Does anyone else remember the show Kyle XY? It aired on what used to be ABC Family channel (now it's Freeform) and followed the life of an alien boy who didn't have a belly button. I bring this up because when I look for workout clothes, I constantly have Kyle XY in mind because I don't want anyone to see my belly button. If you can see my belly button, you can see my lower stomach, which is one of my least favorite areas of my body. I train hard five to six days per week. I eat clean six days per week. But despite my efforts, I don't have a single ab in sight. I'm okay with this. There are more important things in life, like French fries and cookies, and I'm not willing to skimp on those small pleasures. So in order to feel like my most confident and fittest self, I rely on my best friend—my high-waisted leggings.
If you don't love your stomach area and you don't own high-waisted leggings, I'm here to hit you with the truth. They are, without a doubt, the best thing to happen to the athleisure world since the sports bra. A good pair of high-waisted leggings not only hides your lower stomach, but it also pulls you, lifts your butt, and stays up throughout your most difficult and active workouts. I wanted to take my love for this article of clothing to the next level and try to find the pieces that check all the aforementioned boxes. I tried high-waisted leggings from 11 popular athleisure brands and, I promise these are the best of the best.
These are hands-down a favorite for THE/THIRTY readers and editors for a number of reasons. One, they're comfortable and supportive with moisture-wicking and sculpting fabric. Two, the elastic waistband never slips and even has a handy built-in pocket. And three, it's a great quality pair of leggings at an even better price point.
2. Sweaty Betty
This UK activewear brand is a force to be reckoned with. Its high-waisted bum-sculpting leggings do exactly what they say they will. Thanks to their flattering and practical design and their discreet drawstring at the waistband, I will continue to trust these leggings through my most difficult and fast-paced workouts.
You know a pair of high-waisted tights are going to be good when they have a drawstring, a lightweight feel, AND pockets. These tights are perfect. They didn't fall down at all, and I want to wear them for all of my future workouts. Oh, and did I mention that they wick sweat?
4. FP Movement
These leggings are incredibly light. They feel like you're wearing next to nothing. I was worried they would move around during my workout because, in my experience, lighter leggings don't always stay close to the body during fast movements. I was so wrong. These stayed up and barely moved during my workout. I was constantly worried and kept touching them and checking to make sure they were staying in place because I felt like I wasn’t even wearing leggings, but they really did stay up.
5. Alo Yoga
These leggings are so great. I love how thick the band is and how the design really lifts your butt. The best part, though, is they have pockets all over so you can travel light. Overall, I love these tights, and I think they are perfect for low- or high-intensity training.
These leggings are soft and comfortable, yet sculpted at the same time. They're also extremely stretchy, so they're good for yoga and barre.
I thought the perfect high-waisted leggings didn’t exist—and then I tried these. This brand might be new to the activewear world, but don’t get it twisted—its products will quickly replace all your tried-and-true favorite athleisure pieces. The pieces are lightweight, the seams aren’t heavy, and the waistband survived through squats, burpees, and deadlifts. The fabric feels like buttery velvet against your skin, and these leggings keep your body cool and dry during super-sweaty workouts. If I could live in these leggings I would.
These leggings did a lot better than I thought they would. I wore them for a workout that focused on plyometric movements, and other than the waist beginning to fall and crease during a few burpees and deadlifts, these leggings were great. I think these are a great high-waisted option for people whose workout routine regularly includes yoga or Pilates.
These leggings have a special space in my closet. Alala leggings don't come cheap, but they’re worth every penny. The thick waistband makes you feel secure, and the fashion-forward design features are absolutely perfect. This particular pair of leggings lasted through every type of movement that I threw its way. If you love to work out and find yourself looking for an item to splurge on, give yourself the gift of a pair of Alala leggings.
I'm no stranger to Lululemon leggings. Prior to completing this experiment, its Fast & Free Tights ($128) were my favorite high-waisted leggings of all time. I considered buying multiple pairs, but my bank account suggested otherwise. These new high-waisted tights have pockets and a drawstring to make sure that the tights are just as high at the end of the workout as they were at the beginning. I'll definitely be wearing this style on repeat.
There are a lot of things I love about Carbon38. I love that the brand uses real fitness influencers to be the models for its website. I love that it designs pieces with the hardest workouts in mind. And I love its Takara leggings. They're the best-selling leggings on the site, and they deserve that honor. They don't move. The slimming design pulls you in and keeps you secure no matter how intense your workout is.
After all of my thorough research and testing, I can confidently say that you can't go wrong with any of these leggings. No matter what kind of workout you enjoy, these will make you look and feel your absolute best. So next time you're feeling like buying yourself a little something special, feel free to add one of these to your cart.
This post has been updated by Sarah Yang.