The best women’s workout tights you can buy

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The best workout leggings

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Sweaty Betty/Business Insider

  • When it’s cold outside, you need a good pair of workout tights to keep your muscles warm and protected.

  • Sweaty Betty makes the best women’s workout tights you can buy. Not only do they look great, but they’re made to last through intense workouts day in and day out.

It’s tights weather again, bless up. Not only does that mean that it’s okay to leave your home in naught but an oversized sweater and yoga pants, but it also means that you’re probably putting away your athletic shorts in favor of your longer athletic wear.

I’m always thrilled to have the opportunity to try on new pairs of workout tights. Not only do they generally make your butt look unreasonably good, but they’re also remarkably multipurpose. A great pair of tights can go straight from the gym to your night out, which is the type of multitasking that I want my clothes to be able to do.

When considering what new tights to add to your closet this season, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, what sort of exercise are you most likely to engage in? Some tights are better suited for yoga, while other well-ventilated options may be best for your long runs.

You’ll also want to consider the length of your tights. While some women prefer their legs to be fully covered during their workout, you may prefer a slightly cropped look. To that end, you’ll want to keep in mind the multifunctional aspect of your tights – I’ve always found that full-length wear is easier to transition into streetwear than the cropped variety.

Another thing to think about in your purchasing process is sustainability. An increasing number of companies are ensuring that their tights are ethically made and environmentally friendly. If you’re constantly replenishing your tights supply, you should probably look toward a company that’s doing its part to keep the Earth healthy even as it manufactures large quantities of athletic wear.

Finally, of course, price point is important to consider. While dropping a pretty penny on workout gear almost always feels worth it, you probably don’t need that fifth pair of $150 leggings to sweat in.

Here are the best workout tights that women can buy:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.


The best workout tights for women overall

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Sweaty Betty

Why you’ll love it: For tights that make you look and feel almost unreasonably good, the best place to go is Sweaty Betty.

If you go to the gym to see and be seen (hey, no shame), then you’ll want to be wearing something that makes you look as confident as you feel. And here to help you do just that is Sweaty Betty, whose Zero Gravity tights will never fail you – either in form or in function.

Not only are these leggings shockingly light so that you can take them with you on work trips and vacations alike, but they’re also extremely effective in sculpting your backside. I’m not entirely sure how Sweaty Betty manages to create tights that make your bum look quite so bodacious, but whatever they’re doing, it’s working wonders.

I’m a huge fan of the 7/8 Run Leggings, a black pair with just the right amount of eggplant and neon accents down the side of your legs, creating an elongating effect. This particular pair is designed with 80% opacity, so while they’re great for running or HIIT workouts, they’re less suitable for hot yoga.

All of Sweaty Betty’s bum-sculpting leggings are constructed with a unique Italian fabric that is not only lightweight but also sweat-wicking with killer compression technology to keep you in place no matter how tough your workout. Because the fibers are hydrophilic, they’ll keep sweat away from your body, and will also help the tights dry faster – whether it’s after a turn in the laundry machine or after a hard run.

Despite wearing and washing my leggings on what is likely a too-often basis, I’ve yet to wear these leggings down. They may feel incredibly delicate and breathable, but rest assured, they’re much hardier than you think. So even if you’re paying $135 a pair, you’ll have these leggings for years on end.

Pros: Fantastic bum-sculpting, extremely lightweight, sweat-wicking, breathable

Cons: 80% opacity means you’ll want a different pair for yoga, expensive

Buy Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings for $135


The best flattering workout tights

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Boom Boom Athletica

Why you’ll love it: For workout tights that make you look good from the second you put them on, check out Boom Boom Athletica.

Boom Boom Athletica was founded by an ultra-marathon runner, so it comes as no surprise that the workout tights from this line are about as high-performance as you can find on the market. That said, what may surprise you is just how flattering these pieces really are.

Boom Boom Athletica’s entire line is edgy and functional, but its tights are particularly adept at sculpting your body and giving off that enviable hourglass shape.

Recently stocked at Nordstrom, Boom Boom Athletica’s workout wear is made from premium moisture-wicking fabric that dries quickly to keep you cool and comfortable, four-way stretch fabric that welcomes motion and has UPF properties, and compressive designs.

I’m a huge fan of the Tricolor Panel Leggings, not only because they’re wildly soft and great to work out in but also because they’re extremely aesthetically pleasing. Cleverly placed mesh paneling and flattering geometric patterns make these tights some of the best in my wardrobe.

The brand’s leggings are of the high-waist variety and feature a thick waistband and a figure-flattering pattern. As Insider Picks reporter Mara Leighton wrote previously, the moisture-wicking fabric dries quickly, smooth flatlock seaming minimizes rubbing and irritation and only helps streamline silhouette, while the antimicrobial fabric helps inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. They fit true to size.

Pros: Incredibly flattering, very soft, comfortable for all workouts

Cons: At $115 a pair, these are not inexpensive leggings

Buy the Boom Boom Athletica leggings for $125, available in Black/Grey/White


The best warm workout tights

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Reebok

Why you’ll love it: For mornings and evenings that are not just chilly, but windy, too, you’ll need a pair of tights like Reebok’s new Thermowarms to keep you cozy throughout your workout.

There’s a reason you’re meant to warm up before working out, and in much the same way, you want to stay warm throughout your workout. While you can normally maintain your body temperature simply by upping your activity level, on particularly cold days and nights, this may be a bit more difficult to do. Enter Thermowarm, a new technology from Reebok that’s meant specifically for the chilly weather to come.

These newly designed tights are built especially for running and are comprised of a performance fleece that feels remarkably soft on your skin. Not only does it feel great, but the fabric insulates against the elements, too. When wind chill sends temperatures into negative ranges, you’ll be thankful to have a pair of Thermowarms around.

In addition to the warmth provided by the fabric, these tights also feature woven panels on the front to shield your legs from strong headwinds. With the addition of a secure stash pocket, you can keep keys, cash, and other essentials on your person throughout your workout.

The Thermowarm fabric has the added benefit of being sweat-wicking, which helps maintain a higher body temperature, and the addition of fleece and woven fabrics directly into the spandex help to make this a particularly comfortable pair of tights. An internal drawcord helps keep a secure fit around your waist, while 360-degree reflectivity keeps you safe during the evening hours.

Pros: Extremely warm, offers protection from headwinds, sweat-wicking, comfortable

Cons: Because these tights are so warm, they’re not exactly all-weather friendly

Buy the Reebok Thermowarm tights for $70


The best compression tights

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CW-X

Why you’ll love it: CW-X makes compression running tights that will make both workout and recovery a more enjoyable process.

You may not be a believer in compression gear for your workout, but you’ll probably be a believer in these tights by CW-X. The company makes a wide range of compression tights and clothing for men and women alike, but I’ve found the CW-X Pro Women’s running tights to especially supportive and effective in boosting performance, whether on a run or a HIIT workout.

The key is in the patented support web that pays a bit more attention to sensitive joints, namely the hip and the knee. The compression also helps to keep muscles throughout your leg in the right place, which generally helps me feel a bit more energized (especially in early mornings). Even if you’re not convinced by the functional appeal of these tights, the webbing does make for an interesting overall look – you’ll really be able to channel your inner superhero with this webbed pattern.

While many workout tights tend to be a bit more opaque than you’d like, the CW-X tights are by no means translucent – once you put these black leggings on, you and your bare skin are truly shielded from view. The tights are made from a synthetic fabric mix that is cool to the touch, and is also moisture-wicking to help keep you feeling fresher, longer.

As for fit, these leggings boast four-way stretch so you’re not stuffing yourself into a second skin, and a drawstring waist keeps everything in place. Do be sure to buy the correct size in these, though – seeing as they are compression tights, getting the right fit is absolutely key. Luckily, these made-for-women tights come in a range of sizes that cater to different body types.

Pros: Patented webbing allows for joint and muscle support, adjustable drawstring waist for added comfort, moisture-wicking fabric

Cons: These tights can get expensive, seeing as they are of the compression variety

Buy the CW-X Women’s Pro running tights on Amazon for $69 to $150


The best ethical workout tights

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Girlfriend Collective

Why you’ll love it: Girlfriend Collective makes its tights out of recycled water bottles, and that’s just one of the many things to love about these awesome tights.

Working out makes you feel good, and working out in these leggings can be good for the planet, too. Girlfriend Collective boasts plenty of differentiating factors when it comes to its truly fantastic tights, but one of the most salient is the fact that the leggings are made from 25 recycled water bottles.

Moreover, the company places a premium on ethical and sustainable production and is extremely transparent about every step of the manufacturing process. So if you love exercise because it’s a way to take care of your body, think of Girlfriend Collective as doing its part to take care of Earth.

Reasonably priced and insanely comfortable, Girlfriend Collective gives you plenty of other reasons to fall in love with its tights. The company uses a compression-esque fabric that is well-suited for workouts, and the leggings are actually surprisingly warm. So much so that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for a session of hot yoga or a long cycling class – these are probably best for a shorter, intense workout, or an outdoor run.

The material is also very soft, which means that they’re not only comfortable for your workout but also comfortable enough to be worn all day. Really, Girlfriend Collective is all about your wearing their leggings both in and out of the gym, and you’ll certainly have no problem in either setting. Plus, because this material doesn’t pill, no matter how often you wear and wash your pair, you’ll find that they resist age.

While you may expect such a pair of leggings to set you back an arm and a leg, Girlfriend Collective is actually quite reasonable when it comes to pricing. Remember, this is the company that once gave its leggings away for free (you just had to pay for shipping). Today, they’ll cost you just a bit more, but not a ton – you can get a pair of full-length tights for $68.

Pros: Ethically and sustainably made, affordable, won’t pill, extremely flattering

Cons: Because of the relatively thick material, some may find the tights a bit too warm for workouts

Buy Girlfriend Collective leggings for $68


Check out our running gear guides

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The best workout clothes for women

With the right clothes, you’ll actually want to get to the gym and show off your style before meeting friends for a much-deserved drink afterward. Sweaty Betty makes our favorite workout gear for women that’s as functional as it is fashion-forward.

You might also like workout clothes by ADAY, Live the Process, Vuori, Bandier, Nike, and Old Navy.

The best running socks you can buy

Your feet carry you on every run you undertake, so why not pamper them with the best pair of running socks?

We all tend to have strong opinions on which brand is the best, but it’s important to note what works for one runner may not work for another. That’s why we give you a variety of options.

Here are the best running socks you can buy:

The best running shoes for women

Running doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but a good pair of running shoes is a must-have to prevent injury. The Brooks Ghost 10is the ultimate workhorse of women’s running shoes with a lightweight yet cushioned feel, a breathable upper, and the durability to grind out a lot of miles.

Here are our top picks for the best women’s running shoes:

The best sports bras you can buy

Finding a sports bra that looks good, fits well, and gives you enough support for your workout is really hard.We’ve heavy lifting to find the best sports bras for every size and budget.

Sweaty Betty and Zensah make the best sports bras for A to B cups, Brooks and Champion make the best sports bras for C to D cups, while Panache and Syrokan make the best sports bras for DD cups and up.

The best smartphone armbands for runners

If you take your phone on runs and workouts, you need a comfortable, secure armband to hold it. The Trianium ArmTrek Prois our top pick, because it’s affordable, comfortable, water-resistant, and fits a variety of phones.

You should also consider the Grantwood Technology TuneBand, the Griffin Technology LightRunner, the Tune Belt armband, and the Tribe armband.

The best running belts to hold your phone and keys

There are a vast number of running belts on the market, from money belts that are just glorified fanny packs, to high-tech hydration belts. The SPIbelt hits a sweet spot in the middle, with an expandable pocket that allows you to carry personal items on your run with a bounce free, comfortable fit.

You should also consider the FlipBelt, the Fitletic Hydration Belt, the Aqua Quest Kona, and the Illumiseen LED running belt.

The best wireless headphones for running

There is no shortage of wireless headphones to choose from, but the JLab Epic2 wireless earbuds lead the pack with their long-lasting battery, high-quality sound, and durable design. They’re light enough that they won’t bounce around annoyingly on your run, and they provide a secure fit so you can get lost in the music while ticking off the miles.

You should also consider the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones, the Urbanears Stadion wireless headphones, the Zipbuds 26 wireless headphones, and the Jabra Elite Sport wireless headphones.

The best GPS watches for running

Back in 2003 when the first GPS running watch entered the market, it was a novelty. Now, there is an overwhelming number of watches to choose from. While each one has its benefits, the TomTom Spark 3 is the best overall with its optical heart rate monitor, built-in music storage, and long-lasting battery.

You should also consider the Garmin Forerunner 15, the Polar M600 Sports Smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 2, and the Garmin Forerunner 630 based on your running needs.

The best men’s running shoes

The pair of running shoes you choose can either make or break your running experience.

After much research, we’ve found that these are the best men’s running shoes you can buy, whether you’re hitting the track or the trails.

Here are the best running shoes you can buy:

The best women’s running tights

Nike’s Epic Lux running tights do everything a good pair of running tights should: They stay in place, provide full coverage, and are made from synthetic materials to wick away sweat so you can stay comfortable. These tights also offer a wide range of sizes so everyone can find their perfect fit.

You might also like The North Face winter warm tights, the CW-X Women’s Pro running tights, the Old Navy High Rise Striped Melange leggings, or the Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 leggings.