Yoga Pants vs Leggings: Differences, Similarities (What to Choose)

Yoga Pants vs Leggings

You are about to take yoga on, and you are shopping for appropriate clothing. But you can’t decide on which to choose, leggings or yoga pants, the ones that have caused you to find this article probably look very similar, and you may be more inclined to go for the cheaper one. But hear me out;

First, the most important thing to know is that yoga pants are designed for physical activities, and leggings should be worn under your everyday clothes to keep you warm in cold weather. However, the truth is that the lines have blurred between yoga pants and leggings, thanks to the new fashion fads and improvements in manufacture.

But here’s the interesting thing; not all yoga pants look like leggings

You can wear leggings to complete a cute outfit, go out on a super casual outing or as loungewear. They are made with lighter material and are generally more comfortable than yoga pants. But yoga pants are explicitly designed for athleticism. They are for jogging, yoga, the gym, pilates and other physically challenging exercises.

They are made with thicker material, are more opaque and are moisture-wicking and superelastic, which makes them perfect for all kinds of physical activities.

Yoga Pants vs Leggings: The Similarities

The significant similarities between these two kinds of bottoms are in style and colours. 

1. Style

Yoga pants come in varying styles, from the popular flare pants to sweat pants, tight leggings, fitted to flare pants, capris, and harem pants.

Yoga pants, more specifically, yoga leggings and regular leggings, look alike. Regular leggings and yoga leggings are both skin-tight types of leggings. Regular leggings are no longer worn as just protection against the cold; they are now worn out on their own as bottoms for oversized shirts, tunics or dresses. Sometimes, yoga leggings can be worn as bottoms to complete any outfit.

Yoga Pants vs Leggings
Image: Envato Elements

Apart from this, you can spot the difference between these two bottoms a mile away.  Leggings and yoga leggings are similar until you go down in a squat or a downward dog and give everyone a nice show of your underwear, or in the worst-case scenario, hear a rip from your crotch or butt. 

2. Color Options

Originally, regular leggings and yoga pants were available only in the colour black, so you had only one colour and several styles for yoga pants and only one style and colour for leggings.

But now, they come in different colours and patterns. So the possibilities are endless for colour codes and designs that you can get your leggings or yoga pants in. This is because both pants are styled with other outfits for activities outside of sports and lounging and thus needs to be adapted to these new uses. 

Yoga Pants vs Leggings: The Differences

Yoga pants and leggings have fundamental differences in their purpose, price, designs, the material used, durability, and flexibility. We will explore these differences one after the other. 

1. Purpose

Leggings are made with the sole purpose of being fashionable and warm for cold climates. They are comfortable, stretchy and flattering.  Yoga pants, on the other hand, are made specifically for yoga and other physical activities.

This purpose influences the style of yoga pants, the materials used for them, etc. Before, yoga pants could not be worn or considered fashion statements, but it’s a whole different era now, and if properly styled, you can wear yoga pants to work. 

2. The Designs

Leggings are designed to be light. Not as light as tights, but also not as thick as classic yoga pants. This is why your underwear can show through leggings when you are engaged in certain physical activities. Because of the primary purpose that yoga pants serve, they are made with thicker materials; they have details like thick waistbands usually made with double fabric construction for body compression to give extra tummy support during exercises.

Yoga Pants vs Leggings
Image: Envato Elements

In contrast, the waistband of regular leggings would fold over rather than stay in place to provide support. In addition, some yoga pants are designed with a gusseted crotch to save you from embarrassment during splits. Yoga pants are also made to suit physical exertion and make you as comfortable as possible through your yoga, gym time or pilates session;  the important thing is flexibility for an increased range of motions. 

Unlike leggings with only one style, skin-tight from waist to knee or ankle, yoga pants have a wide range of designs to suit different body types and preferences. The most popular yoga pants are fitted from waist to knee and wide-legged down to the ankles, so aim for a more relaxed look like sweatpants.

On the other hand, yoga leggings have you looking snatched in skin-tight-from-waist-to-ankle bottoms, and harem pants are loose from waist down and then scrunched up at the ankles. 

3. Materials Used

One of the many ways you can differentiate the two bottoms is fabric. Leggings are usually made from various materials, including polyester, nylon, faux leather and even cotton. Meanwhile, yoga pants are specifically made from fabrics that are designed for flexibility, like spandex and elastane.

This means that with yoga pants, you can properly do stretches and put yourself in different positions without the fear that your pants will expand and lose shape. They are also made with breathable, sweat-wicking, anti-chafe materials that absorb sweat while keeping you dry, do not turn transparent due to the sweat and retain firm shape wash after wash. However, leggings are not designed with these details.

They are prone to wear and tear due to friction and constant washing, they don’t absorb sweat properly, and in no time, they can lose their shape around curvy areas like the knees and bottom. 

4. Price

Regular leggings are considerably cheaper than yoga pants. This follows that the fabrics used and unique designs for yoga pants are more advanced than the kind used for leggings. In addition, you can get regular leggings from any Forever 21, H & M store that you walk into for a small amount of money; however, yoga pants are retailed at much higher prices.

Some of our favourite brands include Alo Yoga, Lululemon, ODODOS, Macy’s and Victoria Secret. In truth, yoga pants can be pricey, but you can be sure you are getting your money’s worth.  And yes, there are yoga pants for your budget. For as low as $13, you can get a decent pair of yoga pants

What to choose: Yoga Pants or Leggings?

I used to attend yoga classes, and I can categorically say that one of the most embarrassing things ever is to have your pants rip while you’re trying to get into a pose. Or unknowingly flash your underwear in a roomful of strangers.

BFF 2-Person Yoga Poses
Image: Envato Elements. Bff 2-Person Yoga Poses.

Understandably, a lot of people mistake yoga pants for regular leggings since the debut of yoga leggings since they look very similar, but now you know there is a world of difference between these two. They are two different bottoms made for two separate events, and your experience with them should convince you. Therefore, at this point, I hope it’s a no-brainer what you choose to buy for your yoga sessions. 

If you want pants for fitness and sports, get yoga pants. They are thicker and opaque, last longer and provide extra support and confidence because they are specifically designed for sports purposes.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a cute pair of bottoms that would feel more comfortable than denim, are very affordable, and can be worn to casual outings with long tops and/or even lounging around your apartment, regular leggings are perfect for you. When you have a pair of bottoms that makes flexibility easier and do not stretch too tightly against your skin, it could generally improve your progress at yoga.

Thus, one thing is clear now; regular leggings have no place in your yoga wardrobe. They simply do not serve that purpose. So will the bottoms you currently wear for yoga or plan to be wearing survive a hard-core yoga session? If not, it’s time to splurge on some good stuff for the long term. 

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