People wear yoga clothing in the gym, on hikes, to lunch with friends, and even dress up in a stylish outfit for a night on the town. When searching for yoga clothing, you’ll frequently come across the seemingly interchangeable terms of leggings vs. yoga pants. Is there a difference between the two? Let’s find out.
In this article, we’ll explore these somewhat ambiguous terms for athletic clothing, what they are, popular brands, what to wear with each, plus the pros and cons so you can choose which ones are best for you. In general, you can make yoga pants and leggings during different types of exercise and dress them both up for a daily wear outfit.
The main differences between yoga pants and leggings are the materials they’re made out of and the fit of them. Yoga pants are more like your typical athletic wear, while yoga leggings are more form-fitting and what you’ll find in a yoga class.
Next, we’ll talk about what yoga pants are.
What are Yoga Pants?
Yoga pants are typically made of a thicker material than you’d find with leggings. They’re usually sweat-wicking and won’t show your undergarments when you squat down. When people think of yoga pants, they’re just that — a style of pants. You might find a bootcut fit, a flared leg, and any other “fit” that you’d find on regular pants like jeans.
Because of this, you might notice that they aren’t as soft or silky as a lot of yoga leggings. What are the different types of yoga pants?
Types of Yoga Pants
There are plenty of different types of yoga pants. Many styles have some overlap with leggings because many companies use the term yoga leggings to describe a more fitness-minded legging. Some of the different types of yoga pants include:
- Wide leg
- Boot cut
- Sweat pants/jogger-style
- High-rise, form-fitting pants
- Athletic booty shorts
- Mid-length or ankle-length yoga pants
Yoga pants typically have a 4-way stretch to them and are made with a more durable fabric. Specific types of leggings can be a little thinner than athletic yoga leggings, so they’re more see-through, depending on how you move your body.
What to Wear With Yoga Pants
Creating outfits with yoga pants can be a lot of fun. It’s also easy to make anything look good with form-fitting yoga pants.
To create an outfit with yoga pants, you could:
- Throw a hooded sweatshirt over your pants with some flat-bottom tennis shoes (like Vans or Converse), and you’re ready to hit the gym and lift some weights.
- You could wear yoga pants with a sparkly top, a jacket, and heels for a night out.
- You can also wear yoga pants for their intended purpose, athletics. You can do a yoga class in them, go on a hike, or hit the trails for a run.
Enjoy the process of experimenting with different styles to wear with your yoga pants. You can set some cool trends with your friends and strangers by making unique fashion choices that make you happy. Fashion is an art form providing the perfect opportunity to express yourself.
Popular Yoga Pants Brands
A few popular yoga pants brands stand out above the rest. Of course, there’s always Lululemon and Alo, but you’ll also find some more luxury brands that are more boutique and less commercial to satisfy your needs for durability, cost, style, and comfort.
Beyond YogaBeyond Yoga is a staple in yoga pants and yoga leggings. You’ll have a hard time finding a softer pair of pants than these, which is saying something since many yoga pants have a stiffer texture to them.
Just take a look at their bestselling High Waisted Bootleg Flare Pant — they’re amazing!
Another awesome company, Hardtail yoga pants, are U.S.A. made just like Beyond Yoga. They have some fun patterns to choose from and a thicker fabric that smooths and shapes the body.
Niyama Sol makes some genuinely unique yoga pants. You'll love this brand if you want something a little flashier. Check out these sunburst super flare yoga pants to spice up any outfit for a night on the town or to impress people at the gym or studio.
Bell-bottom jeans are coming back in style, but what about bell-bottom yoga pants? Yoga Democracy creates some beautifully-patterned yoga pants with a massive flare at the bottom to add style and comfort to every outfit.
Kira Grace creates some luxury yoga pants that go with any style. They have patterned, high-waist, flared yoga pants for any occasion. She does a black wide leg flare pant really well - that is great to dress up or down.
What are Leggings?
Leggings are even more ambiguous than yoga pants. Some leggings might be what you’d find at a Victoria’s Secret, which are cute, yet so thin that you’ll see your behind in downward dog because they’re transparent. Some yoga leggings are similar to this style, but many brands create yoga leggings that can withstand the wear and tear of physical activities.
Many high-quality leggings have a 4-way stretch so you can move your body however you need, and your leggings will move right along with you. Others are made of thicker, flexible materials to smooth the skin and provide durability and comfort.
Types of Leggings
There are a few different types of leggings. For this article, we’ll talk about the different kinds of yoga leggings you’ll find online and in stores.
The different types of yoga leggings include:
- High waisted leggings
- Leggings with pockets
- Midi leggings that come up to or above the ankle
- Cropped leggings that look similar to biking shorts
- Shiny leggings
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll likely find a pair of leggings to fit your needs. Many brands create beautiful, high-quality materials that stretch and move with you without shifting out of place. They cover what needs to be covered while also looking stylish and trendy.
What to Wear With Leggings
You can wear just about anything with leggings. Because they’re typically so body-hugging, you can put baggy or tight-fitting clothing with them, and you’ll feel great.
See? There’s something out there for everyone. A few favorites include:
- Layering leggings underneath other clothes to keep warm.
- Wearing ripped-up leggings as a style, pairing them with combat boots and an oversized top or jacket.
- Leggings with a sweater tied around the waist and a crop top.
With anything, it’s all about your personal taste and exploring what you like and dislike. Below, we’ll share some of our favorite leggings brands.
Popular Leggings Brands
There are tons of popular leggings brands out there. You can find thin, silky, breathable leggings, like Teeki, for those sweaty hot yoga classes, or opt for thicker, shape-smoothing leggings as you’d find with brands like Beyond Yoga.
The most popular leggings brands include:
Beyond Yoga has mastered the skin-smoothing fabrics and shapes needed for the perfect-fitting yoga leggings. You can find all kinds of classic spacedye staple colors and even great leggings with pockets!
Teeki has sleek and sexy leggings with different patterns and some with strategic holes. They’re even more unique because they’re made from recycled water bottles.
If you like having a bit of shine to your leggings, Koral is one of the most popular leggings that are on trend for a shine legging. They’re great for a night on the town or your favorite yoga class.
Sometimes we want a little extra support in our yoga leggings. Nux Active offers compression in these comfy-casual, USA-made leggings.
Free People Movement
Free People offers excellent multi-use yoga and workout leggings that are high rise and have a boho vibe like the rest of their clothing.
Flared Leggings vs. Yoga Pants
What about flared leggings vs. yoga pants? For those who want something thicker, you can find flared yoga pants. And when you want to have that silky, flexible texture of leggings, you can also find flared leggings.
What are the Differences Between Yoga Pants vs. Leggings?
In some cases, there isn’t much difference between yoga pants vs. yoga leggings if you’re looking at high-quality brands. Regular “leggings” might be thinner and go underneath clothing to keep you warm, but many yoga pants and leggings are made to withstand a little bit of wear and tear.
Now that we’ve showcased the most popular yoga pants and leggings and briefly touched on what makes them unique, let’s take a closer look. There are some distinct differences between some types of yoga pants and leggings. We’ll share them below.
Most yoga pants and yoga leggings have a stretchy ingredient in the fabric. It’s necessary for most types of athletic wear for many reasons. Some materials help wick away moisture, while others make the clothing versatile for moving into shapes like squats or a downward-facing dog.
Both types of bottoms typically have a 4-way stretch and materials that help them keep their shape throughout activities like yoga, hiking, weight lifting, or just lounging around the house. The main difference between the materials of yoga pants and yoga leggings is that yoga pants are typically thicker. As a more substantial pant, they’ll hold up to harder use than some types of leggings that need some TLC to keep in great condition.
Comfort is a major factor for most people buying yoga gear. You want them to fit well, stay where they’re supposed to be, stretch when you need them, and make you feel good. The good news is that most yoga pants and yoga leggings are pretty dang comfortable. That’s why people wear them everywhere!
Both yoga pants and leggings can be made from soft, stretchy materials that hug the body and make you feel good. If one of these had to win out on comfort, it would probably be leggings in some cases. Yoga pants are usually a little thicker, which can feel more restricting than the fluidity and flexibility of yoga leggings.
If you want your yoga pants and leggings to hold up to some good, hard use, it’s important to follow the care instructions. You can make both last a long time by doing so. When you purchase high-quality bottoms, you’ll likely end up with durable pants, regardless of the type. But specific types of leggings may need extra love compared to their thicker counterparts of yoga pants.
Some yoga leggings are sparkly, made of thinner materials, and need to be hand-washed inside out to protect the sheen. Many yoga pants won’t require extensive care to keep them in tip-top shape.
Where to Wear
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where you can wear yoga pants and leggings pretty much anywhere. The only place they might get the side-eye is in a fancy office. Of course, you can dress them up or down, wear them under a skirt for extra warmth, or use them as the showpiece of your evening wear. Yep, they get that fancy!
If you’re wearing yoga pants and leggings to exercise, some may be better suited to different environments. You want to ensure your leggings have a 4-way stretch, so you don’t rip a seam out doing a lunge, and you probably don’t want to wear thick cotton pants in a hot yoga class.
You can find yoga pants and leggings at a wide range of prices. The cost is typically higher for athletic wear because it requires high-performance fabrics. It’s definitely worth the money because yoga pants and athlete-centric leggings will last for a long time if you take care of them.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. For yoga pants and high-end yoga leggings, you could drop anywhere from $80-$250, depending on what you’re after. And you’ll probably love them. You can also find generic leggings for $10-$20, but they likely won’t perform how you want them to.
The pros of yoga pants are that they’re durable, comfortable, and come in all kinds of stylish designs. Because they have more structure than leggings, they can substitute jeans for your work outfit and hold up well on more rigorous hikes and exercises.
The pros of yoga leggings are that they’re super cute, hug the body in all the right places, and create a smooth shape. You can wear yoga leggings with pretty much any outfit as the main centerpiece or hide under other clothing to add warmth.
A con of purchasing yoga pants is that they might not work for all athletic settings. Because they’re often made with thicker fabrics, they would probably make you sweat in specific exercise environments.
A con of purchasing yoga leggings is that some aren’t the highest quality and can deteriorate quickly. They have many pros, but durability can be their downfall at times.
Can you wear yoga pants as leggings?
Of course! Yoga pants come in different shapes, fits, and structures. They might not hug the skin quite like a pair of leggings, but you can find some that are similar. A lot of yoga leggings have shifted over the last couple of years, too, where both yoga pants and leggings have a flared bottom. The biggest difference is one is thicker than the other. Yoga pants as leggings would probably be best in the winter because that thicker fabric will keep you warm.
Are leggings pants?
Are leggings pants? They can be. Anything covering your legs could be pants. That’s the beauty and versatility of leggings. If you want to wear them under a blazer with high heels, go ahead! The world is your oyster, and you can wear what you like. Of course, some leggings may be of low quality and won’t provide proper coverage, especially if they’re transparent. So you’ll want to find high-quality, opaque leggings that pair well with your favorite outfits.
How to dress up yoga pants?
You can dress up yoga pants in a myriad of ways. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Some yoga pants look like sweats, while others may be bell bottoms. You can also find bootcut. They could mix well with a cute pair of sneakers, high heels, black combat boots, or whatever other shoe makes you feel good. You could wear cropped hoodies with them, tank tops, dressy shirts, or even dresses. That’s the great thing about yoga pants and leggings. They can be whatever you want them to be.
Are there yoga pants or leggings that look like dress pants?
Some yoga pants and leggings look like dress pants if you look at the right brands and styles. The easiest to find are black pants with a wide leg- one of our favorite is the KiraGrace Wide Leg Pant. Find some that are high-waisted with a flared or wide bottom that would pair well with heels so you could look stylish in the office while also having comfy bottoms. Depending on the occasion, you can find patterns for pretty much any preference. You’ll find dressier designs with a glossy sheen and others that are more subdued and less athletic looking.