The Best Breathable Leggings for Travel and Workouts

Alo’s High-waist Airbrush Legging is comfy, flexible, and stylish.

In This Article

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Best Breathable Leggings

Amazon

Many of us wear leggings almost all the time, whether we’re working out or enjoying a leisurely day at home. A great pair of leggings is an essential aspect of the modern wardrobe, and any great pair is going to be stretchy, comfortable, and thick enough to pass the squat test. Another crucial element of a quality pair of leggings is breathability, as you’ll want your pair to wick away sweat and keep you cool while on the move

We’ve rounded up the best breathable leggings for all types of activities. Our favorite is Alo’s High-waist Airbrush Legging, which is available in more than a dozen colors and checks numerous boxes for comfort, flexibility, breathability, versatility, and design. But if you’re in the market for something else or want to keep your closet stocked with a pair for every occasion, head to our list below — it includes everything from cropped leggings to sustainable picks to budget options.

Ahead—the best breathable leggings.

Best Overall: Alo High-Waist Airbrush Legging

Alo High-waist Airbrush Legging

Amazon

Why We Love It: The four-way stretch and numerous colors make these a comfortable and versatile pair of leggings. 

What to Consider: These leggings hit at the navel, so if you’re looking for something higher-waisted, these might not be for you.

Available in 14 colors, we give these leggings a Best Overall rating because they’re highly versatile and so comfortable you won’t want to take them off. Designed to smooth, lift, and sculpt, these leggings look good on any body type. Wear them with an oversized tee and sneakers or pair them with a cute gym tank top. Any way you style them, you’ll love them for their polished look and multi-functionality. They feature a high waistline, which we appreciate for comfort and practicality, and they’re made without side seams for added mobility while you’re exercising. They have a yogi-tested fit, four-way stretch for flexibility, and they’re moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. 

Price at time of publish: $98

Sizes: XXS-XL  | Material: Nylon, spandex

Best Budget: Amazon Essentials Performance Mid-rise Legging

Amazon Essentials Women’s Performance Mid-rise Legging

Amazon

Why We Love It: Simple yet functional, these leggings are a great buy without a huge investment. 

What to Consider: These leggings are a bit long, so take caution if you’re short.

If you’re looking for a pair of leggings without a big investment, these from Amazon Essentials are a great starting point. Coming in an array of colors, they’re perfect for any sport, a long travel day, and running errands. Pair it with a sweater, tee, or gym top and you’re good to go. They have a wide waistband and flatlock stitching, which improves comfort and support. The spandex addition to the fabric also gives these leggings a bit of stretch, meaning you’ll have more mobility while working out. 

Price at time of publish: $21 for Burgundy/Charcoal/Black in Small

Sizes: XS-2X  | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best for Casual Wear: Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

Nordstrom

Why We Love It: The wide waistband offers tummy control, which we love for lounging or working out. 

What to Consider: The material can attract lint.

Made from moisture-wicking fabric that’s fitted, these leggings are a simple, smart choice for casual days. They have a no-slip waistband that has a hidden pocket, and they’re super stretchy, making them great for a workout or cozy days at home. Available in both black and gray, these leggings can be paired with an oversized sweater to have you ready for a casual day of lounging around the house or running errands. 

Price at time of publish: $59

Sizes: XXS-2X  | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best High-Waisted: BALEAF Workout Leggings

BALEAF Women’s Workout Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: The strong material holds up for the long haul. 

What to Consider: The pocket sits right in front of the leggings instead of on the side.

High-waisted leggings are great for extra tummy control and support, and these from Baleaf get the job done well. A wide waistband means full coverage and no muffin top, which is perfect for yoga, running, hiking, cycling, and pretty much any workout. There’s a hidden pocket in the waistband for storing your key or a card while on the move. The nylon/spandex mix here is moisture-wicking and compressive, but it isn’t see-through. Lots of colors are available, including a trendy sage and a rich purple. 

Price at time of publish: $29 in Black, Medium

Sizes: XS-3X  | Material: Nylon, spandex

Best for Yoga: Lululemon High-Rise Align Pant 28"

4.8
Lululemon Align High-rise Pant

Lululemon

Why We Love It: Sweat-wicking, ultra-soft fabric is a win for any yogi. 

What to Consider: Take care to machine wash these in cold water.

Featuring an array of colors and three different lengths to choose from, these Align leggings were made specifically for yoga. They’re super lightweight and created from fine fibers that keep the fabric buttery soft, and they’re constructed with as few seams as possible for a comfortable flow. There’s a small hidden pocket in the waistband to store a card or a key, and four-way stretch plus moisture-wicking fabric means you can keep on practicing poses without stopping to dab away sweat. Your next yoga retreat won’t be complete without them.

Price at time of publish: $98 in Pomegranate, Size 8, 28"

Sizes: 0-20 | Material: Nylon, lycra elastane

Best Cropped: Sweaty Betty Power Cropped Workout Leggings

Sweaty Betty Power Cropped Workout Leggings

Sweaty Betty

Why We Love It: Dual pockets and a bum-sculpting design are both added perks for cropped leggings. 

What to Consider: They’re not 100 percent squat-proof.

Known for creating stellar gym clothes, Sweaty Betty is a must-try for anyone looking to up their workout clothing game. We love these cropped leggings since they’re made to work for all types of fitness sessions, and they’re even casual enough to wear for a cozy day at home. The material wicks away sweat and dries fast to keep you on the go, and the “bum-sculpting” fit is an added perk. There’s a side pocket for storing your phone and even a back zip pocket for keys or cards. Three colors are available. 

Price at time of publish: $88

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Material: Polyamide, elastane

Best Pockets: Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft High Waisted Yoga Pants 7/8 Length Leggings

Colorfulkoala High-Waisted 7/8 Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: Large side pockets and endless color options make these perfect for a range of activities. 

 What to Consider: Some colors are not completely squat-proof.

Loads of color options paired with four-way stretch and soft-as-butter fabric make these leggings a great pair to have on hand. They’re high-waisted for added tummy control, and 25 percent spandex means they’re stretchier compared to others on this list. Two spacious side pockets will hold a large phone, your keys, credit cards, or anything essential that you’ll need easy access to, and the V-contour seam on the back creates a silhouette that flatters your figure. Wear them while working out, traveling, or just running around town. 

Price at time of publish: $22 for Dusty Red, Medium

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Polyester, spandex

Best Sustainable: TenTree InMotion High Rise Legging

TenTree InMotion High Rise Legging

Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Love It: An awesome company ethos paired with a super soft and comfy legging is a win-win. 

What to Consider: The pocket is only large enough for a card or key, not a phone.

With every item purchased, TenTree plants 10 trees and helps divert trash from landfills while conserving water. These InMotion leggings are primed for everything from hiking and cycling to a movie night at home. There are two hidden waistband pockets, four-way stretch knit fabric, and a high-rise waistband that sits at or above the navel. Numerous colors are available — we think the twilight mauve and agave green are particularly stylish and unique.

Price at time of publish: $58

Sizes: XS-XXL | Material: Recycled polyester, elastane

Best Size Inclusive: Girlfriend Collective Horizon Compressive Pocket Legging

Girlfriend Collective Horizon Compressive Pocket Legging

Girlfriend Collective

Why We Love It: The large side pockets and extra back pockets mean you have room for all your essentials. 

What to Consider: They may slide down on less-curvy shoppers.

Going up to size 6XL, these adorable leggings from Girlfriend Collective get our stamp of approval for being squat-proof, comfortable, and made from recycled bottles. Twenty-five water bottles were diverted from the landfill for each pair of these leggings and added spandex gives them a good stretch. The double-side pockets are great for storing your phone, keys, or cards, and there’s even another hidden back pocket for essentials, too. The high-rise fit provides tummy control, and the fabric is moisture-wicking. Whether you opt for lilac, mulberry, or one of the other 22 colors available, you won’t find an inch of sheerness on these leggings. If you need even more proof that they’re perfect for high-impact workouts, turn to the four-way stretch that ensures you have the most mobility possible. 

Price at time of publish: $88

Sizes: XXS-6XL | Material: Recycled plastic bottles, spandex

Cyber Monday Steal

Best for High Sweat: Outdoor Voices TechSweat 7/8 Legging

Outdoor Voices TechSweat 7/8 Legging

Outdoor Voices

Why We Love It: The TechSweat fabric expertly fights intense sweat.

What to Consider: The material is a bit thin.

High-intensity workouts such as cardio, hot yoga, kickboxing, and pilates oftentimes require a pair of leggings that can keep up with copious amounts of sweating. These leggings from Outdoor Voices are made for medium- to high-sweat situations. Their TechSweat material works to keep you cool and keep perspiration away. They’re also lightweight, have a flexible waistband, and have a mid-rise fit that comes in four colors, including an ombre design. 

Price at time of publish: $88

Sizes: XS-3X | Material: Nylon, lycra, polyester

Tips for Buying Breathable Leggings

Go for stretch

Having a stretchy pair of leggings is imperative for comfort and performance. You’ll want to look for a pair of leggings that allows you to move and stretch. Stretchy leggings also have a better chance of passing the squat test (meaning see-through spots don’t appear when you’re working on your glutes). Look for products that call-out synthetic fabrics like lycra, elastane, or spandex for the most stretch. Minimal seams and flat-stitching also help provide an unconstricted feel. 

Consider compression

Compression is great for keeping your leggings close to the skin, which keeps them from falling down, sagging, or sliding loosely around your legs while moving. Look for a pair with at least some compression, but how much compression is up to you. You don’t want your leggings so tight that they’re uncomfortable. 

Utilize size guides

Lots of companies not only have standard sizes for leggings, but also list inseam lengths and full legging lengths. This is important for both tall and short people wanting to find a pair of leggings that fit them perfectly. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What type of legging materials are the most breathable?

    A mix of nylon and spandex (a.k.a. Lycra or elastane)leggings are going to be your best bet. Nylon is lightweight, sweat-wicking, stretchy, flattering, and doesn’t wrinkle. Adding spandex into the mix gives you additional stretch and comfort. 

  • Can breathable leggings be worn year-round?

    Yes! If you’re in a colder climate or going to be exposed to cold for long periods of time, you might want to find a pair of leggings that aren’t as breathable and will keep you warmer while outside, but, overall, you can wear breathable leggings all year for workouts or staying at home. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Amanda Ogle used research and her personal expertise as a travel writer to craft the perfect list of breathable leggings for your next adventure.

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