LEGGINGS are an essential part of a wardrobe and a true staple that work for layering as well as lounging.
While tights twist uncomfortably, snag at every opportunity and lose their elasticity, the best leggings will sit in position and never ladder.
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Whether you're working-out, or just working-from-home, leggings are definitely a 2021 must-have.
Yep, that’s right, it’s officially time to wear leggings as trousers again – your 2008 fashion faux pas will be vindicated, finally.
But, even if you don’t fancy delving into the 1980s bag of tricks with a pair of pedal pushers, you’ll still need decent leggings in your life.
These babies create a streamlined silhouette under clothes and pull you right in – especially the shaping styles we’ve picked out below.
Plus they’re seriously comfortable to kick back in at home.
You have to be careful in your selection though, cheap leggings can give you a case of camel toe, go see-through in certain lights and even cause uncomfortable chafing.
We’ve done the hard work for you and sussed out the best leggings worth spending your money on – so, whether you’re harbouring a baby bump or looking for blackout styles to go out in, find your perfect pair below.
1. Best leggings for sustainability: BAM's Enduro Deep Waistband Bamboo Leggings
- Enduro Deep Waistband Bamboo Leggings, £49 from BAM – buy here
If you're looking for quality leggings that are eco-friendly to boot, BAM has an amazing range of plain and printed styles that are ideal for yoga, sports and everyday wear — plus it's just announced plans to reduce all of its impacts (climate, waste, water, chemical, human and land use) by 2030.
Made from bamboo, this striking pair is non-see through, supportive and irresistibly comfortable.
Plus, bamboo works really well as a performance fabric due to its absorbency and is a brilliant choice when shopping sustainable fabrics.
2. Best athleisure leggings: Nike High Waisted Single Swoosh Leggings
- Nike High Waisted Single Swoosh Leggings, £27 from JD Sports – buy here
From the flattering high waist to the iconic Swoosh logo detail, these skin-tight Nike leggings are ones to take from working out to weekend chills.
They're oh-so stretchy, meaning you have lots of flexibility to move comfortably.
£27 is a great price for leggings that you can wear with either a crop top and chunky trainers for a lunch date, or a moisture-wicking tank for the gym.
3. Best leggings for curves: ASOS DESIGN's Hourglass Leggings
- ASOS DESIGN Hourglass leggings with deep waistband, £10 at Asos – buy here
High-rise designs sit at the smallest part of your torso to create the illusion of a slimmer waist, and they won’t cut into your midriff when you lean forwards or bend down.
These ASOS hourglass leggings are cut with more room around the mid-section, perfect for curvy hips.
Slip them on with form-fitting dresses in the evening, or choose a cute cropped sweatshirt for chilling with friends.
4. Best leggings for sporty vibes: New Look's Black Side Stripe Leggings
- Black Side Stripe Leggings, £9.99 from New Look – buy here
If you're sorted for classic black leggings, choosing a pair with a side stripe is a clever way to introduce something a little bit different to your collection.
This pair by New Look add a simple, sporty vibe when teamed with a crisp tee and trainers — perfect for elevating your off-duty style.
5. Best shaping leggings: Wolford's Velvet 100 leggings
- Velvet 100 Leg Support Leggings, £85 at Wolford – buy here
Wolford is the hosiery brand of choice for celebs such as Kim Kardashian and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
The label is known for its figure-sculpting designs, so you can rest assured that these leggings will fit like a glove; no saggy bottoms or baggy ankles in sight.
How, you ask? They’re a hybrid between leggings and tights: not made of jersey, but a nylon stretch-knit that will lift your buttocks and slim your thighs.
Sitting high on the waist to really suck you in, they’re crafted without seams at the crotch to ensure optimum comfort and prevent that dreaded camel toe we’re all too familiar with.
6. Best leggings for pregnancy: Seraphine's Bamboo Over-Bump Maternity Leggings
- Black Bamboo Over-Bump Maternity Leggings, £29 at Seraphine – buy here
Pregnancy is hard enough to handle without uncomfortable clothing making day-to-day movements even more difficult.
Black leggings will likely become your go-to once you’re expecting, and because Seraphine is a specialised brand for all things maternity, it should be your first point of call when looking for leggings that’ll fit.
This pair fits like a second skin, shaping and smoothing your legs to provide all-day support.
With dresses or sweaters (because seriously, who cares about wearing leggings as trousers when you’re 30 weeks pregnant?) they’ll keep you comfortable during a tiring nine months.
7. Best thermal leggings: Heatgen's Thermal Leggings
- Heatgen Thermal Leggings, £12 at M&S – buy here
When the frost is biting, you might need a bit of extra help to keep cosy.
You’d never know these black leggings from M&S were thermal as they look just like any other pair, but they’ve been made with HeatGen technology.
So not only are they as soft and stretchy as the retailer’s regular offerings, they will help when it gets chilly.
They’ll be a warmer alternative to tights under a dress and you could choose to wear them beneath trousers when you head for the slopes in ski season.
8. Best leggings for tall women: Topshop Tall High Waisted Leggings in Charcoal
- Topshop Tall High Waisted Leggings in Charcoal, £11.99 from ASOS – buy here
If you’ve been blessed with height, you may also feel like you’ve been cursed when it comes to shopping for clothes; particularly leggings which can look ridiculous at the wrong length.
Topshop's tall range offers great length and amazing, flattering cuts that never skimp on style either!
These high-waisted leggings come with a longer length leg and soft body-con blend.
9. Best leather-look leggings: Zara's Faux Leather Leggings
- Faux leather leggings, £19.99 at Zara- buy here
For the perfect wet-shine look, without paying the huge price tag for real leather, Zara's pair are a go-to wardrobe piece.
You'll look the part with long boots and a chunky jumper.
Normally, leather leggings could cost you anything from £375 up to over £1,000 (ouch) so these are a bargain!
10. Best body sculpt leggings: Very's Body Sculpt Control Panel Leggings
- Body sculpt control panel leggings, £22 at Very – buy here
These body sculpt leggings by Very are perfect for curves.
The handy control panel is ultra-smoothing and flattering, while the full-length cut looks great whether you team them with heels or trainers.
Most importantly, they don't hide your gorgeous curves — so you can rock them with total body confidence!
11. Best yoga leggings: &OtherStories Yoga Trousers in Khaki
- Yoga Trousers in Rust, £45 from &Otherstories – buy here
Yoga is a great way to wind down or start your day off feeling refreshed, and being comfortable whilst you do it is a must.
&OtherStories' have some sculpting, ultra soft and flexible high-waisted leggings, made to match the 'Halter Yoga Bra'.
They also come in 'black', 'blue', 'lilac print' and 'red print', but we're in love with the versatile 'khaki' shade.
12.Best extra-thick women's leggings: Next's Ponte Leggings
- Ponte Leggings, £18 at Next – buy here
There really is nothing worse than seeing someone in leggings that are see-through.
The martyr in you wants to tell them they seriously need to chuck them in the bin, while your kinder side knows that saying you can see their undies will cause major embarrassment.
It’s a tough call, so make sure you’re not on the receiving end of such information by choosing blackout leggings.
This pair from Next are designed in a heavier jersey to avoid such faux pas.
And because they’re thicker, they pull you in for the ultimate flattering fit, too.
13. Best work-out and work-from-home leggings: Lululemon Align High-Rise 28" Leggings
- Lululemon Align High-Rise 28" Leggings, £88 from MatchesFashion – buy here
Looking for something to easily work out and work-from-home in? Lululemon's activewear is luxuriously soft, sculpting and flexible enough to easily wear day-in-day-out.
Cut from the brand's signature Nulu™ fabric, they're lightweight, moisture-wicking and fitted with a hidden slip pocket for stocking your keys, if you're off out for a run.
They're so comfortable that you'll wear them for working out, working from home and just about everything in-between. You're welcome.
14. Best flattering loungewear leggings: Skims Ribbed High-Rise Stretch-Cotton Leggings
- Skims Ribbed High-Rise Stretch-Cotton Leggings, £62 from Selfridges – buy here
Kim Kardashian's shape wear and loungewear label Skims is known for its sculpting pieces, and the Ribbed High-Rise leggings are no exception.
Slipping on with an elasticated waistband, the all-over ribbed texture is enhanced by the super soft stretch-cotton fabric, crafted with premium comfort in mind.
Complement the high-rise waist by pairing them with a knitted crop top for a 10/10 loungewear look.
15. Best printed sports leggings: adidas Essentials Camouflage 3-Stripes 7/8 Leggings
- adidas Essentials Camouflage 3-Stripes 7/8 Leggings, £28 from JD Sports – buy here
Printed all-over with pretty pink camouflage, these adidas leggings are here to brighten up your work-out wardrobe.
They're complete with the sports brand's signature branding and matching three white stripes down each leg, but our favourite part is that they're cut from sustainable cotton.
The soft, stretchy fabric moves with you, whether you want to wear these out for a jog, practising yoga or walking the dog. As there are hints of black, they'll go so well with dark tones too.
Which is the best material for leggings?
If you want leggings to lounge around in, soft cotton leggings will be your go-to.
Cotton is a breathable material and generally very comfortable to wear.
However, it's worth mentioning that cotton doesn't hold up so well to stretching and although it's strong, over wearing it can lose shape. Choosing a cotton blend with lycra or spandex is therefore a good option for adding stretch to your leggings.
If you want something longer-lasting, a pair of polyester leggings are a good idea as they're water-resistant and sweat-wicking, making them a very popular choice for activewear.
What are the most comfortable leggings?
If you want to cool and comfortable this summer, bamboo has become an incredibly popular sustainable fabric choice for leggings, as it's highly moisture absorbent, eco-friendly and has a similar look and feel to cotton.
For the cooler months, wool leggings could be your best option: while a little pricier, it's perfect for keeping pockets of air trapped and holding in warmth.
We've designed Sun Selects so you can find the best items at the best prices when shopping around the web.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best leggings for women? If you want to read more of our fashion recommendations, take a look at Sun Selects fashion section.
But if you're looking for the perfect dress, check out our guide to the best dresses on the market.
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