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Yoga Pants vs Leggings – Let’s get clarity of the difference

Joined a yoga class, and now you don’t know what pants to wear? Look no further! This article is dedicated to help you pick the right one! Let’s begin with leggings. We all have one somewhere in our closet, or maybe you are just wearing one right now. They are the best, but are they suitable for yoga classes? 

Many people confuse leggings and yoga pants to serve the same purpose. You may think there is no difference, as they can look quite similar to each other. But wait till you wear them during a downward dog (yoga pose), and you will quickly realize why they’re not suitable. Let us talk you through the argument about yoga pants vs leggings.

Yoga Pants Vs Leggings

Are leggings and yoga pants the same? The answer is, no. While leggings are designed to be worn beneath clothing to provide warmth and comfort, yoga pants have a substantial purpose. Yoga pants are particularly designed for fitness and exercise. The selection of fabric, thickness, and elasticity is meant to make your workout session comfortable. Yoga pants, although it has the word “yoga” in them, can also be used for other forms of exercises, like running, gym exercises, weight lifting, pilates, etc. Simply put, both are a variation of pants, but the ongoing debate of yoga pants vs leggings remains.

What Are Leggings?

Leggings are commonly considered an option for fitness wear, but honestly, they are not suitable for exercising. The material and fabric elasticity does not support your muscles to stretch comfortably. Trust us, you don’t want to limit your flexibility; you want solid support. 

However, many fabric suppliers and manufacturers are now working on narrowing the difference between them. The quality of leggings has improved significantly in recent times, making them more of an option for activewear. 

The initial point of difference between yoga pants vs leggings is that leggings are thicker than tights but thinner than yoga pants. In other words, the fabric used for leggings is often too thin for yoga poses and stretches.  While many women wear them as pants, they can also be worn underneath dresses and skirts. 

Leggings were not so popular even a decade ago. They were mainly used as an extra layer during winter. They have recently become quite popular in fashion among women and men. They are in every household, worn casually, often paired with oversized or even crop tops. Manufacturers have kept it interesting by making them available in different prints as well. You just can’t stop yourself from buying them anymore.

Pros of leggings

The main reason we opt for leggings as activewear is the price point. They are relatively cheap, making them more affordable than any other activewear. The quality of fabric and the thinner material makes it more economical. 

Leggings are available everywhere. You can probably find a pair in your neighborhood grocery store. Another huge advantage is comfort. They are great for working out, lounging, and even sleeping.

Cons of leggings

If you are serious about your workout session and seriously want to dress accordingly, leggings are not suitable, period. They might have all the perks in the world, but in the world of yoga, they are not helpful. Leggings are usually made of thin materials, and during your stretch out poses, they may seem to be see-through. It’s probably not the best view for the person behind you. 

What Are the Different Types of Leggings?

To make it more confusing, there are yoga pants that are also leggings. And there are so many types and fabric options to choose from, it can be overwhelming. But don’t worry; we are here to make it easier for you to choose the best yoga pants. 

Cotton Leggings

Cotton leggings are the most popular. They sound comfortable, but that’s not the only reason. They are available everywhere, in almost all general stores. They are popular because they are available in so many prints and styles, making it easier to style with almost everything. We don’t recommend them for Yoga, since it absorbs sweat and they expose your undies in certain poses.

Polyester Leggings

Polyester leggings are good for running and other forms of exercise. They are made using water-resistant and stretchable materials, making them slightly pricey. Polyester alone has a slightly odd smell, so you will want to pick a blend of polyester with other materials. They generally provide longevity, but they make you sweat more.

Compression leggings 

When considering activewear, it is common to come across compression leggings. Now, what are compression leggings? Another suitable option! They are known to be great for workouts including yoga.^Many athletes, particularly runners swear by them.They are convenient and effective for your muscle movements. They also look great for you to wear in your daily life.

Nylon Leggings

Nylon leggings have the highest demand. They are popular and easy to maintain the fabric. They provide great support with impressive durability. This particular fabric is stretchy, making it a good pick for activewear pants. Nylon pants are great but can sometimes shrink, so it’s best to use a fabric softener to maintain them. We wouldn’t recommend Nylon for heavy sweating Yogis, because it contains heat. You might end up sweating more. 

Spandex Leggings

Having a blend of spandex in any activewear is very common. The stretchy material provides great support as if almost hugging your body. Just like polyester, spandex alone is not the most comfortable. If not mixed with any other material, it can be suffocating for your skin. It is not a very breathable fabric. Choosing a legging with a percentage of spandex will be the safer option. It also shows a lot visually and is quite unforgiving in that manner.

Wool Leggings

Wool leggings are more suitable as winter wear rather than activewear. They help to keep you warm and comfy but are not ideal for working out. They generally tend to be more expensive. 

Faux Leather Leggings

They are more of a fashion choice. They are not suitable for any form of exercise. They are similar to leather pants but more comfortable and breathable. 

What are Yoga Pants?

In recent times, yoga pants have gained more popularity. They are not only ideal for activewear but also worn casually. They are extremely comfortable. There is nothing better than yoga pants for yoga—the name says it all. 

Yoga pants for women are becoming increasingly popular. These pants have a supportive waistband that eliminates discomfort when you are bending over. The strong grip feels great on your waistline when you are trying out different downward poses.

Pros of Yoga Pants

Unlike leggings, yoga pants will save you from embarrassment when you flex in your yoga class. They tend to be not see-through, and they support your body perfectly. The thick waistband keeps the pants in one place. Most yoga pants are anti-sweat, but it’s always best to be sure before you purchase any.

Cons of Yoga Pants

Yoga pants can be pricey in comparison to leggings. But the price point is not the only important factor to consider while buying activewear. Additionally, there might be limitations in fabric prints and designs. 

What Are the Different Types of Yoga Pants?

Yoga pants vary in styles, size, length, cuts and materials. The best way to select one is to focus on your yoga poses and routine. Buying the optimal yoga pants should depend solely on your comfort.  

Maternity Yoga Pants 

This is such a blessing for pregnant women. When nothing else fits, jump into magical maternity yoga pants. They are easy on your skin, allowing you to stay comfortable as you grow. They are the best for low impact maternity exercises as well. 

High Waisted Yoga Pants

If you are all about bending over into flexible yoga positions, or even other forms of exercises like pilates, these might be a comfortable choice for you. They have solid waistbands keeping your tummy in place during your workout. They have become really popular and readily available for their look and comfort.

Yoga Capris 

Capris are cropped pants, longer than shorts but shorter than pants. They are made of flexible and stretchable fabrics, allowing you to move easily. These are suitable for summer outdoor yoga classes.

Wide Waistband Yoga Pants

Wide waistband yoga pants are designed for plus-sized women. They are usually made using a combination of spandex and polyester. They are very comfortable around the hips and buttocks, holding and hugging your lower body in the right places.

Tight-Fitting Yoga Pants

It’s difficult to give a definite answer. It depends on your personal yoga routine. Do you attend a yoga class or practice at home? Tight or loose will depend on your workout routine. 

For example, such as a vinyasa, you need to be able to support your hamstrings to stretch out. Tight leggings for this matter will benefit you.  Your movements from one flow to another will seem easier with tight fitted yoga pants. The compression on the fabric helps with blood flow, boosting your flexibility.

Loose-Fitting Yoga Pants

Some people find tight-fitting yoga pants suffocating. Some also feel uncomfortable wearing fitted clothes. For people who are into modest clothing, loose-fitting yoga pants are the perfect solution. They are great for flexibility and are available in straight cut and wide-legged styles to cater to all preferences. 

Why Are Yoga Pants Best for Fitness?

Yoga pants are the best option, hands down. They are designed for fitness and all different forms of it. Do you want to focus on getting the most out of your workout session without limiting your movements? It’s an easy choice, and you will know the difference the moment you put them on. There is nothing better than being in full control of your body. You’ll probably start to see more women wearing yoga pants than legging in a gym class.

Yoga Pants for women

Once again, it is all a matter of your liking. What someone else loves may not work for you. Factors you should consider are comfort, yoga poses, skin sensitivity and body type. Some people just cannot handle tight fitted pants, and for those wide legged pants are a better choice anyday. For some, a thicker waistband causes discomfort, so they would avoid them. Before you jump into a conclusion, put yourself first. Think about the features accordingly, you will arrive at a wise decision based on your preferences.

Yoga Pant Styles

Selecting the right yoga pants style can be tricky. You must think about your poses first. They come in so many different material, styles, and that can be a lot of information for you. 

There are simple yoga pants, capris, wide-legged styles, and several other kinds as well. The lengths of these styles also vary. Choosing according to your preferred length is a great starting point. Ask yourself, if you want a regular length, or go shorter? There are factors like weather, environment and the actual yoga routine that will help you decide. 

For example, it could be a hot yoga class. Most people tend to wear shorts in this case. For people who are not comfortable with exposing skin, they always pick regular length yoga pants. So it all comes down to you. 

You may run into another very common comparison between flare leggings vs yoga pants. The popularity of flare leggings has recently been highlighted on social media. They are admired for the comfort, but millennials prefer them more for the perfect fit and stretchy feel.

Yoga shorts

These are a popular choice for hot yoga and other activities done in warm weather. You could describe them as a short version of a yoga pants. They come in various styles and are generally a mix of cotton fabric.


How you feel during your session is really important. Think about the texture of the pants to make sure you are in a happy place. Again, this is a decision you have to make based on your yoga routine. If your movements are super flowy, you want to wear a material that supports your muscles in doing so. Maybe a mix of spandex with other fabrics will do the job. If your purpose is to just meditate on the mat, then you are free to wear anything your skin is comfortable in. There are just so many options to fit your needs. 

Another concern while looking for yoga pants is sustainability. Are they environmentally-friendly? There are pants made from recycled polyester as well as organic cotton in the market. Nothing in the world should stop you now to buy the pants of your choice to start your practice. 

What is the Difference Between Yoga Pants, Fashion Leggings, and Activewear Leggings?

You can easily differentiate between yoga pants, fashion leggings, and activewear firstly by your purpose of purchase. Ask yourself why you need to buy them. It’s important to narrow it down as otherwise, it can create unnecessary confusion. Next, check your budget. How much are you willing to spend? This will help you to decide on the fabric, style, and quality. If your sole purpose is to purchase good quality activewear to support your yoga poses, then yoga pants it is.

Pause! There’s also yoga leggings. Are they the same as yoga pants?

You are probably asking “are you serious?” Yes we are. Both are suitable for yoga practice as the name suggests. Honestly, it comes down to personal choice. Yoga legging  is one type of yoga pants. A regular legging modified into a yoga pants, which is why it is called a yoga legging. The material is much thicker than that of leggings, with a combination of spandex and polyester. The length is slightly longer, covering from the waist to the ankle. 

Yoga Pants, Leggings and Tights

We have explained their differences in detail. To summarize, they are different in appearance, texture as well as purpose. As a reminder, let’s go over it again.

Leggings come in different materials, colors, designs, and prints. They are mostly made from thin materials, which are not ideal for stretches. They are see-through. They are worn casually by most women. 

Yoga pants in comparison fall under active wear. They come in different styles as well. The materials used are mostly thick with strong elasticity to support active and deeper physical movements. 

Lastly, Tights. They always stick to the shape of your leg. The material of tights have higher elasticity with a fabric mix of lycra and spandex. Tights mostly cover your feet, like built in socks. They are never worn as an alternative to pants.They are always worn under a dress or skirt and have a formal touch to it.

What are the Qualities you’re Looking for in Yoga Pants?

Choosing a pair of yoga pants depends on your yoga practice. If you are able to clearly identify your needs in terms of your yoga poses, you will easily be able to narrow down your options. Firstly, choose according to the length of your pants. As mentioned earlier – yoga pants have a variety of options with lengths. It all comes down to your preference. For vinyasa practitioners – a traditional full length yoga is suitable, but if you are doing hot yoga maybe opt for the ones that can keep you cool. Again this is a performance-based preference. Think about what’s important or what bothers you during your practice. Does tight-fitting make you feel uncomfortable? Or does the waist-band feel wrong when you are bending over for your poses? 

Don’t forget to pay attention to the material of the yoga pants as it can make all the difference while practising. The feel of the pants during stretches can determine your flexibility. So make the choice according to the needs of your body as well. If you are into environmental sustainability – you can also look into options like organic cotton or recycled polyester to stick to your values and enjoy yoga too. 


Hopefully, you have now gained some perspective. In short, there are significant differences between yoga pants and leggings. If you are looking to buy activewear, jump into suitable yoga pants for exercises. But if you are just wanting to find leggings you can be comfortable in, you have a world of options. Make sure you are mindful about the purpose and choosing comfort. Happy shopping.