What Is the Difference Between Leggings and Yoga Pants?

Casual wear has predominantly remained as the youth’s ideal choice when it comes to clothing. Today, we see it influencing the corporate wear. No joke, around $48 Billion gets spent on active wear alone in the U.S. every year. Gone are the days when a gaudy track suit was the ideal apparel for workouts. The heavy jackets and baggy pants might still be there but with a slight change—comfort. This brings us to everyone’s favorite athleisure wear. Somehow, amidst what and what not’s, this one suits everyone’s requirements.

Now, whether you are at the Target or your workplace, you see people wearing a leggings with possibly everything. Some days, people choose to wear yoga pants instead. Either way, it is worn beyond your gym and yoga sessions. While they both have a lot in common by being the absolute fashion statements, there are several differences that tell them apart.


Did you know that leggings were originally designed to survive winters? They were never actually made to wear as pants. You were supposed to always wear them under the pants as an added protection for warmth.  It is usually made using polyester, cotton mixed with spandex, Lycra, and nylon. Based on the materials used to make them, there are many types of leggings:

    • Cotton

The most common type of leggings, cotton leggings are most commonly found at fashion outlets. While they are made from cotton, spandex is also utilized for stretch. It is highly cost-efficient and known for a variety of styles.

    • Polyester

A legging that wicks sweat and moisture; that’s a polyester legging for you. It can be easily stretched and works great for cardio exercises.

    • Nylon

The most popular one in the lot are the nylon leggings. They hold up well and remain highly durable by not wrinkling easily.

    • Faux leather

They are just like faux leather pants—only comfortable. The look is similar while being breathable and stretchy.

    • Wool

As the name suggests, they are a catch during the cold weather. Super comfortable and pleasing to the eye, wool leggings are a great investment.

    • Spandex

Body hugging and see-through, spandex leggings come in small sizes that stretches quite wide.

Yoga Pants

Some call it yoga pants while others call it just the greatest invention ever. Yoga pants originated as a flexible and fitting replacement for pants more than two decades ago by Lululemon.  And ever since, it has been dominating the high-end alternate to leggings. Yoga lover or not, it technically sits in everyone’s closet.

What’s the Difference Between Leggings and Yoga Pants?

    1. Physical properties

You can easily tell the difference between leggings and yoga pants.  You can easily identify the physical differences between them. Leggings are made using soft materials that are made to stretch well. Therefore, that makes the leggings slightly see-through and tight-fitting.

On the other hand, yoga pants are made of durable materials. Although light, they are thick yet soft and very flexible, making it very easy for anyone to fit in them.

The physical properties of both garments can easily help you differentiate between them.

    1. Shape and Color

The usual shape and length of leggings are strikingly different from the yoga pants. The length of leggings usually touch the ankles or knees. Although leggings offer a variety of lengths, the most common length begins from the waist to completely cover the ankles.

Yoga pants, on the other hand, are more of a body-hugging, bell-bottom, high-raise style. They are designed to fulfill the functional movements. Yes, it does cater to the fashion element but more importantly, it focuses on movability and flexibility.

    1. Intention

Among the major differences between leggings and yoga pants are the intention behind using them. While leggings are mostly used to lounge purposes or to run errands, yoga pants are specifically used for the intent of tricky movements used in yoga, Pilates, etc.

Leggings, although used by most acrobats and dancers, is not usually the first choice for gym goers and yoga lovers. In both cases, the performers or yoga enthusiasts are able to perform their activities with ease.

    1. Transparency

While there are many factors that differentiate both garments, transparency is among the major ones. Yoga pants come with a stretchable waistband that makes it easy for any size to wear them with ease. Yoga pants are made from highly durable, opaque materials. This makes the yoga pants a thick garment whereas leggings are see-through.

They are made from light materials that promotes elasticity, making them highly transparent. They are so stretchable that they can be easily worn inside a regular pants.  On the contrary of the yoga pants, leggings do not come with a stretchable waistband. This means that it can easily slide off the body.

    1. Comfort

As much as it is easy to wear both leggings and yoga pants, there are some comfort factors that beg to differ. As mentioned before, yoga pants are designed for flexible movements. This means that a person will not feel uncomfortable, at any point, while wearing the yoga pants.

On the other hand, leggings are merely crafted for quick and easy fashion. This means that a lot of technicalities behind its design are missed. Therefore, a user might feel a tad bit uncomfortable while wearing them.

So, when a person is exercising, it is a possibility that they may face some fitting issues with regards to leggings as compared to yoga pants.

There you have it. All in all, while both may cater to the user’s requirements, there are some factors that are enough to tell the difference between them. Given the material and usage, leggings come a lot cheaper than yoga pants. There is a major difference in terms of functionality, style, fabric, etc. But still, both of them have their respective uses and they fulfill enough requirements to stay in the trend.

About the author

Arun Gupta