Up until today, you probably found yourself saying "the perfect pair of leggings does not exist." And how could they? Everyone wears leggings with varying intentions. While you might put yours on to run a casual marathon, others might wear theirs for sheer comfort. On top of that, no two bodies are exactly alike, meaning one person is searching for a fit that's completely different than the next. So, maybe there isn't one particular pair of perfect leggings, but there are certain qualities that, when combined, make up a pair of leggings that can't be beat, and we were determined to find out what those were.
In order to get the most thorough answer possible, we reached out to Lululemon, an athlete, and a trainer for their takes on what to look for when shopping for standout leggings. Between someone who designs leggings for a living and someone who wears leggings for a living, it's safe to say we're in good hands. Below, you'll hear from Audrey Reilly, SVP of women's design at Lululemon, and Dara Hart, athlete and founding trainer at Dogpound (we killed two birds with one stone—sue us) on the three most important legging qualities, from complementary yet varying perspectives.
Audrey Reilly, SVP, Women's Design, Lululemon
"At Lululemon, we believe in providing our guests with a selection of technical athletic clothing that is specifically created for their workout and lifestyle. Feel, function, fabric and fit are key considerations in the Lululemon design process that infuses beauty in a technical tight for specific sweaty workouts, whether that is yoga, train, run, or anything in between."
1. Fabric Feel
"We believe a tight should be chosen based on how you want to feel during and after the workout. At Lululemon, and through our research and development lab, Whitespace, we use a unique approach that explores the complex mind-body interaction that enables us to engineer specific physical sensations that drive emotional responses towards how our products make you feel. We carefully consider a spectrum of sensations through design and material that allows our guests to find the right product for how they want to feel.
"Performance properties like moisture wicking, breathability, stretch, and sensation of a garment on your skin are important to take note of when choosing a tight for a specific workout. We obsess over specific fabrics and fit patterns, as it is important for our tights to enhance and elevate a guests' sweaty pursuit. Our fabric Nulu, for example, was developed as part of our Naked Sensation and delivers that next-to-nothing feeling with must-have technical properties."
"It is important to consider the functional intent of a tight, so you can make the best choice to meet that need. We design products that support our guests' entire sweat life. From yoga to run to daily activities that take us through the rest of our lives.
"Each Lululemon tight is intentionally constructed to help our guests stay focused on the workout, not what they are wearing. We are an insight-driven brand, constantly in pursuit of finding functional solves for our guests, whether that be a hidden key pocket or a comfortable waistband that doesn't dig into your skin."
"Fit and feel are pivotal when considering a technical, functional tight. We perform a meticulous fitting process to create a desired silhouette by assessing shape, amount of stretch, and size. When we analyze the physical fit of our products, we can break down the impact of the silhouette, pattern, and construction to understand how to solve for designed function and feel.
"We intentionally create tights with varying levels of training compression, thus allowing for our guests to be in choice of a perfect fit for their specific sweaty pursuit. For instance, we know that a runner typically prefers a compressed tight that fits close to the body to enhance performance and feel held-in. A dancer might want a less restricting, gentle, or no compression tight that moves with them to feel fluid."
Dara Hart, Athlete & Founding Trainer at Dogpound
"I definitely appreciate a sleek, thin legging with a soft, high waist."
Wix campaign for DaraHart.com; Edited by Alexandra Bishoff
"Sleek, thin fabric. My legs are strong and muscular, the fabric needs to support my movement, not feel heavy, chaffy, or thick to stand in the way of my motion and speed."
2. Soft, High Waist
"I love high-waisted gear. When I'm moving, especially boxing and kicking in the ring, I need leggings that won't budge. I don't want to be distracted! So many waistbands are tight on top … with one line of stitching that digs into the hips. What is that about?! I have an athletic build, butt, obliques, and all."
"Tight. Need I say more?"