Let’s be real: You might not want to drop a ton of money on a pair of pants you’re actually paying to sweat through (or sit in to watch Netflix for hours until it asks, “Are you still watching Parks and Rec for the 1,000th time or have you fallen asleep?”). So if you’re looking for a pair of stretchy, workout-friendly pants that won’t strain your bank account, Oalka Power Flex Leggings are your best bet for under $20. With Amazon Prime shipping, they’ll be at your door and ready to bust a move in just two days.
The mostly nylon fabric lends a super-silky feel (think nylon tights) and a slight sheen that many of our testers loved. In addition, a bit of spandex allows for a four-way stretch that moves with you during stretches and poses, making them perfect for lighter workouts focusing on flexibility.
Note that they do run a tad big, and if you’re looking for more compression or snugness for cardio workouts or intense studio classes, these have a much lighter, hug-free feel. But despite the stretchiness and not-too-snug fit, the waistband won’t fall down on you mid-exercise. And even with these leggings’ thinner and silkier feel, their rear end doesn’t turn see-through during stretches, squats, or yoga poses. Plus, there’s a small hidden pocket tucked inside the wide waistband, perfect for stowing away your key or credit card (because who doesn’t want to pick up some snacks at the store on their way home from the gym or after a run?).
For the inexpensive price point, you are sacrificing some customization options — specifically when it comes to length. The Oalkas are available in six sizes (XS–XXL) but only one length. If you’re petite to average height, they might bunch slightly at the ankles or require cuffing, but for taller customers, they shouldn’t run too short — and if they do, they might just have that seven-eighths, slightly cropped look.
While you can’t customize the length, this is our only pick that’s available in more than one or two colors. If you’re someone who wants to make it clear at the gym that you’re *not* wearing the same leggings for the fifth day in a row, by all means, buy seven different colors (one for each day of the week). Having a hard time finding your leggings for a morning workout before you’ve had your coffee? The hot-pink option will be easy to spot and wake you up! At this price point, we wouldn’t even blame you for wanting to buy all 19 colors, available in both solids and a heathered pattern called “space dye.” (Note that the space-dye colors have a slightly different fabric construction, made of polyester and spandex rather than nylon and spandex — the same combination as the Target leggings that won our mid-price category.)
Our high-end pick (Athleta Salutation Tights) are made of a similar nylon and spandex blend, so if you’re looking for a dupe for pricier name brands that’ll hold you over before shelling out your whole paycheck, these are definitely worth a try. You can fully outfit a gym bag with a couple of pairs for the same amount of money as one pair of high-end leggings. We even found they were comparable to Lululemon leggings when it comes to feel. For under $20 (like plenty of other apparel on Amazon, price depends on size and color, and these range from $13.99–$19.99), you’ll get a practical pair you won’t feel precious about — these babies can handle anything you throw at ‘em. And if you lose them or decide you want another color? Your next pair is just two days away.