Since we’ve all been confined to our homes during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been no real need to squeeze ourselves into skinny jeans that cut into your waist. The lockdown has meant all of our exercise classes take place at home, we no longer have to wear “outside clothes” and it has made us truly appreciate a good pair of leggings that make you feel thankful — they make you forget you’re wearing anything at all. In a great pair of leggings, you are your truest self, both naked and styled at the same time.
For me, the pinnacle of pants existed in a pair of black Lululemon leggings I got in college. I wore them everywhere: To class, to the gym, at work, in yoga, during half marathons, to family functions. It’s possible I went overboard. So I was shocked to my core when a Lululemon salesperson told me last summer that my favourite leggings — the pair of leggings I’d run hundreds of miles in — were actually more suited for yoga than running. It was as if I’d paired dark chocolate with a white wine instead of a red. It was a mistake.
As it turns out, you can make the most out of your Lululemon leggings if you pair them with the right kind of fitness. Some are better for lower or higher impact activities. But when you go into the store and you’re surrounded by a sea of leggings, it can be intimidating to know which pair to go with for yoga or for HIIT class. In an effort to sniff out the differences, I tested a few different varieties of leggings at different exercise classes. Here’s what I discovered.
Best For Indoor Cycling: In Movement Tight
These breathable tights feature Everlux, the fastest drying fabric, and are high-rise, so you’ll feel supported and cool as you’re hunched over your bike — even during the toughest tapbacks.
lululemon In Movement Tight 25″, $, available at lululemon
Best For Running: Fast and Free
A representative for Lululemon told me these are designed to withstand the miles I was putting on my older pair. They’re made with a fancy fabric called Nulux, which is quick-drying, sweat-wicking, and lightweight.
It’s true, that they dried quickly after a hour-long Peloton running class near my workplace. This came in handy on the hour-long, delay-heavy subway ride I took home after. Although I know it’s best to ditch your sweating leggings after a workout, it’s not always possible with New York commutes. The fast drying fabric seemed to work, and I wasn’t soggy and miserable on the train home.
They have a high waistband, and they fit snugly — in a good way. No one has time for leggings that ride down during a run.
Another added perk for running: there are pockets! They’re perfect for holding stashing a small baggie of dates to eat for energy on a long run, or your keys.
lululemon Fast and Free Tight II 25″ Non-Reflective Nulux, $, available at lululemon
Best For Pilates: Wunder Under
The benefit of these is that they’re super stretchy and butter soft. They give you the comfort and flexibility you need for lower impact activities, such as pilates.
Putting them on felt like slipping into something smooth and familiar, like stepping into a pure glass of milk.
lululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 28″, $, available at lululemon
Best For Yoga: Align Crop
These are made with sweat-wicking, stretchy material that is cottony soft. This gives you extra leeway if you’re twisting around into odd positions at a yoga class. The fact that they’re cropped and have a lightweight feel overall make them a good choice for hot classes.
They’re high-rise, which can, in my experience can either be a great help or a maddening hindrance during a forward fold. But in this case, I didn’t feel like my stomach was being cut in half by the waistband.
lululemon Align Jogger Crop, $, available at lululemon
Best For HIIT: Train Times
These leggings are similar to the Fast and Free in that they are sweat-wicking and stretch right where you need them to. They let you move freely, but they’re still supportive. They worked great for me in higher impact activities, like that intense, burpee-heavy HIIT class I love to hate.
lululemon Train Times 7/8 Pant, $, available at lululemon
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