6 Best Hiking Leggings for Women From Affordable to Luxury Options

After scouring the internet high and low, and, of course, taking my extensive experience into account, I’ve reached my verdict. Out of all the options on the market, the best leggings for hiking for women are the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights which have a cargo-style construction covered in zippered pockets with an extremely flexible, water-resistant fit. If you're seeking more affordable hiking leggings, the Sunzel Workout line is a great alternative to Lululemon and other top legging brands, with dual side pockets and buttery fabric. 

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Backpacking, trekking, and mountain climbing, oh my! The best hiking leggings can do it all and then some, carrying you from city trails to the wild backcountry with ease. As an avid hiker, I’ve spent the past six years testing out the best hiking leggings, wearing them everywhere, from five-day treks in New Zealand to quick climbs in the Northeastern USA to overnight camping trips in Thailand. After sporting 30 different pairs of hiking leggings, below, you’ll discover the absolute best options no matter where the trail leads. 

What’re you waiting for? We’re burning daylight. Check out the six best hiking leggings below for optimal range of movement, protection, and of course, practicality (yes, most of them even have pockets).

Key Takeaways

After scouring the internet high and low, and, of course, taking my extensive experience into account, I’ve reached my verdict. Out of all the options on the market, the best leggings for hiking for women are the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights which have a cargo-style construction covered in zippered pockets with an extremely flexible, water-resistant fit. If you’re seeking more affordable hiking leggings, the Sunzel Workout line is a great alternative to Lululemon and other top legging brands, with dual side pockets and buttery fabric. 

Top Picks

Best Overall: Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights

Best Budget: Sunzel Workout Leggings

Best Everyday: Eddie Bauer Traverse Trail Leggings

Best on Amazon: 90 Degree by Reflex Power Yoga Pants

Best Luxury: Lululemon Fast and Free With Pockets

Best High Waisted: Outdoor Voices FreeForm 7/8 Legging 

woman enjoying the view from a sea cliff
Jane Elmets for Healthyway

Best Overall: Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights

Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights

Why they’re great: There’s a good reason the Athleta Headlands tights frequently top lists of the best leggings for hiking and it’s only for two words: zippered pockets. Aside from the abrasion-resistant construction and supportive compression fit, these hiking leggings have a whopping six zippered pockets to store your essential items when it’s time to hit the trail. They’re great for year-round wear – not too hot and not too cold – with UV protection and a recycled, water-repellent material, which means you can stomp through river crossings to your heart’s content. 

Who are these for? If you’re seeking a flattering but highly practical pair of leggings, these are the top pick. They’re especially handy for the woman who may want to skip a day pack for a quick hike – the pockets have enough space for anything you’ll need on the trail, aside from a water bottle. When you’re not trekking up a mountain, these leggings are handy for daily wear, making them a versatile choice for the woman who wants the feel of leggings with the carrying capacity of jeans. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: These cargo style hiking leggings got a recent update that many women state is too long in the legs, compared to the previous version. The material is also a bit thinner, which may be a benefit, considering the leggings were rather thick before, making them a bit hot for summer wear.  

Material: 91% recycled nylon, 9% spandex | Sizes: 0 – 26 | Colors: 5 | Care: Machine wash

Best Budget: Sunzel Workout Leggings

Sunzel Workout Leggings

Why they’re great: To the person who created affordable hiking leggings, I salute you. While in years past, it was challenging to find a decent pair of trail bottoms for under $100, there are plenty of budget-friendly choices on Amazon that serve as alternatives to some of the top brands. These Sunzel workout leggings have a similar buttery fabric you’ll find from Lululemon, with a compression fit that will stay in place no matter how difficult the terrain is. If you don’t want to constantly readjust your waistband, these are the best hiking leggings on a budget. 

Who are these for? For a high end feel for a fraction of the price, these are some of the best women’s hiking leggings under $30. They’re supremely stretchy, supportive, and squat proof. Plus, the two side pockets make it easy to carry essentials while hiking, and they come in over 30 colors. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: While these are some of the higher quality leggings on Amazon, debris sticks to them like crazy. If you’re wearing them around the house with a pet, be sure to keep a lint roller handy. 

Material: 75% polyester, 25% spandex | Sizes: XS – 3XL | Colors: 10 | Care: Hand wash

Best Everyday: Eddie Bauer Traverse Trail Leggings

Eddie Bauer Traverse Trail Leggings

Why they’re great: I’ve had a few pairs of Eddie Bauer hiking leggings over the years, and the Traverse Trail model are my personal favorites for backcountry wear. I like these leggings because they feel more supportive and much stronger than a lot of the high-end options made from butter fabric. If you brush up against a rock or take a tumble down some gravel, you’re not going to fill these leggings with holes. Available in regular or plus size fit, these leggings double well for everyday wear since pockets make them practical for running errands, and the fit is suitable for any workout class, yoga included.

Who are these for? If you’re like me, you give your Lululemon leggings some extra attention, because at over $100, they’re an investment – and a fragile one, at that. These Eddie Bauer hiking leggings are significantly sturdier and way less precious. You don’t need to devote the same kind of care and attention to keep them in tip top shape. So if you aren’t eager to put holes in luxury yoga leggings, choose this pair to romp around in instead. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: The fit for these hiking leggings can be a bit wonky, especially in the larger sizes. Some reviewers report that sizes over XL were tight in the waist and baggy in the legs. 

Material: 100% polyester | Sizes: XS – 2XL | Colors: 5 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best on Amazon: 90 Degree by Reflex Power Yoga Pants

90 Degree by Reflex Power Yoga Pants

Why they’re great: Moisture wicking? Check. Color options? Check. Pockets? Double check. These women’s hiking leggings tick all the boxes for the best pair on Amazon. At under $30, these leggings are comparable to some of the top options on the market, complete with a gusset crotch, slimming high-waisted design, and reinforced seams. These features give the leggings added durability for hitting the trail and hold everything in place while you’re on the move. 

Who are these for? Since there are seemingly infinite Amazon brands selling leggings, 90 Degree is well-revered as one of the best. If you’re overwhelmed by all the options, this pair blows competitors out of the water and is among the best Lululemon alternatives online. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: For $25, you’re definitely not going to see anything crazy in the quality department with these leggings. They’ll likely need replacing after two dozen wears, whereas name brands have a lifespan of several years. 

Material: 76% polyester, 24% spandex | Sizes: XS – XL | Colors: 40+ | Care: Hand wash

Best Luxury: Lululemon Fast and Free With Pockets

Lululemon Fast and Free With Pockets

Why they’re great: It’s hard to argue that Lululemon is the gold standard for women’s athletic apparel, namely in the world of luxury workout leggings. When it’s time to get off the mat and into the woods, the top pick for trail wear are the Fast and Free leggings with a high-rise fit and side pockets. These women’s leggings have a silky feel rather than the traditional butter material, which I find better suited to hiking since it wicks moisture and keeps you feeling cool. They’re also very lightweight, which makes them handy for warm-weather trekking. However, if you prefer hiking leggings with a more robust feel, opt for the Wunder Train Tights, which are made from a thicker material and better suited to varied or unpredictable conditions. 

Who are these for? If you have a penchant for Lululemon leggings (looking squarely at myself here), these are the top pick for hiking purposes. Aside from the Fast and Free tights, I’ve also tested out the Align, Wunder Under, and Final Lap (discontinued) leggings while hiking and the Fast and Free are the most dependable pair in terms of material, comfort, fit, and thickness. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: The only reason these Lululemon hiking leggings didn’t make the cut for best overall is because they lack zippered pockets. For this reason, I normally wear my (discontinued) Final Lap leggings so I can safely stash my keys in the zippered compartment on the waistband. I really like the Fast and Free leggings for hiking too, but I normally wear them when I have a bag or fanny pack to keep my valuables safe.  

Material: 84% nylon, 16% lycra elastane | Sizes: 0 – 18 | Colors: 7 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best High Waisted: Outdoor Voices FreeForm 7/8 Legging 

Outdoor Voices FreeForm 7/8 Legging

Why they’re great: Outdoor Voices is my top choice for a branded Lululemon alternative because I find all of their recreation gear to live up to the hype, much more so than other competitors like Alo or Vuori. The reinforced waistband extends past the belly button and is designed to stay in place through any movement without rolling down or bunching up. This makes them super practical for hiking, especially in warmer weather, with the soft, lightweight fabric. For winter hiking, opt for Outdoor Voice’s FrostKnit leggings or the SeamlessRib if you prefer more compression. 

Who are these for? For high quality women’s hiking leggings that are under $100, these are a top choice. They offer a high rise flattering fit that’ll keep you looking and feeling your best no matter how many miles you cover on your trek. 

Flaws but not deal breakers: As of 18 hours ago, the New York Times reported that Outdoor Voices is closing all of their store locations. While the entire range will still be available at the Outdoor Voices online shop, you can no longer go into stores and try the clothes on. Is this also the end of the city specific tote bags? My guess is, unfortunately, yes. These black leggings also don’t have pockets, which is always a flaw in my book. 

Material: 85% polyester, 15% spandex | Sizes: XS – 3XL | Colors: 1 | Care: Machine wash cold

Woman walking in the woods
Jane Elmets for Healthyway

Buying Considerations for the Best Hiking Leggings

Material Qualities

The first aspect to look for when buying hiking leggings is the specific material qualities. The leading hiking leggings will (at a minimum) be moisture-wicking and have a four-way stretch for the ultimate ease of movement. However, the very best women’s hiking leggings will also be abrasion-resistant for longevity on the trail and have some type of compression to offer support without cutting off circulation. 

Each pair of leggings comes with its own unique qualities derived from the material. For this reason, it’s important to weigh your desired leggings against the terrain you’ll be covering so you end up with a pair that can handle the throws of the trail. For example, if you’re covering suburban walking paths, it’s unlikely you’ll need a pair of leggings made from abrasion-resistant material. However, if you’re going on a backpacking trip or a tougher hike, it’s worth investing in the extra assurances to keep your leggings in the best state. 

Length & Rise

Fit and rise also plays into the best leggings for hiking since what you’d wear on the trail may differ slightly from what you’d sport in a yoga class. 

In my experience, the best women’s hiking leggings have a full or at least a 7/8 length to protect the ankles from trail hazards. I’ve gotten stabbed by branches and covered in poison oak one too many times – now I never hike in leggings that expose my skin. However, this is just personal preference. For summer hiking or less dicey tracks, capri leggings are a great way to stay cool and comfortable. 

Aside from the length, it’s also worth considering a high waist and slightly compressive fit for hiking leggings. I find the high waist practical for trekking since you can stick items like a phone in your waistband, which is especially handy if your leggings don’t have pockets. A compressive fit works wonders for staying comfortable and tucked into place while scrambling over rocks or navigating technical terrain. 


If there’s one hill I’m willing to die on, it’s that all leggings should include pockets. And if not all leggings have them, at least the best hiking leggings should. 

Leggings with pockets give you a place to stash your phone, a small wallet, a power bar, keys, and other essentials you may need for a short (day) hike. They won’t fit a water bottle, but they will keep everything you need close at hand.

Many hiking leggings feature dual side pockets, while the very best leggings for hiking include a zippered compartment somewhere on the construction – normally on the back of the waistband. I find zippered pockets supremely practical for securely storing small items like keys, which run the risk of slipping out of an open pocket while covering rough terrain or disappearing in the abyss of a day pack. 

How We Chose These Products

Though I grew up in a city, hiking has been a central part of my life since I was a child, and I have spent years traversing trails in destinations throughout the world. While the terrain always differs, one aspect remains consistent: my apparel. I always reach for leggings when I head out on a hike, whether I’m ascending a mountain or walking laps around my local reservoir. Leggings give me a range of movement I can’t find in any hiking pants and are comfortable enough that they feel like a second skin. When outfitted with pockets, I find leggings to be the unstoppable choice when it comes to hiking.

Material and Durability: I prioritized leggings made from robust, stretchable fabrics that can withstand rough terrains and weather conditions. The material should also offer moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable throughout your hike.

Brand Reputation: I assessed brands’ reputations for their commitment to quality, sustainability, and ethical manufacturing processes, preferring companies that are transparent about their production practices and materials used.

Consumer Feedback: Leveraging extensive customer reviews and ratings helped me to gauge the real-world performance and satisfaction level of each product, ensuring I recommend only those leggings that have proven their worth in the field.

Why You Should Trust Us

Jane Elmets is a hiking and legging enthusiast who has spent the majority of her life running around outside. Most recently, she spent three years in New Zealand, where she lived in a campervan and spent her days exploring new trails, mountain ranges, forests, coastlines, and national parks. Her extensive experience makes her a valuable member of the HealthyWay team, where she tests outdoor apparel, beauty products, and wellness wares to deliver only the best to readers. Her extensive advice ties in with personal experience to illustrate how she uses the products to serve as inspiration for fit girlies worldwide. 

Jane’s articles are more than just reviews; they are comprehensive guides that reflect her deep understanding of the fashion and grooming industry. Her recommendations are based on thorough research, personal testing, and a genuine passion for helping readers find products that meet their needs and preferences. Trust in Jane’s expertise, as she brings the same rigor and enthusiasm to identifying the best leggings for your outdoor adventures.

woman sitting on the railings of a wooden bridge with a volcano on the background
Jane Elmets for Healthyway

Final Verdict

After extensive testing, the best leggings for hiking for women are the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Tights which include an astounding six zippered pockets, a water repellant design, and abrasion resistant material. But if you’re looking for a less expensive pair that will still serve you well, the Sunzel Workout Leggings are a great affordable option.   


Are leggings good for hiking?

Leggings are great for hiking because they offer an exceptional range of motion that you don’t find in other hiking clothes. Leggings can also be a great choice for hiking because they’re lightweight and quick drying, which makes them ideal for unpredictable weather or trail conditions.

What are trail leggings?

Trail leggings are a special type of leggings that include added features for hiking. These can often range from water-repellent coating, abrasion-resistant material, four-way stretch, and zippered pockets, all of which come in very handy on a trail but probably aren’t necessary for a yoga class or another situation where you’d sport leggings. 

What kind of pants should I wear when hiking?

You can wear specific trekking pants for hiking which normally zip off around the knees and have secure pockets, but you can also keep it simple and wear leggings or even joggers! The most important aspect is getting outside – the clothes don’t matter all that much when you’re just starting out. 

For cold weather hiking, I recommend layering sweatpants on top of leggings, while in the summer I prefer the Outdoor Voices RecTrek pants that zip off in two places to turn into capris and shorts.

Jane Elmets
Jane is an avid hiker, skier, and lover of adventure. She's passionate about comfy clothing, spending time outside, and leaving the world a better place than she found it.