10 Best Hiking Leggings & Tights of 2024

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A blonde backpacker sitting on a rock in front of an icey lake in the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights
Fjallraven Abisko Trek – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Leggings are the outerwear of choice for more and more hikers. They’re super comfortable and practical, especially in cooler conditions. We have researched 30 models and tested the 11 most promising pairs of leggings from brands like Athleta, Lululemon, Patagonia, and REI looking at comfort, durability, pocket configurations, weight, and inclusive sizing. With over 6 million steps and 300,000 feet of elevation in our leggings, our team of experts makes it quick and easy to find a pair you’ll love.

And if you’re still exploring what is right for you, take a look at our guides to the best hiking pants and shorts for women. We’ve also got you covered up top with our favorite sun shirts and base layers.

Quick Picks for Hiking Leggings

Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

Best hiking leggings overall: Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II ($119)

Most durable leggings: Patagonia Pack Out Hike ($129)

Best budget leggings: IUGA High Waist ($30)

Leggings with a built-in skirt: Athleta Elation 2 in 1 ($98)

Best value leggings: Eddie Bauer Trail Tight ($99)

Light & breathable leggings: Arc’teryx Essent High-Rise ($120)

High-performance compression leggings: Lululemon Swift Speed High-Rise ($128)

Reinforced technical leggings: Fjallraven Abisko Trek Pro ($150)

High-quality & versatile legging: prAna Electa II ($89)

Basic lightweight leggings: REI Active Pursuits ($70)

Warm, comfortable & affordable leggings: IUGA Fleece Lined ($33)

What’s new

We’ve been hiking up a sweat, getting in more steps with our favorites, and trying out new models:

  • The IUGA High Waist is our favorite low-cost pair of tights for their supportive design and quality for the price.

Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II

Best hiking leggings overall

Price: $119

Weight: 9 oz.

Fabric: 91% recycled nylon / 9% spandex

Pros

  • Durable
  • Good value
  • Excellent pockets
  • Flattering
  • UPF 50+
  • Inclusive sizing (Petite, Plus, Tall)

Cons

  • A bit warm for strenuous summer hikes
  • Heavier than some

The Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II have quickly become our favorite hiking leggings because they’re flattering and super comfortable. They look more like normal pants than athletic wear with their sleek lines and plentiful zippered pockets. The fit is snug, but not overly constricting, and the comfy, wide waistband doesn’t press into skin. The front side of these pants is a nylon blend material for durability and moisture resistance, while the backside is spandex for greater flex and breathability. The Headlands are perfect for cool-weather hiking, but we like them so much that we find ourselves wearing them pretty much everywhere.

Patagonia Pack Out Hike

Most durable leggings

Price: $129

Weight: 11.7 oz.(Size S)

Fabric: 87% recycled polyester / 13% spandex

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Reinforced panels on knees & seat for added durability
  • Excellent pockets

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A bit warm for strenuous summer hikes
  • Heavier than some

The Patagonia Pack Out Hike Tights offer an excellent range of motion for tackling tough trails without sacrificing durability, so you can be wild and carefree. They’re made with a stretchy blend of polyester-spandex fabric so they’re comfortable and light. But they’re sturdier than your typical legging due to the DWR-coated nylon-spandex panels on the seat and knees. That means you can take a knee to tie your shoe or sit on a wet log to watch that waterfall – no problem! The Pack Out Hikes are similar to the Fjallraven Abisko Trek Pro Tights below, but they cost quite a bit less and have a more forgiving fit for curvier bodies. We’re also big fans of the Pack Outs without the reinforced panels, though they aren’t quite as durable.

IUGA High Waist

Best budget leggings

Price: $30

Weight: 7.6 oz.(Size M)

Fabric: 77% polyester / 23% spandex

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Good quality for the price
  • Supportive
  • Lots of colors

Cons

  • Not quite as durable as some
  • Pockets are a bit small for a phone

Don’t want to spend a lot but still want decent quality? Check out the IUGA High Waist Leggings. We gave this affordable Amazon favorite a try and we were pleasantly surprised by how well they kept up with the more expensive competition. The fabric is thick enough that these pants aren’t see-through when you bend down, and they’ll undoubtedly last for many hiking seasons. If you wear leggings a lot, the IUGAs are cheap enough that you can get several pairs in different colors for the same price as a single pair of premium leggings. They’re also a great introductory option if you’ve never worn leggings and want to give them a try without breaking the bank.

Athleta Elation 2 in 1

Leggings with a built-in skirt

Price: $98

Weight: 7.4 oz.(Size S)

Fabric: 75% nylon / 25% lycra

Pros

  • Super soft
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Skirt for extra coverage
  • UPF 50+
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • No pockets
  • Limited colors

If you want to wear your leggings everywhere but you have reservations about baring it all in form-fitting pants, check out the Athleta Elation 2 in 1. They have a lightweight mini skirt sewn into the waistband for a little extra coverage, so you can rock them year-round without feeling exposed. On top of that, they’re some of the comfiest leggings we’ve ever worn. The fabric is incredibly soft and breathable. Plus, these tights only have light compression, so you won’t be eager to peel them off at the end of the day like a tight sports bra. We reach for the fashionable and functional Elation Leggings when it’s likely that a hike or yoga session will end with errands or a trip to the pub.

Eddie Bauer Trail Tight

Best value leggings

Price: $99

Weight: 9.5 oz.(Size S)

Fabric: 88% polyester / 12% spandex

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Flattering fit
  • Inclusive sizing
  • Lots of colors

Cons

  • Slower to dry than some
  • Pockets aren’t big enough for a phone
  • Mid-rise waistband can slide down
  • Heavier than some

We strongly suggest the Eddie Bauer Trail Tight if you’re on the hunt for an affordable pair of leggings with pockets for hiking. They’re cute, pretty durable, and they’re treated to resist odors so you can wash them less often. We wish the side pockets were a little larger so they could fit a phone in them, but it’s not a huge deal – we usually have a jacket or backpack pocket that works better anyway. The pockets have zippers to keep small stuff secure. Some reviewers say that the waist can fall down since it isn’t as tight-fitting as some. But we haven’t had that issue, and we find the more relaxed waistline to be comfortable for everyday wear and hiking. The Trail Tights are already a great deal at full price, but they can often be found on sale.

Arc’teryx Essent High-Rise

Light & breathable leggings

Price: $120

Weight: (SIZE 6): 4.8 oz.

Fabric: 71% nylon / 29% elastane

Pros

  • Super stretchy
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Quick-drying

Cons

  • Expensive

Arc’teryx products tend to be a little expensive, but we find that their clothing is often worth the cost for the dialed-in fit and exceptional quality. Everything we’ve ever owned from this brand has lasted a long time, and the Essent High-Rise Leggings are no exception. These high-performance tights are thin, so they feel cool and breathable even on a hot summer hike. And the nylon-lycra blend makes them extremely stretchy, quick drying, and highly resistant to runs and tears. We also really like that the waistband is smooth and remains comfortable even while sitting. As the name implies, the Essents are meant to be a versatile essential in your wardrobe. These streamlined leggings play the part perfectly whether you’re bagging high mountain peaks or just walking the dog.

Lululemon Swift Speed High-Rise

High-performance compression leggings

Price: $128

Weight: 6.4 oz.(Size 6)

Fabric: 69% nylon / 31% lycra

Pros

  • High-quality construction
  • Secure waistband
  • Compression for performance
  • Quick-drying
  • Inclusive sizing
  • Lightweight
  • Reflective details for visibility

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Tedious to put on due to compression
  • Only one small pocket
  • Back pocket zipper could get uncomfortable under a backpack

We pull out the lululemon Swift Speed High-Rise Leggings when we’re ready to kick some serious butt on a trail run. They have an extra-high waist that stays up securely, as well as plenty of compression to keep your blood flowing, so your heart doesn’t have to work quite as hard. These supportive pants can also help boost your confidence by keeping jiggles to a minimum during high-impact workouts. The tight fit makes them a little tedious to put on, but once you’re in them you’ll feel like a hiking superhero! If you’re serious about your workouts and want to look and feel great, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Swift Speeds.

Fjallraven Abisko Trek Pro

Reinforced technical leggings

Price: $150

Weight: (SIZE S): 7.4 oz.

Fabric: Main: 71% polyester / 29% elastane; reinforcement areas: 90% polyamide / 10% elastane

Pros

  • Reinforced panels for greater durability
  • Excellent pockets
  • Compression for performance

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • A bit warm for strenuous summer hikes
  • Waistband zipper can be uncomfortable under a hipbelt

The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights have a strange way of making you feel ready for anything when you put them on. They have quite a bit of compression for a supportive feel and plenty of pockets to keep you well equipped. The Abiskos are reinforced with Cordura panels on the knees and backside so they’re extra durable for hikers who are tough on gear. Don’t get us wrong, the stretchy material can still get snagged if you bushwhack. But they’ll give you the confidence to pop a squat on a log or criss-cross in the dirt anytime, anywhere. The Abiskos are expensive, so they’re best for people who are sure they’ll put them to hard use. You can also spend a little less and get the Abiskos without reinforcement patches if you aren’t a fan of the two-tone look.

prAna Electa II

High-quality & versatile legging

Price: $99

Weight: 5.9 oz.(Size S)

Fabric: 76% recycled nylon / 24% lycra

Pros

  • Flattering fit
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • UPF 50+

Cons

  • A bit basic for the price

What you’ll notice first about the prAna Electa II is how soft they feel and how stylish they are. These leggings have a flattering high waist, sleek lines, and double-flapped pockets that are great for keeping your phone screen or sunglasses scratch-free. The Electas have medium compression for a great balance of support and comfort, so they’re equally suited to the trail, a workout class, or lounging on the couch on a Saturday morning. You could spend less for a similar-looking cheap legging, but the Electas feel luxurious and are bound to last a lot longer.

REI Active Pursuits

Basic lightweight leggings

Price: $70

Weight: 5.9 oz.(Size: Small)

Fabric: 79% nylon / 21% lycra

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Soft
  • Breathable
  • Inclusive sizing
  • Lots of colors

Cons

  • Not as durable as others
  • Not supportive for high-impact sports

The REI Active Pursuit Tights are extra comfortable with their ultra-high waist, thin breathable material, and relaxed compression. They’re pretty basic compared to some of the sporty workout leggings on the market, but their simplicity makes them versatile. Because they’re plain looking, the Take Your Times are great for layering and work well for all kinds of activities indoors and out. And they’re affordable, so you might be able to pick up a couple of pairs instead of just one.

IUGA Fleece Lined

Price: $33

Weight: 7.6 oz.(Size M)

Fabric: 100% spandex

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Warm & comfy for fall & winter conditions

Cons

  • Too warm for vigorous exercise

We wear leggings the most during the chilly fall and winter months since they fit like a second skin and tend to keep us warmer than traditional hiking pants. When temperatures really dip, fleece-lined leggings, like these from IUGA, are where it’s at. These lightly insulated leggings provide a boost of warmth for bitter cold hikes and snowshoeing adventures. Plus, they layer well with tall boots, long shirts, and dresses to suit a whole range of outfits for everyday life. Of the hoards of cheap fleece-lined leggings on the market, we chose the IUGAs because they have great pockets, a flattering fit, and are good quality for the price.

A backpacker wearing an older version of the Patagonia Pack Out Crops in the Wind River Range
Annie almost always backpacks in leggings — on this trip she wore the Patagonia Pack Out Crops

What’s Most Important to You in a Pair of Leggings?

PRICE

We’re willing to spend more on high-quality leggings that are comfortable, stylish, and long-lasting – especially if it’s a pair we’ll wear frequently. But, you don’t have to spend a ton to get the ones you’ll love. We recommend a variety of options from budget to high-end.

Best value leggings

Best budget leggings

WEIGHT/SEASON

Some models are meant for breathability in warmer months while others are better-suited to shoulder season hiking. Though none of the models we tested are especially heavy, it is definitely necessary to consider the season you plan to wear your leggings the most to avoid overheating or getting too cold.

Most breathable leggings for summer

Best midweight leggings for fall, winter & spring

Best cold-weather leggings

COMFORT

One of the main reasons to choose leggings over other types of hiking pants is that they’re often more comfortable. All of the leggings on this list are stretchy to allow for freedom of movement, but comfort is a bit different for everyone. Some people gravitate towards buttery soft fabrics, while others look for compression and support.

Our top three comfiest leggings

Most supportive leggings

POCKETS

Many leggings have side pockets on the outer thighs, which are super handy for keeping your phone close at hand. These pockets also work well for lip balm, keys, or other small items you need easy access to while hiking. Some models have more pockets, but we use them sparingly. Bulky objects tend to look and feel odd in form-fitting leggings, but it’s nice to have options.

Leggings with excellent pockets

DURABILITY

Activewear designed for hiking has come a long way. We’ve discovered several pairs of leggings that are significantly more durable than your average yoga pants, so they’ll last for many adventures, and many pairs have reinforced panels in the seat and knee, so you can kneel or sit on natural surfaces without worrying about snagging or tearing the fabric.

Most durable leggings

INCLUSIVE SIZING

We’ve chosen our favorite high-performance options that offer a variety of sizes for more body types.

Leggings with inclusive sizing

Critical Legging Considerations

LEGGINGS VS. HIKING PANTS

Leggings tend to be a bit warmer and less breathable than other hiking pants, so we usually reserve them for hiking in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring. Check out our list of the Best Women’s Hiking Pants if you’re looking for something with a more relaxed fit that you can roll up.

The Iuga Fleece Lined Tights are warm, comfy & make great sleepwear on chilly shoulder-season backpacking trips

LENGTH

⅞ leggings (our favorite) stop just above the ankle bone. They pair well with a variety of socks and footwear and can easily be dressed up or down. Full-length leggings are a tad longer than ⅞ and work well with most outfits. They can make your legs look longer and are great for cold conditions. Knee-length or capri leggings cut off just below your knees for greater flexibility and breathability.

RISE

Like other pants, leggings come in a couple of different rise varieties – with the two most popular options being mid-rise (starting just below the belly button) or high-rise (which start at or even slightly above the belly button). High-waisted leggings can be really comfortable, and they tend to slip down less since they sit above the hip. Many people like them, but some folks may not find them as flattering. You may love the support of high-waisted leggings, but if you don’t want to draw attention to your waist, mid-rise is probably your best bet.

FIT

Leggings are meant to be form-fitting and should be snug in the thighs, butt, and calves. That said, they shouldn’t be too tight or feel uncomfortable. It can be a challenge to find a size that perfect fit since we all come in different shapes and sizes. Most leggings have a good amount of stretch to them, but some aren’t as forgiving in the waist area as others.

The Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II fits tightly in the thighs, butt, & calves, but feels fairly relaxed at the waist

If you’re between sizes and really want to make sure your leggings don’t slip down or sag in the crotch and butt, you may want to size down. If you’re more concerned with comfort and really want to avoid being squeezed at the waist as well as the pitfalls that come with leggings that are too tight in the crotch, you may want to consider sizing up.

COMPRESSION

Compression leggings (also referred to as shaper/sculpting) are popular for highly intense cardio activities like running. They’re tighter than regular leggings, and are thought to help improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow to the heart, preventing shin splints, and helping leg muscles recover more quickly. If you have a curvier silhouette, sculpting leggings can also smooth out areas so you can feel more confident and secure in your body. Athleisure leggings have some compression but not as much. They’re ideal for lounging, walking, or practicing yoga. Both types of leggings work well for hiking, but we tend to prefer those with a slightly more relaxed fit because they’re more comfortable for a variety of activities.

The Fjallraven Abisko Trek Pro Tights have a fair amount of compression & are better suited for slender waists

MATERIAL

Because we’re constantly exposed to moisture while we hike via sweat, rain, snow, and water crossings, it’s really important that our clothing dries as quickly as possible. Almost all leggings are made with synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon. They make the leggings stretchy and allow for a close, second-skin fit. The downside to synthetics is that they tend to hold odors more than natural fibers (like wool) do. If you prefer wool, you might want to take a look at baselayer bottoms instead.

Fabrics, like cotton, hold moisture against the skin and can cause serious problems for hikers including hypothermia, chafing, blisters, and rashes. Needless to say, it’s best to avoid materials like that altogether.

WASHING

Leggings are prone to smelling a bit crotch-y. If you’ve noticed this, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Almost all leggings are made with some form of polyester, which is non-absorbent. That means it works great for wicking sweat, but the water repellent properties also make it hard to wash. Adding a small amount of natural bacteria killer, like vinegar or tea tree oil, to your wash cycle will help break down any build up on the fibers. You can also do a pre-wash treatment with a paste made with baking soda for stubborn smells – just make sure to fade-test it on an inconspicuous area first. You should also avoid using fabric softener on performance fabrics because it will clog the fibers and cause smells to build up more over time.

GET AWAY WITH WASHING LESS

Another piece of advice – never toss sweaty or wet leggings in your dirty clothes hamper. Instead, give them a quick wash in the shower or sink with a tiny bit of hand soap after your workout and hang them to air dry. After that, you can put them in your hamper or wear them again.

The REI Active Pursuit Tights are lightweight, breathable & super versatile

Honorable Mentions

We have a couple additional picks that might just be what you’re looking for:

The Gym People Leggings

Another popular budget tight that comes in a huge array of colors. Ultimately, we chose the very similar IUGA High Waist for their visible customer service presence.

Nike Dri-Fit Luxe

Very comfortable and quick-drying, but no pockets