The leggings 411

I think all of us can agree that a good pair of workout tights can do wonders for our performance and self confidence in the gym. As a fitness fanatic, active-wear agent and also working in the field of premium apparel I have accumulated some great product/brand knowledge and experience. I've come across some key features you should look for in a good pair of leggings, as well as product care and the appropriate style to suit your training.

Leggings for weight training:

There are many things to look out for in training tights. you need something with a tight fit to eliminate all distractions and keep you functioning accordingly to the movement you're performing. Something high waisted to offer support and to brace you. Seam-less leggings are great and hold strong. And of course you need something that maintains an opaque colour and passes the infamous squat test. A higher cotton and polyester to nylon ratio is ideal for this and can offer a stronger structure to aid training. I love the Nike legendary and sculpt tights for a great every day training but if I need something more high waisted and above the belly button (I'm a big fan of high waisted leggings) I love the Lulu lemon wunder-unders or high times. Pricey I know, but totally worth the investment. And yes, both these styles are super flattering and really show off the progress you've been squatting for.

Leggings for running/cardio:

Running tights differ from training ones. Working with apparel myself I often find myself having to explain the main differences pretty frequently. When you're running something lower waisted definitely keeps you feeling free and can allow for a more forward stride. A small zip pocket in the back also comes in handy to hold the essentials and a draw string to fasten your leggings at the hips for security is also ideal. An added bonus for running tights are mesh panels down the sides and behind the knees to offer breathability so you don't overheat or sweat through the garment therefore risking chafing, a rash, further discomfort and pre-mature aging of the product. For something breathable I like to stick to a higher polyester and nylon complex because those fibers can really take a good beating, are relatively resilient and hold a longer life with frequent washing. Nike dominate the running market and their epic lux tights and tech tights reign supreme. Another great option is the 2xU compression line

Leggings for yoga:

For yoga and stretching you're after something incredibly flexible, light weight and breathable. My favorite leggings of all time are the Lululemon align pant – these are designed for all kinds of yoga. As well as a lot other styles they produce, Lululemon kicks all ass in the yoga market but there are certainly other brands that are great too and a little more affordable such as Beyond yoga, K-deer, Alo yoga and even Cotton on Body. I agree It's annoying that yoga pants tend to be more expensive but the they're are so carefully made and with such a great attention to detail you are getting what you pay for.

Leggings for versatility/everyday:

For everyday, keep it easy. There's no rules here and you can wear whatever you wish. I tend to wear my training tights on the go but also love to play with my more adventurous pieces. This is the time and a place to whip out the bright orange yoga pants that you've been to terrified to dirty because they cost you an arm and a leg. My go to casual outfit post gym is some cute leggings, a crop top and a baggier jacket paired with the converse I just wore deadlifting. It's effortless, sporty and super flattering (remember those high waisted lulu lemons). Most of all it's incredibly comfortable.

My biggest tip when caring for these leggings is to wash them as minimally as possible. If you do decide to wash them ALWAYS on a Cold cycle, no fabric softener, and in a delicates bag (if you can). to prolong their wear life It's a good idea to wash and hang them inside out. Never forget to keep them as spread out in the drying process to decrease creasing, damage and promote a faster drying process. NEVER use a drier and always keep them folded and never scrunched.

We live in leggings now days, so we gotta get it right! Sometimes we may wear a running pair for training and struggle to understand why it didn't work out and leave the pair shoved in our wardrobe shelf to gather dust. Remember to always ask sales assistants questions, if they're trained appropriately and have great passion its certain they will be able to find you the perfect pair.

Alix Laidler

Instagram: @alixhlaidler