There’s an undeniable high that comes from scouring social media for the latest athleisure fads. (Pom pom sneakers, anyone?) That same crazy lust is what drives you to strategically refresh your browser to score a wait-listed item. But when it comes to leggings, sometimes you don’t want a fitness-fashion fling—you want a serious relationship that’s guaranteed to last.
So which pairs are worth locking down for the long haul? To find out, I turned to the insiders at some tried-and-true activewear brands, who gave me the inside scoop on their most popular leggings of all time. (You know the type: That ride-or-die style that keeps getting released—and selling out—in different colors and patterns because it’s just that good.)
They’ve all got a reputation for fitting like a dream, looking fly come happy hour, and remaining strong through endless rounds of burpees and jump squats.
As it turns out, all the MVPs are the quiet, hardworking kind: mostly shades of black and grey with subdued patterns, maybe a hint of shine. Many have a celebrity fan or two. And they’ve all got a reputation for fitting like a dream, looking fly come happy hour, and remaining strong (and opaque) through endless rounds of burpees and jump squats.
You may not be setting any trends with these, and you’ll most likely see three other girls wearing them during any given workout. But you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ll still love them long after your prized Puma creepers feel passé—after all, thousands of besotted fans can’t be wrong.
Here are the 9 best-selling tights from go-to brands in the activewear game.
These colorblock tights catapulted onto the fitness fashion stage thanks to unofficial endorsements from Lena Dunham and Gwyneth Paltrow. But why have they become a mainstay? “The gray is so universally flattering,” explains Tyler Haney, Outdoor Voices’ founder. “Most people buy them with the matching crop top and it becomes their uniform for activity—a great first layer for whatever they’re doing.”
Alo Yoga Moto Legging, $110
With an urban-chic vibe, it’s no wonder these leggings continue to be the star of Alo‘s assortment. It helps that the Instagram-friendly style has a long list of cool-girl fans, from Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid to Taylor Swift.
These leggings are all about the understated—but powerful—technical specs, like second-skin compression fit and antimicrobial fabric. (Leave ’em in your gym bag overnight? No problem.) That might be why, according to UnderArmour insiders, they’re the top-selling pair for the brand in all of North America.
Sweaty Betty calls this style a “bum-sculpting hero” due to its knack for flying off shelves. (Get it?) It’s constantly being repackaged into different prints and patterns—chalk it up to the high demand from customers and covetable collaborators like ModelFit.
Another barre-to-bar favorite, these liquid-look pants from Koral sell like mad in black, gray, and navy alike. “We think this style does so well because it’s the perfect blend of innovative performance technology and chic design,” explains Ilana Kugel, the brand’s creative director. Stylish motorcycle jacket not included (but strongly suggested).
When Tory Burch’s athletic offshoot arrived on the scene, it was a pair of track pants that stole the show (and, subsequently, sold out in just one day). But the slow-and-steady winner for the brand continues to be this understatedly preppy Chevron legging, which comes in six different colorways.
Shiny pants, FTW. “Our all-time best sellers are our Takara leggings—we can barely keep them in stock,” says Lisa Kraynak, CMO of Carbon38. “They look great on every body type and the versatile fabric makes them perfect for working out, traveling, and [the] office.” And with rad seasonal colors like this red wine hue, why wouldn’t you want to stock up?
The legging that launched a craze, the Wunder Under is the all-time favorite from the beloved brand. The reason? Lululemon continues to produce it in different patterns, but never messes with the lightweight fabric and high-waisted fit of the design—making them perfect for both high-impact and low-impact workouts (and some of those in-between lounging around moments, too).
The fashionista behind the buzzy blog We Wore What wasn’t messing around when she developed an activewear line with Strut-This. With lace-up sides and an on-trend marble print, these leggings went quick at Bandier as soon as they dropped. “The We Wore What collection sold out almost immediately—with a 2,000-person online waitlist,” says the store’s owner Jennifer Bandier. Although they’re back in stock, she notes that “the marble leggings continue to remain our top seller since they went on sale.” Now that deserves a double tap.
You’ve updated your leggings wardrobe, so now it’s time to spruce up your kicks: 13 white sneakers that will always look good. And for insta-chic post-workout hair, try this easy styling trick beloved by Italian cool-girls.
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