Natalie's yoga life
Our Top 3 Yoga Pants
Yoga pants have come a long way in recent years. No longer simple black stretchy leggings, yoga pants are now essential fashion pieces available in an assortment of colors, prints, fabrics and cuts.
Quality yoga pants cost upwards of $100 or more, and their worth is not always clear either until you've worn and washed them a few times. To help you get the most of out of your next yoga pant investment, we've researched and tested dozens of pairs from the most popular brands.

How We Selected the Leggings

There are an untold number of yoga pants on the market, so how did we decide which to test? We looked for leggings from established brands known for their quality and style, such as Alo Yoga and Beyond Yoga. To get the most bang for your buck, we focused on products at a mid-range price point of around $80. Pants that could be comfortably worn in and out of the studio was also a must.
The initial selection phase involved searching in brick-and-mortar and online stores and talking to yogi friends. We then cross-referenced product descriptions, online reviews and photographs from the brands' websites with third-party distributors' sites, like YogaOutlet or Carbon38. Finally, we wore the pants while practicing yoga, including everything from gentle Yin sessions to challenging Asana classes. We also donned the pants to the gym, on walks, hikes, jogs and errand-running, and put them through at least a dozen washes.
How We Evaluated the Leggings
Having spent thousands of hours in yoga pants, we've identified the key elements that make for a great pair of leggings. The six features to consider are:
Style
Yoga pants are as much a fashion statement as they are athletic wear. While tastes will vary from person to person, certain styles have become increasingly sought-after, like high-waisted leggings and cut-out details.
Performance
How well the pants wear in the yoga studio or gym is crucial. Moveability, breathability and wicking properties are all essential for a comfortable workout.
Silhouette & Coverage
The silhouette that the pant creates, from the waist to the ankle, should be flattering. Related to the silhouette is the coverage that the yoga pant provides. The leggings should stay in place regardless of how contoured the asana or fast the vinyasa.
Washing
Yoga pants should last dozens of washes before fading or losing their shape. Washing instructions will vary, but a good rule of thumb is to wash your leggings in cold water and line dry. The pants should be durable enough to withstand an occasional hot water or dryer cycle.
Wearability
Some yoga pants are best suited for the yoga studio and maybe a quick errand thereafter. Other leggings will look fashionable in most social situations, while uber-wicking yoga pants can easily transition to hard-core gym workouts.
Compression
Whether a legging is a compression garment will largely depend on the thickness and construction of the material. Thicker and tightly woven materials will create compression, hugging in the body for a comforting and toning effect.
Our Favorite Leggings for Yoga
Beyond Yoga So Slashed High Waisted Midi Legging
We fell in love the feel and fit of these pants. The creamy Spacedye fabric is arguably the softest fabric we've ever worn. The overall silhouette is a dream and the slash cutouts, à la a structured distressed style, are on-trend.
What's Great
Beyond Yoga So Slashed High Waisted Midi Legging
Style
The laser slash cutouts are the standout style element. These sassy details begin about half way between the ankle and knee and progressively become smaller towards the upper thigh. When we first put them on, the material around the slashes prickled the skin slightly. Once we opened the slashes all the way by gently pulling on them, the slight discomfort went away.
Performance
These are true yoga pants. The four-way stretch makes for a wide, comfortable range of movement no matter how you contort your body. Moisture-wicking technology effectively draws perspiration off the skin to the fabric surface for quick evaporation during light sweating. These pants could transition to gym workouts, but the soft material is not rugged enough for outdoor wear or lots of friction like a bootcamp session.
Silhouette & Coverage
Another plus is the elastic waistband with Supplex lining. This allows for better coverage when flowing, especially when bending over. The high waist has the added bonus of making the legs appear longer and the torso smaller. As a midi legging, the So Slashed ends a couple inches above the ankle.
Washing
As with all of our yoga pants, we wash cold and line dry. After several washings, these leggings still look and feel great. We have had other Spacedye fabric products from Beyond Yoga in the past. They tend to not hold up as well in the long run given the suppleness of the material. Still, you can usually get a couple dozen washes before the fabric starts to pill.
A Couple of Considerations…
Beyond Yoga So Slashed High Waisted Midi Legging
Wearability
The slashes are, to put it simply, sexy. This may be overkill for errand running like dashing into Target for toilet paper. These pants are suitable for the yoga studio and post-yoga social situations like grabbing coffee.
Compression
The ultra-lux fabric is not thin, but not thick either. It's lack of compression and weight means that it does not smooth out the silhouette like some yoga pants do. While we love the light mint "Glacier White" color, this material would be better in darker colors if you want a less revealing look.
Our Favorite Yoga-to-Town Leggings
Alo Yoga Moto Leggings
Alo Yoga Moto Leggings have become the must-have yoga pants in the last year. You'll find Taylor Swift, Heidi Klum and other celebrities photographed jaunting about town in these stylish pants. Made for the yoga mat and beyond, these texturized, monochromatic leggings can be worn just about anywhere.
What's Great
Alo Yoga Moto Leggings
Style
The key style element, which gives it the moto look, is the quilting construction on the front and back panels. This is combined with an alternating matte and shine fabric and a subtle mesh detail, all in the same color. The overall effect is a textured legging that is sophisticated, yet slightly edgy.
Performance
Yes, these yoga pants get big style marks, but they are performance-minded too. They stand up to just about any kind of work out, be it a kickboxing class or bootcamp. The signature Airbrush fabric and glossy performance fabric provide four-way stretchability for easy movement. The moisture-wicking technology keeps you dry even when sweating buckets.
Silhouette & Coverage
We got our moto leggings in the high-waisted style. Standard waist lines, which come a couple inches below the navel, are also available. The waistband on the high rise is double lined for extra contouring and stability. This gives you stay-in-place coverage regardless of how vigorously you move. As with any high-waisted legging with to-the-ankle coverage, the visual effect is a longer leg and slimmer silhouette.
Washing
We wash these leggings inside-out in cold water and air dry. The material looks fine after a dozen washes. A few women online have complained that the fabric started to pill after a wash or two despite having handled the piece with care. We have had other Alo Yoga leggings, though not this style or fabric, and have not had this experience in the past.
Wearability
These yoga pants can be worn in any yoga class and most workouts. You can easily grab coffee, go to brunch, or pick up the kids stylishly in these pants. We know a few of gals who dress up their motos for a night out on the town too.
One Consideration…
Alo Yoga Moto Leggings
Compression
While the fabric does lift and contour to a degree, we found this to be not as much as advertised. The weight of the material is thick, but less so than a true contouring legging. In short, these will provide some compression, but if concealing sagging or dimpling is a priority, you may want to look elsewhere.
Our Favorite All-Around Leggings
Threads 4 Thought Nala Piped Leggings
These leggings are the best all-around athletic leggings we've ever had. Highly versatile, we wear these pants to the gym, in the garden, for a hike, lounging around the house or, of course, in the yoga studio. Style-conscious without being too trendy, these are true compression leggings with a flattering fit.
What's Great
Threads 4 Thought Nala Piped Leggings
Style
These pants have reflective taping details that run down the outside of each leg and connect around the back, creating contrast piping between the panels of woven fabric. The outside of the legs feature a mesh detail cut-out for a touch of visual texture and extra breathability. The right leg also has a long pocket, the perfect size for your phone and keys.
Performance
These pants are durable and comfortable enough for truly any kind of workout. Made from PET recycled polyester, the wicking fabric wicks keeps you dry. The durable flatlock seams means no chaffing even during long runs. The supersoft PJ1 double-brushed performance woven fabric moves with your every step or yoga pose.
Silhouette & Coverage
These ankle-length leggings feature a double woven high-waisted waist band. The Nala Piped does not budge whether you are in downward dog or doing divebomb pushups. Thanks to the combination of a long leg, high waist, super snug material and contouring piping, your silhouette looks fit and shapely.
Washing
Because these leggings have a durable construction, we take less care washing them compared to most other yoga pants. We usually wash warm and tumble dry. The material and stitching looks brand new after months of washes.
Wearability
These pants are great for working out, running errands, walking the dog, working in the yard or a calming yoga practice. While these pants won't double for a night-on-the-town, you will still look great wearing them in most casual social situations, like grabbing lunch at a cafe.
Compression
These are true body-hugging contouring leggings. The fabric is thick enough to smooth out any wobble and provide body-hugging comfort. If you want a legging that holds everything attractively and comfortably in place, these are the leggings for you.
The Big Takeaways in Choosing Yoga Pants
The perfect pair of leggings will depend on where you wear them and your personal style preferences. Although specific fabrics and materials are better suited for one situation or another, the common denominator to any good pair of leggings is quality materials and construction. Look for high-end fabrics like Beyond Yoga's Spacedye and reliable construction like Alo Yoga's patented Moto Leggings. With a little research, you'll find yourself wearing comfortable, durable leggings that complement your workout routines, body type and fashion sense.
Natalie's Yoga Life
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