The 12 Best High-Waisted Leggings of 2023

Our top pick overall is the Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant for its buttery fabric, range of color and size options, and versatile fit.

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Best High-Waisted Leggings

Real Simple / David Hattan

A pair of high-waisted leggings is a wardrobe staple. Not only are they extremely comfortable, but they’re also versatile and can be worn for working out, going out, and hanging out at home. 

We researched a variety of high-waisted leggings, searching for the best options in a range of categories.. We considered material, size range, and price point to determine which are worth adding to your closet, and also consulted Jordanna Sharp, a New York-based personal shopper and stylist, on what to search for when shopping.

“High-waisted leggings are super flattering. They elongate your legs, giving the illusion of appearing way more put together [while keeping you] comfortable all at once,” says Sharp. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall High-Waisted Leggings

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 25"

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant


Who it’s for: People looking for a pair of buttery-soft leggings they can wear daily for a variety of activities.  

Who it isn’t for: People who want leggings for high-intensity workouts. 

Odds are you’ve heard of the ever-popular Lululemon Align leggings, one of the brand’s best-sellers. They’re made of Lululemon’s Nulu fabric, which stands out for being buttery soft and incredibly lightweight without being see-through. 

The Align leggings are intended for low-impact workouts like yoga but are a solid choice as an everyday legwear option for lounging or running errands. They also offer plenty of customization so you can get your ideal fit—not only are they available in 22 colors, but they also come in 11 sizes and three lengths. They don’t offer much compression or sculpting though, so if that’s a priority for you, these leggings may not be your perfect match. However, if comfort is what you’re after, these are a must-buy.  

Price at time of publish: $98

Material: 40% nylon, 39% polyester, 21% Lycra elastane | Size Range: 0-20 | Inseam: 25, 28, or 31 inches

Best Budget High-Waisted Leggings

Satina High Waisted Leggings

Satina High-waisted Leggings for Women


Who it’s for: People looking for a pair of high-quality leggings on a budget. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for leggings with a better size range.

If you’re on a tight budget with high expectations, these cult favorite leggings from Amazon are a steal. They feature a high-waistband design with opaque fabric that you can wear day and night. The peachskin fabric is made of soft polyester and spandex for optimal stretch and movement. They also feature a light-compression waistband that smooths and sculpts. 

These leggings do sizing a bit differently than other options—if you’re typically a S-L, choose the One Size option; if you’re typically a XL-XXL, choose the One Size Plus option. This sizing scheme definitely won’t be for everyone, which is our main complaint about these leggings. In terms of style, these leggings come in 25 colors and either capri or full-length fits, plus a full-length option with pockets. 

 Price at time of publish: $17

Material: 92% polyester, 8% spandex | Size Range: S-XXL | Inseam: 18-19 or 27-28 inches

Best Plus-Size High-Waisted Leggings

Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Legging

Girlfriend Collective Black Compressive High-Rise Legging

Girlfriend Collective

Who it’s for: People looking for leggings with a generous amount of compression and an extensive size range. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want lightweight leggings with minimal sculpting.

If you plan on tackling heavy-hitting workouts or activities, these high-compression leggings from Girlfriend Collective are a solid choice. They are made with 79 percent RPET (a material made from recycled plastic bottles) and 21 percent spandex for the perfect stretch. They’re sweat-wicking and squat-proof, meaning you won’t have to worry about anyone seeing your undies through the fabric. They also feature a small hidden back pocket to toss your house keys or essential credit cards. 

Girlfriend Collective also offers the ReGirlfriend initiative, which allows anyone who owns these leggings to recycle them in exchange for a gift card toward new purchases. The best part? They recycle anything sent to them into new Girlfriend Collective gear. 

Price at time of publish: $78

Material: 79% RPET, 21% spandex | Size Range: XXS-6XL | Inseam: 19.5, 23.75, or 28.5 inches

Best High-Waisted Leggings for Working Out

Gymshark Flex High-Waisted Leggings



Who it’s for: People who do weight-lifting exercises and want leggings that stay in place.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for leggings with no visible branding.

These high-waisted leggings from Gymshark are body-contouring and feel secure around the waist, so you can worry less about your leggings rolling down mid-squat. They are made from sweat-wicking fabric and have high compression, so regardless of the intensity of your workout, these leggings will support you at every step.

These leggings feature Gymshark’s branding around the waistband and on the hip, so if you’re looking for a pair of leggings with zero visible branding, these may not be for you. The size range and inseam options aren’t as impressive as other options, but on the flip side they’re sold at a lower price point, which is a plus if you want to invest in multiple pairs. 

Price at time of publish: $50

Material: 57% nylon, 36% polyester, 7% elastane | Size Range: XS-XXL | Inseam: 30.5 inches

Best High-Waisted Leggings for Everyday

Alo Yoga High-Waist Alosoft Lounge Legging

Alo Yoga High-Waist Alosoft Lounge Legging


Who it’s for: People who want a pair of leggings they can lounge in or wear casually daily. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a pair of leggings they can dress up for a night out.  

These leggings from Alo Yoga are a versatile, do-it-all option you can wear during workouts and everyday activities. The fabric is super-soft, velvety to the touch, and completely opaque—basically, it feels like a second skin. Even better? The fabric is an ideal thickness for colder temperatures too.

Ribbed detailing around the lower stomach and the ankles gives them a slightly different look from a classic pair of leggings. They’re breathable yet compressive enough that you still feel supported even if your daily tasks consist of running errands instead of loafing around the house. 

Price at time of publish: $108

Material: Polyester, spandex | Size Range: XXS-XL | Inseam: 28.5 or 29 inches

Best High-Waisted Leggings With Pockets

Old Navy High-Waisted PowerSoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings

Old Navy High-Waisted PowerSoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings

Old Navy

Who it’s for: People who want budget-friendly leggings with a pocket large enough to hold their smartphone.

Who it isn’t for: People who want high-compression leggings for intense workouts. 

The biggest downside to wearing leggings is the lack of pockets—but if that really bothers you, there are options out there that come with pockets, like this pair from Old Navy. These affordable leggings have side pockets large enough to fit your phone or other essentials, and they feature light compression and a peachy-soft feel, making them a dream to wear any time, anywhere. 

They have four-way super stretch, so if you intend on working out in them, you’ll have a comfortable, full range of motion. They also have moisture-wicking technology to help you dry off quicker during sweaty workouts. One of our favorite features of these leggings is the flat-lock seams, which prevent chafing. They also sit higher on the waist for a more comfortable fit, making them less likely to roll down with movement. 

Price at time of publish: $40

Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex | Size Range: XS-4X | Inseam: 23, 25, or 29 inches

Best Petite High-Waisted Leggings

Athleta Salutation Stash 7/8 Tights

Salutation Stash 7/8 Tight


Who it’s for: People looking for a petite pair of leggings to lounge or do yoga in.  

Who it isn’t for: People who want leggings for intense workouts with heavy compression.

These high-waisted leggings from Athleta are your next go-to lazy day ‘fit. They’re ultra smooth and feature minimal seams for an overall sleek aesthetic. Not only are they breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying, but they’re also rated UPF 50 (UPF is like SPF for clothing and measures how much UV light absorbs through the fabric onto your skin). So, you can ensure the safety of your legs from the intense sun. 

They feature a high-rise waistband and convenient bonded side stash pockets that can hold your essentials for extra convenience. They come in regular, tall, and petite sizes, but even if you don’t want to get the petite style, the 7/8 length is better for petites than traditional full-length leggings. 

Price at time of publish: $109

Material: Nylon, Lycra | Size Range: XXS-3X | Inseam: 23, 25, or 28 inches

Best Seamless High-Waisted Leggings

Set Active Sculptflex Leggings

Set Active Sculptflex Leggings

Who it’s for: People who want high-compression leggings with zero seams. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a better size range.

Set Active has differentiated itself in the athleisure space with its limited-edition workout wear in many stunning colors and styles. Their Sculptflex Leggings are a fabulous choice for intense workouts, and won’t sacrifice comfort or style. They almost always coincide with a matching workout top or bra if you want a coordinating set (FYI—when you create a set, you qualify for a discount at checkout). 

They have a thicker feel and supportive compression, making them an excellent choice for working out. Their most convincing quality? They’re completely seamless. They feature some texture, such as side ribbing, but from a visual standpoint, they are sleek and stylish. Just note that these can be sheer depending on the color you choose. 

Price at time of publish: $72 

Material: 88% microfiber nylon, 12% spandex | Size Range: XS-XL | Inseam: Not listed

Best Sculpting High-Waisted Leggings

Good American The Icon Legging

Good American The Icon Legging

Good American

Who it’s for: People looking for a stretchy, compressive pair of leggings they can wear outside of working out. 

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t like leggings with a visible waistband and people who want leggings in colors other than black. 

The Icon Leggings from Good American are matte (no shiny finish), buttery soft to the touch, and designed to maximize fabric breathability. They have the perfect amount of compression to smooth and sculpt the curves of your body for an oh-so-flattering fit, whether you’re working out or going out to brunch. Plus, they come in a wide range of sizes from XS-5XL—although they only come in black, which isn’t good news for people who like colorful leggings.

Still, these leggings also have a four-way stretch for optimal movement, as well as quick-drying fabric if you get sweaty. The UV protection fabric is just an added bonus to one stylish and comfortable pair of leggings.

Price at time of publish: $79

Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex | Size Range: XS-5XL | Inseam: Not listed

Best Faux Leather High-Waisted Leggings

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings



Who it’s for: People who want leggings they can wear on a night out. 

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer patent leather leggings.  

If you’re looking for the comfort of workout leggings with the stylish flair of leather pants, opt for these faux leather leggings from Spanx. These best-selling leggings feature a sleek and smooth faux leather finish that will look effortlessly chic when paired with a simple top or bodysuit—they don’t require much styling to look fabulous. 

These are a powerhouse pair of leggings with a contoured power waistband for core compression, and no center seam for extra comfort. Plus, they come in regular, tall, and petite sizes, and have good size options ranging from XS to 3X. They run on the smaller side, so we recommend sizing up. 

Price at time of publish: $98

Material: Nylon, polyester, elastane with polyurethane coating | Size Range: XS-3X | Inseam: 28, 30, or 32 inches

Best Fleece-Lined High-Waisted Leggings

Baleaf Women's Fleece Lined Water Resistant Legging

Baleaf Women's Fleece Lined Water Resistant Legging


Who it’s for: People who want leggings for cold weather.  

Who it’s not for: People who don’t like leggings with pockets. 

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice wearing comfortable leggings. That said, your go-to pair of leggings probably won’t cut it when high winds and chilly temperatures enter the picture. If you plan to leave the comfort of your home in arctic-like weather, these leggings will save the day. The fleece-lined interior traps heat to keep you warm and comfortable, while the water-resistant fabric protects you from melted snow and sleet.

In terms of shape, these leggings have a thick waistband for compression and a convenient side pocket for keeping your phone within reach. If you partake in outdoor winter weather activities like skiing, cycling, and hiking, then these Baleaf leggings are a smart purchase. 

Price at time of publish: $43 

Material: 87% polyester, 13% spandex | Size Range: XS-3XL | Inseam: 26.75-28.75 inches

Best Cotton High-Waisted Leggings

Offline By Aerie OG High Waisted Legging

Offline By Aerie OG High Waisted Legging


Who they’re for: People who want a super comfortable and budget-friendly everyday pair of leggings. 

Who they aren’t for: People who want leggings for physical activities like cycling or running. 

With medium support and medium-weight fabric, these Aerie Offline leggings are a simple everyday pair you'll want to stock up on (especially since the price is so low). As stated on the site, these leggings are “made for chilling”—so if you want leggings for working out, you may want to opt for a different selection. 

These leggings have zero visible branding, they’re perfect to style for a night out with a cute top and blazer, or to make part of your balletcore fashion. Take note that they aren’t 100 percent cotton—instead, they’re made with a cotton/polyester/elastane blend that allows for greater movement. 

Price at time of publish: $24 

Material: 56% cotton, 37% polyester, 7% elastane | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Inseam: 25.5, 27.5, or 29.5 inches

Final Verdict

If you’re searching for a reliable and versatile pair of high-waisted leggings, we recommend the Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant. These leggings are supremely soft and comfortable and can be worn for a variety of activities, from yoga class to Sunday brunch. Plus, they come in a huge range of colors, as well as different sizes for regular, petite, and tall lengths.

How to Shop for High-Waisted Leggings Like a Pro


Before purchasing a new pair of leggings, consider the material and whether it's adequate for where and when you intend to wear them. Some of the most common materials used to make leggings are cotton, nylon, polyester, and spandex.

Cotton should suffice if you plan on lounging around and doing low-impact activities; however, it won’t be sufficient for high-impact activities involving a lot of movement where more support is needed. For high-intensity workouts, lean towards compressive performance fabrics like nylon and spandex, which are less prone to pilling and can offer better stretch and moisture-wicking capabilities. 

The material you select also determines how you wash them. Leggings are prone to elasticity loss if you overwash them, so be sure to use a delicate cycle and air dry instead of throwing them in the dryer on high heat.


The length or inseam of your leggings will determine where the fabric will end at the bottom of your leg. Capris sit around mid- to low-calf, and full-length or 7/8-length leggings are to the ankle. 

How long you want your inseam is a personal preference determined by what is most comfortable for you. The inseam varies from size to size—smaller sizes tend to have a shorter inseam, and larger sizes have a longer inseam. Some brands also offer short and long options. 


Most leggings are suitable for different activities. Perhaps you want a pair of everyday leggings that you can lounge around in with less compression, or you want a pair that won’t roll down when you do HIIT workouts at the gym. Typically, high-compression is for intense physical activities and low-compression is better for yoga or lounging. Some leggings also come with pockets, which are great for outdoor exercising. Either way, consider when you plan to wear your leggings and what features will be most beneficial to you. 

Questions You Might Ask

What are the benefits of high-waisted leggings?

High-waisted leggings are comfortable and great for workouts, since there’s less risk of them riding down. Many high-waisted leggings feature a wider band at the waist that feels comfortable and supportive, whether you’re at the gym or running errands. A good majority of leggings these days are made with a higher waist, showing just how popular this style has become. 

What can you wear with high-waisted leggings?

You can dress high-waisted leggings up or down, and some can also be work-appropriate (like the Spanx Faux Leather Leggings). You can wear them with quite literally anything. 

“For day time, I would do a cute pair of side zip high-waisted leggings, sneakers, and a sweatshirt, and throw a slightly oversized blazer on top for an easy errand-to-lunch look," says Sharp. "To dress them up for date night, I would pick a stirrup high-waisted pair and switch out the sneakers for pumps, the sweatshirt for a fitted tank (tucked in), and keep the oversized blazer.”

How high should high-waisted leggings be?

There’s no exact height that high-waisted leggings should be, but refer to the return policy to ensure you can return them if they aren’t a comfortable fit. Everyone’s body is different, and what is “high-waisted” isn’t necessarily the same for everyone. A good place to start is to see if they sit above your belly button. “(The) same as any good high-waisted denim, (they) should sit just above your belly button to really elongate your legs,” says Sharp.  

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Allison Faccenda, a lifestyle, pop culture, and commerce writer with experience in video content creation. She was previously a market writer at BuzzFeed and produced short-form video content for their various social platforms. To write this article, she spent hours researching the best high-waisted leggings and spoke with Jordanna Sharp, a shopper and stylist in New York City.

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