How To Choose Leggings: An Essential Guide
Wearing the right pair of leggings can change your whole workout! Learn how to choose the right pair of leggings every time so you can stop adjusting them every rep!
FIRST UP, HOW SHOULD YOUR LEGGINGS FIT?
Finding the right pair of leggings is important. A good pair will keep you cool and dry, provide the right support and features, and will look and feel great on. Getting the fit right is paramount — no one wants to be hoisting their leggings up during a workout, after all. With the help of Akesha Smith (an expert at adidas London’s flagship store and track athlete) and Kim Buerger (adidas Senior Product Manager), we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to finding the best leggings for you.
Leggings should fit like a second skin,” Akesha says. “You shouldn’t even know they’re there or notice the feeling of them on your skin.” To achieve that blissful second skin feeling with your workout leggings, the right size is key, so we firstly need to answer some fundamental questions on sizing - is it better for leggings to be tight or loose? and why do my leggings keep falling down?
There may be a number of different reasons why your leggings keep falling down; if the material does not offer enough stretch and is too thin it may start to sag in key areas of wear and tear (such as the bottom and tops of the thigh). If you’ve invested in premium leggings using performance technology such as LYCRA ® and four-way stretch, and find they are still falling down, it might indicate you need to size down.
They should sit smooth against the skin, including the crotch area; any looseness there indicates your leggings will start to slip down when you move. “At the same time, you don’t want them so tight they dig in or pinch — that will distract you from your workout so it’s important to stay true to your size,” Akesha explains.
High-rise or high-waisted leggings provide great support and coverage,” Kim says. “They offer a held-in feel and move with you during your workout.” With a secure fit around the waist and lower back, they should stay put no matter how vigorous the workout is.
The legging lengths you opt for is a matter of preference and workout conditions. Cold weather often calls for more coverage, whereas shorter designs are ideal in warmer climates or for those who prefer less material on their skin in general. Pro tip: opting for leggings in a few different lengths might give you extra versatility for different activities and surroundings. The below guide will help you select leggings based on the workout climate, or style preference you have:
Full Length Leggings
Ideal for: Colder weather, or those looking for more coverage.
Ideal for: Those who find full length leggings to be too long for their frame, or who just prefer a slightly shorter fit. “The different legging lengths aren’t just about keeping you cooler and warmer, but also about the wearer’s height,” Akesha says. “Our leggings cater to everyone, whether you’re taller, shorter, or somewhere in between."
Ideal for: Those who want a little less coverage but find capris and bike shorts to be too cropped for them.
Ideal for: Those looking for leggings that fit just below the knee and offer lots of freedom of movement.
Ideal for: Warm weather training in comfort. Certain bike shorts come with special compression zones for extra support during cycling, too.
Ideal for: Those wanting less coverage in the studio or for warmer weather workouts. They’re made to fit close and move with you through every move.
HOW TO CHOOSE FITNESS LEGGINGS FOR YOUR ACTIVITY
Different forms of movement calls for different types of leggings to perfectly support your workout.
"The first thing I ask a customer who wants a pair of leggings is, ‘What exercise are you planning to do in them?’,” Akesha explains. “Each range of leggings has technologies and features that cater to different activities, so it’s really important to assess what you’ll be doing in them before choosing which ones to buy. Whether you’re running, doing yoga, participating in a HIIT session with lots of movement, or lifting weights each type has benefits to support your workout.” Kim reiterates.
Look for sweat-wicking technology like AEROREADY which is designed to manage your body’s sweat and keeps you feeling comfortable for longer. Reflective design details for running at night and strategically placed pockets mean you can bring the important bits with you on your run – like keys, phone and a snack.
If HIIT is your sweat session of choice, look out for an integrated internal waist band gripper to prevent leggings rolling down during a fast-paced session, and four-way stretch for optimised shape retention for squats.
Leggings that work as hard as you do and can withstand the big moves you are doing in the gym are fundamental. Pairs with merrow style stitching will maintain comfort and enhances durability of seams, reducing stretch or weakening over time, whilst a four-way stretch will keep your leggings from going see through on squats.
Look for leggings that shape your body with contour seaming to support through different postures. Additionally in areas of high friction look for flat, flush seaming strategically placed will help to reduce chafing over long sessions.
Different features enhance your sweat session, providing extra comfort and convenience based on the conditions and type of workout. Some key features to look out for are:
If you like bringing essentials on your workout, look out for leggings with strategically placed pockets which sit close to your body.
Leggings that fall down when running is up there with the most distracting workout woes, which is why leggings with a drawstring-adjustable waistband are integral for a hassle free run. This is especially great for runners, who will appreciate the extra support as they put in the miles.
“Drawstrings feature on our more high-support leggings because they’re designed to be super stable,” Akesha says. “This is one of my favorite features when I’m running, because I never want to be worried about my leggings creeping down during a sprint. It’s happened before and now I never run without drawstring leggings on.”
Details that glow in the dark or reflect when light bounces off are good for early morning, late afternoon and evening workouts when the visibility is low.
A small but significant detail, leggings with flat and flush seaming strategically placed in areas of high friction, helps reduce chafing over long sessions in the studio whereas seamless pairs have little to no stitching and move with your body so your leggings fit like a ‘second-skin’ with a lightweight feel.
Where style meets breathability. “Mesh panels look really flattering on your legs,” Akesha says. “That’s the bit people notice first, but there’s more to them than just that - they actually also ventilate the areas where you sweat the most and keep you feeling cool during your workout.”
For those sporadic and explosive movements, a waistband with an integrated internal gripper will minimise leggings rolling down to avoid any unwanted distractions.
Certain leggings have an ultra-locked in feel, a close, tight fit not only reduces chafing but can boost performance and aids the muscles in recovery, which means you might not feel as sore post-workout.
THE MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGIES
Choosing a pair of leggings crafted from lightweight, breathable fabrics will make all the difference for high-intensity workouts. Sweat-absorbent materials and technologies like AEROREADY are designed to channel the sweat away from the skin, which keeps you feeling dry and comfortable as you move.
“I especially recommend AEROREADY to anyone working out in warmer weather. Everything about the technology is ready to keep you feeling cool ,” says Akesha adidas fabric technology adisoft, is a super soft and supportive material to contour the body in motion which you will most commonly see on yoga and Pilates leggings.
The way your leggings look and shape your body when you wear them can play a big part in your decision. “A flattering design is the second most sought-after feature that customers look for,” Akesha shares.
Leggings that are flattering, fit nicely and accentuate your body shape will make you feel good when you put them on, which in turn may help you perform better.
Make it a set with a matching sports bra to master the look completely, choosing from different designs, patterns and colors to show off your personality and have a little fun with your workout outfits.
SO NOW YOU KNOW HOW TO CHOSE YOUR LEGGINGS
There are innumerable leggings to choose from, each with their own special features designed to enhance your workout. Whether you’re running a marathon, doing squat reps at the gym or simply hanging out, the most important thing is how comfortable and supported you feel while wearing them. There is no better pleasure of squatting in non-see-through leggings or the focal point of running so fast, that you are almost in reaching distance of achieving your personal best, with no worrying of chafing.
From our extensive inclusive range of plus size leggings, to sport specific apparel, the perfect pair of leggings will feel smooth on the skin, have a secure, ‘second-skin’ fit, and keep you feeling supported and ultra-confident through every move.
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