Choose the perfect leggings for your favourite type of fitness

Squat rack, spin class or stretching – give it 100% with the right piece of kit for your training
Perfect leggings for training hard

Leggings are an essential piece of kit for anyone hitting the gym, whether you're a hardcore lifter, HIIT fiend, yoga lover or spin class fan. However, with the activewear market expanding rapidly in the last few years, it's harder than ever to know what's worth splashing your cash on and what's going to end up relegated to the back of your wardrobe.

We've done the legwork in researching and testing the best leggings on the market, so you can buy and work out without panicking that your new purchase will go see-through/fall down/come apart in the wash.

We've included items from mainstream, big name brands and smaller boutique brands, ranging from under $60 to over $120. But regardless of the price, they're all investment items that should last the distance.

This guide is divided up into options for weightlifting, yoga/pilates, cardio (treadmills, spin, you get the gist) and HIIT. That said, you can wear pretty much any of the leggings below for any activity, so you can use one item for multiple types of training if you like to mix things up.

Best for lifting

Reebok Myoknit Tights

Buy now: Reebok (UK) / Reebok (US) | $80

Best Gym Leggings for Women

Reebok has long been associated with CrossFit, so it's no surprise that its gear is perfectly designed for lifting weights and chucking heavy stuff about. These MyoKnit leggings have a snugly fitted high waist for maximum comfort, with the added bonus that they won't slide down and leave you in a compromising position mid-squat.

The seamless design will prevent chafing, while the Speedwick fabric does what it says on the tin – quickly wicking away sweat from your skin, which helps keep you cool and comfortable. Mesh sections around the calves and lower hamstrings also provide ventilation and – most importantly – the material is flexible and responsive to whatever you throw at it (made from a blend of nylon, polyester and spandex).

While these leggings aren't the cheapest, they're one of Reebok's top of the range products and are designed to withstand even the most intense of workouts. This makes them a solid choice for anyone who trains with weights, whether for powerlifting, CrossFit or body-building.

Size: 0-18 (UK) | 2XS-L (US)

Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Side Pocket Leggings

Buy now: Sweaty Betty (UK) / Sweaty Betty (US) | $100

Best Gym Leggings for Women

These may look like an average pair of black leggings but they come with one impressive standout feature – they actually have pockets. The side pocket has space for you to slide your phone in, while the back pocket has a zip so you can safely stash your card and keys.

On more workout-related notes, the high waist on these leggings has a drawcord, allowing you to adjust their fit and prevent slippage during training, and the fabric has an impressive amount of stretch, so you won't be restricted as you move into deep positions while snatching or squatting.

Their 7/8 length design and inseam of 60cm (24 inches) means that depending on height they might not reach all the way to your ankles, but they're comfy and flattering either way. Sweaty Betty does recommend putting these on a 40°C wash to keep them in the best condition possible.

Size: 6-16 (UK) | XXS-XL (US)

Best for yoga and pilates

Dharma Bums Wandering Spirit Leggings

Buy now: Dharma Bums (UK) | £54.99

Best Gym Leggings for Women

Australian yogawear brand Dharma Bums was only launched in 2013, but has made a name for itself by only using ethically certified factories and making a commitment to sourcing sustainable materials – as well as producing unique, boldly patterned clothing.

These Wandering Spirit leggings feature a delicate navy and dusty pink print that stands out from the activewear crowd (especially when paired with the matching bra), with four-way stretch fabric that moves fluidly with your body as you move through asanas.

They're sweat-wicking and quick-drying too, which is a handy bonus for anyone who's into hot yoga or more vigorous practices such as ashtanga. The high waistband is wide to prevent it digging in around your stomach, while flat-locked seams help avoid skin irritation.

One thing worth noting is that these can come up a little on the small side, so if you're between sizes then opt for the higher one.

Size: 6-20 (UK)

Boom Boom Athletica Slalom Leggings

Buy now: Boom Boom Athletica | $125

Best Gym Leggings for Women

Boom Boom Athletica is a boutique activewear brand founded by Swedish-Canadian ultra-runner Ann Johansson. The Slalom leggings are made with high-quality Italian fabric, which is super soft and flexible as well as breathable – ideal for any yoga session.

The fabric has in-built UV protection too, which is useful if you're heading off on a sunny yoga retreat or like to practise outside when summer hits. The pink and grey detailing on the knees adds a touch of flair, but it's not just there for the looks. It adds a bit of cushioning too, which is invaluable for those who struggle with discomfort while doing asanas such as kneeling lunge, child's pose and kneeling backbends.

They also feature side pockets which keep your phone or other essentials snugly stashed by your side, and easily accessible should you wish to grab a photo of yourself practising for the 'gram. There's another zip pocket at the back too, which is perfect to pop your keys in – just watch out for them if you're in any lying down poses.

Size: 4-14 (UK) | XS-L (US)

Best for cardio

Nike One Leggings

Buy now: Nike (UK) / Nike (US) | $55

Best Gym Leggings for Women

Whether you're tearing up the treadmill, grinding up gears in spin or taking on a classic cardio class, these versatile leggings by Nike are designed to carry you all the way through and on to the rest of your day. They're made with Nike's Dri-Fit technology to keep you cool even with full leg coverage, and the solid colour design is totally timeless.

Also, some brand new information: Nike has been saving plastic bottles from landfills since 2012 (over 6.5 billion in total) and it has converted them into the material to make the One leggings. Which is nice to know.

The wide waistband is flattering and comfortable, plus it hides a pocket that you can slip your phone into on the go and a small one at the front to stash your keys in. Nike say that the 'thick, buttery-soft fabric feels even better than being naked' – we'll leave you to make your mind up on that one, but as it stands the One tights are an excellent value staple for your activewear wardrobe.

Size: 0-22 (UK) | XS-XL (US)

Zaazee Alexa Leggings

Buy now: Zaazee (UK) | £75

Best Gym Leggings for Women

British brand Zaazee makes activewear designed to be used for a variety of sports, with quality design and materials at the forefront. These Alexa leggings are quick-drying, breathable and have a cotton feel – great for those who aren't nuts about Lycra.

They're made with soft technical material that's 'anti-pilling', which in case you didn't know (we didn't) is industry language meaning they won't go bobbly after a few washes. The solid black design has silver criss-cross detailing on the calves and waistband, which adds a touch of flair and reflects nicely under bright lights.

The attention to detail on Zaazee products is always up there, and the Alexa leggings are no exception. Their wide waistband is super soft and has extra elastic to stop it slipping, plus there are flat-locked seams and no labels to prevent irritation. Whether you're a parkrunner, dancer or spin class queen, these leggings are an excellent choice.

Size:6-18 (UK)

Best for HIIT

Gymshark Geo Mesh Leggings

Buy now: Gymshark (UK) / Gymshark (US) | $55

Best Gym Leggings for Women

High-waisted, flexible and well-fitted to avoid slippage, these Geo Mesh leggings from Gymshark work brilliantly for any kind of training. That said, their mesh panels and perforated sections make them ideally suited for hardcore HIIT workouts where you'll be feeling the burn (and the sweat).

The breathability will keep you cool throughout burpees, lunges, tuck jumps, you name it – while the geometric design mesh adds interest to the sleek design. Pair them with the matching Geo Mesh sports bra for a co-ordinated look.

Size: 6-16 (UK) | XS-M (US)

Evveervital Power On Leggings

Buy now: Evveervital | $98.58

Best Gym Leggings for Women

You may not have heard of athleisure brand Evveervital before, but you'll be glad you did now you've set your eyes on these striking tights. The four-way stretch of these Power On leggings means you can train comfortably whether you're doing HIIT on a treadmill, a bike or with just your bodyweight.

The mesh panels give a bit of ventilation, plus the sweat-wicking material will help keep you cool and dry. The geometric detail looks super chic, but it's not just there for the looks – it's also reflective, so you can stay visible when working out at night.

Size: 8-16 (UK) | S-L (US)

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