The best gym leggings to buy in 2022

The best women's gym leggings you need in your life - squat-proof and super comfy.

Woman in the best gym leggings running up steps

by Jade Moscrop |

Whether you're a health-kick newbie or a fully-fledged gym bunny, everyone who's ever tried to run a mile or do a single squat knows the importance of having a pair of leggings that won't let you down.

See-through, baggy and flimsy simply won't do - you need workout leggings that are well-made, squat-proof, with a heavy-duty waistband and that don't lose their edge when they're washed.

As more and more of us undertake healthy activities, (such as swapping out our weekly treat for a healthy takeaway instead) brands have really stepped up their game when it comes to leggings. All leggings, though, are not created equal.

Our top picks

Best affordable leggings: Ewedoos Yoga Pants for Women with Pockets

Best running leggings: Fast and Free High-Rise Tight

Best heavy flow period leggings: Modibodi 7/8 Recycled Active Leggings

Best medium flow period leggings: WUKA Perform Leggings

Best maternity leggings: Natal Active Luxe Maternity Legging

Best leggings for every exercise: Power Gym Leggings

What are the types of gym leggings?

An ever-growing market means that there are SO many choices to wrap your head around these days. Here are some of the most popular on offer:

• High-waisted

• Seamless

• Maternity leggings

• Petite

• Cropped

• 7/8 length

• Plus-sized

Luckily for you, we've pulled together the best gym leggings from some of the top brands around for all of these options, as well as some lesser-known brands that have received rave reviews online. Ready to meet your match? Let's do this.

Related: The best SKIMS dupes that are (almost) as good as the real thing

The best gym leggings

Related: Fearne Cotton has launched a yoga range for Sweaty Betty

Benefits of wearing sports leggings

Improved performance

While joggers or sweatpants might feel as though they're designed for sports and running, in reality, leggings are truly made for the job. Giving you less resistance when you run, offering more comfort and generally looking great should help you to get that new PB or smash your current goal.

Compression

Gym leggings can also help with muscle recovery, circulation and metabolic waste. According to ACE Fitness, "the pressure from the tight clothing can improve circulation; specifically, the venous return of blood back to the heart, which helps remove metabolic waste from muscle and promotes the flow of oxygenated blood to help the tissue repair and rebuild".

Temperature

Sweatpants will make you do just that: sweat. Moisture-wicking leggings help to keep you at the right temperature as you workout, stopping you from overheating or getting too cold in the winter months.

Protection

Leggings and running tights will protect your skin from both the sun's harmful rays in summer, as well as cold winds in winter.

More fitness inspo:

The best yoga pants for doing the downward dog

The best pre-workout supplements to make the most of your gym session

The best maternity leggings

The best high-waisted leggings according to the Closer team

How do I choose gym leggings?

Size

It's important to check each brand's size guide before selecting your leggings, as they can all differ slightly. What's more, have a look at the reviews to see what previous customers think about the fit.

In our best gym leggings list above, we've tested them ourselves or checked this for you, but your experience may differ depending on your body shape.

Material

Most workout leggings are made from synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon, due to their sweat-wicking properties and ability to stretch. They dry out quickly, aren't susceptible to over-stretching and are lightweight. You may also see the addition of Spandex, Lycra or elastane, which puts the stretch into your workout gear.

If your chosen activity is light, like yoga, you can probably get away with cotton leggings, which are breathable and comfortable. Bear in mind, these do absorb moisture, so aren't really suited to heavy workouts.

Best gym leggings
©Photo: Getty Images

What should you wear under gym leggings?

If you're one of those people who hates a garish underwear line under your leggings, you're not alone. Sorry, granny pants - we love ya, but we don't always want everyone to know we forgot to do our washing that week.

If you wear a busier print, you shouldn't see the lines too obviously, or you could always opt for seam-free underwear, boy shorts or a breathable thong so that no lines will show.

Whatever you wear, make sure you feel comfortable - there's nothing more annoying than getting a wedgie halfway through your kick-ass run.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us