Yoga Pants vs. Leggings

April 23, 2019 8 min read

Yoga Pants vs. Leggings

Athleisure and activewear trends are ramping internet with Yoga pants vs. leggings comparison. There are so many people who look to wear leggings and yoga pants throughout the day. Many people even look to integrate this wear in their work lives. All this has happened because activewear manufacturers make such apparel very comfortable to wear. And of course who doesn’t want to be comfortable in every walk of life.

Athleisure is the newest obsession in current pop culture. Everyone seems to talk about these things all day long but what no one is clear about are the specific categories, definitions, and types. There are so many types of leggings and yoga pants that differentiating between the two things seems almost impossible.

This post focuses on differentiating these two products as we hear a lot of query from our customers on this topic. So let’s find out!

Yoga Pants vs. Leggings – The Definitions  

What are yoga pants?

Traditionally, yoga pants are a bit thicker and looser in fitting as compared to leggings. They can also serve to be your workout pants and you can use them for both outdoor and indoor activities.

Yoga pants are more popular in this regard instead of workout apparel because they offer a lot of flexibility and comfort. There is compression, full coverage, performance enhancement features UPF protection and anti-chafing fitting.

doing yoga outdoors

What are leggings?

On the other hand, leggings are thinner and tighter as compared to yoga pants. In most cases, people wear them under tunics, dresses or long shirts. The best part is that these leggings are thick enough for you to wear without any long tops.

Furthermore, they are very breathable and can wick away sweat while keeping you cool during your yoga practices. Some people also use the words yoga tights to describe leggings. They both seem to function in the same manner but tights are longer and tighter than leggings.

girl wearing black leggings

Yoga Pants vs. Leggings – Comparison Chart


Yoga Pants


Fabric Materials

Yoga pants have compressive and thick fabric materials. Manufacturers use different types of fabric blends such as lycra and cotton as well as spandex and cotton for the construction of these pants.

Normally, leggings have thinner fabric materials. They can offer a lot more relaxing and comfortable fit. Manufacturers use different types of blends including cotton, spandex, polyester, and modal.


Pants have both high and low waistband and manufacturers can use any types of elastic band for a better anti-slip grip.

In most cases, the waistbands of leggings are not high and they also don’t offer any compression either.


Yoga pants can come in a variety of lengths. They can be long, cropped, short, biker or 7/8.

In most cases, leggings come with long lengths and they sit at your ankles.


They feature flat-fell seaming for better chafe-free fitting. This seaming type is extremely resilient and resistant to tearing.

Plain or overlocked seams are present on leggings. These seams are loose and for this reason, they are better for casual wearing.


Most designs of yoga pants feature gusseted crotch. But not all of them.

You will find a (+) plus-shaped seaming in the crotch region. This is not the best option if you are looking to use your leggings for high-performance activities.


The fabric of these pants may pill but it depends on the fabric. Pilling occurs when then pants’ fabric rubs against a surface or against itself. With pilling, the fabric forms small balls of wearing threads. Pilling varies a lot from fabric to fabric.

Again depending on the fabric, pilling occurs in the same manner as in the case of yoga pants.


You can wear them alone as your pants and for this reason; they need to be opaque and not see-through. These pants are built for workouts and you can do all sorts of an intensive workout wearing them. Yoga pants are very durable and they tend to last for a long time.

You cannot wear your leggings alone. The reason behind that is leggings are not opaque and they are see-through. You have to wear them with a long top or tunic. These are best for casual wear and you cannot do a workout in your leggings.


Ø Fabric

Yoga pants are opaque and thicker. The reason behind that is manufacturers use thicker materials such as spandex, Lycra, and cotton to function as performance fabrics. These pants tend to move with your muscle movement and for this reason, they can move around easy and comfortable during your yoga activities.

Moreover, these pants have reinforced stitching with flat-fell seaming. This stitching style takes care of tears during different poses and prevents them.

Leggings, on the other hand, are not for vigorous activity and they can tear. Some manufacturers also use overlocked seams to cater to this problem. These are commonly made of non-stretchy and thin materials. The original purpose of these leggings was for the users to wear them under their clothes. These leggings are for wearing after your activities to keep the legs warm. However, now manufacturers make them a lot more versatile and you can use them as your casual wear too. These leggings can be made of polyester, cotton as well as fleece.

Ø Cut

Leggings are tight in fitting and they come down towards your ankle. They also have a little low waistband. But this is where things start to get a little confusing and the line between leggings and yoga pants start to blur.

Yoga pants can also be of the same fitting and they can also come down to your ankles. Originally, yoga pants had more flare in the bottom and also had a loose fitting. But nowadays you can find these pants in all sorts of compressions and silhouettes.

Leggings can also fit anywhere from your ankles to knees. You can also find numerous styles and form-fitting according to your preferences and practices. Pants hand a thicker and higher waistband but now you can find leggings in similar designs as well.

doing yoga outdoors

Ø Performance

This is the key point in differentiating yoga pants from leggings. If you wear your regular leggings while doing yoga you would notice that it tends to slip from the waistline. They don’t offer much flexibility and of course, they don’t wick seat that quickly.

Pants are designed in such fashion that they can easily move with your muscles during the activity and they don’t hinder your movement. In simple words, you are enjoying the benefits of 4-way stretching. In addition to that, yoga pants are far more comfortable, quick drying and lightweight. Your fabric will never be transparent even during deep stretches.

In most cases, a yoga pant also features a gusseted crotch. For the people who don’t know what a gusseted crotch is, it’s an extra piece of fabric. Manufacturers sew this little triangle piece of fabric to join the two pieces of fabric together. This gusseted crotch allows you to freely move and stretch your leggings well in place saving you from those embarrassing moments.  

Ø Use

The intended purpose can be a differentiating factor but the use can be according to the preferences of users. Yoga pants are a lot more comfortable to wear because they are not very tight fitting. For this reason, most women love to wear them as loungewear and others even use them as casual wear.

Leggings are tighter and you can use them under long shirts. They are made of very breathable fabrics and for this reason; you can wear them all day long without any issues. Women who like to wear stretchy fabrics tend to prefer yoga pants while those who prefer breathable and tight-fitting fabrics will go for leggings.

girl wearing red leggings

Ø Length

Some of the shoppers tend to differentiate these two apparels in accordance with length. However, in reality, there is not much difference that remains between the two these days.

In the past leggings were supposed to be shorter in length as compared to the pants. But now you can find a host of different leggings that come in different lengths ranging from knee-high to ankle-high.

Ø Comfort

Traditionally, yoga pants are a lot more flexible as compared to leggings. Due to their extra flexibility, some women prefer to wear them as casual wear too while others don’t. As mentioned above they have a very flexible waistband and won’t fall when you are doing high-intensity workouts.

Leggings don’t have flexible features to offer. They are better designed to keep your legs warm after a workout. For this reason, most of the people don’t use them during high activity workouts and prefer to wear them as loungewear.

Ø The Opaqueness

One of the best features of yoga pants is that you can wear them without wearing any other clothes because they are not see-through. It is one of the biggest reasons why yoga pants are gaining so much popularity. They also have high waistband so you can even wear them on short tops and trunks.

On the other hand, leggings don’t offer freedom to stretch. Most of them are made of see-through materials and they also have low waistbands. The primary purpose of these leggings is to warm your legs and you need to wear them under other clothes.

The Rebranding of Yoga Pants vs. Leggings

Many apparels and activewear companies have been involved in the rebranding of both these clothes. They have done so to meet the requirements and preferences of their consumers. The manufacturers of yoga pants are now changing the conventional bottom flares and are also integrating more colors and shapes in their designs.

Leggings are also coming in various shapes and sizes. They come in various styles including bootcut, Capri, Kundalini, tight-fitting, etc. There are so many options to explore for the consumer based on their preferences and liking. For this reason, it is very easy for you to find out a legging that is not see-through and is also highly flexible. In recent time, the line between the two cloths has blurred and for this reason, most people use both these terms yoga pants and leggings interchangeably.

Most people also include yoga tights into the same family as well. To be authentic, yoga tights fall under the umbrella of leggings. However, these tights are longer as compared to leggings and they are tighter too. Most of them go beyond your ankles and cover half of your feet.

Due to the term ‘tights’, most of the people think that these are the clothes that you should wear under other clothes. And they are right in their perspective as well because leggings are coming in different materials that are not see-through and you can wear them alone as well but with long tops.

doing yoga on the beach  

Final thoughts

You need to understand why you need activewear. If you can precisely answer this question, you will be able to make the right decision and can easily differentiate one product from another. As long as it can serve you well you don’t have to know the name because as we see the situation the fine line between these two cloths is only going to get blurrier from here on.

Introduction of more and more designs out of innovation makes differentiation of leggings and yoga pants even more eschewing. Hence, you need to focus on what your preferences are. Whether you need a bottom to wear on a long top or whether you want to wear it for highly intensive workouts! Do you prefer casual comfort over performance or not!

It all depends upon what you want from your athleisure apparel. We hope that through this post you are able to discern the minor differences between leggings and yoga pants. These differences can turn out to be largely relevant to what you want to achieve from them.

So did you know about all these differences that we have highlighted above or have you found another way to differentiate them?

Let’s hear it from you.

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