Yoga Pants vs Leggings: What’s the Difference?
Yoga Pants vs Leggings


The world of fashion and clothing almost seems to have its own language, with so many specific terms and names for different items of attire. Like "yoga pants" and "leggings," for example. These two items may seem incredibly similar at first glance.

However, when you look closer, you can uncover quite a few big differences that set them apart from each other. 

In this yoga pants vs leggings guide, we’ll dig into the difference between them. We’ll explore definitions for each term and answer some common questions you might have. By the end, you should have a much clearer picture of how yoga pants and leggings compare and which one is right for you.


Yoga Pants vs Yoga Leggings: The Definitions

Let’s kick things off with a definition of each term, beginning with yoga pants.

Yoga pants are an item of clothing designed to cover the legs and aimed specifically for use while doing yoga or other kinds of physical exercise. Typically crafted from breathable, stretchy, and moisture-wicking materials, they aim to provide the comfort and support you need while stretching, posing, and working out.

Leggings, meanwhile, are also an item of clothing that covers the legs. However, they weren't made necessarily with exercise in mind. Instead, they were originally crafted to provide a layering solution for cold weather conditions. These days, they’ve evolved to be used in different ways, either for warmth and comfort or purely for style as an extra item in an outfit.




Difference in Material and Fabric

When it comes to yoga pants vs leggings and identifying the difference between yoga pants and leggings, material is one of the first factors to focus on.

So, what are yoga pants made of? Yoga pants tend to be made from thick, stretchy, opaque materials.

Examples include:

  • cotton,
  • bamboo blends,
  • polyester,
  • spandex,
  • elastane,
  • and nylon.

There are also other materials, or blends of the previously-mentioned materials, which may be used to make a pair of yoga pants.

Yoga pants have to be thick as they’re usually worn on their own, without any cover. Meanwhile, their stretchiness is useful for yoga and exercise, as they provide a good degree of freedom of movement. That lets the wearer stretch out and strike different yoga poses without feeling constrained or worrying about tearing a hole in their yoga pants material.

Leggings material, meanwhile, can vary massively depending on the shape, style, and purpose of the leggings. Some of the most commonly used leggings material types include cotton, polyester, velour, and bamboo, but the likes of denim and fleece or even faux leather may also be used. They can be stretchy, rigid, thin, thick, opaque, or even slightly transparent.

With so many options, you can find a leggings material for almost any situation. Some of them are nice and flexible, similar to yoga pants or workout pants. Meanwhile, others are thicker and cozy, designed to provide warmth and comfort to the wearer, which was the original purpose of leggings (as discussed above).



The Fit and Form of Yoga Pants and Leggings

Another difference between yoga pants and leggings concerns their fit and form, or the way they hug the legs and feel when worn.

As stated, yoga pants tend to feel stretchy and breathable. They have quite a lightweight feel in most cases, but still hug the legs quite tightly, providing freedom of movement without any loose parts or flowing sections.

However, it is possible to find yoga pants that are flared or have bootcut or even skinny designs, giving them a wide range of forms and shapes.

Leggings, meanwhile, tend to be quite form-fitting, hugging the legs tightly while usually providing a reasonable level of stretchiness. They're not typically as elasticated as yoga pants but should still allow the wearer to sit, stand, and bend their legs with no fuss. Leggings are also available in varying lengths, like below-the-knee, calf length leggings, or leggings that go to the ankles.


Design and Aesthetic Differences

When it comes to the design of yoga pants vs leggings, both of these items of attire come in quite a broad range of styles.

You can find yoga pants in lots of different colors and patterns, for example. There are plain yoga pants in shades of blue, gray, and so on, as well as patterned yoga pants with prints and designs.

As stated above, there are also flared and bootcut yoga pants. They often featuring elastic or drawstring waists to help you loosen or tighten them to suit your needs.

The range of design options when shopping for leggings is even broader. Not only can you pick from a vast array of materials, but there are also hundreds, if not thousands of possible styles to choose between in leggings.

You can get:

  • long leggings
  • shorter leggings,
  • leggings with floral prints,
  • leggings with stripes,
  • polka dots,
  • plain colors, and more.

There are even “yoga leggings” which essentially bridge the gap between yoga pants and leggings, offering all the comfort of yoga pants with the freedom and versatility that leggings bring. The amount of styles, cuts, designs, and color options is almost endless with leggings, making it easy to find a pair that suit your personality and needs just right.




Suitability for Different Types of Yoga

Naturally, if you’re intending to do some yoga, you might assume that yoga pants are the only way to go. However, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Yoga pants are indeed a good option for yoga. They were created with yoga in mind, after all. They provide that breathability you need to stay comfortable and dry during your more intense workouts. They’re also flexible and stretchy enough to help you get into different stances and poses quite comfortably and with minimal risks of tears or holes.

However, leggings can actually work just as well, if not better than yoga pants for many types of yoga and other exercises, as long as you choose the right pair.

Good quality yoga or active leggings, for example, are designed with many of the same principles in mind as yoga pants. They’re breathable, stretchy, and pleasant to wear while moving around.

If you're engaging in casual yoga at home or in a studio, yoga pants may be fine. But, if you're planning more active, engaged exercise sessions, leggings could be a better choice. Not only are they fantastic for yoga, but they're also ideal for running, going to the gym, and serious, intense workouts where you will move around quite a lot. 

The fact that they're usually a little thinner than yoga pants helps to provide additional comfort for these kinds of activities. But, as stated, you have to choose the right pair. Naturally, leather leggings or thick, winter leggings aren’t ideal for exercise. Opt for those that are lightweight, breathable, and stretchy, made with activity in mind.


Care and Maintenance for Each Type

When it comes to caring for or maintaining your leggings or yoga pants, the same rules tend to apply: you have to always read the label and wash your clothes accordingly. Often, the likes of nylon leggings and spandex yoga pants may be too delicate for hot, intense wash cycles, so will need to be washed either on a cold setting or by hand. You also usually won’t want to tumble dry them.

Additionally, it’s important to not wash them excessively. Of course, they’ll usually need washing after an intense workout or long run, but if you’ve just been wearing your leggings or yoga pants around the house, they may not need washing right away. Try to clean them on a regular basis and always turn them inside out and place inside a mesh bag before putting them in the machine to protect them.


How to Choose the Right Leggings for Yoga

Whether you’re a yoga newbie or a seasoned yoga pro, it’s important to find the right attire that helps you enjoy your stretches and sessions in the highest levels of comfort.

Look for leggings that are the right size, to start with, as those that are too big may feel a little loose and those that are too small may be tight and restrict your blood flow.

Additionally, opt for leggings that were made with athletics and activities in mind. They should be made from a stretchy and breathable material that lets you stretch and exercise without getting too sweaty or feeling constrained in any way. It also helps if your leggings are moisture-wicking, helping them soak up sweat to keep you dry and comfy, even while jogging, stretching, and working out.

Style may also be a consideration when picking leggings for yoga, as many people like to look good and feel confident while working out. You can find good quality yoga leggings in many styles and colors, from neutral shades like black and gray to bolder options, like red, lilac, and blue. Choose colors and styles that suit your personality and match your tastes.

Finally, be sure you buy your leggings for yoga from a trusted brand. There are a lot of imitators and low quality manufacturers out there, using poor-grade materials which fail to provide proper protection, support, and comfort.

Avoid such brands and buy leggings you can count on from a reliable name, like FlexLifeWear.

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