Every woman needs a good pair of yoga pants, especially if they will be used for actual yoga instead of lounging or running errands (although we understand how important that is, too!) Some types of yoga require a certain style for you to participate without having issues with your clothing.
The best yoga pants for you depend on your preference and/or need for fit, length, fabric, and style, but even in narrowing down the field you will be faced with a huge selection. Our guide to the best yoga pants will help you find some top picks to make you search a little easier.
First, though, let’s talk about yoga pants basics.
Fit and Style
There are several different styles of yoga pants, and each has its sort of “fit.” Here are some of the most popular styles and how they fit:
Long Leggings – Fitted
Long leggings or tights are the most popular yoga pants – these are often worn outside of yoga class and come in many varieties and colors.
Short Leggings – Fitted
The shorter version of long leggings can sit anywhere from lower calf to just below the knee. Like long leggings, they come in virtually any color print.
Boot-Cut Pants – Fitted/Loose
Boot cut yoga pants flare out at the bottom and tend to be a bit looser through the legs than leggings. They are usually very comfortable but can be a distraction in some types of yoga.
Capri Pants – Fitted/Loose
Capri pants, like short leggings, can sit at various lengths. They are flared like boot-cut pants but are shorter.
Foldover Pants – Fitted/Loose
Foldover pants can be any of the styles we just discussed. This style has a foldover waistband that creates a looser fit around the waist and tends to be more comfortable.
Shorts – Tight
Yoga shorts are popular for Bikram or hot yoga. They are tight and usually short (though there are some different length options) to maximize movement and comfort in heated rooms.
Compression – Tight
Compression leggings or pants are a long or short leggings. They are skin tight – usually much tighter than other leggings – and made out of material like lycra.
Harem and Kundalini – Loose/Baggy
Very loose or baggy pants are not suitable for many types of yoga, but they do have a place in some classes. Kundalini pants are used in Kundalini yoga. Harem pants are loose but banded at the ankle.
The material of your yoga pants is incredibly important to have the best yoga experience possible. Choosing the wrong material for the type of yoga you’re doing can make you uncomfortable or interfere with your poses.
You’ll see three main material types for yoga pants: synthetics, cotton, and blends.
Synthetics are usually moisture-wicking and the best choice for hot yoga. They can get smellier than cotton, but they do hold their shape better. Synthetic dries faster than cotton.
Cotton is an excellent choice for flowy fabrics in less strenuous classes focused on movement. It is softer than synthetic and doesn’t pill like synthetic.
Blends of cotton and synthetic materials aren’t the best for yoga clothing. We tend to recommend avoiding blends for yoga pants because they don’t last very long, nor do you get a good combination of the two materials.
One up and coming material type is bamboo, and many fans of the material claim it has great wicking, breathability, and that it is more sustainable than synthetic fibers.
Types of Yoga
While what you wear to yoga is a very personal choice, there are some guidelines that can help you figure out what to wear the first few times until you learn what you like. Here are some of the most common types of yoga and the recommended pant/outfit types for each.
Bikram or Hot Yoga
Bikram and hot yoga are practiced in a room that’s heated upwards of 105 degrees. It gets incredibly hot and sweaty, so you want to wear as little as possible and the most breathable fabrics you have. Cotton is not a good fabric to wear to these classes, and long leggings (or even some short leggings) will be very uncomfortable. Shorts, sports bras, mesh, and lightweight tanks are your best bets for these steamy classes.
Kundalini or Jivamukti Yoga
Both Kundalini and the less-common Jivamukti yoga are practices that focus on meditation and gentle movement. They are also more modest in most classes. In fact, traditionally Kundalini yoga is done in white Kundalini clothing and sometimes turbans (check your local classes to find out more). In these classes, loose fitting clothing is standard, so wear your harem pants or other comfortable, loose pants.
Vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga
These styles of yoga include a lot of poses and lots of movement. For these classes, you’ll want breathable material that is form-fitting and won’t get in the way. Tights, leggings, and capris are best bests for these classes. Be sure your tank top or tee isn’t too loose or it could in the way during bending and upside down poses.
Hatha or Yin Yoga
Hatha and Yin are gentle, calm classes that focus on deep, slow stretches. Comfort should be your priority, but also consider what will be comfortable as you hold a pose for several minutes – stretchy material is best for that. Often, especially in Yin, you won’t generate much heat because of the stretching and holding, so you might get cold. Consider wearing long leggings and a top that’s a bit thicker if you think you might be chilly.
Our Favorite Yoga Pants
And now, in no particular order, here is our roundup of the best yoga pants for women.
These are comfortable, breathable leggings with just the right amount of support where you need it. They include four-way stretch and fun print options beyond basic black. Also available in full length, the Hatha legging is an excellent all-around yoga pant in or out of class.
Cliché as it may be, a “best yoga pants” list without Lululemon is no best yoga pants list at all. This popular and highly rated style is lightweight and features a high-rise waist band. The Align Pant has light compression and a perfect 7/8 length so you’ll love them for stretching or for running around town.
These Alo Yoga leggings are some of the most unique leggings available. They are also incredibly comfortable and versatile. They are extra-long to allow for scrunching up the bottom ribbed part of the leggings. They also feature compression on the upper part of the legs, creating an ultra-flattering look. While likely too much for hot yoga, these are versatile and stylish pants you’ll love.
The baggiest option on our list, the PrAna Ryley crops are kind of a semi-harem pant that’s both comfortable and well suited to movement. If you want a bit more modesty or a pair of pants that are loose without being in the way, these are perfect.
Outdoor Voices is a buzzy name in the world of yoga apparel, and these leggings are a prime example why. These have a unique style and a great selection of colors. OV’s leggings are a bit heavier than some other options on our list, so these would be best for a cooler Yin class or doing some stretches at home in colder months.
Alo Yoga makes our list again thanks to these airy leggings with mesh inserts. The Coast Legging features stirrup footing and a bit thicker material, but the large mesh makes these plenty comfortable and breathable. These will be favorites and get you plenty of compliments.
In hot yoga and Bikram yoga, you want to wear as little as possible to keep your temperature down. Yoga shorts are the best options for many, and these inexpensive ruched bottoms are a great choice. With enough thickness and lining to keep you covered, these fit well for women of all shapes and sizes.
The popular Hard Tail pant is best when it’s cropped. We love these comfy and flattering yoga pants with a foldover top and flared bottom. They are 90% cotton, so we don’t recommend them for classes with a lot of sweat involved, but for calm, meditative classes (and for everyday running around), these are so comfortable to wear.
Niyama yoga pants are gorgeous and unique. They are also completely opaque and feature Niyama’s “No Slip Waist”. If you are looking for a way to stand out in the sea of yoga leggings, look no further than these – or any other of Niyama’s lovely prints.