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Best Leggings for Hiking of 2021

Are you looking for leggings to wear on the trail? Take a look at our buyers’ guide - we’ve done the research and have chosen the best leggings for hiking.

What could be better than hitting the trail in your most comfortable pair of leggings?

Many of us will wear leggings from yoga on an easy day hike, but what about more technical situations or multi-day hikes?

It seems like they don’t have what it takes to handle the rough conditions of the backcountry.

The answer is simple: hiking leggings.

Many aren’t aware that such hiking gear product exists. Still, some of the best leggings for hiking are durable and provide the same protection from the elements as your favorite pair of hiking pants.

So why wouldn’t you switch it up to something more comfortable?

Are you looking for traditional a more traditional pair of hiking pants? Check our guides on the best hiking pants for men and women’s hiking pants.

Quick Answer: These are the Best Leggings for Hiking of 2021

Fjallraven - Women's Abisko Trekking Tights, Dark Grey, Small

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights

Best Overall Hiking Leggings for Women
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2XU Men's Core Compression Tights, Black/Silver, Large

2XU Men's Core Compression Tights

Best Overall Hiking Leggings for Men
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The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tight - Women's TNF Black X-Small Regular

The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tights

Best Budget Leggings for Women
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Icebreaker Merino Women's WMNS Comet Tights, Black, XS

Icebreaker Comet Merino Wool Tights

Best Cold Weather Leggings for Women
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BALEAF Men's Thermal Running Tights Athletic Cycling Pants Fleece Cold Weather Outdoor

BALEAF Thermal Leggings

Best Cold Weather Leggings for Men
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Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants - High-Waisted Design, 25 Inch Inseam, Mini Heathered Herringbone Heathered Black White, Size 10

Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants

Best Lightweight Leggings for Women
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Eddie Bauer Women's Trail Tight Leggings - High Rise Med Indigo

Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings

Best Form-Fitting Hiking Leggings for Women
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Outdoor Research Women's Radiant Hybrid Tights, Black, Large

Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights

Best Quick-Drying Leggings for Men
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Arc'teryx Oriel Legging Women's (Cobalt Moon, Medium)

Arc'teryx Oriel Leggings

Best Women's Leggings for Comfort
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The Best Leggings for Hiking of 2021 Reviewed

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Best Overall Hiking Leggings for Women
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Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights

Fjallraven - Women's Abisko Trekking Tights, Dark Grey, Small

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights

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Pros

Four-way stretch panel build with durable, extra breathable materials
Ceramic print reinforcement on rear and knees to discreetly reduce wear
Two pockets on the legs with zipper and overlapping closure
High draw-corded waistband with hidden security pocket
Flatlock seams and gusseted crotch to mitigate chaffing

Cons

Material very stretchy and can show camel toe if pulled too tight
Contains non-textile elements
Pricey

These leggings are popular with hikers due to their durability and the materials’ breathability. They are made specifically for the trail. The Fjallraven Women’s Abisko Trail Tights work well in any weather conditions, have perfectly placed, functional pockets and a wide, accommodating waistband.

These comfortable leggings for hiking are made from a silky fabric that’s thick enough to give you protection against bug bites and thorny vegetation. Though not wholly waterproof for its ventilated material, the Abisko Trail Tights hold together through light showers and other on-the-trail moisture.

Fjallraven Women’s Abisko Trail Tights have reinforced fabric patches on the bottom and knees, offering augmented protection when sitting down or in rough terrain. The fabric is sweat-wicking for comfort during warm-weather hikes, and there’s a wide color selection with this brand.

Features and Specifications

  • 62% Polyamide, 16% Aramid, 12% Elastane, 10% Polyester materials
  • Sits at the waist
  • Gusseted crotch
  • XXS to XXL size fittings
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Best Overall Hiking Leggings for Men
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2XU Men's Core Compression Tights

2XU Men's Core Compression Tights, Black/Silver, Large

2XU Men's Core Compression Tights

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Pros

Great for improving blood circulation on the trail
Excellent compression keeps muscles primed and fatigue at bay
Cool and dry fabric that’s perfect for warm weather hikes

Cons

Sizes can run a bit large

360° graduated compression is achieved through a medical-grade circular knit and flatlock seams, with quality material with neat fleece-lined hems at the ankle. The 2XU Men's Core Compression Tights are comfortable and won’t leave squeeze marks on your skin when you take them off.

These leggings for hiking have a narrow elasticated waistband that features functional drawstrings, making for attractive wear when you’re on the trail. The 2XU’s graphics are to die for; though they may discolor after some washes, the compression does not deteriorate.

Your hamstrings, calf, glute, abductor, and quad muscles will benefit from these leggings’ consistent compression, provided by robust 70 denier fabric construction. You can use the 2XU men’s tights as a base layer in cold weather, where their thin material fits like a glove to provide winter-friendly hiking comfort.

Features and Specifications

  • 72% Nylon and 28% Elastane Invista LYCRA material construction
  • Machine washable fabric with drawstring closure
  • Speed recovery and graduated compression technology
  • Lightweight has maximum flexibility and comfortable fitting
  • Flatlock seams eliminate chafing while sweat-wicking fabric keeps you dry
  • Nylon and elastane material with antibacterial properties
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Best Budget Leggings for Women
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The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tights

The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tight - Women's TNF Black X-Small Regular

The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tights

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Pros

Comfortable and looks good on the trail
Moisture-wicking fabric that's quick to dry
Fairly priced

Cons

Not suited to very hot weather hiking
Can protrude and gape for hikers with curvy midriffs

Not only does this legging perform excellently for hiking, but they’ll also feel supportive and breathable when you pause for that much-needed break. The North Face Perfect Core High Rise Tights dry faster than most, is form-fitting, and will afford you guaranteed mobility on and off the trail.

This moisture-resistant legging is durable combines the features of running tights and hiking pants, protecting and offering you comfort while making you look stylish. The Women’s Perfect Core High Rise Tight is made from polyester and elastane, features a hidden stash pocket, and can be tumble dried after being machine washed.

While probably not the most comfortable leggings for hiking, these leggings are durable, rugged, and with improved waterproof capabilities compared to other brands. The North Face Women’s Perfect Core High Rise Tight will afford you maximum mobility, performing functionally and making you appear stylish on the trail.

Features and Specifications

  • 88% polyester and 12% elastane for breathable and stretchable material construction
  • Mesh-lined waistband on its high rise waistline
  • Lower waist compression to boost support
  • Chaffing reduced by flatlock seams
  • Internal pockets within the wide smooth waistband
  • Form-fitting with North Face logo on right calf
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Best Cold Weather Leggings for Women
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Icebreaker Comet Merino Wool Tights

Icebreaker Merino Women's WMNS Comet Tights, Black, XS

Icebreaker Comet Merino Wool Tights

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Pros

Updated design that stretches and offers maximum mobility
Warm fabric for cold weather protection
Concealed stash pocket

Cons

Not as durable as leggings made from full-synthetic fabric
Not quick drying
Feels stifling in extremely hot weather

These leggings are the most protective against cold weather for women hikers, seeing as they are the warmest option we have tested. Made of polyester, spandex, and merino wool, the Icebreaker Comet Merino Wool Tights will still work during hot days as the material is naturally breathable.

A super comfortable pair of leggings to hike in, the Icebreaker Comet can be worn by itself or as a base layer during extreme winter hiking. The fabric of these leggings contains Lycra for extra mobility and stretch. While you can also wear them off the trail due to their updated design that speaks of classic style.

Flatlock seams throughout the Icebreaker merino wool leggings for women ensure chaff-free movement when hiking. At the same time, a zippered stash pocket at the back holds your valuables when you’re on the trail. These leggings have a protective gusset design, tapered leg opening, and a contoured waistband with an internal drawstring to prevent dropping when carrying a backpack.

Features and specifications

  • 39% Merino wool, 12% spandex, 49% polyester
  • Contour waist for a comfortable fit
  • Flatlock seams and gusset protection
  • Odor-resistant technology
  • Internal drawstring adjustability and closure
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Best Cold Weather Leggings for Men
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BALEAF Thermal Leggings

BALEAF Men's Thermal Running Tights Athletic Cycling Pants Fleece Cold Weather Outdoor

BALEAF Thermal Leggings

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Pros

Best for cold weather or winter hikes
Soft fleece padding provides comfort and warmth
Reflective elements for low light visibility

Cons

Not designed for short, stocky body types
Available in black and gray colors only

These are possibly the best cold-weather leggings for hiking, specifically designed to allow sufficient blood flow to improve performance while keeping your lower body warm. Wintertime hike protection is availed with the BALEAF Thermal Leggings, which are made of a polyester-spandex blend for maximum breathability and stretch.

Added features of these hiking tights include ankle zips, unique hemline silicone beading, and an internal drawstring that makes it easier to take off or put them on. A rear stash pocket with a zipper and ankle stripes also have reflective details that improve safety on those nighttime hikes.

The functional and stylish BALEAF Men’s Thermal Tights are low priced and finely finished, providing a cheaper but suitable alternative to pricier brands. Its spandex and polyester blend helps with breathability. At the same time, this material also helps with the leggings stretch for tall and lean men.

Features and Specifications

  • 90% polyester and 10% Spandex material construction
  • A wide range of fashionably designed colors
  • Gel padding on crotch reduced chaffing
  • Zippered rear pocket and reflective detail for low light safety
  • Perfectly fitted ankle length
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Best Lightweight Leggings for Women
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Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants

Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants - High-Waisted Design, 25 Inch Inseam, Mini Heathered Herringbone Heathered Black White, Size 10

Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants

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Pros

Very thin and incredibly comfortable fabric
Durable when well taken care of
Quick-drying and sleek design

Cons

Not protective against thorny vegetation or on rocky trails

These stretchy fabric leggings provide unparalleled comfort and are lightweight for all on-the-trail activities. The Lululemon Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants have a high-waist design and fabric that feels soft, almost like you have nothing on.

The reinforced waistband isn’t elasticated, which acts to keep the leggings from slipping when you’re hiking or carrying a large backpack. There’s a small pocket discreetly hidden within the Align II Stretchy Yoga Pants to carry valuables like cash or a credit card.

These tights may look perfect for clear trails, but they won’t offer much protection on rocky or vegetated hikes. The waist, however, lies flat on your lower belly without biting, and the material is four-way stretch, shape-retaining, and moisture-wicking.

Features and Specifications

  • 84% Nylon and 16% Lycra Elastane material construction
  • 25 inches high-rise inseam and non-elastic waistband
  • Discreetly hidden waistband pocket
  • Gusset protection
  • Four-way stretching buttery soft fabric with shape-retaining and moisture-wicking properties
  • Waist and ankle seam lie flat without digging into your flesh
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Best Form-Fitting Hiking Leggings for Women
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Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings

Eddie Bauer Women's Trail Tight Leggings - High Rise Med Indigo

Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings

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Pros

Power mesh waistband that’s secure and won’t drag down during strenuous activity
Discreet pocket in the waistband for valuables
Angle-sided outer pockets with easy access and chaff free zippers
Figure flattering, form-fitting high rise legging style

Cons

Too thick for hot day hikes with above 70° temperatures
Side pockets don’t fit large phones

You can hike all year round with these leggings, seeing as they are made from light but rugged and well-ventilated materials. The Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings feature moisture-wicking, odor control, and sun protection properties.

Not only do you have three functional pockets on these leggings for hiking, but they also remain supportive even when you’re carrying a large backpack. While a great option for multi-day hikes, you have excellent mobility, whether hiking on steep gradients or trolling through muddy valleys.

You can’t ask for any more with Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings. Made from a medium-weight fabric, which is excellent with changes of weather conditions expected on the trail. These leggings for hiking are fairy prices and feature crotch protection where Coolcore fabric keeps you feeling cleans and fresh no matter how challenging your hike is.

Features and Specifications

  • 88% polyester and 12% spandex
  • High rise waist
  • Chemical-free Coolcore gusseted crotch
  • XS to XXL, tall and petite size fittings
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Best Quick-Drying Leggings for Men
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Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights

Outdoor Research Women's Radiant Hybrid Tights, Black, Large

Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights

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Pros

Comfortable and extra warm for cold weather hiking
Breathable fabric with excellent stretch

Cons

Not ideal for very hot weather hikes

Suppose you are looking to transition from pants to leggings for hiking. In that case, this loose-fitting option offers the versatile mobility of tights and the durability of trail trousers. Thanks to its spandex and polyester blend, the Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights are super comfortable even on long hikes.

These fleece leggings are also lightweight, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying, an excellent option for extreme hiking. On a hot day on the trail, you needn’t worry about hiking too close to your buddies as the Radiant Hybrid Tights features Polygiene anti-odor protection.

For peak performance in cool weather, the proprietary mid-weight fleece panels keep your muscles primed and warm, enhancing heat-trapping while being breathable and lightweight. Warm air can escape through the internal panels or along the waistband’s inseam.

Features and Specifications

  • Hybrid mapped 95% Polyester and 5% spandex construction with breathable and sweat-wicking properties.
  • Quick-drying and lightweight for hot days on the trail
  • Innovative anti-odor features
  • Stretch mirrors your movement
  • Fleece on legs, waist, and inseam for warmth and breathability
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Best Women's Leggings for Comfort
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Arc'teryx Oriel Leggings

Arc'teryx Oriel Legging Women's (Cobalt Moon, Medium)

Arc'teryx Oriel Leggings

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Pros

Durable knit material that's comfortable on the hike and for everyday use
Abrasive resistant nylon-weave leggings that withstand rubbing against rocks
Excellent stretch by elastane fibers offering movement freedom
Comfortable mesh-lined waistband that wicks moisture
Cargo pockets that are harness friendly and can fit small necessities

Cons

Seams are prone to fraying

Passionate hikers know that Arc’Teryx is a designer of excellent outdoor products and these leggings aren’t an exception. The Oriel Women's Leggings are rugged built, comfortable. They will last through numerous long hikes while keeping you protected against unpredictable on-the-trail weather.

These leggings are also made from incredibly abrasion-resistant materials, allowing you to drag against any outdoor surface without fabric runs and streaks forming. The Oriel Legging Women’s is functional, with pockets large enough to accommodate your phone while offering superior mobility.

Arc’Teryx has designed these leggings for hiking with elastane and nylon fabrics. This blend stretches and protects against brush and rocks on the trail. There is no rubbing or bunching of fabric as the material is stretchy. Due to improved breathability, you can pull a pair of rain pants over them for complete waterproofness.

Features and Specifications

  • 71% nylon and 29% elastane material construction
  • Medium breathability and high durability stretch fabric
  • Gusset protection and pockets
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How to Choose the Best Leggings for Hiking​

Choosing a set of hiking leggings isn’t all that different from picking out a pair of pairs of traditional hiking pants to wear on the trail.

It’s all a matter of finding something that can stand up to the abuses of Mother Nature, while also keeping you in relative comfort.

Comfort/Mobility

This is the main reason you’ll want to start wearing waterproof leggings for hiking:

They’re a whole lot more comfortable than hiking pants!

This is especially true when you encounter a downed tree blocking the trail and need the extra range of motion to swing your leg over it.

They should be form-fitting and the best hiking leggings should almost feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.

That’s not to say that all leggings will be equal on comfort and mobility though.

While leggings made for indoor activities like yoga are typically just a blend of polyester and spandex. Hiking leggings might have some nylon sections woven in for extra durability. These areas won’t stretch well.

Additionally, some hiking leggings and tights have a more comfortable design.

Many of them come with a gusseted crotch, which is a fancy way of saying that there are no seams running down the middle of the crotch section.

Instead, it will have a single piece of fabric stretching from the seams on the legs. This is an important feature for men’s hiking leggings that need e a little more room down there.

Versatility

Everyone wants gear that’s good in a variety of situations, but it’s hard to find anything that can be good in all situations.

This is where getting a pair of waterproof leggings for hiking really shines though.

Unlike nylon hiking pants and shorts, leggings can actually look good on and off the trail. Like any piece of technical clothing, there are tradeoffs to be made.

Leggings that are more durable and have lots of reinforcement points will look less natural and probably won’t be suitable for off-trail activities.

Leggings that appear normal might not have the weather resistance necessary for serious backcountry adventures.

Additionally, there are some legging that are warmer than others and are only suited for winter temperatures.

Durability

It goes without saying, but even the best hiking tights are not going to have the same durability as high-quality nylon and polyester weave hiking pants.

Hiking leggings are built for comfort and mobility.

That being said, hiking tights vary widely in terms of durability, with the most long-lasting pairs being constructed from heavy-duty nylon.

Polyester is almost as good, and organic fabrics like wool are the least durable of them all.

To get a pair that can take some serious punishment, it’s best to go with a brand that uses reinforcing patches on high wear areas like the seat and knees of the leggings.

As with anything in outdoor gear though, it’s a tradeoff – fabrics that are more durable are usually less comfortable and are more likely to limit your mobility.

Weather Resistance

One of the most important features to look for in hiking leggings is their resistance to moisture buildup.

Different fabrics dry at different rates.

Cotton would be the slowest, which is why it’s not used in most hiking clothing, including leggings.

Wool is also not particularly quick to dry, so it gets blended with nylon and polyester, which also makes it a little more water-resistant.

Nylon and polyester are excellent moisture-wicking fabrics, they will dry out very fast and are generally good at repelling moisture, making them the best choice for weather resistance, all other things being equal.

However, a problem that many hikers probably don’t think too much about when choosing the best hiking leggings is wind protection.

A cold breeze cuts right through regular spandex leggings, so many manufacturers will add a tighter weave of nylon or polyester to provides extra protection.

This is also where wool has the advantage, as the fibers are better at trapping warm air from your body, which provides a buffer against the wind.

Breathability

Leggings are very similar, and often, identical to base-layer clothing. They’re designed with sweat-wicking properties and breath sufficiently so you don’t become a hot mess and overheat.

The difference is that they need to perform this role while also being weather resistant. This can be a difficult balance to strike.

Like with any other outdoor clothing, the most breathable fabrics will be organic ones.

Cotton is not typically used for leggings due to its tendency to absorb water, but wool is not uncommon. Its anti-stench properties along with its breathability make it a great choice for high-intensity exercise.

Fully synthetic fabrics also have a fair degree of variability between them when it comes to breathability.

The best ones will be lighter-weight nylon and polyester. Which should have a lose enough weave to let heat and moisture out, while not allowing too much rain and wind in.

Thicker materials like polyamide are less breathable and will feel hot when hiking in warm weather.

Are Leggings Good for Hiking?

Hiking apparel has gone through changes over the years, especially when hikers started to prefer comfort on the trail over hardy safari wear that feels almost like a gurney sack. Hiking in leggings isn’t only fashionable but fulfills comfort, form-fitting versatility, and advanced freedom of movement.

The best leggings for hiking stretch and move with your body, offering unequaled mobility and flexibility since they can be worn on their own or as an inner protective layer. Hiking leggings are super lightweight when worn, and when packed for the trail, fit for the adventure seeker who isn’t afraid to venture out into rough spots.

On the other end of the spectrum, leggings for hiking are designed for cold weather excursions, featuring materials that muffle cold winds while delaying wetness. Leggings also happen to be cheaper than most other hiking apparel. They’re made for durability while being easy to launder.

One downside is that most leggings come in more sizes and options for women than men, whose hiking tights often have fitting considerations and feature monotone colors like black.

Hiking Leggings or Hiking Pants?

Leggings for hiking can double up as an outer or base layer, giving you the flexibility of temperature adjustments while on the trail. They’re more comfortable than hiking pants and can be rolled up when you need the wind rushing around your shins.

Although they don’t convert to capris or hiking shorts, leggings are better form-fitting while giving more freedom of movement than pants. The fabric is lightweight on your skin, offering protection against the elements but remaining breathable during hot day hikes.

A few downsides of leggings for hiking are how few the pockets are, plus they’re not fully waterproof. However, donning rain-resistant pants on top is more effortless. They are not made for bushwhacking hikes like pants and won’t offer much protection against thorns, briars, and rocks but will be quick drying. At the same time, the materials will readily absorb any sweat or trail-bound moisture.

Other than that, many leggings for hiking offer compression technology that helps minimize fatigue while increasing endurance. In contrast, not all leggings will have this innovative feature, those with a significant advantage over traditional pants for hiking.

Can You Hike In Yoga Pants?

Although there are significant differences between yoga pants and leggings for hiking, you can hit the trail wearing either. However, yoga pants aren’t designed to withstand the harsh outdoors elements, and you may end up getting bush whipped or have them torn up by branches.

Leggings for hiking are designed for long durations of wear in adverse conditions, providing comfort and protection on the trail. The essential differences to note when deciding between yoga pants and hiking leggings include;

Fabric Differences: Moisture-wicking fabric is used on leggings for hiking, durable, and thick for element protection. Yoga pants incorporate cotton in their construction, which doesn’t dry quickly and causes your leggings to collect debris when you’re hiking.

Cut and Design: Leggings for hiking are cut and sewn in ways that reduce chafing or frictional rubbing between your thighs and legs. The tights design for the trail ensures that your lower back isn’t irritated by a low-hanging backpack, while the waistband, seam placement, and pockets also matter.

Are Lululemon or Other Yoga Leggings Good for Hiking?

Lululemon leggings is the go-to option for many hikers. This brand offers outdoor and indoor tights characterized by high waits and cropped lengths. Their leggings are fair priced, well designed, and stitched to withstand rigorous movement on and off the trail.

I almost always pack a pair of Lululemon or other yoga leggings for a hike, even when I plan on wearing shorts or pants along the way as they’re super feather light in my backpack. With proper care, you can make these leggings for hiking go a long way without snagging or stripping.

Lululemon and other yoga leggings work better in well-maintained or open alpine trails, offering breathability, high coverage, and stretch flexibility.

Final Decision: What are the best leggings for hiking?

You can now convert from hiking with pants to snug, comfortable leggings, which will open a whole new experience for you on the trail.

Of all the leggings for hiking samples we tested, some of which couldn’t be included here, comfort isn’t traded for style, durability, or weather protection.

Fjallraven Women’s Abisko Trail Tights‘ innovative material construction makes it our favorite due to the fabric’s light weightiness, moisture-wicking capacities, and comprehensive style selection. The best hiking leggings for men are the 2XU Men’s Core Compression Tights for their versatile fabric make-up as well as fleece-lined paddings.

You can also consider hiking in our runners-up selection, the low-budget North Face Women’s Perfect Core High Rise Tight. These leggings for hiking have all the appropriate features while being stylish enough to pack for the trail.

Jason Miller

Jason Miller

Hi there, my name is Jason and I am the creator and editor of this site. My activities include hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, and backpacking. I'm also a keen nature photographer. I like to get outdoors and then write about it. I created this site to help people find the right gear so they enjoy their outdoor pursuits that much more.

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