Best Material for Leggings [2022 Review]

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Although leggings come in varying styles, designs, and lengths, leggings material is one of the main factors that determine their suitability. Knowing the best material for leggings will help you choose leggings with a comfortable, stretchable, and moisture-wicking fabric.

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Our Top Legging Material Recommendations

The best material for leggings is breathable and stretchable, allowing you to wear the leggings for longer without irritations. The following materials are tough and durable, and the leggings made from these materials can serve you for longer.

Brand
Hi Clasmix leggings
Victoria’s Secret leggings
Colorfulkoala yoga pants
Product
High Waisted Leggings for Women-Womens Black...
Victoria's Secret Pink Cotton High Waist Leggings,...
Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft High Waisted...
Fabric Type
92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
87% Cotton/13% Elastane
80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
Care Instructions
Cold machine wash or hand wash
Machine wash
Machine wash and dry
Brand
Hi Clasmix leggings
Product
High Waisted Leggings for Women-Womens Black...
Fabric Type
92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
Care Instructions
Cold machine wash or hand wash
Price
Brand
Victoria’s Secret leggings
Product
Victoria's Secret Pink Cotton High Waist Leggings,...
Fabric Type
87% Cotton/13% Elastane
Care Instructions
Machine wash
Price
Brand
Colorfulkoala yoga pants
Product
Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft High Waisted...
Fabric Type
80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
Care Instructions
Machine wash and dry
Price

Polyester

High Waisted Leggings for Women-Womens Black...

is a synthetic fabric from purified terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol polymerization. The products are melted down, and the fluid passes through the spinneret to create semi-crystalline fibers.

The fibers are then chemically-treated and woven to make the polyester fabric. Since this is a synthetic material, the fibers don’t shrink or pill like cotton, making the resulting leggings durable. Since polyester is more of a petroleum product, it resists water droplets.

As a result, polyester leggings such as the Hi Clasmix leggings will move sweat to the outside, making them moisture-wicking and suitable for wearing in summer. However, it’s not smooth like cotton, and the leggings might not be ideal for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • It’s moisture-wicking, allowing you to cool down
  • Polyester is abrasion resistant and retains its shape, making the leggings appear new even after use

Cons

  • Polyester has a course feel, making the leggings feel uncomfortable 
  • It tends to attractive body oils that can lead to odors 
High Waisted Leggings for Women-Womens Black...
  • ✓BASIC BLACK LEGGING : Keep your off-duty style cool but comfortable and indulge in a pair of...
  • ✓HIGH WAIST TUMMY CONTROL : A full-length legging with tummy control these pants give you a slim...
  • ✓SOFT FABRIC: You will love our leggings once you put them on and experience a perfect combination...

Cotton

Victoria's Secret Pink Cotton High Waist Leggings,...

Cotton is made of varying lengths of natural fibers derived from cotton plants. The fluffy cotton fibers are spun into yarn, then woven to make the cotton fabric. The fluffy and soft nature of the plant makes the resulting fabric feel soft.

As a result, leggings made of cotton, such as Victoria’s Secret leggings, have a softer feel than polyester ones, and you can wear them all day without skin irritations. The strong cellular structure of the cotton plant makes the resulting fabrics wear-and-tear-resistant.

Like Nylon, leggings made of cotton are tough, and you can use them in intense workouts such as athletics without the fear of fabric ripping due to the friction between the thighs. However, leggings made of cotton are prone to shrinking.

Pros

  • The soft feel makes the leggings comfortable even after sweating
  • It’s hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skins

Cons

  • The leggings might shrink after sometime
  • It’s absorbent, and leggings take longer to dry
Victoria's Secret Pink Cotton High Waist Leggings,...
  • High Waist
  • Smoothing waistband with interior key/card pocket.
  • Body Hugging Fit

Nylon

Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft High Waisted...

Nylon is a type of polyamide, which is a group of polymers. Like polyester, nylon fiber ns are synthetic, constructed from monomers of long-chain carbon molecules. Usually, nylon fibers are mixed with other fabrics to make mixed textiles.

Since this is a more complex synthetic material than polyester, nylon leggings such as the Colorfulkoala yoga pants can withstand many chemicals and oils, making them suitable for wearing casually at home or when running errands.

However, unlike polyester, nylon has poor moisture-wicking properties and might not allow sweat to move to the outside for evaporation. Usually, this hinders the body from losing heat, making the leggings unsuitable for intense exercises such as running.

Pros

  • Nylon is durable, and the leggings can serve you for longer
  • It’s easy to wash and dries faster, making the leggings ideal for casual wear

Cons

  • Nylon is heat intolerant, and leggings can feel hot and uncomfortable in hot weather
  • It’s not moisture-wicking and might retain sweat and cause irritations
Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft High Waisted...
  • 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
  • Made with buttery soft fabric that is opaque, four-way stretch, lightweight, moisture-wicking and it...
  • Flatlock construction for added comfort and reinforcement

Features to Consider in the Best Material for Leggings

Considering that different materials have different moisture-wicking properties, durability, and softness, consider the following features to ensure you get a material that will suit your needs. Additionally, you can use the following table to check the most crucial features.

MaterialTypeMoisture-wicking Soft
CottonOrganicYesYes
PolyesterSyntheticYesNo
NylonSyntheticNoYes

Durability

Durability refers to how long the fabric can serve you without ripping. Although the durability of the leggings might vary with the quality of the seams, how regularly you wear them, the activities you engage in and whether you are excessively stretching them, it mainly depends on the fabric’s material.

Usually, synthetic materials made from chemicals and petroleum products tend to be tougher and more durable than organic materials. Keeping in mind that cotton is an organic material made from cotton plants, it’s the least durable on our list.

On the other hand, nylon is a synthetic material made from a wider range of chemicals than polyester, making it the toughest and most durable material on our list. However, polyester has better abrasion-resistance properties than nylon, making polyester leggings look newer for longer.

Colorful leggings placed near a black make-up brush and a white container on top of a white surface

Comfort

Keeping in mind that the leggings are in constant contact with your skin, you will want a soft and comfortable material, especially if you have sensitive skin. Since cotton is made from fluffy cotton fibers, cotton leggings have a soft feel, and you can wear cotton leggings for longer without irritation.

On the other hand, the wider range of chemicals making nylon makes it softer than polyester. However, since both nylon and polyester are synthetic materials, they are not the best for sensitive skins, especially when engaging in workouts that make the leggings rub against the skin.

Stretchability

Spandex, also known as elastane, is a soft, smooth, and lightweight synthetic fiber with unique elasticity properties. Keeping in mind that leggings need to be stretchable and form-fitting, almost all leggings’ fabrics contain some spandex.

As a result, it means the fabrics of cotton, polyester, or nylon in leggings are blends of spandex. However, the materials still have stretching properties, with nylon having the highest and cotton having the least. That means nylon leggings will be stretchier than cotton leggings of the same spandex percentage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Leggings Material Affect My Athletic Performance?

Yes, the material of the leggings can affect your athletic performance. Usually, breathable materials will allow sweat to evaporate and cool you down, improving your athletic performance.

Can Leggings Material Cause Allergies?

Yes, leggings material can cause allergies, especially if you have sensitive skin. Most allergies result from synthetic materials such as rubber, rayon, nylon, and polyester rather than organic materials such as cotton. 

Final Thoughts

Although the best material for leggings will depend on your preference and where you want to wear the leggings, the above materials are flexible and stretchable. Nylon is more durable; polyester is ideal for exercise, and cotton is suitable for all-day wear.