In these difficult times, yoga is having its moment. Whether you check in daily using Yoga with Adriene, attend your usual class on Zoom or simply take yourself through your own practice, it really is a physical and mental tonic.
But while we’re currently doing yoga in the privacy of our own homes, the criteria for a good pair of leggings stays the same as if we were in a studio session, so we tested the styles below in vigorous online astanga classes.
When it comes to finding the right pair, there are seveeral things to consider. They need to be high waisted enough not to ride down when you sit or bend; have four-way stretch so that the material doesn’t go see-through when you squat and allow for a full range of movement.
Read more: How to start practicing yoga at home
They also need to have a thick, flat waistband that sits softly against the body without cutting in and limited seams so that they’re comfortable to move in.
It’s important that they are not too compressive around the legs or torso too, as that’s not needed for yoga in the same way it is for running or gym workouts. All of the below are made from breathable, sweat-wicking fabric, because yoga is not always gentle and sweat-free.
And of course, yoga leggings have the added benefit of being the best loungewear there is, as they’re designed to feel unrestrictive and like they’re barely there – perfect for moving off the mat to your desk or the sofa and even popping out for a coffee.
For all yoga leggings, be sure to follow the washing instructions, which are generally a cool, delicate wash and laying flat to dry. They’re not as hardy as running tights and this will help them keep their shape for longer.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Sweaty Betty gary yoga pants
Not a legging but a pant – these have a looser fit than most standard styles and are the most comfortable thing you could ever hope to put on your lower half. They’re beautifully soft, breathable and loose enough around the legs to feel entirely unrestricted during a class, but not so much that they get in the way (and the cuffed ankles mean they don’t flap around). They have a reasonably high, panelled waist that sits securely but gently against your middle and they’re extremely flattering – perfect if you don’t like skin-tight leggings. Opt for a size down as they come up big. They’re pricey but the high quality will last you for years.
Buy now £80.00, Sweatybetty.com
Crz Yoga women’s naked feeling high-waist yoga pants
A fabulous pair of yoga leggings that tick all the boxes, and at a reasonable price. Squat proof, buttery soft and just thick enough to be flattering without being too compressive – with a high and comfortable waistband – you could easily forget you’re wearing them. They come in a huge range of colours and prints, so you can wow your class in anything from camo and leopard print to a tamer petrol blue or taupe.
Buy now £23.00, Amazon.co.uk
Sundried womens 7/8 Leggings
Sundried was founded on sustainability and makes high-quality kit from recycled materials. These slightly cropped leggings are made from a variety of sources, such as PET plastic water bottles and recycled polyester fabrics from clothing. They have a spot-on high waist, lay comfortably against your middle without feeling constrictive, are strokeably soft and give just the right level of stretch without shifting around.
Buy now £40.00, Sundried.com
Lululemon align HR pant 28”
These high-waisted yoga leggings have a cult following, and for good reason. Living up to their “weightless feel” marketing, they take soft to a whole new level and move with you like a second skin. You can almost forget you’re wearing them as they stretch beautifully in every direction without bagging up or shifting around. The lightweight fabric and barely there feeling results in not much being “held in”, and they hug to every contour – whether you like this or not is purely down to preference.
Buy now £88.00, Lululemon.co.uk
Boody active full leggings
Derived from sustainable organic bamboo, this style is a good choice for the eco-conscious yogi, and the fabric feels beautifully smooth and cool. If you like a more supportive feel, these are a little thicker and less flexible than others we tested, but that makes for a flattering fit and the stretch is sufficient. The waist isn’t super-high but high enough not to expose you when you bend.
Buy now £49.95, Boody.co.uk
Marks & Spencer go balance high waisted yoga leggings
A great pair of leggings with a palatable price tag. The high, wrap-fronted waistband is comfortable and stays put, and the four-way stretch fabric is soft and supple. They’re lightweight and contour-hugging, so not much holding in, as with the Lululemon pair. Marks & Spencer clothing often comes up big but these are spot on, so go for your regular clothing size. To reduce the high environmental impact of fitness wear, they’re made with recycled polyester.
Buy now £25.00, Marksandspencer.com
Love Leggings focus 7/8 sports leggings
These are very soft, very stretchy and feel cooling next to the skin. Again, quite a lightweight material, with a nice high waist and a thick front panel that lies flat without cutting in. They also don’t move an inch as you flow through your poses. Available in petite, regular and tall to cater for all builds.
Buy now £28.00, Loveleggings.com
Famara flamenco leggings
If you like your leggings to draw attention, these are right for you. This small activewear brand offers a selection of vivid, art-inspired prints on its yoga leggings and they come in two different lenghts: capri or long. A thick, high waist panel sits nicely against your stomach, the fabric is soft and they stretch well with your body as it moves.
Buy now £55.00, Famaraonline.com
Natal Active luxe maternity leggings
The length is a flattering 7/8 – inbetween full length and cropped – and the fabric is soft and stretchy. The waistband comes high up the back, not just the front (as is the case with some maternity leggings), making them perfect for yoga. A stretchy panel pulls up and partly over your bump, or it can be folded and worn underneath it. We would possibly size up if you’re later in pregnancy but make sure to take a look at the size guide. If you like a very high waist on your yoga leggings, you could wear these even if you’re not pregnant, and their thickness makes for a flattering fit while still being flexible enough.
Buy now £55.00, Natalactive.com
The verdict: Yoga leggings and pants
The Sweaty Betty gary pants are perfection when it comes to performance and quality, and the feeling of airy, unrestrictive comfort is unsurpassed. If you prefer a legging, the Crz Yoga pair are superb and aren’t such a financial outlay. That said, all of the leggings here are extremely comfortable and perform well, so it really comes down to price, colour range, preference on thickness and whether you’re looking for eco credentials.
For more of a lift from your loungewear, why not try these bum enhancing leggings on for size