When you zoom in on the logo of a fitness influencer’s leggings on Instagram (no, just us?), chances are, you’ll find she’s wearing a pair of lululemon leggings. The Canadian brand makes some of the best gym leggings on the market, but knowing which pair to pick for your chosen workout can be a minefield.
Like the best sports bra or the best running shoes, a good pair of leggings can be the difference between a good or bad workout or run. There’s nothing worse than a pair of leggings slipping at the waistband as you try and run, or bunching up during a HIIT class. But should you add a pair of Fast and Frees or the lululemon Aligns to your basket?
Below, we’ve put every pair of lululemon leggings through the sweat test. We’ve worn these for runs on the treadmill and on the sidewalk, for HIIT, Pilates, and yoga classes, in all different weather conditions to help you work out which are the best lululemon leggings for you.
What are the best lululemon leggings?
The best lululemon leggings depend on the type of workout you plan on doing. The best lululemon leggings for running are the Fast and Free leggings, which are made from the brand’s Nulux fabric, which is super lightweight and sweat-wicking, whatever the weather. They also have drop-in pockets on the leg which means you can leave your running belt or your running phone holder at home.
The best lululemon leggings for yoga are the Align leggings, which are buttery soft against the skin. Made from lululemon’s Nulu fabric, which allows for unrestricted movement between poses.
The best lululemon leggings for those on a budget are the Wunder Under leggings, designed to be sweat-wicking and quick-drying. As they are being replaced by the Wunder Train leggings, now is definitely a good time to buy.
The Wunder Train leggings are designed for high-impact training. We put them to the sweat test during HIIT classes, running on the treadmill, and spinning in the gym, and were impressed with how well they stayed put. The Everlux fabric is designed to cope with the most high-impact workouts, wicking sweat to stop you from feeling overly soggy by the end of a spin class.
Unlike the Wunder Under leggings, which are made from the brand’s Luxtreme fabric, the Wunder Train are cooler to the touch and slightly more compressive. They also have a drawcord waistband, which allows you to pull the leggings tight against your stomach to prevent the waist bunching or slipping in a class. We had no issue with slipping during our testing.
The Wunder Under comes in a huge variety of colors, in sizes ranging from US 0 to US 20. They come in three different leg lengths — a 25-inch leg, a 28-inch leg, and a 31-inch leg to suit women of all heights. It’s also worth noting that you can take most leggings into lululemon stores to get them altered, should you want them to sit a little higher on the ankle.
The downsides here are that in certain colors, the Wunder Train leggings do show sweat patches — although this is by no means a bad thing. We tested the Wunder Train in the Red Merlot colorway and noticed some slight sweat patches. If you are self-conscious, we’d say it’s best to opt for a darker color. They also only have one hidden pocket on the waistband, which can get a little sweaty, and isn’t big enough to hold all that much, so we wouldn’t pick these for running outside.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a pair of supportive leggings to wear for high-impact classes, these are an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of lululemon leggings, it’s worth shopping for the Wunder Under leggings, which are currently being retired by lululemon, and replaced with the Wunder Train. For a long time, these have been a staple of my workout wardrobe, so if you can grab them at discount, it’s worth doing so.
Made from lululemon’s Luxtreme fabric, these leggings aren’t as sweat-wicking as the Wunder Train leggings and are best suited to yoga, Pilates, and light HIIT classes. During testing, we’ve worn these for sweatier sessions and found they did leave us feeling slightly soggy after class. There are also no pockets, aside from one small hidden one in the waistband, large enough for a credit card or a set of keys.
On the wash test, these have lasted well, and have only started to bobble slightly on the seams after years of wear. Like all of the leggings on this list, they have a wide, comfortable high waistband that keeps you feeling supported, whatever you’re up to. Like the Align leggings, there’s no drawcord in the waistband, but we didn’t have any issue with slipping, however, the waistband did bunch a little in certain yoga poses.
Verdict: All in all, these are a comfortable pair of leggings that you’ll probably be able to grab at a discount right now, as they are being discontinued.
We’re yet to find a softer pair of leggings than the lululemon Aligns, and with more than 5,000 five-star reviews, it seems we’re not alone. By far the most popular pair of lululemon leggings, the Align leggings are designed for yoga, and made from the brand’s Nulu fabric, which is buttery soft against the skin.
We’ve worn these leggings for yoga classes, Pilates, barre, walking the dog, and even when sitting at our desk, and found them to be extremely comfortable. The high waistband sits above the belly button for a supportive fit and lies flat for a flattering fit underneath workout tops and jumpers. The leggings come in three different leg lengths (25 inches, 28 inches, and 31 inches) and are designed to sit above the ankle bone. Pocket-wise, the leggings have a hidden pocket in the waistband that is big enough for a lip balm and a set of keys and not much else. They also come in just about every color and print under the sun, so you’re bound to find something to suit.
While they are some of the most comfortable leggings out there, they won’t suit everyone. Designed for low-impact workouts, the Nulu fabric is made to be comfy, so doesn’t have the same sweat-wicking properties as some of the other leggings on this list. We definitely wouldn’t head out for a run wearing them and found them pretty soggy by the end of a hot yoga class.
We also found the softer fabric pilled a bit, especially if it came into contact with velcro or if we sat on a rough surface (we've tried to show this in the photo above). This could be bad luck, or bad care, as lululemon recommends that you wash products inside out, and like with like (eg. Nulu with softer fabrics) to avoid abrasive materials like denim or zippers in the washing machine. Either way, it’s not enough to put us off wearing these leggings for the rest of time.
Verdict: If you’re a yogi, you won’t find a softer pair of leggings to practice in, but don’t wear these for a HIIT class.
$128 might seem like a lot to spend on a pair of running tights, but trust us when we say these will last you miles and miles. Our run testers have worn these leggings for everything from a 5K to a marathon and found them extremely comfortable for the entire race — they also reported they were able to leave their running belts at home thanks to the number of pockets on the leggings, which is a massive plus in our eyes.
The leggings are made from lululemon’s Nulux fabric, which is lightweight and wicks sweat away from the body quickly. We were never left feeling overly soggy at the end of a run wearing these leggings, although if you’re running in really cold weather, you might find you need more of a thermal tight to keep you warm. The fabric is soft against the skin, cool to the touch, and never chafed, no matter what conditions we threw at it. If you’re a runner who hates shorts, these leggings will carry you through most seasons.
The main selling point with the Fast and Free leggings, in our opinion, is the range of pockets. The leggings have two large drop-in pockets on the leg, which were big enough to hold the iPhone 11, as well as some gels and running gloves. There are also five different pockets on the waistband for your keys, lip balm, and all your other running essentials. During testing, we never had an issue with anything falling out of the pockets on the run, other than when we’d pull our phone out and something else would come with it (although there are enough pockets to prevent you from having to overly cram them).
The waistband sits just above the belly button for a good amount of coverage, and there’s a drawcord, which allows you to pull the waistband tight against your stomach during use.
One downside here is that with lighter colors, sweat marks can show by the end of the run. Again, this isn’t something we’d be overly worried about, but if you hate looking sweaty, it’s best to opt for a darker color. It’s also worth noting that because the Nulux fabric is so lightweight, in certain colors or patterns it’s not 100% squat-proof.
Verdict: When it comes to running leggings, these are some of the best we’ve ever tested.
If you’re a runner who doesn’t carry a lot with you when running, or you do most of your running on one of the best treadmills, the Base Pace leggings are a good choice. They are made of the same lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric as the Fast and Free leggings, but have a slightly different cut, without an inseam, and without the leg pockets.
Do not despair, however, or spend too long digging out that running belt, as there is a waistband pocket that we found big enough to hold an iPhone 11 in a silicone case. This is useful on the run, and we found that the phone was held neatly in the small of the back, without any bouncing or chafing. That said, it’s difficult to get the phone out of the pocket on the move, so if you’re someone who likes to check your Whatsapps at the traffic lights, or pull your phone out of your pocket to look at one of the best running apps, we’d go for the Fast and Free leggings.
Aside from the pockets, the Base Pace leggings have very similar pros and cons to the Fast and Frees — they’re wonderfully lightweight, sweat-wicking, and fast-drying. They sit high on the waist, above the belly button, and have a drawcord waistband that allows you to pull the leggings tight against your stomach. They also do tend to show sweat in the lighter colorways.
During our testing, we ran a fast 5K and a number of easy long runs in these leggings. We loved the lightweight feel of the leggings and were surprised at how effective the back phone pocket was. They also kept their shape and softness after multiple washes.
Verdict: If you’ve run in the Fast and Frees, you might find the lack of leg pockets annoying, but if you’re a runner who doesn’t like to carry a lot of stuff, these are a great buy.
If you run outdoors in chilly weather, it’s worth considering lululemon Swift Speed running leggings. Unlike the Fast and Free and the Base Pace leggings, the Swift Speed leggings are made from lululemon’s Luxtreme fabric (the same as that used in the Wunder Under leggings). This fabric is slightly thicker and more compressive, making these tights great for winter running.
The compressive fit does mean these leggings have a slightly tighter fit around the waist, meaning these probably aren’t the lululemon leggings to choose from if you’re planning on wearing them sitting down behind a desk all day, or just casually while running errands. That said, if you’re buying them for running, don’t be tempted to size down — the compressive fit is supportive on the run, and prevents the leggings from slipping at the waist as you pick up the pace.
In the gym, we found these leggings to be fully squat-proof (we tested them in the grey/black camo color), and the thicker fabric was supportive. There are drop-in phone pockets on the legs, which are handy for carrying your essentials to the gym and on the run, and a zipped pocket on the back, which is handy for your keys. There are also reflective details on the bottom of the leg, which come in handy when running in low light in the winter months.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a supportive pair of leggings to wear on the run, or at the gym, these are fantastic. If you want a pair of leggings you can sit for brunch in after the run, the tighter fit might put you off.
If you prefer high-intensity workouts to yoga or Pilates, the lululemon Invigorate High Rise Tights are a winner. Made from lululemon’s Everlux fabric, which is used in the Fast and Free and Base Pace leggings, designed to wick sweat and dry quickly, the Invigorate High Rise can keep up with the sweatiest of sessions.
The leggings have a super high waistband, which sits above the belly button, and have a drawcord that allows you to pull the leggings tight against your waist as you move. There are drop-in pockets on the legs for your phone, keys, and essentials, and a hidden waistband pocket. We’ve worn these leggings for sweaty HIIT classes, as well as on the run, and found they coped with both well. We never felt soggy at the end of the run or class and didn’t spot any sweat patches (although we tested a darker camo print pair of tights).
The downside with these leggings is that they have a tighter fit than other leggings on the list, meaning they’re not the most comfortable for sitting and working in. That said, this absolutely shouldn’t put you off, as if you want a pair of gym leggings, it doesn’t get much better than these.
Verdict: These are a brilliant all-rounder, designed to cope with sweaty sessions.
Instill is lululemon’s latest innovation, made from the brand’s new SmoothCover fabric. They feel much thicker than the Align leggings, with a high waistband, which rises higher at the back to give you extra coverage in certain yoga poses. The fabric has the feel of the Luxtreme, but the softness of the Nulu that is used in the Aligns for a supportive, yet soft feel. We found them comfortable during faster vinyasa flows, and flexible enough to cope with relaxing yin yoga classes.
The Instill leggings are sweat-wicking and quick-drying for yoga leggings and don’t get as soggy as the Aligns in a hot yoga class. However, they are still made from a soft fabric, making them far less sweat-wicking than the Wunder Trains. The leggings are designed to feel like a “supportive hug” and you can expect them to feel a little on the tight side when you first put them on. Don’t be tempted to size up, as they will loosen a little over time, and you don’t want them slipping down during practice.
Similar to the Aligns, we found the soft fabric needed special care, and if this was ignored (eg. they were chucked in a wash with other gym kit, jeans, and zippers), they did pill slightly. Again, we wouldn’t let this put us off buying them again, but if you want them to stay pill-free, be careful with how you wash them.
Verdict: Not as comfortable as the Aligns for sitting around in, but a solid, comfortable pair of yoga pants.
How to choose the best lululemon leggings
When choosing the best lululemon leggings for you, have a think about what you’re planning on using the leggings for. While you can wear all of them for any sport you like, depending on the fabric used, some leggings will be more sweat-wicking, faster drying or more squat-proof.
It’s also worth thinking about how you prefer leggings to fit — do you want a drawcord so you can customize how tight the waistband is? Do you want a high-waistband? Do you want the fabric to feel cool or soft against your skin? The best lululemon leggings for you will be the ones you feel the comfiest wearing.
Finally, think about how much you carry with you on the run or in the gym — some of the leggings on this list have multiple pockets for carrying your phone, gym pass, running gloves, or gels, others only have small drop-in pockets.
How we tested the best lululemon leggings
We tested the best lululemon leggings by sweating in them! We wore all of the leggings above for a number of different workouts — even ones they weren’t designed for, to see how they performed. We tried them in a number of different temperatures and put them through the washing machine for a minimum of ten cycles to look for shrinking, piling, or bobbling.
We also looked for differences in fit, and how comfy they were to run, cycle, or just sit in. As well as noting how cool and dry they kept us in the gym, we also looked at how squat-proof the leggings were, and how much they showed up sweat patches.