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11 best running leggings for women to enhance your workouts this year

A good pair of leggings can make a big difference to your jogs and runs. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, here's our pick of the best.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Feb 2, 2022

Woman running

Whether you’re brand new to running and have just started Couch to 5K or are a fanatic who’s been at it for years, choosing the perfect pair of ladies' running leggings can be a nightmare. There’s nothing worse than wearing them a couple of times and finding they fall down, are see through or don’t wash very well.

The Mumsnet boards are full of good advice when it comes to finding exactly the running leggings you’re looking for. From fun and funky to stylish yet practical, there’s something to cover all tastes and budgets if you want to get running or into the gym this year.

We've scoured our forums for all the best products and brands vetted by our users and spent hours researching the leggings sports enthusiasts swear by. The result? We’ve compiled this list of trusted leggings and running tights - whatever your needs.

Here are the best running leggings for women this year.

1. Best overall running leggings for women: Sweaty Betty Power Cropped Gym Leggings

Sweaty Betty Power leggings

Price: £65 | Buy now from Sweaty Betty

“SB power leggings are a game-changer. The best there is. Makes me feel like I’ve morphed into a fitness guru when I wear them. I have bought several to put away just in case they discontinue them! I can’t imagine not wanting to wear them ever.”  (Recommended by Mumsnet user, Bateshotel)

Sweaty Betty is a brand that has long been known for its quality workout wear that’s built to last. Their Power Leggings range is particularly popular, especially in black, as they’re easy to mix and match with a range of tops. They’re also quick-drying and don’t go see-through with sweat (save those blushes).

The Power Leggings offer good support too, lifting and sculpting your bottom for extra-flattering definition. The cropped style means they’re also great for running on milder days and there’s a handy pocket that zips at the back to tuck your phone into safely.

Overall, they tick a huge number of boxes and Mumsnetters have great things to say about Sweaty Betty. They don’t come cheap, but we think they’re well worth a try if you can afford the expense.

Pros

  • Great quality and comfort
  • Very flattering
  • Large range of sizes available
  • Side pocket and back zip

Cons

  • Can be a little tight around the bottom of the legs if you have slightly larger calf muscles
  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Material: 62% Polyamide, 38% Elastane
  • Size range: XXS - XXL

2. Best budget running leggings for women: Kalenji Run Dry Women's Running Leggings

Decathlon running leggings

Price: £12.99 | Buy now from Decathlon

“Absolutely love Decathlon sportswear for the whole family. Running tights have a zip pocket on the thigh that my iPhone fits easily into so this makes me very happy!” (Tried-and-tested by Mumsnet user LifeInAHamsterWheel)

If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to compromise on quality, then Decathlon Run Dry Women's Running Leggings are a good choice. Again, black is ideal if you don’t want the sweat (or knicker line) to show too much, and it’s a brilliantly versatile colour.

Reviewers particularly rate these running leggings not only for their good price but for their comfort too. They’re also super breathable, which makes them ideal for year-round wear.

They are perfect for anyone who cares about sustainability too, as they are made with 87% recycled polyester that’s specially designed to manage moisture so you don’t have to worry too much about sweat as you run. The waistband comes with an adjustable cord so you can tighten or loosen as you needed, and there’s even a little pocket for keys and other essentials that can be zipped to keep everything in place. We think this is amazing value for money.

Pros

  • Seamless crotch so reduced chafing
  • Comfortable and quick-drying
  • Drawstring waist means they don’t fall down
  • Great price

Cons

  • A little on the skimpy side if your legs are very muscular

Key specs

  • Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
  • Size range: 4 - 18

3. Best running leggings with pockets: OUGES Women’s High Waist Leggings With Pockets

Ouges leggings with pockets

Price: From £16.99| Buy now from Amazon

We love these running leggings as they come in some really cool and colourful patterns, with 21 designs to choose from. The great thing is that they won’t break the bank, so you could stock up on a few to mix and match.

They’re also ideal if you’re conscious of your stomach as the generous waistband provides ultimate tummy control. The shape is very flattering too and the soft, stretchy material works hard to wick away sweat. 

Reviewers love the fit of these leggings and the side and back waistband pockets which have plenty of space for a phone - just bear in mind they don't zip up so for particularly vigorous runs, you may want a belt or armband for storage.

While for this money you won’t be getting the luxury quality of LuluLemon and the like, these great value leggings are certainly hard to beat.

Pros

  • Excellent fit, true to size
  • Large range of colours and designs
  • Breathable material
  • Lower price

Cons

  • The crotch area has seams which some find annoying
  • Pockets don't have a zip for secure storage

Key specs

  • Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
  • Size range: XS - XXL

4. Best leggings that don’t fall down: Under Armour HeatGear Armour Workout Leggings

Under Armour leggings

Price: From £26.10 | Buy now from Amazon

“If you don’t need a pocket, Under Armour Heat Gear tights are really good. Squat-proof too.” (Tried-and-tested by Mumsnet user PurpleDaisies)

“Another vote for Under Armour. They’re the only brand of leggings I buy now.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Lightningrain)

These nifty numbers are a great idea if you want to combine your running with some other workouts too. Whether you’re following your run with HIIT, strength training, yoga or dancing, these leggings can deal with squats too thanks to the stretchy, versatile fabric that offers lots of free movement.

Under Armour comes highly recommended by Mumsnet users and reviewers also love these leggings, with them racking up over 2,500 five-star reviews on Amazon due to their comfort and quality fit.

While some aren’t keen on the thick waistband, this offers support keeping the leggings in place during even the most strenuous of workouts.

Pros

  • Very comfortable and no chafing
  • Fleecy feel on the inside so ideal for cold weather
  • Stay up well
  • True to size

Cons

  • Some don’t like the thicker waistband
  • Can be expensive depending on size and colour

Key specs

  • Material: 87% polyester/13% elastane
  • Size range: XS - XXL

5. Best cropped running leggings for women: SIMIYA Womens High Waist Fitness Capris Running Tights

Simiya running leggings

Price: £16.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’ve just bought these. They are great!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Veronicat)

Cropped leggings can be particularly useful in the summer months, especially if your run doesn’t take you through too many stinging nettles or long grass, and these inexpensive, three-quarter length running tights do just the job.

The darker colour of these capris also means they can easily be paired with different coloured trainers and running tops, plus the close fit and all-round support makes them really flattering. 

Made from brilliantly stretchy nylon and spandex, they offer great coverage and there’s even a handy pocket for your phone. Not bad for less than £20.

Pros

  • Comfortable and don’t roll down
  • Tummy control waistband
  • Light and breathable
  • Lower price

Cons

  • Hand wash recommended, and the brand suggests using a laundry bag if machine washing
  • May be too long on petite women
  • While many reviewers say they aren't see-through, a few found that they were

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and Spandex
  • Size range: XS - XL

6. Best tummy control running leggings for women: Sugar Pocket Womens' Yoga and Running Pants

Sugar Pocket running leggings

Price: £17.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I like Sugar Pocket. Cheap and cheerful, wide variety of designs.” (Tried-and-tested by Mumsnet user HoneysuckIejasmine)

Don’t fancy paying big money for running leggings you might hardly wear? These Sugar Pocket capris are ideal, especially if you’ve found yourself bored of plain black, as the choice of colours and designs are stylish and fun.

The four-way stretch fabric is soft and comfortable, and is supportive enough to hide those lumps and bumps. The waistband is also wider for tummy support, and it’s elasticated to stop the leggings dragging down as you start to exercise so you shouldn’t need to keep stopping on your jog to pull them up. 

A sleek summer option, there’s a larger pocket on the leg for storage, although one reviewer did find that it wasn’t the most secure when doing other types of exercise than running.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Comfy fit and fabric
  • 14 colours and styles to choose from
  • Machine washable and quick to dry

Cons

  • Pockets not the most secure

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and Spandex
  • Size range: S - XL

7. Best everyday running leggings: New Balance Women's Sport High Waisted Tight Pants

New Balance running leggings

Price: From £12.03 | Buy now from Amazon

A great mid-price pair of running leggings that are really sleek and stylish, New Balance High Waisted Pants are super smooth. They almost feel like a second skin.

As they're made from a really comfortable poly knit material, dragging yourself off the sofa and into these soft leggings for a winter run may be that bit easier. Any sweat is also soon wicked away thanks to the NB DRYx premium technology in the fabric, and the high-rise elasticated waistband makes them feel very snug and secure.

Pros

  • Good range of sizes
  • Ideal for winter running
  • Wash well

Cons

  • Not many colours available

Key specs

  • Material: 77% Polyester/23% Spandex
  • Size ranges: XS - XL

8. Best black running leggings for women: Fast and Free High-Rise Tight 25"

LuluLemon leggings

Price: £108 | Buy now from Lululemon

“Lululemon hands down make your bum look the best!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Thismeanswarfarin)

These may be pricier than some other picks, but sometimes it pays to push the boat out a little for a reliable, high-quality brand. Built to last, these are something special to invest in if sport is a big part of your life.

We love the black colour the best, but if you do want to add a splash of colour to your jog, it comes in nine colours, including a jazzy camo print that's currently on offer for just £49. Available in a large range of sizes too, these tights are made specifically for running, meaning they can handle high-impact exercises. They’re also incredibly soft thanks to their four-way stretch design, and the added Lycra means they hold their shape wear after wear.

Some reviewers suggest sizing down to get the right fit, but do remember the sizes are in US measurements so you will need to convert to UK sizes.

Pros

  • Very soft and comfortable
  • Good quality and not see-through
  • Supportive
  • Has pockets

Cons

  • Sizing runs large according to some reviewers
  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Material: 80% Nylon, 20% Lycra® elastane
  • Size ranges: US size 0 - 26

9. Best running leggings for women with zip pocket: Adidas Own The Run Winter Running Leggings

Adidas running leggings

Price: £63 | Buy now from Adidas

“I had some Adidas 3 stripe capris that lasted so long I gave them to charity purely because I was sick of the sight of them - over 10 years of 3+ times use per week.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Dafspunk)

If the thought of going for a run on those cold, dark days of winter is seriously putting you off, Adidas Own The Run Winter running leggings could be just what you’re after. They're made of 92% recycled polyester and 8% elastane fleece for added snuggly warmth, plus any sweat is absorbed quickly so you’ll not have to worry about clammy skin.

Offering support and staying power, we love the high waist on these leggings, and the waistband includes a helpful pocket to store your phone in, without having to worry about sweat getting it wet. The drawstring waist also means you can pull the leggings tighter for extra comfort while you run.

Being seen in the gloom isn't a problem either, thanks to the 360 degrees of reflectivity and, although some reviewers suggest the material is better for autumn running, others think the material is thick and cosy enough for winter.

Pros

  • Sweat-guard zip-up pocket for essentials
  • Soft and fleecy
  • Reflective in the dark
  • Outstanding tummy support

Cons

  • A little on the pricier side
  • Some find them more suitable for autumn rather than winter

Key specs

  • Material: 92% recycled polyester, 8% elastane fleece
  • Size ranges: XS - XL

10. Best high-waisted running leggings for women: NIKE Women's W Np 365 Tight Leggings

Nike Pro leggings

Price: From £23.65 | Buy now from Amazon

“I wear Nike Pro gym leggings. They are very comfortable and not at all see-through.” (Tried-and-tested by Mumsnet user samandpoppysmummy)

Nike are a stalwart brand in the sports world, and with good reason. Their popular Nike Pro range offers sleek designs that are practical and great for everyday wear.

The smooth, stretchy fabric of these leggings creates maximum comfort and we were impressed with how well they wash too. They also dry incredibly quickly on the airer.

After supportive coverage too? The contemporary, mid-rise design features an elastic waistband that wraps you in supportive comfort. They’re full length too which makes them ideal for running all year round. Some reviewers did find it tricky to get the sizing right, however.

Pros

  • Great quality and comfort
  • Made with recycled polyester fibres
  • Easy to wash and fast drying

Cons

  • No pockets
  • Some reviews found it hard to get the right fit, whether too big or small

Key specs

  • Material: 83% polyester, 17% elastane
  • Size ranges: XS - XXL

11. Best reflective running leggings: Ronhill Women's Life Night Runner Tight

Ronhill reflective running leggings

Price: From £40.55 | Buy now from Amazon

As the saying goes, safety first. When you’re running in low-lighted evenings it’s so important that you can be seen, which is why reflective running leggings are so popular. But of course, they need to be comfy too.

If staying safe in the dark is something you need to consider, then these buttery soft running leggings could be just the ticket. Stretchy and smooth, they come with a reflective seam and pattern which improves your visibility to traffic. They’re also designed to not droop or dig in, with good tummy control and a sporty style to boot.

With added thermal protection, these are also great running leggings for winter jogs.

Pros

  • Good for colder weather
  • Compressive material
  • Reflective in the dark
  • Comfy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only two colours available
  • Only goes up to a size 16

Key specs

  • Material: Main body is 87% Polyester, 13% elastane. Lining is 84% recycled polyester, 16% elastane
  • Size ranges: 6 - 16

What to look for in a running legging

With so many choices, including luxury and budget, available it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you're new to running. Here's a roundup of things to consider before you click 'add to basket': 

  • Sweat-wicking qualities: It’s a fact of life that running means sweat. Some of us get more sweaty than others while we exercise, but the important thing is it doesn’t hang around too long. Look for leggings made from material that means sweat will evaporate more quickly, avoiding dampness and odour. 
  • Fit: There’s nothing worse than having to keep stopping during your run to yank up your leggings. You need ones that fit you well, including nothing too tight and restrictive. Look for flexible but close-fitting and supportive designs. It's worth checking reviews to see if you need to size up or down too.
  • Easily washable: When you’re choosing your running leggings, pick ones that are machine washable, preferably at lower temperatures to do your bit for the environment too.
  • Length: This is really down to personal preference. Some people prefer cropped ones, especially in summer, but others go for ankle-length especially in the winter. Also consider your height, as some designs may be too long for petite women.
  • Budget: If you hate going a day without getting a jog in, you can invest in a more expensive brand like Lululemon, but if you're new to running we recommend buying something cheaper while you work out if its right for you.
  • Colour: Black or navy are solid all-rounders that will go with a variety of tops and running jackets, but you may want to add a splash of colour or a fun pattern to your workout. 

What type of running leggings are best?

Focus on quality and fit. Look for leggings that are stretchy but soft, and offer you freedom of movement while still holding their form and not sagging or falling down.

In winter you might want to go for something a bit thicker or lightly fleece lined that reach down to your ankles. Reflective ones for those darker evenings are also a good idea to help you keep safe from traffic.

In the summer a nice lightweight cropped pair would be ideal. Just make sure you opt for a breathable fabric for the ultimate comfort. 

What is the difference between running leggings and running tights?

They’re very similar but running tights tend to be more see-through, acting more as a base layer for you to wear shorts or additional leggings over the top. Go for running leggings if you want to wear them on their own.

Are running leggings worth it?

If you run fairly often, then yes. Running leggings come in a few different types of material, mainly spandex, Lycra and polyester, which are stretchier than normal leggings and help sweat evaporate more quickly. However, it’s important to get the right fit as these materials can easily slip down or sag round the knees if they’re too big. Likewise, choose running leggings that are too small and they’ll feel restrictive and tight.

Look out for recycled materials if environmental issues are on your mind too.

What are the best running leggings for women?

We love the Sweaty Betty Power Leggings in particular as, although they're pricey, they are made from high-quality material allowing the comfort and flexibility that you need for running. They also have a high waistband to keep them in place and hold in your tum.

Vetted by our army of Mumsnet users, they're super flattering and come in a large range of sizes too. Well worth the extra expense if you're a keen runner. 

How we choose our recommendations

At Mumsnet we know that the best recommendations come from our Mumsnetters themselves. After all, there’s nothing better than getting advice from people who’ve already tried-and-tested the best.

So we hit the forums and searched high and low for all the best brands, types and designs of running leggings that real Mumsnet users are talking about. We also thoroughly researched reviews across retailers to see which ones came out on top. 

With our extensive research, we then compiled our list of the best of the best - making sure all styles and terrains of run were covered by our choices. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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