8 Best Leggings to Wear as Pants Wherever You Go

Comfortable, supportive, and oh-so-stylish, the leggings on this list will carry you through every day with the best that athleisure has to offer. Can you wear leggings as pants? Of course!

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If you’re on the hunt for the best leggings to wear as pants, you’ve come to the right place. Through extensive testing over the course of a decade, I’ve narrowed down the massive pool to the eight best options that you can rock confidently, the same way you would your favorite pair of jeans. Comfortable, supportive, and oh-so-stylish, the leggings on this list will carry you through every day with the best that athleisure has to offer. 

I’ve been wearing leggings as pants for so long that my beloved middle school history teacher was moved to hang a sign in her classroom that read “Leggings Are NOT Pants!” Well, Ms. Brennan, how the tables have turned. Leggings as pants are the norm these days and are the ultimate building block for any casual outfit while still working for some dressy occasions, too.

Below are the eight best leggings to wear as pants for any situation, from your morning coffee run to drinks with the girls.

Key Takeaways

After diligent research and lifelong experience, I’ve made my choice. There’s just something to be said about slipping on a pair of Lululemon Aligns in the morning and knowing that you’re absolutely going to crush the day. This is why I rate them as the best overall leggings to wear as pants – many brands have tried, but none really live up to the hype of these leggings with the super soft construction, flawless fit, and pockets. 

The one deterrent, however, is the price. So if you’re looking for the best alternative, the HeyNuts Essential 7/8 Leggings are a significantly more affordable choice that looks and feels nearly identical. 

Top Picks

Best Overall: Lululemon Align High Rise Pant With Pockets

Best Budget: HeyNuts Essential 7/8 Leggings

Best Summer: CRZ YOGA Butterluxe Cross Waist Leggings

Best on Amazon: Farungs Crossover Split Hem Leggings

Best Everyday: Avalanche Drawstring Leggings

Best Cute: GymShark Ribbon Ankle Leggings

Best Winter: Athleta Rainer Bootcut Leggings

Best Luxury: Alo Airlift All Access Leggings

woman holding a hot drink in a paper cup wearing a coat and red leggings
sunzelofficial_ / Instagram

Best Overall: Lululemon Align High Rise Pant With Pockets

Lululemon Align High Rise Pant With Pockets

Why they’re great: For daily leggings to wear as pants, Lululemon hits the spot every time. Basic but true, the Align tights have supremely soft, breathable fabric that moves with you, paired with a high waist for a flattering fit. But what really makes these the best leggings to wear as pants are the dual side pockets to store your phone, keys, and any other small items while you’re out and about. Not to mention the hidden waistband pocket for cards and jewelry. 

Who are these for? These leggings are for anyone who wants to feel comfortable and confident. I find the Align tights hold in enough to make them great pant substitutes without ever feeling constricting. They also have the perfect weight fabric for year-round wear. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Since these leggings skip the drawcord, you may find that they slip down a bit more than adjustable options.  

Material: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra elastane | Sizes: 0 – 20 (4 inseam lengths) | Colors: 2 | Care: Wash cold

Best Budget: HeyNuts Essential 7/8 Leggings

HeyNuts Essential 7/8 Leggings

Why they’re great: There’s no disputing how great the Lulu Aligns are, but if you’re not keen to drop more than $100 on a pair of leggings, these are the ultimate alternative. With the same look and feel as the brand name, HeyNuts sells them for a fifth of the price and they feel exactly the same. They’re amazing for daily wear, age gracefully, and have the perfect amount of compression from the buttery soft fabric.

Who are these for? These leggings are backed by 13,000+ five-star reviews, and you’ll love them if you’re after the Lululemon look and feel without the exorbitant pricing. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: These leggings are prone to sliding down, which can be frustrating, especially while exercising. 

Material: 70% nylon, 30% spandex | Sizes: 2XS – 2XL | Colors: 18 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Summer: CRZ YOGA Butterluxe Cross Waist Leggings 

CRZ YOGA Butterluxe Cross Waist Leggings

Why they’re great: Not a fan of the athletic look of leggings? This pair has a V-shaped waistband that makes them easy to style outside of the gym. The fabric has the butter softness that’s associated with luxury brands, and the leggings come in more than thirty color options that span from classic to in vogue. 

Who are these for? Offering a full range of movement and a barely-there feeling, these leggings come in two inseam lengths to cater to women of all heights. You can’t go wrong here if you’re looking for unique hues and an affordable price. Also, if you’re a pet owner, you’ll find that these don’t collect hair the way Lululemon leggings do. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Because of the insane amount of stretch in these leggings, they may provide less compression than other pairs. 

Material: 81% polyamide, 19% lycra | Sizes: 2XS – L | Colors: 30+ | Care: Machine wash cold

Best on Amazon: Farungs Crossover Split Hem Leggings

Farungs Crossover Split Hem Leggings

Why they’re great: Flared leggings (okay, fine, yoga pants) are the best option to wear daily since they have the look of regular pants but feel like activewear. Out of all the options on the market, this pair is a top choice because of the crossover waistband and split hem, which give them a dressier look than standard flared leggings. Talk about a total upgrade from the Victoria’s Secret PINK yoga pants we were sporting back in the day. 

Who are these for? If normal leggings don’t cut it as pants in your eyes, then this versatile option is a solid middle ground. And since they look more like trousers than standard leggings, you’ll have an easier time dressing them up. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The shortest inseam length is 29.5”, which will be a bit long for anyone under 5’2”.

Material: 75% nylon, 25% spandex | Sizes: XS – 2XL | Colors: 9 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Everyday: Avalanche Drawstring Leggings

Avalanche Drawstring Leggings

Why they’re great: These leggings have a jogger look, which makes them an easy contender for the best leggings to wear as pants. The reinforced waistband with a tie gives these a more put-together look without sacrificing the classic legging feel, and the trendy color options cover hues rarely found in other brands. On the note of other brands, plenty of reviewers state that these are an incredible alternative for the Vuori Daily Leggings but much lighter on the wallet. 

Who are these for? If regular workout leggings don’t cut it as pants in your eyes, then these might be exactly what you’re searching for without sacrificing the buttery material. The high waist makes them easy to wear with crop tops, but you can also dress them up. Try out a cropped hoodie and an oversized blazer, or wear them with a cute pair of booties when you head to brunch. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: These leggings run small, so if you’re in between sizes, you may want to go up for a more comfortable fit. 

Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex | Sizes: XS – XL | Colors: 10 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Cute: GymShark Ribbon Ankle Leggings 

GymShark Ribbon Ankle Leggings

Why they’re great: Whether you like the coquette aesthetic or not, you must admit that these leggings are crazy cute, especially when worn as pants. Although GymShark is best known for their butt scrunch leggings, these forgo the bum detailing and keep it simple with a seamless, sweat-wicking construction. Wear them with a cute crop top in the summer for an off-duty ballerina look or a hoodie to run errands in. 

Who are these for? If you’re looking for something a little more than standard workout leggings to wear as pants, then the ribbon detailing gives this pair the ultimate upgrade. You won’t be able to resist reaching for them whenever you need a cute ‘fit.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Honestly, these leggings are better suited to the grocery store than the gym. I’d be a bit nervous that the ribbon might get stuck in a machine or under a weight. If you’re looking for a more do-everything pair, then the GymShark Elevate Leggings are a simple alternative, and the lack of a front seam makes them more practical to wear as pants. 

Material: 78% recycled polyester 22% elastane | Sizes: 2XS – 2XL | Colors: 3 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Winter: Athleta Rainer Bootcut Leggings

Athleta Rainer Bootcut Leggings

Why they’re great: If you prefer more of a yoga pants style rather than leggings to wear as pants, then this bootcut option from Athleta is a standout with a slight flare at the ankles and a moisture-wicking material. But the best part is that they’re lined with Athleta’s Plush SuperSonic fabric, making them amazing for cold-weather wear. They’re also available in regular, tall, or petite sizes for a customizable fit and have zippered pockets that fit a phone. 

Who are these for? Normal leggings can be a bit thin to wear as pants during winter, which is why this Athleta pair is a top pick for chilly days. Aside from having all the comfort of classic leggings, they’re a bit thicker and made from recycled plastic bottles, so you can feel as good as you look while sporting them. The more robust material makes these more durable than classic leggings, which crowns them an easy-going wardrobe staple for any situation. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: These leggings run a bit small and may lose some color after a few washes. 

Material: Recycled polyester, lycra | Sizes: 2XS – 3XL | Colors: 1 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Luxury: Alo Airlift All Access Leggings 

Alo Airlift All Access Leggings

Why they’re great: With a unique cutout at the waist, these are some of the best leggings to wear as pants because they don’t look like standard athleisure. Alo really did something with this waistband, making these leggings a warm-weather staple, especially in the cactus and macadamia colorways. 

Who are these for? Made from Alo’s signature compressive Airlift fabric, the front of these leggings has a smoothing effect while providing support and lift in the bum. These features, along with the unique design, make these leggings easy to dress up or down and appropriate to wear as pants in a variety of situations. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Alo has some of the steepest pricing when it comes to leggings, and that’s saying something considering the cost of other big names in the space. These leggings also skip the pockets, which can be annoying if you want to wear them as pants. 

Material: 80% polyester, 18% elastane | Sizes: 2XS – L | Colors: 3 | Care: Machine wash cold

two women wearing the airlift bra and leggings
aloyoga_mex / Instagram

Buying Considerations for the Best Leggings to Wear as Pants

Material & Quality

One of the main considerations for the best leggings to wear as pants is the material composition, since this influences how the leggings look and feel, as well as their overall durability.

You’ll generally find leggings that are either a synthetic blend (think nylon) or a polyester blend. Synthetic leggings offer an unparalleled range of movement and, oftentimes, a super soft and breathable construction. However, they also look more sporty than cotton or polyester blends with a shinier fabric that may not pass as pants.

On the other hand, poly blends are a super durable option, which is important for leggings you want to wear as pants since they’ll withstand the throws of daily life. The polyester used for leggings can have a matte finish that looks less athletic. They may also have a heavier weight, which is more suited to year-round wear. Just make sure that if you choose leggings with polyester as the primary material, it’s combined with a generous amount of elastane or spandex for plenty of flexibility. 

Lifestyle Features & Color

The top leggings to wear as pants will have additional features that elevate them from sportswear to streetwear. Some noteworthy additions include pockets to hold your belongings, a crossed or V-shaped waistband, and flared ankles. All of these features help to make them look more like pants and less like leggings, since they incorporate lifestyle elements that will serve you well outside of the gym.  

Additionally, it pays to stick to neutral colorways if you’re wearing leggings as pants because nothing draws unwanted attention on the street like a pair of neon pink, skin-tight workout bottoms. 

For everyday wear, choose leggings in black, brown, or navy. Darker gray works, too, while lighter grays tend to showcase imperfections. If you want to throw some color into the rotation, try sage green, terracotta, and even cream or beige, all of which can serve as foundations for a trendy outfit. 

Fit & Rise

Finally, the fit and rise of the leggings will go a long way towards making them look like pants… or not. These days, the most common fit and rise are high-waisted leggings with a 7/8 length, which is an inseam that stops just above the ankles. 

Although it looks distinctly legging-like, this fit and rise are easy to dress up or keep casual. For everyday wear, throw on a hoodie or a crop top, or for nicer occasions, opt for an oversized button-down and some leather loafers. In my opinion, any leggings that are overly cropped (think capris) are harder to pass off as pants. 

If you want leggings that look the most like pants, then choose a pair with flared ankles or a bootcut. These leggings resemble yoga pants rather than the classic legging style that’s tight through the ankles. 

How We Chose These Products

As someone who’s been wearing leggings as pants since way before it was cool, I have first-hand experience with the best options. I have worn extensively all of the leggings you see on this list. I chose them based on their price, brand reputation, and user reviews which ultimately led me to the best quality, styles, and overall choices. 

I also aimed to include options that go beyond standard leggings to appeal to women who aren’t completely sold on the idea of leggings as pants. The beauty of athleisure is that leggings can take on all shapes and forms. The choices you see on this list cover a wide range of styles to cater to all individuals craving comfy daily bottoms. 

Price: I don’t know about you, but I can never have enough leggings on hand, so cost is important to me. I made sure to select options to suit all budgets. 

Brand Reputation: I focused on brands with a proven track record of producing high-quality activewear. This reputation often translates into consistent customer satisfaction and reliability in their products.

User Reviews: I extensively reviewed user feedback to gauge overall satisfaction. Only those products with overwhelmingly positive reviews made the list, ensuring that they are well-loved by a broad audience.

Why You Should Trust Us

Jane Elmets is an experienced fashion writer, wellness enthusiast, and leggings addict. She owns more than 50 pairs of leggings from dozens of brands and writes reviews in hopes of leading women to products that genuinely make them feel their best. She takes an analytical approach to her reviews to really dive into the nitty-gritty of the products recommended, providing the full picture to anyone thinking of investing in new gear. Trust us, when it comes to leggings, Jane is the best person for the job.

woman sitting on the bleachers wearing a bell bottom leggings
vuoriclothing / Instagram

Final Verdict

Many brands have tried, but few have created everyday leggings that live up to the classic Lululemon Aligns. Whether you’re wearing them to run errands, hang out with friends, or even for date night, the sleek silhouette and impossibly soft construction are hard to beat. The downside is the price, but the upside is the affordable alternative: the HeyNuts Essential Leggings, which have a very similar look and feel for a fifth of the cost. 


What type of leggings can be worn as pants?

Any type of leggings can be worn as pants; however, to look the most like trousers, choose a pair with flared or bootcut ankles and pockets. This gives them the appearance of everyday pants but the feel of leggings. 

Do leggings qualify as pants?

Leggings qualify as pants, depending on who you ask. My mother and my middle school teachers would argue no, but most millennials and Gen Zers would say yes. 

Which leggings are most flattering? 

Typically, leggings with a high waist and seamless design are the most flattering, since this fit can snatch the midsection and lift from behind. The lack of seams also creates a smoothing effect on the legs, which many women consider flattering.

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.