The Best Yoga Pants of 2023: Staff Picks

Eight pairs REI employees and customers swear by.

Lawson Freeman|Updated October 6, 2021

8 reviews with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars
Woman stretches on yoga mat

Editor’s note: Inventory can be unpredictable this year with COVID-19, so some of the items in this list might be temporarily out of stock when you read this guide. We’ll do our best to update it accordingly.

Remote work, neighborhood walks and at-home workouts have only made athleisure a more popular style of fashion, with comfort at the forefront. And as a main staple of athleisure, yoga pants can be found both inside the studio and out on the street or trail.  

These eight pairs hit high marks among both retail staff and customer reviewers for comfort and performance in a variety of activities. While each pair offers movement and quick-drying features for more active pursuits such as yoga and hiking, they’re also 100% lounge ready. Our picks cover products for leggings lovers who do everything in their yoga pants! 

Staff Picks

Find our quick recommendations here or read on for our favorite leggings and yoga pants.

For pants you won’t even notice you’re wearing, check out the Athleta Salutation leggings (which also come in 1X-3X sizes). With a high waist and fewer seams, these pants provide compression without sacrificing comfort—put them on at the start of your day and you may just end up wearing them to bed at nighttime. 

These pants are also functional and boast side pockets for when you need to grab your keys and go. “You could fit two full-size phones in there,” says Laura Underwood, a retail sales lead at the Fairfax, Virginia, REI store. “I also really liked their really soft, premium fabric, but it's still really durable and doesn't feel like it's going to abrade. It's going to hold up to whatever you're going to do.” 

And according to one customer reviewer, these pants are perfect if you’re looking for something with a great fit. “I didn't have to do any high-kicks or stretches to make sure that these were completely on and comfortable.” Buy here and here

“These are the softest leggings I've ever owned (and I own a lot),” one reviewer says about these Beyond Yoga pants (also available in 1X-3X). “Expensive but worth the investment. You'll live in them.”  

Yoga pants are now the more versatile, fashion-forward version of sweatpants. And like any pair of sweats, customers value comfort over most other factors when it comes to buying a pair of leggings. And though the Out of Pocket pants also offer hip pockets and 4-way stretch, they are particularly known for their fabric. 

Macy Howell, a sales manager at REI’s Memphis location, says customers are always blown away by the feel of Beyond Yoga’s leggings, which are made of a blend of polyester and spandex. “The softness (and) the feel of the material … I know that that’s a huge impact as to why people buy things or try them on. … Beyond Yoga is definitely great for that.” Buy here and here


Why limit yourself to only practicing yoga in these pants from the REI Co-op brand when their breathable fabric, drop-in thigh pockets and thick waistband make them perfect for activities like hiking, traveling and running errands, too? 

Emily Pickelhaupt, an SEO program manager for REI who also teaches yoga, wore the Take Your Time 7/8 leggings on a 34-hour trip to Vietnam, her pockets stuffed with her passport, phone and snacks. “They never sagged like other yoga pants have a tendency to,” she said. “The elastic around my waist never stretched out and stayed snug even when I wore them a few more days than I should have.” 

The fabric, a very soft nylon-spandex blend, offers “the perfect balance of stretch and compression,” says Haley Perry, REI materials developer, who wears these leggings for practicing yoga, walking around town, lounging and hiking. The Take Your Time 7/8 leggings is also available in 2X-3XBuy here and here.


When the heat kicks up, you’ll want pants that keep your body cool. The poly-spandex fabric in the prAna Becksa leggings are among the most efficient we carry at the co-op for wicking moisture, and the range of sizes runs from XS to 3X. Plus, the high waist and thick waistband help them stay put. No sagging, no constant readjusting. “Super flattering style and soooo comfortable,” wrote one customer reviewer. 

Did we mention we love pockets? REI Co-op managing editor Michelle Flandreau swears by the functional pockets on the Becksa. Plus, you can pair these pants with the matching Becksa bralette. And they have a UPF 50 rating. “Love everything about these leggings! They feel so light on your body and have a high waistband,” wrote another customer. Buy here and here.


With a slim fit and ribbed waistband, these pants retain the look of a yoga pant with a little more leg room. Modeled after Vuori’s Daily Leggings, the joggers have pleased fans of the original product by including a drawstring “without any nagging elastic band at the waist,” as one reviewer put it. 

“I love both the daily leggings and the performance joggers and figured this would also be a win. And it sure is!” says one customer “The fit is super flattering like the leggings, but the slightly more relaxed lower legs make them more everyday errands-friendly.” 

This looser fit on the legs will also keep you cool, says Underwood. “They’re lightweight and really breathable, so if you are doing something high energy, you won't cook in them.” Buy here


While you can surely hike in other pants from this list, the abrasion-resistant panels and soft-shell fabric on the Flash Hybrid pants will help protect both on the trail and at the crag. This new product from the REI Co-op fits in between the likes of leggings and joggers, for customers needing extra flexibility and movement. 

“I tried on seven styles at REI, and the REI Flash Hybrid Tights took first place. They combine comfort and practicality,” says one review of these tights, which are also available in 1X-3X sizes. “The side pocket is genius for snugly holding a phone without it getting in the way. … The tougher fabric on the thighs handled some brambles with ease, but it’s not so stiff and uncomfortable.” 

These pants offer trustworthy storage—with a stretch and zippered pocket to hold snacks or valuables—and durability. “I have had many friends rip a pant bouldering,” says Howell. “They need to be stretchy and the material also has to be abrasion-resistant, so I think these check off all the boxes.” Buy here and here.


For those looking for yoga wear with less coverage, these biker shorts may be a good option—head out for yoga in the park or on a sunny beach. They are made with Beyond Yoga’s signature polyester-spandex blend with a waistband that sits high at the natural waist. Fans of these shorts commend them for not rolling down during activity, and our REI sales lead in Fairfax says the material’s matte finish makes underwear lines invisible. 

One customer reviewer calls these their chosen pair for intense yoga sessions. “I have tried a variety of different shorts for my yoga practice, and these have become my favorite. ... They do not ride up from the bottom when I do vinyasa moves leading to downdog nor do they ride up from tree pose to toe stand.” 

The only complaint? Some reviewers wish these shorts included pockets. Buy here and here


Don’t let your wardrobe prevent you from practicing yoga and meditation while you’re expecting. Underwood says these three factors are the most important for customers looking for a pair of maternity leggings: “Something that’s not too compressive, is comfortable and flattering, and can flex with you a little bit.” This pair checks those boxes. 

These leggings from Beyond Yoga offer extra support from the empire waistband and fabric with 4-way stretch for a more adjustable feel. The fabric on these pants is also quick-drying, moisture-wicking and UVA/UVB protective, so they can be worn outdoors and during more active pursuits. Buyer’s tip: These pants are not often sold in stores, so make sure to check them out online. Buy here.


Shop Yoga Pants & Leggings  

Buying Advice 

Yoga pants should be breathable, flexible and comfortable. With variations in fabric, cut, length and fit, you can find the right pair for your needs by considering the following factors: 


You don’t want pants that pinch or squeeze, but comfort may mean different things to different people. Some prefer high waists, like those on the REI Co-op Flash Hybrid and the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Out of Pocket High-Waisted Midi. Do you want full coverage at the waist or legs? Try on several pairs, if possible, to see whether they feel comfortable. Also pay close attention to waistbands that are too tight, crotches that sag or seams that itch. Look for covered seams, like those on the Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket II, for a less scratchy construction and a cleaner finish. 


Depending on the type of yoga you practice or the activities you do while wearing yoga pants, you may sweat a lot or a little. For that reason, it’s important to consider fabrics that “breathe,” or move sweat away from your skin and allow moisture to evaporate, like the material in the prAna Becksa pants. Aim for a blend of synthetic fabrics and avoid cotton when possible. 


Your yoga pants should fit around your natural waist and should align with your curves fairly closely. Length is a personal choice, though leggings with a 7/8 length like the REI Co-op Take Your Time leggings will fit like full-length yoga pants for shoppers who are shorter. If you’re practicing power vinyasa or expect to bend and stretch often, high-waisted leggings or pants are good bets because they provide coverage while you’re twisting, folding or in inverted poses. Loose-fitting pants like the Vuori Daily Joggers make a nice option for lounging, errands and slower yoga classes, such as restorative yoga. 


Our Process

We ask our retail and editorial staff to tell us about their favorite yoga pants and leggings available at the co-op, and we also incorporated feedback from customer reviewers. These are the top picks for pants, leggings and shorts for a range of yoga and other pursuits.