings have a small fit so it’s recommended to go up one size when buying a pair. Having the right size is crucial when it comes to putting them on. The fabric is very strong, which makes it easier to roll these leggings up like a pair of ordinary tights. But as soon as you put them on they become one with your body and you can move completely unhindered. The thick fabric ventilates away sweat in an effective way but can still feel too warm during the summer. The fabric is of a good quality, doesn’t wear out from tough training, doesn’t stretch during use and lasts well after several washes. Another advantage of the fabric is that it’s not transparent at all, but because the leggings fit so close to your body, the edges of any underwear can still be seen.

High waist, good support

Adidas Formotion Sculpt Tights are ideal if you’re looking for a pair of flattering, stylish workout leggings with a high waist that remain in place during all types of training, from high-intensity strength training to yoga. What stops these leggings getting the highest score is being so small in size and having no key pocket.

High waistavailable in many sizesgood quality
Lacks pocketsmall fit

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3. Better Bodies Waverly

High waisted workout leggings with attractive details and excellent fit

Material: 73% polyester, 27% elastane

Better Bodies Waverly Mesh Tights Women - Black

If you prefer leggings with a high waist, a pair of Better Bodies Waverly may be the ones for you. They have a waist that sits a little way above the navel, with a broad waistband that stays in place and doesn’t roll down. This makes them a good model if you want to work out in a short top or get a little extra core support during your workout. If you want a lower waist, you can simply fold the waistband down.

Fashionable appearance

These leggings perfectly combine an attractive design with good function. The mesh details give extra ventilation, and the hole-patterned fabric is a fashionable touch. And you need the extra ventilation effect. The fabric is thick, which is positive in that it means the leggings aren’t see-through, that they really stay in place and that your knicker line won’t be so visible. But we recommend that you wear seamless knickers under the leggings if you don’t want any seams to be visible. The rather thick fabric also means that the leggings get quite warm when you do a really sweaty workout in a summer-hot gym. But the fabric dries very quickly and wicks the moisture away well. In the winter, these leggings are perfect.

Just the right size

Better Bodies Waverly leggings aren’t large or small in terms of sizing, so you can just buy your normal size. The thick fabric means it can be a bit of a challenge to get the leggings on, but once in place the fit is incredibly good and they stay put no matter what movements you’re doing. The leg length is normal. On the front of the waistband, there’s a small pocket where you can store your locker key. The fit of these leggings was unaffected by washing. But if you’re going to wash them with clothes that have zips, we recommend that you put your Better Bodies Waverly leggings and a laundry bag so the mesh parts don’t get torn.

Better Bodies Waverly leggings are ideal for anyone who prefers their workout gear to have a very high waistline, not to be see-through and to be made in sturdy fabric that gives a bit of extra support during their workout.

High waistattractive detailsnot see-through
The fabric could have provided more ventilation

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4. I Can I Will Define Seamless Tights

Stylish and stretchy workout leggings with high waist that are “squat proof”

Material: 92% nylon and 8% spandex

I Can I Will Define Seamless Tights are simple and stylish in their design with woven dot details in the fabric. They stay in place well and are so stretchy that they’re suitable for a variety of exercise activities such as gym training, cardio, yoga, Pilates or walking. However, because the legs are 7/8 length, you can feel chilly around your ankles on winter walks, unless you have warm socks or high boots.

Soft and elastic fabric

The fabric in the leggings feels thick and substantial, but at the same time is very soft and feels nice on your skin. They’re true to size, so you can buy your usual size. The material is very elastic and makes the model suitable for different body shapes. They have a high waist which is quite tight. The waistband is broad and means the leggings stay up during training, but the waistband does tend to roll up somewhat during some exercises. The leggings have a nice close fit, but we’d have liked to have seen a seam at the rump that had a more flattering effect. Many other seamless leggings have a heart-shaped cut, or similar, at the back. It would also have been nice to have a small key pocket in the waistband.

Gives maximum freedom of movement

I Can I Will Define Seamless Tights aren’t completely seamless, but have a seam on the inside of the legs and one at the waistband, but you can hardly feel them on your skin. These leggings get a plus point for being so elastic and soft. This isn’t a model that limits you during any movement. The fabric ventilates very well, even during high intensity sessions, and isn’t transparent, even when doing deep squats. However, the edges of your knickers will be clearly visible through the material, so you may want to wear seamless exercise undies if that bothers you. I Can I Will Define Seamless Tights are ideal if you want a pair of stylish high waisted workout leggings with a soft elastic fabric suitable for both exercise and everyday use.

High and tight waistcomfortable materialgood fit
Knicker edges visible through the fabricno key pocket

5. Under Armour HG Ankle Crop

Functional, ankle length workout leggings with two large, concealed mobile pockets

Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

Under Armour’s workout leggings are known for three things: they don’t turn see-through even when you do your deepest knee bend, they wick sweat away extremely well – and their long leggings have really long legs. So Under Armour HG Ankle Crop leggings fulfil two of these criteria. They aren’t remotely see-through and they ventilate very well and dry very quickly. But because this is an ankle length model, you don’t need to roll them up if you have short legs.

It’s worth remembering when you buy functional clothing from Under Armour that their abbreviations HG and CG stand for “HeatGear” and “ColdGear”. If you want to stay cool, you should buy HG, and if you want workout clothes for cold days you should look at garments marked CG.

Two large pockets and a key pocket

The thing that makes Under Armour HG Ankle Crop stand out is that these leggings have two broad and deep pockets. The pockets are on the thighs of the leggings and easily hold a mobile phone and cardholder.

The clever positioning of these pockets means that they aren’t in the way when you’re working out. This is a major advantage and we wonder why there aren’t more workout leggings that have this practical solution. On the front of the waistband there’s also a small pocket where you can put your locker key.

Mid-rise waist that comes up to just under the navel

Under Armour’s workout leggings are generally larger than the size on the label. We found Under Armour HG Ankle Crop leggings to be about right in terms of size, but if you want a really close fit you can try a size smaller than you normally wear. The waist is normal height and comes up to just under your navel.

There are clear seams on the leggings, but because they’re sewn as flatlock seams they don’t chafe. The seams also to some extent conceal the fact that your knicker line is visible through the fabric. If you don’t want your underwear to be visible through the fabric at all, we recommend seamless knickers.

The leggings are very durable and don’t lose their shape after washing – just remember to turn them inside out so the logo doesn’t get worn. If you’re going to be doing deadlifts, it’s a good idea to choose another pair of leggings – some barbells can damage the fabric on the shins.

Ideal for anyone doing varied exercise

Regardless of the type of exercise you do, Under Armour HG Ankle Crop leggings stay where they should and keep you cool. These leggings are perfect for anyone who wants a pair of comfortable, flattering, ventilated workout leggings with attractive pattern details and who wants their mobile in their pocket while they work out. They're just as good for your CrossFit WOD as at the gym, doing a group workout or sweaty cardio session.

Two clever mobile pocketsventilated and quick drying fabricgood fit
The fabric develops scrape marks from some barbells when dead lifting

6. 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights

Compression tights with medium-high waist manufactured in cool, ventilated material

Primary material: 72% nylon, 28% elastane Secondary material: 75% polyamide, 25% elastane

2Xu Mid-Rise Compression Tights Women - Black/Dotted Black Logo

2XU (pronounced “two times you”) are known for their functional clothing with compression properties.

Unlike the brand’s top selling Compression Tights, 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights have a broader waistband, but the same graduated compression properties intended to increase blood flow to the muscles and speed recovery. The 2XU logos on the thigh and one calf make the tights look “fast”. The material is thin and feels nice on the skin.

Just the right size

As with all compression tights, it can be a challenge to get them on. The holes for your feet are very small and if you have broad feet you may have to struggle to get them through. The trick to getting 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights on is to roll them up your legs as if they were a pair of normal tights. The fit is tight around your calves because of the compression, but there’s space for your thighs and backside. When you buy compression tights, it’s particularly important to stick to the size guide to get the right compression properties. We did that and the size felt just right. 2XU get bonus points for offering two leg lengths for their tights, where people with longer legs can buy their T sizes (T stands for “tall”).

The waistband on 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights comes up to just under your navel. You can pull the tights higher up on your waist, but we thought this gave a bit of an unflattering appearance. Despite the fact that the waistband is broad, it tends to crumple a bit during certain exercises. There’s a small key pocket in the waistband.

Give good support during workouts

2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights sit on your body really well, like a second skin, and despite the fact that they’re compression tights they’re really comfortable. On the packaging it says that they’re intended to give compression to the entire leg, but we feel we get most support in the calves. The tights give the same feeling as having a pair of tight compression socks on. It feels nice to keep the tights on for a little while after the actual workout to get extra support.

Cool fabric that wicks away sweat effectively

Because the fabric is thinner, the tights feel cool, wick away sweat well and dry quickly. We particularly appreciated these properties during sweaty workouts and runs on hot days. But the thin fabric has a disadvantage – the tights become a bit see-through at the back during knee bends or exercises where you lean forwards. Your knickers will be visible, so we recommend that you wear skin-coloured and seamless knickers under these tights. The tights keep their shape after washing, but we recommend that you wash them inside out so the print details don’t get worn. Compression tights for all types of exercise

2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights are ideal for anyone who wants a pair of well ventilated compression tights that give extra support for running, HIIT workouts or other high intensity exercise. Because they provide good freedom of movement, you can even wear them while strength training or doing a group training session. They fit comfortably on your body and don’t roll down no matter what movements you do.

Good compression in the calvesenfolding and comfortable fitUPF 50+ sun protection
See-through during certain movements

7. Nike Pro Mid-Rise Leggings

Stylish and comfortable leggings in thin fabric with decorative mesh panels – perfect for sweaty workouts

Material: Fabric: 83% polyester, 17% elastane. Mesh panels: 81% polyester, 19% elastane.

Nike Pro Mid-Rise Leggings Women - Black/White

Nike Pro Mid-Rise Leggings are a pair of stylish workout leggings made of a thin fabric that effectively wicks away sweat from the body. This makes them perfect for high-intensity training, especially during the summer. The fabric is made of at least 50% recycled polyester, which in turn is made from recycled plastic bottles.

Thin fabric that breathes well

These leggings have an attractive design, with the wide waistband with text and mesh panels on the calves contributing to extra style points. The leggings are easy to put on and the thin fabric fits comfortably around your legs. The fabric is cool and, in combination with the mesh panels, offers good ventilation during a training session. These tights keeps you cool even during the hot summer months.

Medium height waist

In terms of fit these leggings are perceived as normal, so you can order your normal size. The waist sits at medium height, reaching almost up to your navel. The waistband consists of a wide elastic band and it is a pretty tight fit which can feel like it’s cutting into your waist somewhat. The waistband also rolls down a little during certain exercises, but overall the leggings remain well in place during all types of exercise. There’s no key pocket, which is a bit of a negative point both in the gym and out on a run. Due to the thin fabric of the leggings, seamless underwear is preferable if you’re bothered about your knicker edges being visible.

Good leggings for tough workouts

Nike Pro Mid-Rise Leggings are ideal if you want a pair of stylish, comfortable and cool workout leggings. The thin fabric in combination with mesh panels makes them excellent for high-intensity training, as well as for all kinds of training in higher temperatures. The price combined with the quality means that these workout leggings are good value for money overall.

Made of partially recycled materialcoolcomfortable fabric
Lacks key pocketwaistband rolls down a bit

8. Adidas Seamless Tights

Non-translucent workout leggings with high waist and durable fabric that ventilate well

Material: 90% nylon, 10% elastane

Adidas Seamless Tights are a nice pair of basic workout leggings ideal for strength training, CrossFit, group training and cardio. They have a stylish design with a small, discreet Adidas logo at the bottom of the left leg. What seems to be texture in the fabric is in fact mesh panels that make the fabric ventilate well, which is very helpful during high intensity sessions.

Leggings that stay up well

Seamless Tights have a high waist that reaches just above the navel and that means the leggings won’t fall down during your exercise session. The waistband is wide and mostly stays in place, although during exercises such as sit ups, deadlifts or other movements where the body is bent, it may roll down a little. The fabric is sturdy, which should give these leggings a long life. After several sessions of deadlifts with the bar sliding down on the shins, the leggings still look like new.

Strong fabric

Because the fabric is sturdy, it also feels a bit stiff and not very elastic. So these leggings are best suited for strength training and cardio, but less good for yoga or bodybalance. The slightly stiff fabric makes the size feel on the smaller side. Read the size guide to find the right size for you. One advantage with the fabric is that the leggings aren’t at all transparent – that is, they’re “squat proof”. Because the fit is so tight, the smallest knicker seam is visible through them, so seamless underwear is recommended if this worries you. One disadvantage of the fabric being stiff is that it gets stretched at the knees after exercises where you bend your legs. However, it goes back into place when washed. Overall, they stand up to washing well, and still look like new after two months of regular use and washing.

Flattering fit

The thick fabric makes Seamless Tights cling around the legs and rump for a flattering effect. The leg length isn’t the longest we’ve tested, and is best suited for people with normal length or shorter legs. If you have long legs, there’s a risk that the leggings will end around your ankles. These leggings are called seamless, but they actually have a seam both on the inside of the legs, in the crotch and at the waistband. However, the seams are sewn in such a way that you can hardly feel them on the skin. It would have been nice to have a key pocket in the waistband or on the thigh.

Adidas Seamless Tights are ideal for anyone who wants a pair of classic, stylish, high-waisted, high-quality, non-transparent workout leggings.

High waistheavy fabricnot transparent
No key pocketwaistband rolls down a little

9. Nike One Leggings

Workout leggings in really comfortable material that ventilates well

Material: 83% polyester, 17% elastane

Nike One Leggings Women - Black/White

Nike One are a pair of stylish, single colour workout leggings without any extra design details except for a discreet Nike swoosh at the bottom of the left leg. The thing that makes these leggings stand out is the material that made from, which is incredibly comfortable and soft.

Ventilate well and aren’t see-through

The leggings slide easily onto your body, and once you have them on you can barely feel them. The fabric provides really good ventilation, even during sweaty and high intensity sessions, and doesn’t show sweat patches. Nike One Leggings get extra points for not becoming see-through, for example when you’re doing knee bends. You can see your knicker line through the fabric, however. If you’d prefer this not to be the case, we recommend you wear seamless workout underwear under the leggings. The size of these leggings is on the larger side. If you’re between two sizes or want very close fitting leggings, we recommend that you buy one size smaller than you normally wear. The leggings are long in the leg but easy to roll up if you need them shorter.

Mid-rise waist with broad waistband

The waist on the Nike One Leggings reaches your navel and despite the fact that the waistband is broad it doesn’t seem to roll down during workouts. On the back of the waistband is a large pocket with a mesh fabric inside. The pocket is big enough to hold a mobile phone, or a card holder and locker key. The leggings keep their shape well after washing and still look like new after several goes in the washing machine.

Nike One Leggings are ideal if you easily get hot when you’re working out and want stylish, well ventilated basic leggings in really comfortable material that you can wear in the gym, during yoga or on a power walk.

Soft fabricnice fitventilatedlarge pocket
Rather large in sizingknicker line visible through the fabric

10. Sculpture High Waist Tights – Liquid Black

Flattering workout tights in shiny material with a very high waist

Material: 59% polyamide, 41% lycra

Casall Sculpture High Waist Tights Women - Liquid Black

Casall’s Sculpture High Waist Tights in Liquid Black have an extremely high waist that reaches far above your navel and encloses the lower part of your ribcage. This means that these tights stand out from the crowd among other plain black workout tights, providing a flattering silhouette. The material of the tights is also different from other workout tights in that it’s shiny and thinner but elastic. On the sides of the legs are glossy details that give a really nice visual effect.

Small sizing

Sculpture High Waist Tights – Liquid Black fit tightly from calves to waist. Because they’re small in their sizing, we recommend that you buy a size bigger than you normally do. Our testers found the leg length to be normal. The very high, tight waist gives extra support during your workout, but the waistband also tends to roll down during some exercises such as when you lean forwards or sit down. We didn’t find the waistband rolled during running or walks, but in yoga and strength training sessions our testers often had to pull it up again. Perhaps this effect disappears if you go up a size?

Ventilated fabric

The material on the tights wicks away sweat in an effective way and feels cool even during high intensity training. They aren’t see-through, but because the fit around the backside and waist is so tight we recommend seamless knickers, because otherwise your knicker line is clearly visible through the fabric.

Sculpture High Waist Tights – Liquid Black are ideal for anyone who wants a pair of stylish workout tights with a really high waist. They’re particularly good for high intensity workouts because they provide great freedom of movement while staying in place.

Very attractive designgood fithigh waist
Waistband tends to rollsmall in sizingno key pocket

11. Röhnisch Shape High Waist Leggings

Workout leggings in strong fabric made of recycled material, with a high waist and internal drawstring

Material: 73% polyamide, 27% elastane

Shape High Waist Leggings from Röhnisch are a pair of basic workout leggings with a high waist. What distinguishes them from many other workout leggings is that they are made of recycled material, which is definitely a big plus point.

Leggings offering compression

These leggings are called “Shape” due to the fact that the fabric is made of a compression material that will give your muscles support, reduce vibrations and contribute to increased blood circulation. Those effects are difficult to notice, however, because these leggings are large in size and they roll down, for example, during squats. This is the case even though the leggings were ordered according to the recommendation from the size guide on the website. So we suggest you order a size smaller than usual if you want to take advantage of the compressive properties.

Running tights for workouts

These leggings are marketed as running tights, but we think they work just as well, if not better, as workout leggings. Running tights often have a drawstring at the waist that can be adjusted, zips at the ankles and ventilating mesh panels to provide extra coolness. This model has a strong fabric that transports away sweat, but which does feel too warm in the spring and summer. There is also a hidden drawstring in the waistband – a round rubber band that can’t be adjusted. On the other hand, the fabric does well during training sessions in a gym with good ventilation because it wicks away sweat well. The fact that the leggings are a hybrid model means they are well suited for CrossFit, where elements of running and strength training are combined.

High waist with small pocket

These leggings have a high waist with a wide waistband. This helps keep the leggings in place during all types of exercise movements. At the back of the waistband there is a small pocket with a mesh lining on the inside. The pocket lacks a zip. The strong fabric gets a plus because it means the leggings aren’t at all transparent. Seamless underwear is still recommended, however, if you’re bothered about visible panty lines.

Leggings for strength training

Röhnisch Shape High Waist Tights are suitable for CrossFit or similar exercise. The strong fabric provides support during strength training and the waistband with a drawstring keeps the leggings in place during all types of exercise.

High waiststylish designmade of recycled material
Hard to find the right sizetoo warm during the summer

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