What you're looking for are options made primarily (like 75 percent-plus) from fabrics that are thin, quick drying, and sweat-wicking such as nylon, polyester, and polyamide. All three of the above are synthetic, and if the "S" word has your Spidey Senses going off, know that there are sustainable options in this category as well. Keep your eyes out for pairs made from recycled plastic. It'll likely appear on tags or product descriptions as Econyl (recycled nylon), Repreve or Rpet (both of which are polyesters made from reusable water bottles). More and more brands are becoming fans of these eco-friendly materials. Early adopters include Aday and Mara Hoffman, as well as those known for making waitlist-only leggings like Girlfriend Collective and Adidas by Stella McCartney. (Adidas recently announced plans to use recycled plastic in all its products by 2024—which was the fitness fashion equivalent of Starbucks deciding to do away with straws.)
That's not to say that plant-based fabrics such as cotton aren't breathable—they're just heavier, and on hot, humid days, that extra density that helps to hold you in and sculpt your shape will also weigh you down. (Better to relegate the material to your summer undies instead and rotate pairs made primarily from it to the bottom of your yoga pants pile until after Labor Day—unless you're planning to try a cool-temp workout.) At the very least, if you want to go au naturale, look for leggings that incorporate design elements with other cool factors—mesh panels, lace-up detailing, and cutouts for starters. Not only are they very on trend, but they'll also give your legs some much-appreciated ventilation.
Should you find, that after giving your current leggings collection a once-over, you lack options that meet the above, summer-friendly criteria, I've scoured the entirety of the internet (well, a lot of it anyway) and present to you a selection of leggings that are supremely lightweight.
Summer-friendly lightweight leggings
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