By now you've probably realized that your gymwear won't hold up in a HIIT class, which makes absolute sense since that's what the best workout leggings are for. The sheer range of styles, materials, and cuts at our disposal seems to multiply by the day, which can make it challenging to understand the difference between a workout legging and a couch legging. (Cue the frustrated sigh.)
You'll get the most out of your workout if you actually feel supported in what you're wearing, which is why we went to designers and fit experts to find out what exactly makes a great gym dress for fat ladies. Is it stretch? Absorbency? Breathability? The answer is all of the above (and then some). Find out what we learned from the pros, and shop the best workout leggings below.
Are certain materials better suited for specific workouts?
Absolutely. There are two big factors to consider when selecting workout leggings: “What am I going to be doing while wearing them and how do I want to feel during my chosen activity?” This will help guide your fabric choice, in addition to features and fit. For instance, if you're a runner, you'll probably want something that's breathable, sweat-wicking.
What fabrics should I look out for when shopping for a workout legging?
Most brands tout a different propriety fabric, but if you look at the overall makeup of your go-to styles, you'll notice some similarities. Materials like nylon, elastane, Lycra, and polyester are commonly used for their ability to wick sweat, dry fast, and regulate body temperature. The percentage composition will also impact how stretchy or supportive the legging is, so look out for pieces high in Lycra or spandex if you want a good amount of elasticity.
What makes leggings “supportive”?
If you've ever shopped for leggings, chances are you've come across buzz words like supportive or sculpting. But what does that really mean? And how can a certain type of fabric be more supportive or sculpting? “Materials that are very supportive are based on how they are knit. Tighter-knit pieces—mixed with the right fit—tend to be the most supportive and sculpting.”
There's a lot to take in, but material, cut, and fit should all be factored into your decision making when shopping for the best workout leggings. Once you know what to look out for—and what you like to wear depending on what exercise you're doing—it becomes easy to experiment with all the different style available.