If you plan to practice yoga even occasionally, you’ll need to buy a good pair of yoga pants. Yoga pants typically stretch easily and fit close to your body, thus allowing you to bend into contorted positions while remaining covered. Good yoga pants will also breathe well and wick odors away, and they should be incredibly comfortable to the point that you don’t even notice you’re wearing them.
For this guide, we looked for yoga pants that were comfortable, well-fitting (no sagging!), offered in a range of sizes for all body types, breathable and durable. Our process started with reading hundreds of customer reviews of yoga pants on REI.com. Then, we spoke with several yoga teachers and yoga pants designers. Next, we narrowed our list down to the seven most-popular yoga pants sold at REI. Once those pants arrived, our writer, who is also a 200-hour registered yoga teacher herself, spent more than 20 hours testing them. She wore them to restorative, heated, vinyasa, hatha and yin classes during the Pacific Northwest winter months. She also took the pants to a yoga retreat in Todos Santos, Mexico, where she wore each for several classes and took notes about breathability, comfort, odor control and flexibility. Finally, we picked the following five pants as the best yoga pants sold at REI this year.
Note: This guide only covers yoga pants sold at REI.
The Best Multisport Yoga Pants
- Materials: 88% polyester, 12% elastane
- Fit: Ankle-length, high-waisted
- MRSP: $88
Manduka’s Essential Pocket leggings offer everything you need in a good pair of yoga pants: They fit true to size, come in a range of size options, are breathable, offer a comfortable fit, are made with durable fabric, and stay tight to your body no matter what yoga pose you’re attempting. Because they’re so versatile and they don’t slip, these pants will work well for runners and hikers, too.
The Essential Pocket leggings are high-waisted, reaching up above your belly button, which keeps you feeling covered and compressed during the most active yoga classes. The pants also reach down to your ankles (or past your ankles, if you’re petite), meaning that they’re longer than most of the other pants we tested. The Essential Pocket leggings have two pockets, one on each side of your thighs, hence their name, and our tester loved putting her phone in one while teaching yoga. (You could also use the pockets for carrying a key or ID while running or hiking.) We liked the pants’ wide waistband, too, which doesn’t cut into the stomach, and we felt like the polyester/elastane fabric was flexible and comfortable against the skin. We also added points for the fact that these pants are bluesign approved, which means harmful chemicals were kept out of the manufacturing process.
We wore the Essential Pocket leggings to a hot yoga class (90 minutes of yoga in 110-degree heat) and found them to be quite breathable and odor-resistant. We also wore the pants multiple times in a row in the Mexico heat without concern. And even if you’re not doing yoga, these pants are just plain cozy, making them perfect for long travel days or evenings at home. The Essential Pocket leggings come in several colors, including black.
“I love the Manduka essential leggings. I own several pairs,” said one customer. “Here’s what I like: Thick material and not see through. [They] stay in place with bending motions. [There’s] no rolling of the waistband. Good for workouts or going anywhere while being comfortable. And they fit snug in place.”
The Best Yoga Pants for Heated Yoga Classes
- Materials: 42% recycled polyester; 42% polyester; 16% spandex
- Fit: 7/8-length (also known as ankle-length), high-waisted
- MRSP: $89
The prAna Becksa ⅞ leggings are perfect for yoga classes of all kinds, but especially for classes when the heat is cranked up and you’re pouring sweat. We liked these pants for their breathability, snug fit, flexibility and light weight.
The Becksa leggings are meant to hit just above your ankle bones, although they may be a bit longer than that if you’re 5’4” or shorter (like our tester), and they come up high above your natural waist. These pants come in a range of sizes and colors for nearly every body type and preference, plus we liked that they have pockets on the sides of the thighs and a thick waistband.
We wiggled, twisted and bent our way through several power vinyasa classes in these pants, including one class with an arm balance focus and another with an inversion focus, and we forgot about these poly-spandex blend pants entirely—there was no sagging or readjusting, which is a very good sign. We wore the Becksa pants to a heated class, too, and found them to be the best of the bunch when it came to wicking moisture and keeping us cool.
“Very comfortable and stylish. I don’t have to keep pulling up from the back while bending,” said one customer. Another gave these pants the ultimate praise, saying she wore them often but didn’t notice them at all during her frequent pilates workouts; that’s a sign of the best yoga pants!
The Best (and Coziest) Yoga Pants for Cold Weather
- Materials: 87% polyester; 13% spandex
- Fit: 7/8-length (also known as ankle-length); high-waisted
- MRSP: $97
Our tester has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 10 years but she’s never worn yoga pants that are as soft as the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Caught in the Midi High-Waisted ⅞ leggings. These are, by far, the coziest pants we tried during the making of this guide.
The Spacedye leggings are high waisted and full length, reaching up above the belly button and all the way down to the ankle. We think they fit true to size, although you may want to size up if you’re between sizes because the fit is quite narrow. These are also longer than any of the other pants we tested by a few inches. The crotch may be a tad saggy if you’re short, but that didn’t bother us in yoga classes because the pants themselves didn’t slip down, despite lots of movement. After a day of wearing these pants around the house, we didn’t want to take them off because the fabric was so soft and comfortable—so we wore them to bed!
The one downside of these mostly polyester pants is that they hold heat against your skin and aren’t very breathable. This is great on a cold day but less ideal in a warmer setting: We wore the Spacedyes to a hot yoga class and found ourselves pouring sweat in an uncomfortable manner. Keep these pants dedicated to restorative and unheated classes, and cozy winter evenings, and we think you’ll be happy with your purchase.
“As far as I am concerned, these are the best,” said one customer. “They are super soft, I mean, like butter. They keep their shape and hold you in nice and snug. No CT (you know what I mean)!! I have about 4 pairs of these now.”
The Best Plus-Size Yoga Pants
- Materials: 88% Supplex nylon, 12% elastane
- Fit: Calf-length, high-waisted
- MRSP: $69
prAna’s Transform High-Waist Capri leggings are basic, comfortable, well-fitted and offered in a range of sizes. They come in one color—black—and have a pocket on the front hip for keys or credit cards. We liked these leggings for their capri-length cut, which is great on warmer days; for the high-waisted fit, which keeps you tucked in during twists and inversions; for their curvier profile, which is great for yogis with strong legs and glutes; and for their thicker waistband, which doesn’t cut into your stomach.
Our favorite thing about the prAna Transforms is that they come in a wide variety of sizes from XS to 3X, which can be tough to find from mainstream yoga brands. On all other fronts, they perform admirably, too: They work well for yoga classes of all kinds, heated or unheated, and they’re easy to use for other activities, too, like running, hiking, pilates, barre and kickboxing. They’re breathable and comfortable against the skin. And they fit true to size.
“These are my favorite workout pants yet,” said one customer. “The first thing I noticed about them, was the thickness of the material, and how supportive it was while still remaining breathable. This is the biggest differentiator from the competition. The high waist fit perfectly where I usually run into issues with waists being too tight or too loose because of my stronger thighs… I wore these pants in a variety of workouts (yoga, running, hiking, boxing, lifting), and I was impressed with the flexibility, support, and comfort during each.”
The Best Yoga Pants for Travel
- Materials: 63% nylon, 33% polyester, 4% spandex
- Fit: Calf-length, mid-rise
- MRSP: $85
prAna’s Summit Capri leggings aren’t your typical yoga pants but we think they’re a solid option for traveling or hiking. They offer a wider fit and dry very quickly due to their nylon-polyester-spandex blend material. They also have pockets on the front hips, which have cute stitching across the front, and offer an elastic waistband that sits comfortably below the belly button. During our travels to Mexico, these pants helped us stay cool and dry on warm days, and they were a cozy option for long airport waits, too.
When it came to practicing power vinyasa, hatha and hot yoga in these pants, they weren’t our favorite due to their loose fit, which meant we had to readjust often. But for traveling, hiking or other moderate activities, these are a comfortable option. The Summit Capris come in a range of sizes from XS to 3X, but we did notice that petite women disliked the fit of these pants, finding them to be a bit too wide and baggy. Thus, we recommend trying them on at the store before you buy.
“I was quite amazed by these pants,” said one customer. “They have a very well-fitting waistband that doesn’t dig in when touching your toes. The pants’ material [is] super comfortable. I can bend and sit cross-legged on the floor with ease. They are great for work, working out, hiking, biking and going out on the town—I think they’re like the ‘little black dress’ but Capri’s.”
What features should I look for in good yoga pants?
Good yoga pants should be breathable, comfortable and flexible, so you’re not adjusting your clothes or overheating while you try a new yoga pose or hold a challenging lunge. This is why most yoga pants are made with a polyester-nylon-spandex fabric blend: Those fabrics offer the right blend of comfort, breathability and flexibility.
- Comfortable: “I typically look for comfortable, high-waisted pants that are full length,” says Megan Smith, a forecast analyst at REI who leads weekly yoga classes at REI headquarters. “I don’t like when they have a zipper on the back because when I’m lying down, the zipper digs in. I also don’t like when pants are too tight at the inseam or sag.”
- Flexible & Well-Fitting: “I do hot yoga, so for me it’s all about fit,” says Ania Rudzka, a senior merchandising manager at prAna. “I like the fabric to be not too heavy and the pants should fit perfectly to my body.” Rudzka says that like Smith, she likes high-rise pants that come up to her belly button and keep her feeling covered, although that’s a personal preference.
- Breathable: Depending on the type of yoga class you attend, you may sweat. And if you sweat, you want a breathable pair of pants that wicks moisture, shuttling it away from your skin and allowing the moisture to evaporate so you can stay cool and dry. That typically means buying pants that are a poly-spandex blend and avoiding cotton.
Do I need different styles of pants for different types of yoga classes?
Some people do prefer to wear different kinds of pants for different styles of yoga, and we’ve offered options for heated classes in the above guide for that reason. Rudzka says you should also consider pants made with different materials for different types of classes: “You want lightweight for hot classes and heavier for the rest,” she says. “Compressive fabrics are also good for classes with a lot of movement.”
- If you’re in a heated yoga class, your priority is finding clothes that wick sweat away and keep you cool. You might even want to wear yoga shorts!
- For power vinyasa yoga classes, you’ll want tighter pants that move with you. Longer pants that cover your knees and shins can help with arm balances because your legs are less likely to slide off of your sweaty arms.
- For yin or restorative classes, any pants will do. “I wear sweats or pajamas even,” says Smith. Because these types of classes are relaxing, a looser fit is recommended but not required.
How should my yoga pants fit?
Your yoga pants should fit around your natural waist and should align with your curves fairly closely. Length is up to personal preference. If you’re attending a power vinyasa yoga class or a class where you expect to bend and stretch often, high-waisted leggings or pants may be a good choice because they are less likely to slip or ride down while you’re twisting or folding; they also keep your midsection compressed and give you extra coverage. Pants that sag in the crotch are a no-no for all types of yoga, according to Rudzka and Smith, and you should avoid any pants that pinch or feel like they could chafe. You should watch out for tight elastic in the waistband, too, which can cut into your stomach uncomfortably.
Can I wear yoga pants for hiking or running?
Our experts give this one a resounding yes. “You can use yoga pants for everything,” says Rudzka, noting that yoga pants have become part of current fashion, falling into a category called “athleisure.” We think yoga pants work well for hiking and running, too, with the caveat that you’ll want to make sure the pants don’t sag (there’s nothing worse than pulling up your pants for an entire run).
How should I wash and dry my yoga pants?
Most yoga pants come with specific washing and drying instructions on the tag. In general, our experts say it’s a good idea to turn your gear inside out and wash in cold water. Rudzka says your pants may last longer if you avoid the drier, too. “If you’re going to dry them, don’t dry on high heat, which breaks down materials more quickly,” she says.
When you’re washing bright-colored pants for the first time, wash them alone to avoid colors bleeding onto your other clothes. (See our How to Buy Yoga Clothes guide for more care and maintenance tips.)