The Best Leggings for Every Budget | BuzzFeed Reviews
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The Best Leggings

We hope you love the products we recommend! We do a lot of research and testing before making our picks for the best thing to buy in each price-point. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change. For more info on how we choose products and make money, go here

Oalka Power Flex Running Leggings

$10

  • Available in 19 colors
  • Silky smooth
  • Dig-free waistband
  • Slight sheen
Buying Options

C9 Champion High-Waisted Leggings

$25

  • Super-breathable
  • Waistband stays secure during workouts
  • Versatile enough for any activity
  • Longest inseam options
Buying Options

Athleta Salutation Tight

$79

  • Comfy enough to lounge in
  • Convenient hidden pocket
  • Buttery-soft fabric
  • Lighter-than-air feel
Buying Options

Leggings are better than pants. We all know this to be true. But too many fall short: sagging or pilling after one wear, shredding at the seams, failing to stay flexible, turning sheer…or literally falling short (hello, tall folks!). So we’ve bent and snapped so you don’t have to (that’s right, we literally worked out in all of these, truly putting sweat into this), finding the perfect stay-opaque, last-forever pair for every budget, whether you’re a workout fiend or a lounger — or a little bit of both.

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Oalka Power Flex Running Leggings

Starting from $10

The Details

86% nylon, 14% spandex

Available in 19 colors

Sizes XS - XXL

Hidden front pocket

What / Who It's Best For

  • People on a budget
  • Anyone who wants colors other than black
  • People looking to stock up on leggings

Why We Love It

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 $9.99–$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.

User Reviews

“These leggings are perfect. They’re not see-through at all, very stretchy without being straight spandex, and true to color. The seams are in comfortable places and the waistband is great. I buy a lot of leggings and this is now my go-to source.”
— Devon Borokoff From Amazon
“I was incredibly surprised! I'm a Lululemon pants lover. I live in them. The quality of these pants was so nice I couldn't believe it when I opened the package! They wash beautifully. I was very happy with the fit of the first pair I purchased — so happy I went back online to see what other colors there were available! I bought several more colors. I'm excited to see how great they hold up. Value for your money so far!”
— AmazonAddict From Amazon
“I work in fitness, so I'm pretty experienced as far as yoga/running pants go. I'm always on the hunt for leggings that are cute but that aren't sheer in the butt, and that will hold up for a while. These are it! The material is thick and you definitely can't see through them when you bend over. The color is really rich and pretty, too. This is my second pair of these pants (I had to buy another pair when I saw how well the first pair performed and held up over time).”
— Celia From Amazon
“I own many pairs of yoga pants and cannot wait to take them off as soon as I get out of Pilates class. These are SO much better. They look awesome and better than that they feel great. These fit without feeling like I am being squeezed to death. The fabric is soft and smooth. Can't say enough about these. I will be purchasing more.”
— Catrob From Amazon

Oalka

The Streeeetch-Your-Budget Option

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C9 Champion High-Waisted Leggings

Starting from $25

The Details

88% polyester, 12% spandex

Machine washable and dryable

Sizes XS - XXL

Available in three lengths

What / Who It's Best For

  • Anyone who prefers a snug fit
  • People who love a truly high waist
  • People who wear leggings year-round

Why We Love It

If you’re looking to do some leggings shopping while picking up a gallon of milk and some toilet-bowl cleaner, look no further. Target’s C9 Champion Everyday High-Waisted Leggings are the option you’ll want to wear, well, every day. These won as the brand most testers would choose to wear in the most situations, including working out, running errands, and lounging, with some testers even responding that they could sleep in them. Now that’s love.

They have a snug fit that compresses without feeling uncomfortable. We found that after wearing them, the leggings felt like they molded to the body; after one or two wears, they’ll seem tailored to your shape. The mostly polyester fabric helps wick away moisture and sweat, and workout reviewers noticed that these leggings would even be fine to wear during the hottest days of summer. When it comes to cardio or high-temperature workouts like hot yoga, these will stay cool and comfortable throughout. During a workout, one tester noted that they “felt pretty dry even after sweating my ass off.” If slightly shiny leggings aren’t your thing (especially when compared to the silkier feel of the nylon Oalka leggings on Amazon, our $ pick), these look and feel more like a hybrid between workout and cotton leggings. This means they can masquerade as “regular” pants, and if you wear a longer top or blazer to cover the waistband and logo at the top rear, others truly might not notice you’re even wearing leggings, much less athletic leggings.

The C9s come in three lengths: the short inseam clocks in at 25.5”, the regular at 28.5”, and the long at 31.5”, so you can customize your pair based on the length of your legs and the look you prefer (e.g., if you like the look of seven-eighths leggings, you can opt for a shorter inseam). Tall people, look no further. Out of all of our picks, these Champion leggings have the longest inseam range (beating both the regular and long Athleta Salutation Tights by a full 2 inches). We found Old Navy’s High-Rise Compression Leggings to be a good second choice at this price point, so if C9 is out of your size or you prefer Old Navy’s length options, they might be a good fit.

With a truly high-waisted rise, be prepared for these to come pretty far up on a short torso. But by the same token, workout testers felt the most secure in these leggings, never having to pull them up or worry about the waist rolling down. Once these puppies are on, they stay put. That means no yanking up the top during jumping jacks, and no creeping wedgie up the back, either. You won’t ever think about the waist, which means you can focus on maintaining your form, enjoying your workout playlist, or deciding where to get pizza after you’re done. Just note that because of the sleek look and tight fit of the waist, unlike both the Oalkas and Athleta leggings, these don’t have a hidden envelope pocket for a key.

Designed for freedom of movement and support, they do hug the body, from the top of your waist to your ankles. But fret not, comfort lovers: The C9s will never cut off your circulation or make you feel overheated. And while they certainly mold to your body (even after just one wear), if you don’t like feeling anything at the waist or are sensitive to things “cutting in” when you sit, these might not be your most lounge-friendly option. On the other hand, if you love wearing high-waisted bottoms and want some leggings to embrace you in a super-breathable, lightweight way, then these are for you! 

Given their cottony feel and snug fit, we found the C9s perfectly comfortable for lounging all day or wearing while running errands as a pants substitute. After trying these out, one tester even started wearing them at the office. The “Everyday Leggings?” Yeah, they’re totally living up to their name.

User Reviews

Got these for hot yoga and I love them. They stay up and don't lose their shape after an hour and a half of intense poses and lots of sweat. They make the legs look fabulous!"
— Fay From Target
“These are the best leggings I've ever owned. They are not at all sheer. They are so comfortable that I would live in these if it was socially acceptable to wear leggings in the business world.”
— kphi From Target
“You'll never want to take them off! These are great quality. My favorite thing to work out in. They are not sheer, they do not sweat through, and they are SO comfortable. Control top is nice and snug but not constricting. Great for working out or just everyday wear! I own three pairs and I just bought two more! Worth every penny!"
— Fi From Target
“This is my fourth pair of these leggings. They are my absolute favorite. The fabric is really thick, so if you bend over they aren't see-through at ALL. They also keep my legs warm if it's cold outside but aren't too hot once you are inside. They are nice and dark black and don't fade after months of dryer use. They are super soft, too! I can't say enough good things about them! I wish they were a little bit cheaper so that I could buy more pairs.”
— Haley C. From Target

C9 by Champion

The All-Day, Every Day Pair

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Athleta Salutation Tight

Starting from $79

The Details

Nylon/Lycra-spandex blend

Available in two colors

Available in three lengths

Sizes XXS - XXL

Machine washable and dryable

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who don’t like compression tights
  • People who really want to be comfortable
  • Anyone looking for the softest fabric

Why We Love It

If you’re a die-hard leggings wearer looking for the luxury-car version of your favorite pants (think pricey, but worth every penny), you can’t do better than Athleta’s Salutation Tights. “Seventy-nine dollars for leggings!” we can hear you exclaim. “They’d better be woven from threads made of actual clouds!” Well, reader, they basically are.

The Salutation leggings are like two pairs for the price of one. They’re moisture-wicking, breathable, and made of a workout-friendly nylon and Lycra spandex blend that’ll pull sweat away from your body as you work out, letting it evaporate to keep you cool. But they’re also buttery soft and have enough give (hello, four-way stretch!) to be perfectly comfortable when you’re sprawled out on the couch for a Friday-night-through-Sunday-night Netflix weekend. Beyond the gym, they feel comfortable in even hot and humid weather, staying flexible without stretching out or turning sheer. While all of our top picks have a gusseted crotch (which means no wedgies or riding up), the Athletas are designed to be particularly breathable. If you want to almost forget you’re even wearing pants, these might be for you. But even with their high level of comfort, we found that everything stayed perfectly in place all day long and during workouts.

While not too tight or constricting, the waistband features three layers of mesh, so it stays smooth and secure during workouts. Although testers noted they initially worried about the waistband rolling down during workouts due to the comfortable fit, there were ultimately never any rolling or sagging issues. Of course, when it comes to compression and support during intense exercise, these won’t hug you the way the Champion C9s do. But the breathable and super-soft fabric makes for a great option during less intense workouts as well as lazy Saturdays.

While these, like the Target C9s, come in three length options, their range is a bit shorter — perfect for petite customers or anyone looking for a slightly cropped look. Their petite inseam comes in at 24.5” (an inch shorter than the C9’s petite length), regular inseam at 26.5” (2 inches shorter than the C9’s), and long inseam of 29.5” (also 2 inches shorter). But unlike our mid-price pick, these have a hidden pocket at the waist, so if you absolutely need somewhere to stow your keys, credit cards, or cash and want to tailor the length to your height, it’s worth investing in these to check off everything on your must-have list.

Like the Target leggings, you can machine wash and dry these so they’ll be clean and ready to sweat in again right away, rather than waiting for them to dry overnight. If you have only one pair, that means you can wear ‘em on laundry day, throw them in the washing machine at the last minute, and pull them on again fresh out of the dryer an hour later. That, plus the many reviewers who speak to their durability, means you won’t have to buy a ton of pairs.

The other popular “investment leggings” we tried, the Lululemon Align Pant II, were also super-soft and comfortable, but the waist tended to roll down during certain movements or require adjustments between sitting and standing. Athleta’s leggings stayed more secure and had more structure and support during workouts, but never cut in.

In summary, we’ll leave you with this note from one of our testers: “I don’t want to take them off when I put them on.” When it comes to splurge-worthy leggings, what more could you want?

User Reviews

“The other reviewers were not lying. These are super comfy! True to size. I feel like it’s not overwhelmingly restricting, but it still holds me in place nicely. I like that even though they are not super thick, they are also not see-through. No major underwear line to speak of. Looking forward to seeing how they hold up through multiple washes and wear, but so far, so happy.”
— ajandlj From Athleta
“I absolutely love the buttery-soft fabric of these leggings. I purchased these mainly for loungewear, but when it’s cold out they’ll work great for the gym as well. I love the high waist and versatility of these leggings!!”
— lineyg From Athleta
“These pants are super comfortable, yet sleek enough to go from yoga to work with a dress over them! The high waistband is perfect! Beyond yoga, these pants are also great for travel. Best thing about these pants — they’re NOT see-through! I have these pants, and the same version in capris in several colors; definitely my favorite.”
— Cathy From Athleta
“These pants mold to your body! They are soft, comfortable, and versatile. I wear them for Pilates, hiking, jogging, cross-training in the gym, and lounging around the house. Absolutely worth the purchase!”
— Jennifer C. From Athleta

Athleta

The You’ll-Get-Your-Money’s-Worth Pick

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