Anyone who has ever put on a pair of activewear leggings knows that not all are made equal. The tights you reach for before a strength or pilates session are totally different from those you reach for ahead of a big run.
There are a certain number of boxes your leggings need to tick, depending on your workout. When it comes to HIIT and strength training, you need a squat-proof pair of lightweight, breathable leggings and a tight waistband.
For activities like yoga and Pilates, most people typically want a high-waisted pair that’s made from soft, buttery fabrics that are also breathable and tight-fitting. And for running, you want a pair that stick to your body like a stage five clinger, comes with a pocket for your belongings and doesn’t fall down with every step.
So how do you find the perfect pair for each? You ask your mates, colleagues and strangers on the Internet for their humble opinions. Here are the best activewear tights, according to some exercise enthusiasts.
“I was initially confused when a pair of size small leggings arrived, as a size 14 girlie, I thought “have I been sent the wrong thing here?” I haven’t been a small since I was pilfering through Supré when I was 13. Putting the leggings on, I felt snatched in and warm. These bad boys are thick so there’s no chance of showing everyone my breakfast when I go into a deep squat. It also means they’d be perfect for training/working out/lounging around in the cooler months.
I wore these in my two modes of exercise — going for a big walk with the girls and a full footy training session. Usually, I love high-waist leggings that have a good level of compression, so I was a little nervous that these are a slightly lower cut. But despite that, they stayed up while I did both lots of exercise — walking for about 5km and running around after a footy for a couple of hours. The added bonus of a pocket is so handy when I want to take my phone or keys with me, but I did find zipping it up with something in my pocket a bit tricky. Other leggings of mine have more of a horizontal mesh pocket, which seems to work better.” — Courtney
“With 600 reviews and a 4.9-star rating to go with it, I can see why these tights are all the rage. There are no bells and whistles – simply put, they just do the job. The high-rise double-layer fabric keeps everything where it should be and is not see-through in the slightest, and the deep side pockets for phones of all sizes makes them ideal. They’re a firm, compression fit, so if you like the sturdy type of workout tights, these are a vibe. They come in sizes 6-26 too.” — Chantelle
“Someone once said to me, ‘Everyone should own some Nimble‘, and I’m so glad I listened. Their leggings feel like a second skin, and they have a raw hem that makes those tighter styles (which I enjoy as they suck everything in) much easier to get on and off over the ankles. IYKYK. I have the Made To Move leggings which I love because I feel free as a bird in them, and they have a side pocket for the phone: a true essential for me.” — Chantelle
“I’m a big bum and thighs girl, so I rotate between six pairs from Amazon… believe it or not. The same pair in the same black. They’re better than any Lulu, Lorna, Nike etc. any pair I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried the majority! Also, if you need a side pocket moment, these ones are the amazing.” — Tiah
“Obsessed with these leggings. They’re super high-waisted and offer a good amount of compression, so they don’t ride down during a tough workout. I also love the colourways and how well they work to go from the gym to a coffee date while still lookin’ cute.” — Linley
“Super comfy, really smooth and silky. Feels great on freshly shaved legs. The phone pockets are an added bonus, fits heaps which is handy when I’m walking the dog and don’t want to bring a bag or carry stuff. The waistband really sucks you in as well. I feel good in these. Also, I love the ankle-biter style cause I’m short and hate when leggings bunch at the end.” — Georgia
“This kills me to say because it seems like such a cliché, but I can’t go past these Lululemon tights. They are so light, soft and comfy, and the phone pocket is so handy. They hold you in without being uncomfortably tight, and for a sweaty gal like me, they are somehow not hot? Even though they’re full length? It’s sorcery.” — Josie
“Buuuut, my runner up is these from Nike. The major con here is they’re not that shiny material, so my cat’s fur sticks to them, but these tights last literal years. I’ve honestly got a pair that are over five years old, and they still suck me in and, even better, stay up when I’m running/squatting. Nike knows what they’re doing!” — Josie
“These are definitely more of a yoga pant, but they are BUTTERY SOFT and never fall down (i find myself hitching up leggings 5 million times a day). I would even go as far as to say they compare to the comfort of PJs!” — Jamie
“I’m such a fussy bitch when it comes to activewear leggings. I have so many pairs, but I can’t go past the Nike Epic Lux Running Tights. They’re buttery, stay up while you workout and taper off at the legs, which I find super flattering. They’ve also got a zip pocket, which is a must-have for me.” — Bree
Love our humble opinions? Get around the rest of the review series here.