Women in yoga pants and leggings.

Those looking to start the year out right by starting or increasing their workout regimen need to make sure they have the right gear. First of all, you need to make sure you choose the right shoes and the right clothing for your exercise of choice.

If you’re a runner you will need to make sure you have the right shoes that support your feet. If you’re a bicyclist, you need to have the right gloves, shoes, and helmets. Those that choose a more spiritual outlet like yoga, need to be sure they have clothes that breathe.

You also need specially designed yoga pants that will let you move in a wide variety of ways without pulling and limiting your range of motion.

What Are Yoga Pants, When Were They Created?

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Yoga pants have become increasingly popular since they were first created in 1998 by Lululemon. They are developed from fabrics that absorb moisture and let you move easily. Once an item of clothing used primarily during yoga classes, our leisure form of dress has led the way to yoga pants being worn more often.

They have hit mainstream. Yoga pants are being worn just about any time, from watching TV to grocery shopping to school and even to informal get-togethers.

They have grown in popularity and in 2018 sales hit the $48 billion mark. Today they are sold in numerous retail stores. Those looking to begin the year right by starting or increasing their workout regimen need to make sure they have the right gear. First of all, you need to make sure you choose the right shoes and the right clothing for your exercise of choice.

What are Leggings, How Long Have They Been Around?

Leggings were first worn in the 18th century when they were typically worn by men. They were made from leather to protect them from the elements and the occasional sword fight. In the 1960s women started wearing leggings for dancing and aerobics.

In the 1990s, leggings were outselling jeans in many areas. They became popular and after movies like Flashdance. The fashion of leggings worn under oversized shirts,slouch-socks, and flat shoes. Soon they were worn under shorts skirts in either ankle or Capri lengths.

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By the 2010s we saw more and more athletic wear worn as leisurewear. Today when we think of leggings, we think of the casual women’s garment made from an elastic-type material like Lycra which provides a form-fitting look.

No matter where you go today, you will probably encounter someone wearing leggings.

The Difference Between Leggings and Yoga Pants for doing Yoga

It can be easy to confuse leggings from yoga pants because they look very much the same, but looks can be deceiving. We are going to show some of the differences between leggings and yoga pants. This will help you decide which garment is right for your needs and lifestyle.

Both yoga pants and leggings are appropriate for workouts, it’s up to you to decide which is right for you.

The Features of Yoga Pants

Woman practicing yoga.

Yoga pants were designed for a very specific purpose, to provide the flexibility of movement and comfort when doing yoga.

  • Yoga pants are more comfortable than leggings as they are made from fabrics that offer flexibility.
  • They have a thicker waistband that provides added support.
  • They are made from a thicker material than leggings, so they resist tears and are less see-through than other materials.
  • Yoga pants used to be made with a bootcut or flare at the bottom, today they are also designed to be form-fitting to the ankle.
  • They were specifically made for doing yoga.

The Features of Leggings

Woman practicing yoga on a blue mat.

  • Leggings are made from a thinner material than most yoga pants. The thinnest option is nearly as thin as tights.
  • There are many different designs of leggings from basic black to bold colors.
  • Leggings come in a variety of fabrics.
  • Leggings have a thinner waistband
  • Leggings were made for warmth and come in a variety of different fabrics from 100% cotton to fleece.
  • They can be form-fitting or lose.
  • Leggings can be ankle length or Capri length.
  • They were initially made for dancers and acrobats.

What Are They Made From?

There is a big difference when it comes to what leggings and yoga pants are made from. Yoga pants were designed with a very specific purpose in mind. Leggings refer to a much more diverse type of leg covering, therefore, there are many different types of materials and design elements used in leggings than you will see in yoga pants.


Woman in multi-colored sportswear practicing yoga at the beach.

Leggings are worn all the time and are considered to be the same as pants. They have moved out of the gym and now are trendy, colorful, and an extremely versatile part of your wardrobe. They also come in a variety of materials including:

  • Cotton: Strong, comfortable, and absorbs water and sweat so cotton leggings are great for the gym.
  • Polyester: Another great choice for workouts but they do pick up odors fairly easily.
  • Wool: Great to hold in heat in cold climates.
  • Spandex: These are form-fitting leggings often worn underneath a skirt or other clothing item.
  • Nylon: Similar to spandex but may shrink.

Yoga Pants

Woman in black pants and bra practicing yoga.

Though like leggings, yoga pants have found their way out of the yoga studio, there are fewer materials used in yoga pants, because they are made with a specific purpose in mind.

  • Cotton: Because it’s a natural fiber, it is soft and moisture absorbing.
  • Bamboo: It’s a natural product, it’s breathable, offers UV protection, and is machine-washable. It stretches and offers super softness.
  • Synthetics: Including Lycra, polyester, spandex, and nylon. This is a popular option because they have moisture-wicking properties and keep their shape.

Design features

There are many more design options with leggings than there are with yoga pants. As mentioned previously, yoga pants were made for a specific activity. Leggings, however, are worn today to make a fashion statement.

Leggings come in a wide range of colors, designs, and styles. From bold, bright patterns to traditional black. There is a legging design, pattern, material, and style for just about anyone.

The one thing they do have in common is the comfort both yoga pants and leggings offer. It’s no wonder that just about every toddler, young teen and adult women have several pair as part of their wardrobe.


For very active workouts, yoga pants or heavier types of leggings will be the most durable. The very thin types of leggings are similar to tights and wouldn’t wear well during aggressive workouts. Yoga pants are usually a thicker material and looser and offer flexibility and full coverage.

The Cost Between Leggings and Yoga Pants

Woman in white sportswear practicing yoga.

Just like most things clothing items, you can buy a lower-end product that will not last as long or a more expensive product that is better well made and will usually last longer. The same can be set for both leggings and yoga pants. It depends on the type of garment you choose and whether it’s a designer fashion or an in-house brand.

  • At many retail outlets, you can get leggings for around $5.00, they will be basic, but they are available. Meanwhile, you can spend $40.00 and up on outlets like Amazon.com.
  • Yoga pants tend to be a bit pricier than the least expensive leggings. According to Yoga Journal, you can get a good pair of yoga pants for around $12.00 all the way up to over $100.

Pros and Cons: Yoga Pants vs. Leggings for Yoga

Woman practicing yoga at the park.

Yoga Pants Pros

  • They are comfortable
  • They were made for yoga
  • They move with your body and not restricting
  • The high waist makes them stay put
  • Cotton and bamboo are great fabrics for yoga pants

Yoga Pants Cons

  • Usually not as many design options are available
  • Synthetic fabric yoga pants don’t contain odor

Leggings Pros

  • Come in a wide variety of styles and designs
  • Are a fashion staple for many women
  • Versatile and comfortable
  • They are available in a wide variety of fabrics
  • Fleece and wool leggings will keep you warm in cold environments

Leggings Cons

  • Can be made from cheap materials
  • The thin styles can be seen through and do not offer a lot of coverage or support

Wrap Up

Both leggings and yoga pants have their purpose, and both can be used for a general gym workout. But when doing yoga, wearing yoga pants is your best bet. They offer a range of motion, absorbency, and a higher waist for added support. While you should include both in your workout wardrobe, wear your yoga pants for yoga.