I Tried 9 Pairs of Leggings—Here's My Honest Opinion

Photo:

Hollywood To You / BACKGRID

Welcome to the latest edition of a new series in which I'll test out a variety of items from different brands that you want to know about. I'll give you my honest take in my quest to find the best of the best for you, dear reader. WWW Reviews encompasses everything from trends to staples to fashion utility items and more—basically, anything and everything a fashion girl would want to know about. Next up: leggings.

Aside from being the stretchy pants I wear to exercise, leggings weren't something that I gave much thought to until the world became obsessed with them circa 2015. Suddenly, my collection of years-old, slightly stretched-out leggings didn't feel adequate. And since the legging trend has reached a fever pitch, thanks in part to legging-crazed It girls like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, I decided that the time had come to put some of the top brands to the test in hopes of finding the crème de la crème. My quest gave me newfound knowledge of what makes a successful pair of leggings, and it also led me to a couple of pairs that check all the boxes. (Although, you truly can't go wrong with any pair in this batch, depending on what you're looking for.)

Without further ado, read on to get my honest take that resulted from wearing leggings for approximately two weeks straight, and shop them all for yourself.

Fit: True to size, but the fabric is very stretchy, so consider sizing down if you're in between sizes.

Fabric: Luon 

Comfort: The Luon fabric is extremely soft and weightless. It's stretchy without stretching out.

Rise: High; Length: 28 inches

Price: $98

The Verdict: 3.5/5

Lululemon has always been my go-to legging brand, but this was my first experience with one of its much-lauded Luon options. While these were incredibly comfortable, thin, and breathable, I found myself wishing for a little more structure in the boot camp class that I wore them to. They'd be great for something like yoga or even just lounging or running errands, as you're not moving around much. For more vigorous workouts, these might not be your best bet.

Fit: These run a bit small, but I didn't need to size up.

Fabric: 86% polyester, 14% spandex

Comfort: The fabric is firm yet flexible and weightless, so I didn't feel constricted.

Rise: Mid; Length: 3/4 (23.5-inch inseam)

Price: $85

The Verdict: 4.5/5

I'd admittedly been dying to try this much-buzzed-about brand and finally got the chance to test out the Warmup Leggings and the 3/4 Warmup Leggings. The 3/4 option proved better for me, as I'm 5'4". These ended up being one of the most flattering pairs that I tried. They feature Outdoor Voices' textured compression fabric, which made for a very slimming look. My lower half felt almost too compressed at times, but I didn't mind. They'd be perfect for almost any type of workout or just for going out and about. They're definitely cute enough for that. 

Fit: They're Spanx, so it's normal for them to feel a little snug.

Fabric: 60% nylon, 40% elastane

Comfort: They're on the firm side. Getting them on takes some muscle.

Rise: High

Price: $102

The Verdict: 3.5/5

If you're seeking a pair with high-tech shapewear-like capabilities, look no further. Spanx's Active Compression leggings feature Slim-X fabric that smooths and supports from top to bottom. There's a wide-set gusset, which adds to the flattering look. That said, they're not for the faint of heart, as they're quite firm. I loved that they looked clean and unfussy, despite the shapewear-like factors. 

Fit: True to size.

Fabric: 84% nylon, 16% lycra

Comfort: Very silky and breathable

Rise: High; Length: 26.75-inch inseam

Price: $198

The Verdict: 4/5

Ultracor leggings are very stylish and feature special compressive fabrics that sculpt the body like shapewear without constricting movement or suffocating your legs. They feature a built-in thong, which helps to achieve a smooth look. The price point is on the high side for these, but they do feel quite luxe, as the name claims, and I loved the subtle star pattern. My take? They're worth the splurge.

Fit: A bit snug. I'd consider sizing up if between sizes.

Fabric: 62% polyamide, 38% elastane

Comfort: More supportive than comfortable, but not uncomfortable

Rise: High; Length: 7/8

Price: $100

The Verdict: 3/5

I had some trouble getting these on, and they felt a bit on the thick side. That said, they were very flattering thanks to the supportive yet stretchy construction, a backside-enhancing seam, and the slightly cropped length. They also did a great job of wicking away sweat. These are great Spin class leggings.  

Fit: True to size.

Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% elastane

Comfort: These were very comfortable. I could barely feel them.

Rise: High; Length: 23-inch inseam

Price: $85

The Verdict: 4/5

I'm happy to say that New Balance leggings didn't disappoint. They're just a solid, no-frills, sturdy pair. The NB Dry fabric absorbs sweat and resists odors, while contour seams make them flattering and the NB Fresh antimicrobial treatment repels odor and inhibits bacterial growth for prolonged freshness. Win-win.

Fit: True to size.

Fabric: 87% nylon, 13% elastane

Comfort: The fabric was soft and stretchy, but the waistband felt a bit bulky. (It was developed for yoga practice.)

Rise: Mid

Price: $70

The Verdict: 3/5

The relatively low price point is definitely a plus, as was the cooling mesh detail. I would've preferred for the fabric to be thinner and a bit more supportive, but for the price, these are tough to beat. I recommend them for yoga or Pilates. 

Fit: True to size. (I wouldn't size up with these.)

Fabric: 87% polyester, 13% spandex

Comfort: This was the most comfortable pair that I tried. The fabric was incredibly soft. 

Rise: Mid; Length: 25"

Price: $97

The Verdict: 5/5

I don't know how Beyond Yoga managed to make these so comfortable and stretchy yet compressive at the same time. They bunched a tiny bit at the ankles for me, but they're so tapered that I didn't mind the look of it. I've been wearing these to a barre class, but they'd be great for any other workout or just running errands. 

Fit: Size up if you're between sizes.

Fabric: nylon spandex/glossy performance fabric

Comfort: I was pleasantly surprised by how stretchy and soft they were. The high waistband added to the comfort factor.

Rise: High; Length: 27.5- to 28.5-inch inseam

Price: $114

The Verdict: 5/5

I suppose the Kendall/Gigi/Bella/Hailey gang circa 2017 is to thank for my curiosity about this model-off-duty go-to pair. The moto detail has a leather-like look, but you don't even feel it. Besides looking quite elevated, these lifted and contoured to a T and wicked away sweat. They felt almost too cute to wear to a Spin class, but at least I could proudly wear them to brunch afterward. 

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.