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

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

What are Yoga Pants and How Do They Differ?

Yoga pants and leggings have become some of the most popular items of clothing in the world—and for good reason. They’re flattering, versatile, and SO comfy. Yoga bottoms can be worn to the gym, to work, out running errands, or just for relaxing at home. They’re even great for travel. However, yoga leggings are often confused with yoga pants and vice versa.

So, are yoga pants and leggings the same thing? Not quite. The main difference between the two is that yoga pants are made to be baggy, while yoga leggings hug the body. Yoga pants are typically made of a thicker material, and yoga leggings are made of a thinner, stretchier fabric. Yoga pants are usually worn at the waist, while yoga leggings are typically mid- or high-waisted.

Types of Pants

Yoga pants come in a variety of styles, fits, and cuts, such as yoga sweatpants, wide-leg yoga pants, and yoga capris. There are also different lengths to choose from, like shorts, ankle-length, and cropped pants.

Leggings, on the other hand, have a signature skin-tight fit and can be worn either as pants or under long shirts, dresses, or tunics. While yoga leggings are often used for leisurewear or lounging around the house as well as exercise, yoga pants are mainly worn for yoga, hiking, or other physical activities.

Wide-leg Yoga Pants

Wide-leg yoga pants have a baggier fit and are loose at the ankle, making them ideal for a slow, restorative practice. These pants are also available in styles like flare and bootcut. For a yoga class involving a variety of challenging poses, we would recommend wearing a tighter style of yoga pants to allow for movement. You wouldn’t want your pants to get in the way of your practice!

Yoga Sweatpants

Similar to wide-leg yoga pants, yoga sweatpants are also loose at the ankle and are suitable for types of yoga that don’t involve a great deal of movement. Steer clear of yoga sweatpants that have a drawstring, as these can bunch up and cause discomfort in certain yoga poses—especially when you’re on your stomach!

Yoga Capris

In warmer climates and during the summer, you might decide on yoga capris for a cooler option with more coverage than shorts. Capris can be cropped either just below the knee or just above the ankle. Because they are tight like leggings, capris provide a full range of motion for all types of yoga.

Advantages of Yoga Pants

-Stay in place while working out

-Thicker and not see-through

-Comfortable and not restrictive

-Wick away moisture

-Hold their shape

-Typically last longer than yoga leggings


-Typically pricier than yoga leggings

-Roll-over band might fold over (though there are now many styles that omit this band)

What Are Yoga Leggings?

Yoga leggings are skin-tight yoga bottoms that are thinner than yoga pants. Because of their thin material, they were originally designed to be worn as undergarments, hosiery, or as an added layer of warmth. While yoga leggings aren’t considered pants, they are often worn as such because they are slimming and flattering for many different body types. All you have to do is throw on a cute sweatshirt or crop top for a trendy, yet comfortable look!

Types of Leggings

There are several types of leggings out there. You can choose different materials and lengths to find a pair that will be the most comfortable and functional for your yoga style. The most important thing to consider when choosing yoga leggings is to make sure that they are specifically designed for yoga using high. Attempting crow pose will be much more difficult in fashion leggings that are too loose, see-through, or are weighed down by moisture. Instead, you’ll want yoga bottoms that are sweat-wicking and form-fitting. Your yoga leggings should give you support, coverage, and the right amount of stretch to move with you through your practice.

By Material

Yoga leggings are made from a variety of different materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding on a new pair of yoga leggings, it’s important to take into account that all fabrics are not created equally, and some may hinder or distract from your yoga performance. That’s why it is worth it to invest in yoga leggings made from high-quality materials. The most common fabrics used to make yoga leggings include cotton, nylon, polyester, wool, and spandex.


While cotton leggings are the most affordable option, they are also extremely thin and often get stretched out after just a few washes. Fashion leggings get their soft and cozy feel because they’re often made of cotton, but we wouldn’t recommend wearing cotton leggings to the gym or yoga studio. They are often too sheer and difficult to keep in place because cotton isn’t as flexible as other fabrics. Furthermore, this material isn’t designed to wick away moisture, so you’re unlikely to stay dry in cotton leggings.


Nylon yoga leggings are extremely durable as well as lightweight, making them one of the most popular materials for yoga leggings. Nylon is stretchy and does a great job of keeping you cool and dry as you move through various yoga poses. Another advantage of nylon yoga leggings is that they are usually very affordable. This makes them a great choice for people who are on a budget.


Polyester is known for its moisture-wicking properties. Although polyester is not as breathable compared to other materials, people like its stretchiness and sturdy, yet lightweight feel. Polyester and polyester-blend leggings are solid options for any workout.


Wool leggings are best for winter sports. Because wool is warm and wicks away moisture better than other materials, wool leggings have become a popular choice for practicing yoga in the winter or in cold climates.


Almost every type of yoga pants and leggings contains spandex. Because spandex holds its shape while offering the most elasticity out of all yoga bottom materials, spandex is both flattering and comfortable for yoga practices of all kinds.

By Length

Leggings most commonly end at the bottom of the ankle. However, there are many different lengths available, such as footed leggings, stirrup-style (loop under the heel), cropped (right above the ankle), capris (just below the knee), or even shorts (mid-thigh). Despite the differences in length, these styles are all considered leggings because they hug the body and are composed of the same materials as leggings.

The length you choose depends on your personal preference, as well as the temperature both inside and outside the yoga studio. Do you often get chilly as you settle into shavasana? Then you might go for full-length leggings. If you’re a fan of hot yoga, however, shorts may be your best bet.


-Comfortable and flattering

-Typically more affordable than yoga pants

-Add variety to your wardrobe with a wide selection of styles, materials, colors, etc.

-Skin-tight fit

-Can be worn around the house, to the grocery store, or at a yoga class

-Add a layer of warmth

-Thin and stretchy


-Can be see-through

-Some materials aren’t designed for yoga or other workouts

-Thinner than yoga pants

-May lose shape over time

-Waistband might fold over rather than stay in place

Leggings vs. Yoga Pants: Key Points

Before deciding which type of yoga bottoms is for you, you’ll want to consider the difference between yoga pants and leggings. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

-Leggings can be worn for yoga as well as for fashion

-Yoga pants are designed for physical activities, such as hiking and yoga

-Leggings hug the body and are perfect for high-movement yoga practices

-Yoga pants are ideal for slower yoga practices because they’re loose at the ankle

-Both yoga leggings and yoga pants come in a wide assortment of colors, styles, patterns, materials, and more

-For maximum performance, it is important to pick bottoms that are designed specifically for yoga

Which One Will You Choose?

When choosing yoga bottoms, think about your style of yoga and what you typically like to wear. In general, you’ll want bottoms that are light and airy for a hot yoga class, but for a strenuous workout you might need something sturdier and more supportive. At the end of the day, it boils down to your personal preferences, the type of yoga you’re practicing, and what you feel the most comfortable in.


So, what’s the difference between yoga pants and leggings? The key distinction is that yoga pants fit more loosely, while leggings are tighter. This makes them both good options for different types of yoga. Yoga pants are better suited for more restorative practices like yin or hatha, while yoga leggings can handle a more vigorous type of yoga, such as vinyasa or ashtanga. Yoga leggings can also be worn as pants and for various occasions, whereas yoga pants are typically worn only for yoga or other workouts.


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