The ultimate guide to yoga pants

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15LOVE_slimming_black_yoga-pantFitted, long black yoga pants are the Little Black Dress of the fitness world.

They're a practical and eminently versatile fashion staple that dominates every fit woman's workout wardrobe. Black yoga pants perform at the vinyasa studio or the gym, and transition into a street-style look when worn with flats, heels, or boots.

And while color, print, and wild details have made yoga pants more chic than ever, the category's most coveted item is still the basic black legging that performs both sculpting and wicking magic.

Here are 14 great takes on the fitness fashion must-have that we're all sweating in...

Photo: 15Love

Lululemon_WunderUnder_Best_Yoga_PantsLululemon Wunder Under Pant

Lululemon created the defining pant in this category with the Wunder Under. Designed for yoga, running, or everyday wear, the second-skin legging gave women fashion-forward fitness wear and body (or booty) confidence in the same (yoga) breath.

Get them in Full-On Luon, a denser (almost winter-weight weave), that’s midnight black and new this fall. It’s soft, not shiny, and super supportive.

$82, lululemon.com

Michi_NY_sexy_black_yoga_pantsMichi NY Carve Leggings

The indie brand's been a hit for its boudoir-inspired collection, made for someone fashion forward and athletic. The Carve Leggings have mesh panels that provide a bit of peek-a-boo and treadmill sex appeal, while serving a flattering function by "carving" out a slimming pattern on your legs. And these black pants aren't just for show: the almost silky, four-way-stretch fabric is wicking and ideal for dance cardio to Megaformer workouts. (Note: They have a hot 2014 update, which we haven't yet tried.)

$149, store.michiny.com

Yoga_Smoga_dark_black_yoga_pantsYoga Smoga Tippy Toe Legging

Yoga Smoga's MO is making high-performance, modern clothing that retains a connection to yoga's ancient Indian roots. The seriously technical fabrics are eco-engineered shade of black that's uber dark, opaque, and incredibly flattering. (But its probably too thick for workouts on 90-degree days.) With this look-good technology also comes a feel-good message—the company supports Namaskar, a foundation that benefits economic, health, and education in the remote villages of the Himalayas.

$96, www.yogasmoga.com

C9 by Champion Women's Premium Long Tight at TargetC9 BY CHAMPION PREMIUM LONG TIGHT

They may be shinier than a high-end brand, and they don't quite shape and flatter in the way that the compression fabric used by the big yoga brands do, but they're really comfy and last a long time for how down-right inexpensive they are.

$39.99, www.target.com





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HydeHyde Twisted Seam Legging

Hyde is a native New York-designed label that's a favorite brand of marquee yoga instructors across the country. The brand appeals to natural-fabric lovers, as it's made from 95 percent organic cotton. But the Twisted Seam Legging is far from crunchy. Witness the subtle, sexy slit at the ankle. Wear them to class year-round with a pair of booties, flats, or sandals.

$74, www.yogahyde.com

15Love_slimming_black_yoga_pants15Love Slim Legging

The hot indie brand debuted on the scene with bright-colored pants and has rolled out must-have tie-dye prints. But their black four-way stretch leggings have a high-caliber fitness following, including Lis Halfpapp of Exhale, whose legs looks like those of a 20-year-old ballerina in them while teaching CoreFusion. The wide flat waistband hides a (gluten-free) muffin top and bisects your backside in a way that’s incredibly flattering.

$78, www.15loveapparel.com


Athleta_flattering_revelation_pantsAthleta Revelation Tights

Ideal for the modern fitness maven, these elegant, low-rise tights move with you on the Megaformer or the yoga mat. They're a winning combination of design details, like a side seam that draws the eye down the leg, giving you the illusion of a few extra inches, and performance considerations: The tights provide a flattering amount of compression without being too warm when building your own heat in the studio. The no-shine Power Pilayo fabric wicks when you need it to and dries almost by the time you've slipped your shoes back on.

$79, www.athleta.gap.com

Splits 59 Kym Yoga Pants Splits 59 Kym Full-Length Tights

The multitasking pants from this super-popular indie brand have been popping up in boutique fitness studios across New York and the country. Yes, they wick away sweat, but they also have chic design elements like a low-rise waist and seaming that makes your tush look terrific. You'll want a few pairs.

$96, www.splits59.com

BeyondYoga_gathered_long-black-yoga-pantsBeyond Yoga Essential Gather Long Legging

We're obsessed with the extra length and ankle-ruching that gives these pants a cool, bunched-up look. And the softness of these pants—made of Peached Supplex—gives them a very cozy quality sans shine. This, and the placement of the logo at the top of the waistband, means you can absolutely wear them on a night out with none being the wiser that they're suitable for yoga.

$88, www.beyondyoga.com


Australia's leading fitness-fashion line, which recently launched a slew of stores on the West Coast, makes this cute pair of workout pants. The dense LJExcel fabric breathes surprisingly well during a workout. From the cute "LJ" scripted logo at the hip and zipper key pocket to the fitted ankle, the high-performance fabric holds their shape (and yours) well. And did we mention they're super flattering? They might not last forever—I could see stretching them out or personally snagging or wrecking them at boot camp. But we've already solved the problem by getting a second pair.

$82, www.lornajane.com

Under Armour Cold Gear Fitted LeggingUnder Armour Cold Gear Fitted Legging

Running outside year-round? As temperatures drop, the brushed-knit performance pants trap heat to keep you warm. The high waist is nice if you regularly experience pants that slip lower and lower on a long run. They may compress more than they stretch, but the fabric isn't chafing. And we love that this athletic pair doesn't scream "I just came from a race or the gym" with tons of reflective material for those moments when we just want to wear them with tall boots and long cozy sweater.

$50, www.underarmour.com

Hardtail_rolldown_bootcut_black_yoga_pantsHardtail Roll Down Boot Leg Yoga Pants

The West Coast brand is beloved by yogis across the country for its signature, sexy roll-down waist pants. We love them best with this balancing boot-cut leg. The pre-shrunk fabric is mostly cotton with a hint of Lycra, which means they're best for yoga or Pilates, and not workouts where you're going to sweat from every pore.

$53–$65, www.hardtailforever.com

Sweaty Betty Kriya Yoga LeggingSweaty Betty Kriya Yoga Leggings

While the UK-based brand makes tons of chic workout clothes with beautiful design details, from lace to prints, we might just pull on this simple pair of Sweaty Betty leggings the most. They're incredibly light and game—they enjoy boot camp, yoga, and long walks on the beach—and they really do wear well with many workday pieces, like an hip-skimming button-down, jacket, and jewelry. And since they've opened boutiques in the States, we have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot more of them.

$49, www.sweatybetty.com


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17 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. October 21st, 2013 at 11:02 am

    What?! No “bootcut?” These may be fine for NYC, but even Vegan Cowgirls out here in the wild, wild west want that special flair at the bottom of their favorite Yoga pant! Vegan Cowgirl Cool.

  2. October 21st, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    What is your criteria… these all look so much the same. you would think with 14 pairs you could find more variety. I agree…need boot cut and other varieties.

    That said, thanks for including Champion, for those of us who don’t spend $150 on a pair of tights.

  3. October 22nd, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Agreed; these look like tights/leggings. My yoga pants are more cottony (which I prefer) and have that ‘bootcut’ (as the Vegan Cowgirl says) flare that I also really like. The Hyde Twisted Seam and Hardtail Rolldowns are the only ones I’d actually associate with a yoga class. All the others are just black leggings.

  4. October 23rd, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Yogasmoga also makes a boot cut (their Slimmie) and it comes in tall too. And, they are not to hot for 90 degree weather. Well, no worse than others. Some of the best pants around! I don’t work there, I just love them!

  5. November 6th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I’m confused by the LJ post http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2013/10/21/the-ultimate-guide-to-yoga-pants/#the-ultimate-guide-to-yoga-pants-12

    Do they hold up? I’ve had my pair of LJ Amy’s for 2 years (bought them in AUS) and they have not pilled or become sheer. In fact they still fit perfectly!

  6. November 10th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Where could I find the hoodie on the last page?

  7. November 14th, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    You really didn’t put any lucy pants in here? Seriously? They’re on the same level as lulu (with much friendlier staff) and last for at least 5 years, not to mention the amazing material and flattering aspects.. wow.

  8. December 15th, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Whaddaya mean ladies? There is a bootcut here – the best of them all, Hardtail! I love the more cottony feel and superb fit, plus you can cut them to the right length and you end up with a cute rolled hem. Love. Lulu Wunder Unders are awesome tights. And tights are so much more versatile, becoming a layering piece in your wardrobe and not just workout clothes. Bootcuts can be yoga pants or function as sweatpants, but tights can do anything. And I can put a bootleg pair of leg warmers over them if I want that look.

  9. January 7th, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve been searching for a relaxed fit yoga pant that has a high-rise waist, but without a fold-over top. (I have virtually no waist – it measures the same as my hips, and low-rise pants slide right off.) Can anyone recommend a brand that offers this style? (I typically wear a size 14 to 16, in a petite/ short-legged length.)

  10. March 7th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I totally agree that they all look alike. That wide Lululemon waistband is pernicious. Everyone uses it. It seems everyone is interested in a bootcut. So for a bootcut with a totally different waistband and awesome fabric, look at the Striker Pant from Turn It On Fitness.

  11. September 5th, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Cindy – go to Kohls and look for their Tek Gear workout pants. Not only are they MUCH less expensive, but their shaping line does amazing things for your waistline, hips and butt, without making you feel like your being confined. They do offer styles that do not fold over. Good luck.

  12. October 28th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you very much for this information

  13. November 11th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I love my cold gear legging! It’s great when I’m biking to class or the gym. But where’s the KiraGrace? Their stuff is great.

  14. Catherine
    March 27th, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Check out FABB ACTIVEWEAR for high quality, fashionable and breathable yoga wear. Amazing yoga leggings, wonderful fabric and super slimming!

  15. September 3rd, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    KiraGrace should definitely be on this list! I absolutely LOVE their Warrior Tough Cut Legging in black!

  16. September 19th, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Check into Brick Built’s fashion too – it’s affordable, high quality, comfortable and is created for real women!

  17. November 3rd, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Let’s face it. Active wear today needs to be able to provide much more than just a way to prevent friction when working out. Today’s women’s active apparel needs to be able to provide compression for better muscle support and fatigue prevention while wicking away moisture and preventing friction. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it makes you look great while you’re working out, too. Nina Broze active apparel offers all of this at a great price.

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