15 Best Leggings for Short Women (Because Frankly, Knee Bunching Blows)

·7 min read

Let’s talk fit here: If you’re on the shorter side, finding leggings that are the most comfortable, flattering and stylish can be an issue. But not if you know what to look for—so here’s what to know before you shop, and some selects we’re loving.

Why Do Shorter Women Need Special Leggings?

According to the CDC, the average height of a woman in the U.S. is 5’ 3” and a half. So, if you’re below that, you’re considered petite, with proportionally smaller everything in a garment. For example, properly fitting leggings will have a shorter inseam—that’s the measurement of the inside of your leg, from your inner upper thigh to the top of the ankle. For petite-size clothing, the inseam is up to two inches shorter than a standard pants inseam, which to complicate things further, ranges from manufacturer to manufacturer and even between different garments. But for argument’s sake, let’s use the fashion industry estimate of an inseam between 28 to 30 inches for women 5’4” and over. If you’re shorter than 5’4”, you’re going to experience bunching around the ankles, mid-leg or crotch area, unless you buy a shorter legging.

What if I’m average height, but leggings are still bunching on me?

You might have proportionally shorter legs. Women with a long torso who are always having their pants hemmed or rolling up the bottom of their pants know what this is like. The best way around this when buying leggings is to hunker down and measure that inseam, so you know what you’re working with.

Can’t I just buy cropped leggings?

While cropped or capri leggings might hit you just right, they might also fall into that hazy mid-calf area that is like a leggings no-woman’s land. They manage to make your legs look shorter and don’t keep you much cooler than full-length leggings. And if you’re looking for full-length leggings, these will be designed to be cropped, so the proportions of thigh and calf fabric allowances will be “off.” Seriously, you don’t want to be owning sets of step-ups only to find your cropped leggings are bagging mid-leg because they’re not fitting properly. And buy high-waisted—the upward sweep of fabric helps your legs look longer.

So, What’s the Workaround?

Measure your inseam. Buy leggings that are that exact length, or ones that are “7/8,” which are full-length leggings with one-eight of the standard length (resulting in them being, usually, around 25 inches). Or get creative, and buy a pair of leggings that let you self-hem. There’s a wide world of scaled-down leggings for us all…and here are our picks.

RELATED: 15 Pairs of Summer Leggings That Won’t Cause You to Overheat

1. Lululemon High Rise Fast and Free Crop

At 23 inches long, is this running apparel a shorter regular-length legging or a longer cropped legging? However you classify it, it’s not going to bag at the ankles and its Nulux fabric isn’t see-through, while being plenty cool.

Buy It ($118)

Available in sizes 0 to 14

2. Fabletics Oasis High-Waisted Twist 7/8

A peekaboo detail made of twisted fabric at the calf make these bright leggings perfect for yoga on the grass at your resort getaway. (Also for grinding at the gym, and imagining yourself on vacay.)

Buy It ($70)

Available in sizes XXS to 4X

3. Everlane The Perform Legging

Basic is beautiful with these nylon-polyester leggings; choose the “ankle” size option and you’ll be perfectly covered with a 25-inch inseam. “Love these leggings, so soft and stay put!” says one reviewer. “I’m 5’1” and 115 pounds and purchased size small. Perfect fit.”

Buy It ($58)

Available in sizes XXS to XXXL

4. Zella Studio Lite High Waist Print 7/8 Leggings

Super lightweight and bright, it has a 26-inch inseam and is designed with an 11-and-a-half inch front rise that’s 14 inches in the back.

Buy It ($65)

Available in sizes XX-Small to XX-Large

5. Carbon38 Houndstooth Jacquard 7/8 Legging

A wide waistband and compression fabric make these polyester-nylon-Lycra blend leggings flattering whether you’re pairing them with sandals for café sitting or hitting your umpteenth downward dog in yoga class.

Buy It ($108)

Available in sizes XS to XL

6. Free People Self Hem Ecology Leggings

In an ingenious innovation for those of us looking for the elusive just-right legging length, these Italian-made nylon-Spandex leggings have three horizontal lines at the bottom of each leg, so that you can trim them to your exactly perfect length.

Buy It ($118)

Available in sizes XS to L

7. Girlfriend Collective Fig Float Seamless High-Rise Legging

With an inseam of 23 ¾, these are the light-as-air leggings that short women are looking for. Made from 90 percent recycled water bottles (plus 10 percent Spandex), this buttery soft fabric is your warm-weather go-to.

Buy It ($68)

XXS to 6XL

8. Skin Calypso Ankle Length Legging

If you’re looking for a legging with a high percentage of natural fiber, these are made of 90 percent cotton. The 25-inch length means they’ll fit shorter legs without hemming, which is nice because the cuff has a fashion-y raw edge. And the high waist means that when you throw these on with a t-shirt to knock around town, your midsection isn’t going to peek out.

Buy It ($98)

Available in sizes XS to L

9. Sweaty Betty Super Sculpt Sustainable High Waisted 7/8 Yoga Leggings

What’s to love most? The 24-inch inseam? The high-waisted design that includes a side pocket? We vote for that kicky pink coral print fabric—responsibly made from 17 recycled water bottles.

Buy It ($108)

Available in sizes XXS to XXL

10. Beyond Yoga High Waist Leggings

These 25-inch inseam polyamide-and-elastane leggings fit like a second skin, and the subtle green camo is a great way to branch out from basic black leggings without going neon.

Buy It ($99)

Available in sizes XX-Small to XX-Large

11. Alo 7/8 High-Waist Airbrush Legging

A cottony feel in a synthetic fabric, these have no side seams for the smoothest silhouette in all of yoga land. And the 24.5-inch inseam (on a size medium—smaller sizes are 24 flat) mean you won’t have any bunching at the hem.

Buy It ($78)

Available in sizes XXS to XL

12. Madewell MWL Form High-Rise 26-Inch Legging

Hello, versatile wardrobe essential: The 26-inch inseam is wearable on short-ish legs, the recycled nylon-Spandex fabric has 4-ways stretch for durability in studio or outdoors workouts and the colors are neutral (and opaque) enough to work as knock-around pants to wear with t-shirts just because.

Buy It ($65)

Available in sizes XXSmall to XXLarge

13. Gymshark Training 7/8 Leggings

These are on the shorter side for 7/8 leggings, and the 10 colorways (including this neon-adjacent orange) provide a lot of variety.

Buy It ($30)

Available in sizes XS to XL

14. Splits59 Tread High Waist TechFlex 7/8

he 26-inch inseam are perfect for women who clock in at around 5’3”; the lay-flat seams are chafe-proof and sewn in a stylish accent color.

Buy It ($114)

15. MPG Endurance High Waisted 7/8 Legging

So much style packed into 25 inches of inseam, this shiny grape legging has a v-shape seam in the back that appears to lift and round your booty, and the poly-Spandex blend has sweat-wicking properties. (If you find a better legging for your triumphant return to spin class, let us know.)

Buy It ($58)

Available in sizes XS to XL

RELATED: The 14 Best Plus-Size Shorts to Get You Through Summer’s Heat in Style

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