Editor’s note: Inventory can be unpredictable this year with COVID-19, so some of the items in this list might be temporarily out of stock when you read this guide. We’ll do our best to update it accordingly. Whether you’re channeling a warrior, chair or tree, a great pair of yoga pants can help keep you […]
Editor’s note: Inventory can be unpredictable this year with COVID-19, so some of the items in this list might be temporarily out of stock when you read this guide. We’ll do our best to update it accordingly.
Whether you’re channeling a warrior, chair or tree, a great pair of yoga pants can help keep you cool during sweaty vinyasa flow classes and will feel only a touch more formal than your favorite pair of sweatpants. They should breathe well and be so comfy that you can easily transition from yoga to running errands without a hitch.
These six yoga pants are yogi-tested by staffers at REI. While they offer movement and quick-drying features for more active pursuits such as yoga and hiking, they’re also 100 percent lounge ready. Even better, several are designed to fit a wide range of body shapes and sizes.
Softest Yoga Pants
From your ankles to above your belly button, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Caught in the Midi leggings wrap you in buttery soft goodness. Some testers didn’t want to take them off at the end of the day. “These are the coziest leggings I own. (I have them in three colors!) Still, they’re lightweight enough for a hot yoga class or a particularly sweaty at-home yoga session these days,” said Michelle Flandreau, senior editor for Co-op Journal and Expert Advice.
Other stand-out features: soft-ribbed compression fabric, four-way stretch and UV protection. Our team also raved about the just-right leg length, which hits at the ankle.
While this pair doesn’t have pockets, the similar Spacedye Out of Pocket High-Waisted Midi Leggings, also from Beyond Yoga, have deep ones to satisfy any pocket obsession (find the plus-size version here). Two side hip pockets on the Out of Pocket version are roomy enough to fit your phone, wallet or snacks, making it easy to transition from the yoga mat to a hike or run while still managing all that stuff.
Best Yoga Pants for Multiple Activities (Yoga, Travel, Hiking)
Other versions: Women’s plus sizes
Why limit yourself to practicing yoga in these pants, when their breathable fabric, drop-in thigh pockets and thick waistband make them perfect for activities like hiking and traveling, too?
Emily Pickelhaupt, an SEO program manager for REI who also teaches yoga, wore the Take Your Time 7/8 leggings on a 34-hour trip to Vietnam, her pockets stuffed with her passport, phone and snacks. “They never sagged like other yoga pants have a tendency to,” she said. “The elastic around my waist never stretched out and stayed snug even when I wore them a few more days than I should have.” Her only wish: That they came in more colors.
The fabric, a nylon-spandex blend, offers “the perfect balance of stretch and compression,” says Haley Perry, REI materials developer, who wears these leggings for practicing yoga, walking around town, lounging and hiking. Buy here.
Best All-Around Yoga Pants
Other versions: Women’s plus sizes
You know your pants have become a favorite when you always find them at the top of your laundry pile. The Transform High-Waist leggings from prAna are durable enough for everyday practice and wear. Nice touch: the discreet seams running along the entire length of the legs.
The high-waisted cut and compression jersey material also provide quality coverage and a snug fit without being too stifling. These features also make the Transform high-waist leggings a solid pick for cooler temps.
REI Women’s Fitness Buyer Jessica Weidenbach likes them as a base layer and recommends them with a yoga top or cozy sweater. What’s more, they don’t overstretch or bunch up at the knees—one of our pet peeves. Buy here.
Best Yoga Pants for Men
The fewer outfit changes, the better, we say. That’s why our staff swears by the Ponto Performance pants from Vuori for yoga, running, hiking and more. They’re made from quick-drying polyester with spandex, so they’re breathable, lightweight and stretchy for maximum comfort. “I’ve hiked for hours in the snow and jogged in the scorching heat with them, and they manage to regulate temperature very well,” wrote one customer.
They’re also great for relaxing on the couch. “I primarily use them for lounging, but now I lounge with style,” said Marko Hlibchuk, an REI information security compliance manager.
Best Plus-Size Yoga Pants
The velvety soft prAna Electa leggings suit yogis of many shapes, with sizes ranging from XS to 3X. Made from a recycled nylon blend, the fabric strikes the right balance of smooth and light, without being slippery. “I love the way the waistband sits (without slipping) on my hips and the pants move whatever way I move,” said Ashley Vonasek, side operations specialist for REI.com. Plus, the material’s UPF sun protection rating of 50+ makes them a top pick for outdoor yoga sessions.
It’s also easy to stash phone, keys or credit cards in the generous side pockets. Buy here.
Best for Hot Yoga
Other versions: Women’s plus sizes
When the heat ratchets up, you’ll want pants that keep your body cool. The poly-Spandex fabric in the prAna Becksa leggings are among the most efficient at wicking moisture we carry at the co-op. Plus, the high waist and thick waistband help them stay put. No sagging, no constant readjusting. “Super flattering style and soooo comfortable,” wrote one customer reviewer.
Did we mention we love pockets? Flandreau swears by the functional pockets on the Becksa. Plus, you can pair them with the matching Becksa bralette. And they have a UPF 50 rating. “Love everything about these leggings! They feel so light on your body and have high waistband,” wrote another customer. Buy here.
Yoga pants should be breathable, flexible and comfortable. With variations in fabric, cut, length and fit, you can find the right pair for your needs by considering the following factors:
You don’t want pants that pinch or squeeze, but comfort may mean different things to different people. Some prefer high waists, others don’t. Do you want full coverage at the waist or legs? Try on several pairs, if possible, to see whether they feel comfortable. Also pay close attention to waistbands that are too tight, crotches that sag or seams that itch.
Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may sweat a lot or a little. If you sweat, it’s important to consider fabrics that “breathe,” or move sweat away from your skin and allow that moisture to evaporate. Aim for a polyester-spandex blend and avoid cotton when possible.
Your yoga pants should fit around your natural waist and should align with your curves fairly closely. Length is a personal choice. If you’re practicing power vinyasa or expect to bend and stretch often, high-waisted leggings or pants are good bets because they provide coverage while you’re twisting, folding or in inverted poses. Loose-fitting pants make a nice option for slower yoga classes, such as restorative yoga.