Leggings have risen way beyond just being tight yoga pants for women. Today, men’s leggings have hit the mainstream as a versatile athletic and casual wear option. With major brands now making leggings specifically tailored to men, there’s no denying guys look and feel great when rocking a well-fitting pair.
But with so many styles and fits now available, it can be daunting finding that ideal pair personalized for your needs and body type. This comprehensive guide will walk through everything to know for choosing comfortable, functional men’s leggings that check all your boxes for activities, style and budget.
We’ll cover the key factors that set great leggings apart, from stretch fabric blends to waistband comfort and just the right fit. You’ll also find specific recommendations for popular uses like working out, running errands, hiking and just lounging around. Say goodbye to restrictive jeans and embrace the wardrobe potential of advanced men’s leggings.
The Rise of Leggings for Men
Leggings designed specifically for men have seen tremendous growth over the past decade. For a long time, guys hesitated to try what was considered exclusively “athleisure” wear for women. But increased interest in fitness, yoga and compression gear prompted more gender-neutral legging options.
Brands like Lululemon helped normalize men’s leggings by using athlete ambassadors and neutral product names. Around 2014, they launched their popular ABC Pant targeted for guys, which became a gateway to leggings. Mainstream labels like Nike and Under Armour followed with masculine styles.
Now men embrace leggings for their exceptional comfort, breathability, stretch and support. Leggings wick away sweat during workouts while allowing a full range of motion. Premium materials retain shape wear after wear. For casual settings, the lightweight feel provides pure comfort and flexibility traditional pants lack.
From hardcore CrossFit enthusiasts to work-from-home professionals, leggings make the ideal pant upgrade. This guide will help find the right pair to unlock the benefits yourself.
Identify Your Ideal Uses
Men’s leggings today serve diverse functions across athletic, casual and recreational settings. So first identify your intended uses to pick options catering to those needs:
For exercise, prioritize leggings promoting unrestricted movement. Stretch fabrics like spandex and Lycra blend with sweat-wicking synthetics. Gusseted crotches eliminate chafing when running and jumping. Some workout leggings incorporate useful pocket space for phones or keys in the waistband or sides.
Yoga and Pilates devotees need leggings with extra give to hold deep poses. Look for gussets and four-way stretch materials providing flexibility. Antimicrobial properties minimize odors from sweat. Waistbands shouldn’t dig in when bending and twisting.
Joggers and endurance athletes appreciate compression, chafe-free designs ideal for pounding the pavement. Reflective elements boost visibility on early morning or evening runs.Flat seams prevent rubbing and blister-causing irritation.
For everyday casual wear, choose flexible leggings replicating the comfort of athletic sweats but with a bit more polish. Cotton blends with spandex deliver softness ideal for lounging or casual errands. Solid versatile colors make pairing easy.
Once your main purposes are defined, you can narrow options to leggings built expressly to enhance those activities. A morning workout requires a different legging than evening Netflix binging!
Focus on Fabric and Materials
The unique fabric blend is what gives men’s leggings their coveted performance and feel. Common fabrics include spandex, nylon, polyester and sometimes cotton. Consider these material benefits when comparing options:
Spandex delivers the stretchiness prized in leggings. Also called elastane, it flexes easily then bounces back to shape. Around 10-30% spandex is blended into top leggings. Too much can sacrifice durability, while too little reduces mobility.
Nylon brings lightweight strength, wrinkle resistance and sweat-wicking abilities. It’s blended with spandex for workout and running leggings. Opt for high-denier nylon for increased durability.
Polyester wicks away moisture, dries quickly and resists fading when blended into athletic leggings. Look for environmentally friendly recycled polyester made from plastic bottles.
Cotton leggings provide exceptional softness but lack wicking abilities. Reserve cotton for loungewear and limit to around 5% of the blend. Too much cotton loses stretch over time.
Higher percentages of spandex offer the greatest elasticity while synthetics like nylon enhance performance. Focus on fabric content aligning with your needs.
Secure the Right Fit
Unlike sweats, getting the ideal fit is critical with leggings to balance compression and comfort. When trying on leggings, follow this guidance:
- Look for a snug fit that hugs your body without feeling restrictive. Leggings shouldn’t dig in or squeeze.
- Ensure the waistband lies flat around your waist without rolling or sagging. It should fit snugly without pinching.
- The inseam length hits above the ankle for most but varies by height. Try different lengths to find your preference.
- Pocket placement on workout leggings shouldn’t feel noticeable or bulge when empty. Contents should lie flat.
- Test the range of motion to ensure no straining or limitation when lunging, bending and posing.
Just like tailoring a suit, dialing in the fit makes ordinary leggings extraordinary. Don’t settle for loose, bagging leggings that inhibit movement.
Maximize Functionality with Pockets
For athletic and outdoor leggings, strategically placed pockets enhance convenience and usefulness.
Side pockets allow securely stashing must-haves like phones, keys or cards when on the go. Zippers provide peace of mind during vigorous activity. For yoga and Pilates, avoid side pockets that create awkward bulk when contorting the body.
Some designs incorporate stash pockets inside the waistband perfect for stowing gels, wallets or energy bars during running and hiking. The lightweight contents remain barely noticeable.
cargo-inspired leggings feature thigh pockets with zippers able to hold larger items like snacks, mini towels or padded phone cases. The placement keeps items away from knees.
Before choosing pocketless leggings, consider how pockets may simplify carrying essentials hands-free. Just ensure placement complements your planned movements.
Choose the Right Length
While many men’s leggings end right around the ankle, preferred length varies based on height and style preference. Keep these length factors in mind:
Standard legging inseams range around 27-29 inches for average heights. Tall sizes bump up to 30-32 inches. Goes shorter for cropped leggings.
The ankle gap when standing should hit 1-3 inches above the anklebone for the most versatile length. Wider gaps look awkward.
Cropped leggings ending above the calf make a great style for showing off flashy socks and sneakers. But limit cropped leggings for casual settings.
Full length leggings nearly reach the shoes, providing maximum coverage sought by some guys. Works for outdoor activities.
Try on different lengths to find the coverage and proportions you feel best in. Select longer inseams as needed to prevent exposed ankles.
Mix in Personal Style
Leggings today come in far more than just basic black. Fun colors, bold prints and stylistic details provide ways to showcase your individual flair:
- Make a color statement with bright solids and color-blocked leggings in hues like crimson, teal and mustard yellow. Or rock neutrals beyond basic black.
- Camo, graphic and printed leggings inject eye-catching vibrancy into casual looks. Keep wild prints below the knees for balance.
- Cool side panel designs and geometric color shapes modernize ordinary leggings. Contrast stitching and seams add visual interest.
- Reflective elements enhance visibility and safety when wearing leggings outdoors at night. Reflective piping outlines legs.
- Mesh paneling, ankle zippers and faux leather mixes provide stylistic accents taking leggings beyond plain athletic wear.
While stretchy solid leggings work perfectly for yoga and exercise, casual settings allow getting creative. Showcase your personal flair with leggings as unique as you.
Factor in Budget
With specialty fabrics and technical engineering, the price of high-performance men’s leggings spans quite a wide range:
- Budget leggings cost around $30-50. They provide basic comfort and stretch but lack premium details and materials. Still, bargain options can satisfy casual needs.
- Mid-tier leggings from respected athletic brands often run $50-80. Technical fabrics and thoughtful design elements enhance functionality for training and sports.
- Premium leggings utilize the most innovative fabrics like seamless knits and eco-friendly materials. Prices exceed $80, sometimes over $100+. Top brands cater to hardcore athletes and enthusiasts.
Consider how often you plan to wear the leggings and for what activities when setting budget limits. Occasional relaxed wear allows cheaper leggings but daily training warrants quality materials.
Now that we’ve covered the criteria that sets excellent men’s leggings apart, let’s explore specific recommendations for common uses and wear. Keep reading for the top leggings suited for your needs.
The Best Men’s Leggings for Various Activities
Everyday & Casual Wear:
Offering a polished look taking them beyond just loungewear, these leggings work great for everyday casual settings:
Crafted with a hint of stretch for comfortable movement, the Lululemon Commission Pant Slim has a classic chino profile making it the perfect legging alternative for casual attire.
The Amazon Essentials French Terry Fleece Sweatpant brings exceptional comfort in soft cotton and polyester fleece. It works great for lounging and relaxed activities.
With a tailored yet relaxed fit, the Vuori Sunday Performance Jogger mixes sporty style with four-way stretch for errands and everyday wear. The fabric wicks moisture and dries quickly.
Gym & CrossFit:
Ready for high intensity training and lifting, these leggings excel for CrossFit, HIIT workouts and gym sessions:
The Nike Metcon 7 leggings provide lightweight durability, sweat-wicking performance and stretch to handle demanding WODs. The waistband is engineered stay put, eliminating adjustment distractions.
Designed for hardcore training, the Hylete Circuit Cross Training Pant employs compression fabric with antimicrobial properties to combat odor. It also boasts zippered pockets to secure belongings.
Letting you push the intensity, the Lululemon Surge Jogger incorporates abrasion-resistant fabric with four-way stretch to handle running, jumping and climbing movements. The reflective logo boosts visibility for evening classes.
**Yoga & Stretching: **
Offering unrestricted flexibility and movement, these leggings excel for bending, contorting and deep stretching:
A classic for yoga, the Lululemon Align Pant utilizes a proprietary Nulu fabric that feels almost naked against skin while providing full coverage. The waistband lies smooth and flat when twisting.
Designed for studio and home practice, the Vuori Elevation Legging incorporates lightweight ponte material offering stretch and sweat management. The flatlock seams prevent irritation in folds of the body.
The Olivers Apparel All Over Short uses ultra-breathable Warpstreme fabric ideal for hot yoga and Pilates. The 9-inch inseam provides full range of motion.
Running & Endurance:
Providing essential compression and chafe-resistance, these leggings keep up mile after mile:
The fast-drying Janji AFO Middle Distances utilize strategic compression around the thighs, glutes and calves to boost circulation on long runs. Reflective stripes enhance visibility.
Blending four-way mechanical stretch with sweat-wicking performance, the Tracksmith Session Leggings offer the breathable comfort needed for PRs. An inner drawcord secures fit.
The Saucony Bullet Leggings excel at high speeds thanks to lightweight Sonic Fabric that won’t slow you down. Flatlock seams prevent chafing and irritation over long distances.
Hiking & Outdoor Activities:
Ready for the trails, these leggings are equipped for adventures outdoors:
Durable enough for the outdoors yet stretchy for hiking, the Kuhl Kontra Air leggings feature water-repellent construction and UPF 50 sun protection. The thigh pocket securely holds essentials.
The Foehn Brise Pant balances ruggedness and mobility with stretchy soft-shell fabric built for alpine environments. The ankle zippers and reflective logos boost visibility in low light.
Built for backcountry pursuits, the **Icebreaker Merino Baller **leggings contain naturally odor-resistant merino wool. The slim fit allows layering under shells when adventuring.
Compression & Recovery:
Providing targeted support and recovery benefits, these leggings excel for both athletics and travel:
Utilizing graduated compression, the 2XU Recovery Legging improves circulation in the calves and thighs after tough workouts. Seamless antibacterial fabric minimizes irritation.
The Nike Pro 3” Dry Fit Compression tights apply strategic compression to key muscles for enhanced support. The sweat-wicking fabric keeps you cool through high intensity activity.
Designed to boost recovery while traveling, the Rhone Commuter Leggings balance stretch with compression. The anti-odor fabric combats discomfort and moisture during long flights and drives.
This covers just a sampling of the exceptional men’s leggings available today from top athletic and lifestyle brands. Next let’s cover important guidance on sizing and fit.
Finding Your Ideal Size
Unlike regular pants, sizing with leggings focuses more on finding the ideal tight yet comfy fit rather than standard waist or length dimensions. Follow this guidance to get it right:
- Consult individual brand sizing charts correlating legging size to waist and hip measurement. Things like compression level and stretchiness impact fit.
- Use a soft measuring tape to determine your natural waist circumference right above your hip bones, where leggings sit. This sets your baseline size.
- For length, measure your inseam from crotch down to desired spot just above the ankle bone.
- When trying on, walk, squat and pose to ensure the leggings move with you without restriction. A too-small waistband will pinch and roll.
- Focus on a next-to-skin feel without painful squeezing. Leggings shouldn’t dig into skin creating unsightly bulges.
Getting your sizing and fit dialed in takes some trial and error. But when you find that “made for you” pair, you’ll enjoy the benefits for miles beyond.
Caring for Your Leggings
Taking proper care of men’s leggings ensures they retain their stretchiness and performance:
- Wash leggings inside out in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can damage fabric. Use a mesh garment bag if needed to prevent snagging.
- Avoid overly drying certain fabrics like spandex and polyester. Tumble dry on low. Line dry cotton blends to maintain stretch.
- Immediately fold out of the dryer, smooth seams, and lay flat to store. Avoid overly folding and bunching.
- Spot treat stains and rinse out sweat after workouts rather than soaking excessively in the wash.
- Replace leggings with loosening waistbands or worn compression. Their support wanes over time.
With proper laundering and storage habits, quality men’s leggings deliver lasting comfort and performance.
Men’s Leggings FAQs
Still have some questions about finding your perfect pair of men’s leggings? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What are the most popular fabrics in men’s leggings?
Spandex, nylon, polyester, and sometimes cotton are commonly blended. Spandex provides stretch, nylon is lightweight and durable, polyester wicks moisture, and cotton offers softness.
Should guys wear leggings casually?
Absolutely. Leggings provide exceptional comfort for lounging and relaxed activities. Focus on dark solids rather than loud prints to elevate the style.
What length should leggings be for men?
Around a 27-29 inch inseam hits at a versatile spot just above the ankles for most guys. But taller men may prefer a longer 30-32 inch inseam.
Can you work out in cotton leggings?
It’s better to avoid cotton leggings for vigorous training as cotton absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away. A small percentage of cotton blended into polyester is fine for casual wear.
How long do men’s leggings last?
With proper care, high quality leggings last roughly two years before losing compression and stretch capabilities. Budget leggings may only last a season or two before wearing thin.
Should men wear underwear under leggings?
It’s a personal preference, but many guys forego underwear under leggings since well-fitting leggings provide adequate support and coverage on their own. Seamless leggings especially look best worn alone.
What are the best leggings for travel?
Look for leggings offering stretch, compression, moisture management and odor control when traveling. The Western Rise Evolution Pant and Rhone Commuter Leggings are top