live-in leggings: our pick of the stretchies

The days when you pulled on any pair of trackies and an old t shirt to go to the gym – or even a walk in the woods – are well and truly over.  Which would be unfortunate were it not for the existence of a new generation of seriously flattering and hard working leggings. Fashionable and functional gym kit is a serious business these days, which is also good because people who workout regularly want to feel supported, confident and stylish.  Good leggings can also enhance performance, motivation, focus and gains. We’ve chosen the best based on design, performance during exercise, comfort and washability.

SWEATY BETTY POWER 7/8 LEGGING

Best Investment: Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Leggings

These have bottom-sculpting and sweat-wicking technology built into the fabric – and both work really well. They’re very flattering, stay dry and cool (they also dry quickly inbetween workouts), and don’t budge when you’re active. Probably best for high intensity interval training (Hiit), boxing and barre workouts because they’re so flexible yet unmovable. They also have a pocket to fit an iphone 7.

Best Warmth: Tribe Engineered Run Tight

These were made for outdoor activities – especially running, in the colder months because they’re crafted with a more cotton-like, thicker material than the others we tried and keep you warm but also allow the skin to breath when you’re sweating. They have anti-bacterial and anti-odour properties built in, they’re seamless and have an internal drawstring around the waist to make sure they stay snug during activity.

UNDER ARMOUR UA VANISH LEGGING

Best Cooling: Under Armour UA Vanish Printed Leggings

You like to spin? You want these leggings! They are the best leggings at keeping you cool because they’ve got superb sweat-wicking properties built into their unique microthread fabric. They’re well designed – a clever seam placement flatters leg shape, and it’s applied in a way that prevents tight pressure points or chafing (no more red marks on your legs after a run). There’s a back pocket made for a credit or Oyster card too.

Best Budget: TU Women’s Streak Active Print Legs

The perfect competitive option, these look great and are seriously comfy. They’re not as tight-fitting as others we tried and might sag a little if you do a really hard workout, but they are flexible enough to allow for plenty of lunges and stretches. They’re a bargain – buy two pairs!