If you've never heard of athletic-wear retailer Lululemon, maybe you heard this portmanteau in 2020 or 2021: estimated in September that athleisure orders have increased by 84% since the pandemic began.. It's not just a mashup of athletic wear and leisure wear. Thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, global spending on gym-inspired casual wear -- think joggers, sweatpants, sports bras, and, of course, leggings -- has bucked the overall retail-clothing trend and skyrocketed. One market-research tech firm, ReportLinker,
If there's one company that embodies this trend (and the profits stemming from it) it's Lululemon. It isn't cheap -- its leggings will likely set you back at least $90 unless they're on sale, or you have a handy -- but for fans, it's not about the money. There's a phrase often bandied about with those leggings -- "buttery soft" -- and it's pretty darn close to the truth. The leggings hug the body so well that even an aggressive cardio workout won't make them budge, and though the attached labels warn against putting them in the dryer, fans swear that the comfy clothing lasts longer than competing brands.
If you've never tried on a pair of Lululemon leggings, now may be the time to go for it. Here's our curated introduction to the increasingly popular label, along with a few solid alternatives for athleisure fans on a budget.
Lululemon Align high-rise pant: $98
These buttery soft leggings (yes, really) are made with four-way-stretch with added Lycra for shape retention. They are breathable, sweat-wicking and come in more than 25 different patterns and colors. They run up to a size 20 and can be purchased in the lengths ranging from 25 to 31 inches, so even petites and tall folk can get in on the action.
Lululemon Align high-rise crop: $88
The cropped Lululemon Align high-rise leggings feature the same soft fabric and stretchy fit as the high-rise pant. These shorter leggings also come in a wide variety of colors and run up to a size 20. The crops can be purchased in the lengths 17", 21" and 23".
Lululemon Base Pace high-rise fleece running tight: $118
These Lululemon leggings are designed for running. The Base Pace high-rise fleece running tights are made with water-repellent tech-fleece fabric. The fabric is brushed on the inside for warmth, and that makes them a strong choice for cold weather. The leggings features the same four-way-stretch as Lululemon's Align leggings and run up to a size 20 in select colors.
Lululemon Wunder Train high-rise tight: $98
You can worry less about breaking a sweat in the Lululemon Wunder Train high-rise tights. They're made with the brand's fastest-drying Everlux fabric. The sweat-wicking and supportive fabric is made with four-way-stretch and is made to feel cool and sleek on the inside. The leggings come in 18 different colors and run up to a size 20. They are available in the lengths ranging from 25 to 31 inches.
If you love Lululemon, you might like these more affordable leggings
We found leggings from Amazon, Aerie, Girlfriend Collective, Gap and more that feel great and won't break the bank.
Colorfulkoala women's buttery-soft high-waisted yoga pants: $20
Colorfulkoala's leggings went viral on TikTok this year, fueled by positive comparisonsto Lululemon's Align high-rise Align pant. These high-waisted pants are under $25. They are moisture-wicking and made with a four-way stretch material. They come in a wide variety of colors. They also feature a side pocket that fits most cell phones.
Girlfriend Collective Moon ReSet lounge legging: $55
TheseGirlfriend Collective leggings are on sale right now. The Moon ReSet lounge leggings are super soft and made from 91% recycled water bottles and 9% spandex. They come in five colors and go up to a size 6XL.
Aerie Offline Real Me high-waisted crossover legging: $45
If you're looking for high-waisted leggings that flatter your shape, the Aerie Offline Real Me is a solid choice, thanks to a V-seam waist. These breathable, stretchy leggings offer light support and can be worn comfortably during workouts or while running errands. They come in 14 colors and patterns and run up to a size XXL. Short and long sizes are available online.
GapFit high-rise crop leggings in sculpt compression: $27
These Gap cropped leggings are on sale right now. The GapFit high rise cropped leggings feature maximum compression panels to smooth your shape. Gap advises that these leggings are best for intense workouts, such as boot camp and weight training. The leggings come in two colors and run up to a size XXL.
90 Degree By Reflex high-waist power flex tummy-control leggings: $25
These leggings have more than 16,000 reviews and are rated at 4 and a half stars. The brand claims that these full-coverage leggings are "squat proof" and won't show what's underneath even if you bend, squat, or lunge. They feature a high-rise elastic waistband and a hidden waistband pocket. They come in 20 colors and run up to a size XL.
TnaCHILL Atmosphere high-rise 7/8 legging: $25
These stretch-jersey leggings are super soft. They feature a wide waistband for a smooth silhouette. They come in more than 40 colors and run from a size 3XS to 2XL.
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