5 Things to Consider Before Buying Workout Leggings

By , Ayanna Greenidge-Brutus, Co-Founder of Brut Force Athletics
When you're at the gym or running around the neighborhood, the last thing you want is for your clothing to get in the way. Exercise is hard enough without your shorts sliding up your thigh or fabric getting in the way of your dumbbell rows. That's why so many people choose leggings. Comfortable and flattering, leggings are designed to stay in place whether you're striking a pose in yoga or trying to beat your personal best on the track.
Of course, you have to choose the right pair of leggings to enjoy the benefits. With a fully saturated athleisure market, finding the perfect leggings for your shape and sport can be a challenge, oftentimes leaving you with a closet full of options that you can't wear. The only thing worse than leggings that ride up during your run is feeling like you wasted your money on athletic wear that doesn't hold up. Make the next pair of leggings your favorite pair by following a few simple tips before you head to the checkout counter.

1. Consider the Fabric

Leggings come in various fabrics, and the fabric you choose will have a lot to do with how comfortable you are throughout your sweat session. If you're a light exerciser, you can't go wrong with cotton leggings, which will feel breathable and comfortable while keeping any odors at bay. However, if you intend to wear them while engaging in a hardcore workout—think HIIT, boxing, hot yoga—you're going to need leggings made of moisture-wicking materials so you don't feel like you're swimming in a pool of your own sweat after 20 minutes of plyometrics. Spandex blends and nylon are both popular options for their sweat-wicking ability, quick-dry powers and seemingly unending stretch.

2. Select a Compression Type

Leggings come with different amounts of compression. While there are conflicting studies regarding the actual performance benefits of compression gear, advocates say exercisers can experience increased blood circulation and reduce fatigue and soreness. Most often, it comes down to personal preference—you can get a simple cotton legging without any compression all the way up to leggings that offer high compression.

It all depends on your comfort level. If you're engaging in light exercise, compression isn't necessary. However, you can opt for compression leggings if you intend to take part in high-intensity workouts. Not only will the compression increase oxygen delivery, but your pants will be sure to stay in place no matter how intense the workout.

3. Get the Extras You Need

Today, leggings are more than just pants. If you're someone who lives in athleisure, there are leggings on the market with some extras that will make your life easier. For instance, leggings with a built-in zipper pocket will hold everything from your cash to your keys on runs around the neighborhood or just to your local grocery store. If you need music to pump up your powerlifting, look for leggings with a sleek pocket on the side to keep your phone handy.

4. Choose a Cut

Did you know that leggings come in four different cuts? Each cut offers its own performance benefits and some are better suited for certain workouts. Finding the right cut for your body and your burn will not only make you feel great but will also help you perform at your best without any distractions from ill-fitting clothes.
  • Full-Length: This is the longest of the leggings, and often includes a stirrup that goes around your foot. These leggings typically cover up all of the skin on your legs.  
  • Capri Leggings: This popular option hits right under the knee, showing a bit more skin than the full-length leggings and can keep you cool during workouts.
  • Boot-cut Leggings: This style is quite a bit different from most leggings. While most options fit snuggly, these are loose at the bottom of the calves and ankles. These are often used for yoga or casual exercise and can easily go from gym to errands without looking too out of place.
  • Cropped Athletic Leggings: This is arguably the most popular style for high-intensity workouts. Hitting right around the middle of the calf, these leggings provide the perfect support for those challenging, sweaty workouts.

5. Think of How Long the Leggings Will Last

While it might be your preferred fabric, cotton leggings don't tend to last very long. Leggings made with 100 percent cotton will lose their shape over time, and before you know it, the leggings don't look right. On the other hand, spandex and nylon can last a year or longer without any issues. If you want your athletic gear to go the extra mile, consider taking a peek at the label first to avoid ending up back in the store a few months from now.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to your athletic wear, but with a little extra thought and some research, you can fill your drawer with leggings that make you look forward to your next workout. Whether you want something loose for yoga or compressed for that high-intensity workout, the leggings of your dreams are out there just waiting for you to try them on and hit the gym.
About Ayanna Greenidge-Brutus
Ayanna Greenidge-Brutus is the co-founder of Brut Force Athletics, the creator of 828 Leggings. Brut Force's leggings are made of supreme four-way stretch fabric, called Argent Flex, which contains silver fibers, making them antibacterial and odor-free. The leggings are lightweight, moisture absorbent and breathable for improved performance and comfort.