Finding a pair of comfortable and supportive workout leggings is important — no, crucial — to ensure you feel good while sweating it out in the gym or over Zoom. The good news is, there is no shortage of exercise tights on the internet and in virtually every store on the high street. But just because there are so many options available doesn’t mean they are all considered equal — and it certainly doesn’t mean they’ll all stand up to your workout regime.
Everyone has their own set of criteria that workout clothes must meet, whether it’s the length of the leggings, the cut of the waist, or the level of support. One important factor we always consider when selecting a new pair of workout leggings is whether they will remain opaque when you perform squats — because we don’t have time for leggings that go see-through when we bend over.
It’s a common myth that thicker leggings are the most foolproof option for performing squats, and therefore, thinner materials won’t cut it. On the contrary, some of our favourite leggings — from brands like Pocket Sport, Tala, Girlfriend Collective, and Nimble — are those made from a thin and breathable material that still won’t show your bum while you’re exercising. Keep on reading to see our favourite leggings — all tried and tested by us — that are 100 percent squat-proof.
The Sweaty Betty’s All Day Gym Leggings (£65) may just be some of the softest leggings we’ve owned, making them great for not only working out but also lounging around the house. And in addition to being able to handle a super sweaty spin class (the material they’re made out of is seriously sweat-wicking), they also won’t show off your bum in yoga, barre, pilates, or simply bending down to pick something up. Due to the four-way stretch of the fabric, they don’t go see-through even during downward-facing dog. Read our full review of the All Day Leggings here.
Pocket Sport Claude Leggings
The Pocket Sport Claude Leggings (£48) check off all of our boxes when it comes to workout leggings. Comfortable? Check. Flattering? Check (thanks to strategically placed seams and a high waist). Stylish? We love the colours, which range from basic black and marine teal (shown here), to bright red and acid yellow. And most importantly … squat proof? They 100% stood up to the test during our recent yoga glass. We also appreciate the reasonable price tag and no-slip piece of elastic placed inside the waist to keep them from rolling down whilst you’re exercising (or sitting on the couch, no judgement here). Basically, we’re buying them in every colour.
Horizon Athletic The Nitrogen Leggings
You could fold yourself into a pretzel and you still wouldn’t be able to see through the Horizon Athletic The Nitrogen Leggings (£93), the fabric (which is made from recycled fibre made from abandoned fishing nets and various other post consumer waste) is that opaque. “They’re also some of the most comfortable leggings I’ve ever worn,” says content director Sophia Panych. “They have the perfect amount of stretch and I love that the wide waistband isn’t supertight, which makes them great for both spinning and pilates.” The only thing they don’t offer any compression, which not everyone is looking for, but if you are, these may not be your best option.
Gymshark Vital Seamless Leggings
“The Gymshark Vital Seamless Leggings (£40) are hands down some of the best leggings I’ve ever owned in my life (and I’ve owned a lot),” says contributing editor Angela Law. “Not only are they completely squat-proof, but I have never felt more supported — and most importantly, comfortable — in another pair of leggings. The waistband isn’t tight but still holds my stomach while I exercise, the knitted fabric is very moisture wicking, and while my favourite colour is the black marl, they also come in a range of fun hues.”
Spanx Active Booty Boost High-Rise Stretch-Jersey Leggings
You wouldn’t think that a pair of leggings meant to lift, support, and smooth would be pleasant to wear. But damn, the Spanx Active Booty Boost High-Rise Stretch-Jersey Leggings (£88) turned out to be so comfortable, we were fine wearing them around the house for nearly eight hours. For one, the fabric is ridiculously soft and has enough stretch to it to not make the leggings constricting. Secondly, the high waist is so high, that it doesn’t pinch; in fact, it feels nice and supportive around your abs, waist, and back (although, we did find it rolls down every-so-slightly during Pilates mat classes). And to add to the long list of why we like these leggings: yup, they’re 100% squat-proof.
Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Waisted Leggings
Not only are the Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Waisted Leggings (£62) completely opaque (and very flattering), but they’re sustainable, too. The brand utilises up to 25 plastic water bottles to construct each pair of Compressive Leggings, which come in two lengths — long and a 7/8 crop (shown here) — and a fun array of bold colours like periwinkle, red, and purple, the dyes of which are also eco-friendly.
Love Leggings Energise Thunder Blue 7/8
“I really loved the unique blue shade of the Love Leggings Energise Style (£28) and felt supported and comfortable while wearing them,” says Law.
Varley Century Leggings
The Varley Century Leggings (£87) are some of the softest leggings you can find and come in fun variety of animal prints. Ideal for low impact workouts like Pilates and yoga, you can downward dog without the fear of showing off more than just your hard-earned flexibility.
Domyos 900 Women’s Fitness Cardio Training 7/8 Leggings
The Domyos 900 Women’s 7/8 Leggings (£18) are supportive, have cute mesh panels on the sides, and are completely squat-proof.
P.E. Nation Retriever Leggings
These P.E. Nation Retriever Leggings (£90) are made from a supersoft, opaque material that is lightweight; however, they are definitely firm enough to keep everything in place while you work up a sweat (or, you know, go to brunch).
Nimble Activewear High Rise 7/8 II
On the thinner end of the spectrum, the Nimble Activewear High Rise (£75) is made from a very lightweight fabric but is still completely squat-proof. Plus, they’re also part of Nimble’s MoveLite line, which is the brand’s sustainable range.
Lilybody Harper Tarmac Black Leggings
The Australian brand makes a variety of squat-proof leggings, including the Lilybody Harper Tarmac Black Leggings (£62), which feature leg-lengthening mesh details and a light amount of compression.
Kalenji Women’s Running Tights Kiprun Support
The Kalenji Women’s Running Tights Kiprun Support (£20) are not only squat-proof but also have small design details — like mesh panelling and a zipper pocket at the back that are flattering and functional.
Lululemon Wunder Under Tight
You can’t really go wrong with any pair of Lululemon leggings, but if you’re looking for a reliable pair without any bells and whistles, we recommend the Wunder Under Tight (£98). While the Wunder Under range is a signature line by Lululemon, they come in many different lengths (so short and tall people are well looked after), colours, and patterns. Note that the prices will vary according to leg length and style.
Sweaty Betty Power Mesh Cropped Gym Leggings
Sweaty Betty Power Mesh Cropped Gym Leggings (£75) are both chic and functional. Their signature “bum-sculpters” hold everything in place while you move, plus wet-look sections and mesh panels offer a little something extra compared to all the plain black leggings you already have in your wardrobe.
Perff Studio Intuition Legging
Made from luxury and recycled materials, the Perff Studio Intuition Legging (£75) is supersoft, extremely supportive, and has an extra-high waist. These were a little bit tricky to pull on but were very comfortable once in place.
The Upside Indigo Tiger Midi Leggings
Don’t be fooled by the thin, lightweight material that The Upside Indigo Tiger Midi Leggings (£99) are made from — these are both comfortable and squat-proof.
Fabletics High-Waisted PowerHold Leggings
Fabletics isn’t kidding when it calls these High-Waisted PowerHold Leggings (£62). They tick all of the requisite boxes; the high-waist cut helps you feel supported while you exercise, and the superthick material definitely remains opaque as you squat. You can also nab these tights cheaper if you sign up for one of Fabletics’ monthly subscriptions.
Terez Navy Rainbow Stars Tall Band Leggings
Reliable plain black leggings with a subtle animal print detail, the Terez Rainbow Stars Tall Band Leggings (£75) are stylish, feminine, and (you guessed it) very much squat-proof.
Ernest Leoty Perform Panelled Leggings
Next time you feel like treating yourself to a new pair of chic and functional leggings, buy the Ernest Leoty Perform Panelled Leggings (£130).
Pressio 7/8 High Rise Compression Tights
This one’s for the serious athletes and gym bunnies out there. Founded by Jamie Hunt, professional triathlete and cofounder of technical apparel company 2XU, Pressio was made to seriously enhance exercise and recovery. As one of the most creative sports textile engineers in the industry, you can expect high performance gear in Hunt’s newly developed Compression Equilibrium range. The Pressio 7/8 High Rise Compression Tights (£80), has incredibly durable, no-sheer material that sits comfortably on the skin and wicks away moisture and sweat, while holding muscles in place to prevent injuries from high-impact training. The unique material improves blood-flow and lymphatic drainage, removing toxins and speeding up muscular recovery, too.
Jojo Maman Bébé Black Maternity Activewear Reflective Leggings
For any mamas-to-be out there, the Jojo Maman Bébé Black Maternity Activewear Reflective Leggings (£35) are super stretchy and supportive leggings that will keep your bump comfortable while you stay active. The lightweight, quick-dry fabric is breathable and keeps you cool (and keeps you covered), and its reflective strip detail keeps you visible when training outdoors.