The Best Running Leggings for Women in 2021 Ranked

Wondering what running leggings are worth the hype? Here’s our six top pairs from popular brands ranked.

March 4, 2021
8 min read

Running leggings for women keep getting cuter and more comfortable, so it’s important to keep up to date on new releases so that you don’t miss out on new gear that could make your runs more enjoyable.

 If you’re anything like us, you never really know whether a pair of leggings is good for running until you - you guessed it - started running in them. But hopefully this guide will help you figure out which style of leggings is best for your individual needs. 

Dona Jo Ultimate Legging

The Dona Jo Ultimate Legging has a drawstring you can adjust so that the leggings fit you individually. 

Are you a still-run-outside-in-the-winter kind of person? If so, the Dona Jo Ultimate Legging is just what you need to wear to keep you warm on your winter runs. Designed with a thick fabric, you can run as long as you like in the cold in these leggings without freezing your butt off. 

Other features include authentic five-way stretch material so that you can move freely as you run, breathable fabric, compression, and flat seams for additional comfort. 

The drawstring allows you to adjust the waist fit of the leggings to your individual body type, and the deep side pockets provide space for you to store your running essentials like your phone and keys. 

As a bonus, the leggings offer UV protection - which is important because you can get sunburn even in the winter!

You should buy this legging if:

  • You run outside in the winter
  • You want a legging with a drawstring

Aerie Offline Real Me High Waisted Legging

The Aerie Offline Real Me High Waisted Legging in Relic pairs perfectly with white, blank, or gray tops or hoodies.

Now we know these aren’t “running leggings” but hear us out. 

The Aerie Offline Real Me High Waisted Legging is so unbelievably comfortable and soft that as you run, these leggings set you free rather than hold you back.

The fabric is Aerie’s “Real Me” fabric, which provides soft support and a weightless feel.

They come in various colors, including Relic, Steel Blue, True Black, and Olive Daze, and patterns, including two different kinds of camo.

We recommend getting the “short” length so that you show a little skin at the ankle, which allows you to stay cool as you run in these leggings in the hotter months.

You should buy this legging if:

  • You prefer a lightweight feel
  • Comfort is a priority 

Dona Jo Wave Legging

The textured fabric of the Dona Jo Wave Legging resembles the shape of waves - hence the name!

The Dona Jo Wave Legging is not only functional as a running legging, but it’s also stylish which sets it apart from other popular running leggings. The textured fabric of the legging resembles the shape of actual waves - hence the name - and flatters your figure.

The legging has a high-rise waistband, flat seams for comfort, and a large pocket on the waistband for storing your running essentials.

It’s also anti-odor and has UV SPF 50+ protection, so this legging is really doing the most for you.

You should buy this legging if:

  • You prefer a textured style legging
  • You want extra features like anti-odor and UV protection

Nike Epic Luxe Legging

The Nike Epic Luxe Legging is easily one of the more stylish running leggings on the market, but you don’t have to sacrifice quality for style with these.

The look of these leggings might be enough for you to drop your money on them, but we assure you there is more to them than what meets the eye.

The Nike Epic Luxe Legging is made with a stretchy knit fabric that feels warm and enables you to move freely. It's powered by Dri-FIT technology which, according to Nike, “is an innovative polyester fabric designed to help keep you dry so you can more comfortably work harder, longer.”  

This legging has easy-access storage with drop-in pockets at the hips, giving you access to your essentials. It also has an extra zippered pocket with a water-resistant lining to help keep your phone dry.

And, last but not least, they are just so cute! The texture and color of these leggings sets them apart from other running leggings of similar quality. They’re so chic you can wear them all day before you hit the road for your run.

You should buy this legging if:

  • You want a chic legging you would also wear when you’re not running
  • You want the benefits of Dri-FIT technology

Lululemon Fast and Free HR Tight 25" 

The Lululemon Fast and Free HR Tight 25" has two side drop-in pockets the perfect size to store your phone.

Although Lululemon rose to popularity as a yoga legging brand, the Lululemon Fast and Free HR Tight 25" were designed specifically for running.

They’re a bestseller on the Lululemon website, which comes as no surprise because they have all the features you could want in a running legging and more. What stands out in particular is the fabric of the legging.

The specialty Nulux™ fabric provides weightless coverage, engineered four-way stretch, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying. And added Lycra® fibre allows for stretch and shape retention.

As for the feel of the legging, it feels sleek and cool to the touch. It comes in a range of colors including Graphite Grey, Dark Red, Dark Olive, True Navy, Cerulean Blue, Brown Earth, Heritage 365 Camo Deep Coal Multi, Heritage 365 Camo Green Twill Multi, and Black.

The legging also has two side drop-in pockets to store your phone or other running essentials.

You should buy this legging if:

  • You might benefit from a specialty fabric 
  • You want big pockets for storing your running essentials

New Balance Reflective Accelerate Tight

The New Balance Reflective Accelerate Tight has reflective prints on both legs to make you visible to drivers when it’s dark outside.

The New Balance Reflective Accelerate Tight stands out from the others on this list in a literal sense. This legging has reflective prints on both legs to make you visible to drivers and cyclists when it’s dark outside. If you like to run in the early mornings or at dusk, you might be comforted by this safety feature.

The legging also has fast-drying technology to wick away sweat, which helps you to stay comfortable throughout your run.

Other features include a drawstring and a mid rise style waist. 

If you care about the environment (as you should), you’ll be happy to hear that this legging meets New Balance’s Green Leaf standard, meaning it’s made of 50% or more environmentally preferred materials such as recycled or organic content. 

You should buy this legging if:

  • You want to be clearly visible to cars and cyclists
  • You want a sustainable legging option

The Takeaway

Women’s running leggings offer so many different features these days, it’s impossible to find one legging that does it all. So prioritize what you want from your running legging, whether it be style, sustainability, safety, or something else, and make the best decision you can on what leggings to buy.

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