8 Best Running Leggings for Women to Ace That Workout

The leggings on this list will stay in place and wick moisture super efficiently – most even have pockets, too.

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Although you can certainly wear anything when headed out for a jog, the best running leggings for women will keep you comfortable, help you feel supported, and propel you forward no matter the length of the run or the terrain you cover. 

I used to run in everyday leggings until I discovered the best running leggings with features especially designed for high-impact workouts. Gone are the days of tugging up a waistband, running with a fanny pack, or arriving home looking like you just peed your pants. The leggings on this list will stay in place and wick moisture super efficiently – most even have pockets, too.

Keep reading to discover the best running leggings for women, covering all budgets, body types, fits, and rises. 

Key Takeaways

As if my lifelong legging-wearing legacy isn’t enough, I pored over hundreds of reviews and visited countless sites, and the results are in. If you’re ready to dive into the world of running leggings, then the Outdoor Voices CoolForms are a great place to start. The midweight fabric is perfect for year-round wear and is especially practical in hotter climates, since it’s engineered to keep you cool. The leggings have tons of running-specific features that will help you feel your very best at every pace. Seeking a more budget-friendly option? The Dragon Fit Pocket Leggings are an affordable alternative with a non-slip waistband and super soft construction. 

Top Picks

Best Overall: Outdoor Voices CoolForm Legging

Best Budget: Dragon Fit Pocket Leggings

Best Dependable: Nike Team One Leggings

Best on Amazon: Under Armour HeatGear Leggings

Best Luxury: Lululemon SenseKnit Running High Rise Tight

Best Everyday: Athleta Interval Stash Tight

Best with Pockets: Vuori Stride Legging

Best Colorful: GymShark Running Leggings

woman running the streets wearing the energy bra and Swift Speed Tight by lululemon
lululemon / Instagram

Best Overall: Outdoor Voices CoolForm Legging

Outdoor Voices CoolForm Legging

Why they’re great: Made from innovative fabric and packed with extra details designed for high-intensity workouts, these are some of the best running leggings for women who want to stay cool even as their bodies heat up. These leggings offer enhanced mobility and employ Outdoor Voice’s CoolForm fabric with unique properties designed to keep wearers from overheating – convenient for hot weather running. Of course, there are also pockets (one on each leg and a zippered pocket in the back), plus reflective details and a shirt loop for when you start to break a sweat. 

Who are these for? If the temperature is over 60°, I personally hate running in leggings, but this option from Outdoor Voices is a compelling alternative to shorts, especially in more unpredictable climates. The cooling technology really works and makes for a much more comfortable, less restrictive (and sweaty) experience. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: These running leggings are available in only a 7/8 length, and on petite women, they have more of a full-length fit. 

Material: 80% recycled polyester, 20% spandex | Sizes: 2XS – 3XL | Colors: 3 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Budget: Dragon Fit Pocket Leggings

Dragon Fit Pocket Leggings

Why they’re great: The real reason these are some of the best running leggings is they don’t roll down (they’re also some of the best leggings under $30). So, if you’ve had enough of constantly tugging at and readjusting your waistband, this pair from Dragon Fit will stay in place. Despite the non-slip design, they’re less compressive than other running leggings for more freedom of movement. And, of course, pockets are always appreciated, from a quick sprint to a full-blown marathon. 

Who are these for? These are for any runner who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on leggings or women who are searching for inclusive sizing, as these extend up to 3XL. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The sizing of these leggings can be a bit wonky, so it’s important to check the sizing chart for the best fit. 

Material: 88% polyamide, 12% spandex | Sizes: XS – 3XL | Colors: 26 | Care: Hand wash

Best Dependable: Nike Team One Leggings

Nike Team One Leggings

Why they’re great: Nike Dri-Fit leggings are the creme de la creme, especially when it comes to running leggings. The simple design is squat-proof with two hidden waistband pockets, and the one in the back can hold a phone for a more comfortable position while running. Instead of the shiny legging material, these are made from a polyester spandex blend, which still wicks moisture without that slippery feel. 

Who are these for? For quality leggings, Nike is always a dependable option. These won’t wear out or fade over time, even with a high degree of friction from long runs. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Because of the material composition, these leggings have less of a smoothing effect than other leggings like Lululemon or Alo.

Material: 79% polyester, 21% spandex | Sizes: XS – 2XL | Colors: 2 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best on Amazon: Under Armour HeatGear Leggings 

Under Armour HeatGear Leggings

Why they’re great: Before all the fancy legging brands made it to the market, there was Under Armour, a tried-and-true staple for any athlete. As a high-schooler, I used to wear these leggings to lacrosse practice every day. Regardless of the number of laps around the field, they stayed pristine, never slipping down or bunching up. In fact, I pulled out my old pair while writing this article and took a jog around the block. I can definitely confirm that they’re still some of the best running leggings for women, especially for a medium compressive fit, moisture-wicking fabric, and a true ankle length. The affordable price and the pockets don’t hurt, either. 

Who are these for? The real draw to these leggings is their super lightweight feel and flatlock seams. Gone are the days of uncomfortable rubbing and *shudders* chafing. These leggings stay snug on your body like a second skin. They also come in tall and short sizes for a personalized fit.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: You may find these leggings a bit too thick for summer running. But if you want a “cooler” version, try the same leggings as capris

Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane | Sizes: XS – 2XL | Colors: 30+ | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Luxury: Lululemon SenseKnit Running High Rise Tight

Lululemon SenseKnit Running High Rise Tight

Why they’re great: Designed especially for running, these leggings are a long-distance jogger’s dream. The lack of an inseam prevents uncomfortable rubbing, and the four-way stretch allows for maximum range of movement without an ounce of restriction. But one of the most noteworthy features is the internal drawcord, which keeps these running leggings from slipping down – no readjusting, no matter how many miles you cover. 

Who are these for? For sporty girls of all kinds, these are the best running leggings. There are subtle reflective details on the ankles (great for early mornings or runs after work), and the pocket forgos a zipper to cut down on bulk. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: At more than $150, these running leggings are definitely priced at a premium. You’re really paying for the specialized SenseKnit material, which has optimal breathability and wicks moisture like no other. Lululemon has similar leggings like the Fast and Free tights, which are also designed for running but cost $40 less (and have side pockets, plus the reflective ankle details). 

Material: 76% nylon, 24% elastane | Sizes: 0 – 14 | Colors: 2 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Everyday: Athleta Interval Stash Tight 

Athleta Interval Stash Tight

Why they’re great: Released in late February this year, the Athleta Interval tights are newcomers but certainly hit the mark for running leggings for women (and some of the best black leggings for everyday and travel). Rather than the classic buttery Athleta fabric, the brand has re-engineered high-intensity leggings with its new PowerMove fabric. Featuring a recycled knit weave, these leggings will keep you comfortable throughout your run with the perfect level of compression.

Who are these for? If you’re tired of your running leggings sliding down, you’ll probably benefit from a pair of these. They’re a bit more compressive than classic yoga leggings, which helps keep the waistband in place throughout movement. And, as with all of Athleta’s offerings, these running leggings are available in regular, tall, or petite sizes to suit every body type. Oh yeah, and they have pockets. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The pockets are a bit small for the latest series iPhone, and the leggings tend to run small. 

Material: 77% recycled polyester, 23% elastane | Sizes: 2XS – 3XL | Colors: 6 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best with Pockets: Vuori Stride Legging

Vuori Stride Legging

Why they’re great: Lately, it feels like low-waisted leggings are few and far between, but this Vuori pair has the perfect rise—not too high, but still above the hips to smooth the lower belly. These have just the right amount of compression to keep the leggings up while moving without feeling restricted or uncomfortable. Whether you’re aiming for one mile or ten, these will stay in place, wick moisture, and keep your belongings on your person with the five convenient pockets. 

Who are these for? Although extra soft, buttery fabric isn’t the best for running, if you’d prefer a pair of leggings with a more robust material, then these are an excellent choice. The structured fabric still allows for ease of movement but helps the leggings stay in place during high-impact activities like running. They’re also one of the best choices for workout leggings.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Vuori leggings can run small, so you may want to size up. Additionally, if you’re expecting silky softness, you should opt for Vuori’s Studio Pocket Legging instead. 

Material: 70% polyamide, 30% elastane | Sizes: 2XS – 2XL | Colors: 3 | Care: Machine wash cold

Best Colorful: GymShark Running Leggings

GymShark Running Leggings

Why they’re great: There are a few key reasons that these made the list. Cut from sweat-wicking fabric, they’ll keep you cool during your sweatiest cardio sessions, and the internal drawcord ensures that they never slip (a huge issue with running in most leggings), from a simple jog to a long-distance jaunt. The zippered back pocket is a generous size, and some runners may find the placement more comfortable than side pockets, which are common on most leggings. Finished with reflective detailing and GymShark’s signature body hugging design, these are a solid contender for any runner. 

Who are these for? If you don’t want to drop $100+ on running leggings, this pair has all the features of a luxury pair without the price tag to match. Also, if you’ve faced issues with other running leggings, like a waistband that rolls down or uncomfortable pocket positions, these address the problems meaningfully. 

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Honestly, GymShark leggings can be a bit hit or miss. But overall, this pair is a great choice for running, especially if you’re looking for a name brand option less than $100.

Material: 78% nylon, 22% elastane | Sizes: 2XS – 2XL | Colors: 4 | Care: Machine wash cold

woman running uphill wearing a lululemon bra and leggings
lululemon / Instagram

Buying Considerations for the Best Running Leggings

Material Features

The first consideration when choosing the best running leggings is the material features. At a minimum, choosing a pair with decent compression is recommended to keep you locked in during your run. But no need to go all out here. Medium compression is suitable because it will support you throughout your miles without suffocating or cutting off your circulation. 

You should also consider leggings made from a moisture-wicking material because the last thing you want is to finish your run with sweat marks all down your legs. Nylon tends to be a great material for running leggings because moisture beads off instead of absorbing. 

Non-slip, Seamless Design 

The last thing you want is to pull up your leggings for your entire run. This is why it’s important to choose a pair with a nonslip design that stays in place through high-intensity movement. 

Non-slip leggings can be held in place with compression, the waistband style, or the addition of a drawcord. These days, many running leggings integrate an internal drawstring in the waistband for a low-profile design with a huge impact. Additionally, high-waisted leggings tend to stay in place better than low-rise fits.

It’s also worth choosing a seamless design, since these are the most comfortable leggings to run in. This type of construction prevents uncomfortable rubbing or chafing between the legs, whether you’re running 1 mile or 26.2.

Running Design Features 

Finally, it pays to choose leggings with distinct running features, since these can enhance your workout. Elements like pockets for your essentials, reflective details to stand out, and a drawcord for a custom fit are always appreciated. Some brands even take it a step further, like Outdoor Voices, which includes a shirt loop in their leggings so you can shed layers while you run. Although these features aren’t necessary, they can create a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Remember, your leggings should work for you, not the other way around!

How We Chose These Products

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running since I started jogging a decade ago, but I know for sure that the one aspect that made the biggest difference was having the right gear. So, I set out on a quest to find the best running leggings, the results of which are shared in this article. After running in more than 20 different pairs of leggings designed specifically for running (and sometimes not), I discovered the top eight choices, along with the key qualities to look for. Combining brand reputation, user reviews, noteworthy features, and my own personal experience, I populated this list with truly some of the best options for runners of all levels. 

Brand Reputation: I selected leggings from reputable brands that are well-regarded in the athletic wear industry. These companies are known for their innovation and commitment to quality, which is evident in the customer reviews and their history of consistent performance.

User Reviews: Who better to trust than hundreds of experienced wearers? Of course, that’s not everything. But if most reviews are glowing, then it’s a good sign. 

Noteworthy Features: Features such as moisture-wicking properties, adequate compression, and seamless construction were prioritized. These characteristics are essential for enhancing performance and comfort during runs, ensuring that the leggings support a wide range of motion without chafing or discomfort.

Why You Should Trust Us

As an experienced fashion writer and wellness enthusiast, Jane has unlocked the key to athletic gear that works for you rather than against you. She spends her time researching the best products and then extensively testing them during her own workouts to deliver the most accurate and compelling options to her readers. Combining her love for exercise with her experience as an author, she consistently strives to deliver only the top choices after comprehensive vetting. Trust us, Jane is the person to go to for all things leggings. 

woman taking a selfie while jogging
outdoorvoices / Instagram

Final Verdict

To fast track your search for the best running leggings for women, it doesn’t get much better than the Outdoor Voices CoolForm Leggings, which are decked out with running features like reflective ankles, pockets, and a T-shirt loop. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind simple running leggings, the Dragon Fit Pocket Leggings are a top choice and don’t do too much damage to the wallet. 


What is the difference between running leggings and workout leggings?

Running leggings are designed for high-intensity exercise, whereas workout leggings are designed for more general movement. You may find running leggings to be more lightweight, moisture-wicking, and less compressive than standard workout leggings. On the other hand, workout leggings are often squat-proof, with more compression to provide greater support through a variety of exercises. 

What are running leggings called? 

Running leggings can also be called running tights or running pants. The name of running leggings often includes the brand’s fabric, the rise of the leggings, or unique features like pockets or a drawcord. 

Should I run in shorts or leggings?

Whether you run in shorts or leggings depends on personal preference. You may prefer shorts if you tend to heat up during your runs. However, leggings are a better option if you appreciate compression and support while running. Plus, running leggings often include pockets, which many running shorts forgo.

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.