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Which high-waisted leggings are best?

High-waisted leggings are an enduring style of athleisure wear that’s considered universally flattering. They feature thick waistbands that give the wearer both tummy control and coverage. 

Whether you’re wearing them to a yoga class or to brunch, you want a pair that fits perfectly, so they’re comfortable but don’t slide down. For a slimming pair, Skechers Gowalk Skinny Leggings are the top choice.

What to know before you buy high-waisted leggings


High-waisted leggings are versatile and can be worn as loungewear around the house or as athletic wear. Leggings are also now an acceptable form of casual wear, so feel free to pair them with a sweatshirt and head out to the grocery store.


Some leggings are better for exercise than others, and this is largely determined by the material. If you’re wearing leggings for working out, look for a thick pair that resists breaking under tension.

High-waisted leggings that stretch with your body for yoga are also called yoga pants. These are made from nylon-elastane or nylon-Lycra blends that are breathable and won’t lose their shape when stretching. More budget-friendly pairs are made from polyester blends that have decent stretch but aren’t as breathable. You’ll see rayon, cotton or spandex included in these blends.

Leggings that contain a high percentage of cotton, a natural fiber, are the most comfortable but may not be suitable for working out, since they can lose their shape. They may be better for hanging out. Cotton blends are highly breathable, but are not moisture wicking like synthetic materials. 


High-waisted leggings are defined by their high rise. The waistband extends up above the belly button, offering ample coverage. The measurement between the crotch inseam and waist is between 10 and 12 inches for a true high rise. Some pairs, however, have a shorter rise and extend just up to the belly button.

Waistbands on high-waisted leggings are thick — between 3 and 5 inches — and may provide a compressive panel for tummy control. 


Because of the popularity of high-waisted leggings, you can find them in an inclusive range of women’s sizes from XXS to 6X. Not all brands, however, offer extended sizes, and sizing can vary from brand to brand. Be sure to check the sizing guide and compare it to your own measurements for an accurate fit. 

What to look for in quality high-waisted leggings


It’s important to check leggings’ length before you buy because they can be difficult and costly to hem. Select a length that you feel comfortable in and consider what activities you’ll be engaging in. High-waisted styles come in a variety of lengths: capri, cropped, seven-eighths and full length. Look for petite and tall sizes if you’re short or tall, respectively. 


If you have separation anxiety from your phone, many pairs of leggings offer side pockets that can fit a smartphone. Just be sure it can accommodate your model of phone. Not all consumers like the look of these external pockets, but you can also find pairs with a hidden pocket in the waistband that can fit small items such as a key or folded up cash. 


Leggings come in every color imaginable, from neutral to bright hues. Black leggings are widely available and hide sweat stains the best. Dark colors such as charcoal, navy, purple, olive and burgundy are also popular for this reason. They are also less likely to be see-through. Still, light colors including shades of pink, beige and gray are popular as well. 


While solid colors are easy to find, you can also find leggings with patterns. Space dye is popular and has a subtle multi-colored blurred pattern. You can also make more of a statement with leopard print, bold floral prints, camo or marbled leggings. You can pair patterned bottoms with a matching sports bra, if offered, or a solid-colored top. 

How much you can expect to spend on high-waisted leggings

High-rise leggings cost between $13-$98. 

High-waisted leggings FAQ

What is the ‘squat test’?

A. Some leggings can be sheer, but that can’t be determined unless you try them on in front of a mirror. Squat and bend over to see if the material in the rear stretches too thin and reveals your underwear. 

Can I put leggings in the dryer? 

A. While the majority of leggings are machine-washable, not all can be tumble dried. This is especially true of high-performance athletic leggings, which need to be air dried. Check the care instructions before washing and drying your leggings. 

What are the best high-waisted leggings to buy?

Top high-waisted leggings

Skechers Gowalk Skinny Leggings

Skechers Gowalk Skinny Leggings

What you need to know: These leggings are so comfortable for working out that you’ll end up wearing them all day. 

What you’ll love: The very high waist keeps everything in place and is slimming. Many consumers say these are their go-to leggings for the gym and the best pair they’ve ever had. The high-rise style comes in six muted colors that are easy to match. 

What you should consider: They run slightly small. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Top high-waisted leggings for the money

Sunzel Workout Leggings

Sunzel Workout Leggings  

What you need to know: If you don’t want to break the bank on athleisure wear, these high-waisted leggings are buttery soft and highly functional. 

What you’ll love: The quality and fit is comparable to luxury yoga pants. The high rise is truly high and stays up. The material is very soft, passes the squat test and comes in over two dozen colors. 

What you should consider: These full-length leggings may be too long for shorter wearers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

The Gym People Thick High-Waisted Yoga Leggings

The Gym People Thick High-Waisted Yoga Leggings 

What you need to know: These popular yoga pants feature highly rated pockets that securely hold your phone and cards. 

What you’ll love: They come in both full-length and capri styles, and every color and pattern you can imagine. The tummy panel provides compression, and these leggings stay snug and, most importantly, up. 

What you should consider: The waistband can cut into skin uncomfortably. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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