After a good sports bra, the legging is one of the most important items you have in your workout wardrobe. It’s also one of the hardest to get right. A good legging is supportive without being restrictive and has the ability to flatter all curves. Depending on what you’re using them for, a pocket is a must and it needs to be secure.
But the most important test a legging has to pass is the Bend and Snap test. The crucial test that will tell you if your legging runs sheer every time you bend or squat, revealing more than you’d like.
We bent, snapped, sprinted, lunged and squatted in all these leggings, and they passed with flying colors. While they’re all comfortable and flattering, small details like material, pockets and fit makes some better for everyday wear, gym, running, yoga or fitness classes.
Below are the 5 leggings we currently love for just about every recreational activity.
1. Lorna Jane Amy F/L Tights, R999 at Lorna Jane
These leggings are the little black dress of leggings and the best plain black pair we’ve put on thus far.
While we love prints and colours for exercise, a classic black pair is the one we reach for when we want to pair leggings with tops and jerseys for a casual look.
They can be used for light exercises, like yoga, Pilates, and walks. However, they really shine as a day to day legging and they’ll become the one’s you’ll find yourself living in on weekends, using as your go to travel legging or just lounging around the house.
The have a small zip pocket on the right thigh, large enough to fit keys or some cash. They have a soft wide waistband that hits just below the navel. They’re made from a moisture wicking and breathable fabric, making them great for activities. They are also fade and shrink resistance, which means they’re not going to lighten or tighten in the wash over time.
They’re a best seller and it’s easy to see why. They’re incredibly comfortable, sleek and have that perfect balance between structure, fit and comfort. If you live in leggings, these are the best classic black pair you can invest in. We’ve happily spent a day in them, just switching the top for yoga and a sweatshirt for errands.
What we’re wearing them for: Living in them over the weekend, for yoga and travel.
Shop them here
2. Rain Forest Tech Tights, R799 at Vivolicious
Locally made in Cape Town, the Vivolicious Tech Tights are made for standing out. They’re made from a technical fabric that’s printed using original nature-inspired artwork.
The leggings themselves are light, yet not flimsy and have an open pocket on the right thigh big enough to fit a phone. As it’s on your thigh, it holds things in place so you don’t need to worry about anything falling out.
All the seams are flat and there are no labels, instead, the “label” is printed on the inside of the leggings which means no irritation or chaffing. They’re also made from a moisture-wicking fabric that has a UPF30 and is CANSA approved.
If you’ve tried their shorts, you’ll love the leggings – they’re like a longer version and are popular trail running leggings. They work well for gym, yoga and running. We love this dark green forest print, but if you want something brighter, Vivolicious offers the same leggings in a variety of different prints.
They roll up nice and compact and would be perfect to take when you’re traveling and want to save space or doing a stage race where space is limited; plus the pocket is the perfect size for stashing bars and gels. We’ve mentioned their fit before and the fact that they’re incredibly flattering and elongating. We’ve happily gone from gym to a walk to yoga in them.
How we’re wearing them: Exercise classes and on trail runs
Shop them here
Maaji Rooted Connection Leggings, R1750 at Colourbox
These bright blue printed leggings are made in what we’re calling Maaji’s trademark active wear material that has the shaping effect of a spanx without that restrictive feeling. They go on and stay on an absolute dream and have a luxurious quality feel to them.
They have a reflective detail on the ankle zip, making them a fantastic choice for early morning or evening runs when you want to be visible. There’s also a large zip pocket on the back, big enough to stash keys, an ID and even a gel or two.
They have a wide soft waistband hitting mid-navel which is super comfortable.
They’re one of the best workout leggings we’ve worn and while great for just about anything, the details like reflective strips and secure big pocket has made them a favorite running legging. They held up, no adjustments needed, incredibly comfortably during a speed run and a 16km run.
How we’re wearing them: On every run until it’s warm enough for shorts.
Shop them here
Conga Botanica Leggings, R799 at MOVEPRETTY
Another fantastic local find, these MOVEPRETTY leggings combine a black and white geometric print with green leaves for a sleek tropical look.
They have a wide waistband which hits just above the navel, for a super comfy and non-restrictive fit. They’re made from a technical poly spandex and are breathable, moisture wicking with a 4-way stretch. There is an open pocket along the inner back waistband big enough to stash your keys.
They are really light and comfortable and peel onto your legs as easily as if they were a loose pant.
They’re a great gym and running legging, and with the pocket, you can take them on a run or when you want a place to store small items.
How we’re wearing them: To gym and fitness classes
Shop them here
5. Coar Legging, R499 from Cotton On
These leggings are from Cotton On’s new active wear line COAR which is packed with affordable and trendy options.
These 7/8 leggings have a great fit and a wide soft waistband that hits just below the navel.
They’re a fuss free legging without any pockets making them a really nice choice for the gym or a group class. They come in black and blue and can work for as a casual day legging as well, as they’re a solid print.
They’re a great budget legging, but do not feel cheap. The fabric has a good structure and almost a compression like feel in shaping you, making them feel expensive. For under R500, they’re a great buy!
How we’re wearing them: to Yoga, group fitness classes and as a weekend legging for errands
What is your best legging?