The 18 Best Squat-Proof Leggings for Every Kind of Workout (Yes, Including Stretching)

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·10 min read

Leggings, we love you. But since there are so many styles and fabrications out in the world, it can be hard to know which pair of leggings will fit just right. So, we worked backward from what has to be the most important function of our leggings: to keep everything covered up (yes, including our rear end).

Ever since Lululemon recalled yoga pants in 2013 for being unintentionally see-through, the leggings consumer is savvier than ever about what to expect from our athleisure. Now we’re all practically as geared up as astronauts while we do our at-home cardio with the amount of engineering, high-tech fabrication and high concept design that’s going on in our outfits. Which is great, but it makes for a lot of information clutter for the shopper.

So, What’s The Anti See-Through Secret?

The key to making a squat-proof legging—by which we mean a legging that’s not going to get too thin and see-through when we bend down—is starting with the right fabric. Too much cotton, and the leggings will sag, while 100 percent nylon stretches nicely, but can be so thin it shows the imprint of even no-show knickers. A high percentage of polyester or polyamide is the gold standard when it comes to dependably opaque leggings, including the kind that can stand up to any leg series you throw at them.

As for fit? You want them to be tight in all the right places, so they don’t fall down, but not so tight that you’re not playing up your best assets. And let’s be real, we want every pair to be flattering so we can wear them to WFH as well as to a quick between-Zoom-meetings workout. Without further ado, here are our 18 picks for the best squat-proof leggings for every type of workout.

RELATED: 23 Matching Workout Sets That Will Inspire You to Up Your Fitness Game in 2021

1. Yogalicious High Waist Squat Proof Soft Printed Leggings

Best for Pilates

No one wants to be upside down in a jackknife, with your instructor critiquing your placement while staring at the neon panties that are showing through your leggings. Since Pilates offers an especially instructor-involved method—you need to be in exactly the right position on your reformer or mat, or all your reps won’t do any good—the exercise mandates a legging that won’t reveal too much. This Yogalicious legging’s high polyester content paired with a cute camo pattern mean it’s going to hide all your undergarments, no matter how much you stretch out in class.

$39 at Amazon

Available in sizes XS to XL

2. Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Pocket 7/8 Run Leggings

Best for Running

Moisture-wicking and durable polyamide plus figure-sculpting elastane makes this pair of Sweaty Betty tights the go-to for even the most intense workouts, including the drills where you’re bending and running, and the negative splits where you’re sprinting your heart out. Not to mention, that pocket comes in handy for stashing your phone throughout it all.

Buy It ($135)

Available in sizes XXS to XL

3. 90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece Lined Leggings

Best for Winter

With 88 percent polyester fabrication, you can trust these leggings are going to be both opaque and tough as nails. With added spandex, they’re figure-flattering, too—with a four-inch rise that covers your navel and a side pocket that safely stows your phone and credit card while you’re busy jogging, hiking, or otherwise slushing through the cold. The fleece-lined interior is just cozy enough to keep you comfortable while you’re moving around outside, no puffer coat required.

$40 at Amazon

Available in sizes XS to XL

4. Girlfriend Collective Earth Compressive High-Rise Legging

Best High-Rise Style

This design gets rave reviews for fit—it comes in 19.5-, 23 ¾- and 28.5-inch inseams, and comes in 11 inclusive sizes. Further, each pair is made from 25 recycled water bottles, so you can feel good about every move you make in these compressive beauties. And FYI, the eco-chic polymer made from those recycled bottles is sturdy and not at all see-through, according to reviewers.

Buy It ($68)

Available in sizes XXS to 6XL

5. Carbon 38 Metallic Snake High Rise Legging

Best Pattern

Reptile prints are the new basic black in the world of print leggings, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with the five different colorways from Carbon 38 that rival the iridescent scales of the snakes that inspired them. The high polyester content in the compressive fabric means you can do the splits all you want in these and still not reveal your undies—and the extra-wide, lined waistband ensures that even if you pair these with a crop top, there’s not going to be any visible muffin top.

Buy It ($98)

Available in sizes XXS to L

6. Outdoor Voices ¾ Warmup Legging

Best Medium Weight

The polyester-spandex blend that composes these Outdoor Voices tights offers a great in-between layer that can be worn out in an autumn chill or inside in a drafty dance studio. The three-quarter length ensures there won’t be not any hot fabric bunching up at your ankles. “Perfect for the gym and running,” one wearer reports. “I like that I can wear underwear with them without the color showing through or having bad lines.”

Buy It ($78)

Available in sizes XS to XL

7. Core 10 Women's ‘Build Your Own’ Yoga Pant Full-Length Legging

Best Crossover Waist

We’re happy to report that the 88 percent polyester blend of this Amazon brand legging makes it totally squat-proof, which is another reason to love it besides the style’s wild TikTok popularity. “I’m a preschool teacher, so I am up and down all day long,” says one wearer. “The top doesn’t roll and they’re not see-through in the back, so I am confident that I’m fully-covered. I have worn these to workout as well, and they felt great.”

$44 at Amazon

Available in sizes Regular XL, Tall 3X

8. Vuori Daily Legging

Most Absorbent

It’s got a drawstring waist and cuffs on the legs like a jogger, but the poly-spandex compressive fabric of this Vuori style hugs the figure just like a legging. While it’s comfy enough to wear as an everyday pair of pants, the high moisture-wicking ability of these begs to be taken to a hot yoga class or to a sunny day workout in the park.

Buy It ($84)

Available in sizes XS to XL

9. Heroine Sport Marvel Legging

Best for Spin Class

Have you ever noticed how spin class outfits seem to be the most cray in all the workout disciplines? Maybe it’s the cumulative instructor-as-positivity-drill-sergeant-shouting that makes everyone really go there with their loose-fit tanks, leopard shorts and Mad Max-esque vibe. Don’t be a wallflower at this endorphin party! Outshine everyone in a metallic legging that's a fave of reviewers: "they are not see-through and they are comfortable,” says one wearer. “I get SO many compliments!”

Buy It ($99)

Available in sizes XS to XL

10. Spanx Look At Me Now Seamless Leggings

Best Seamless

Leave it to Spanx. the innovative shapewear company, to create hard-working and figure-flattering leggings. “Not see-through, even when bending over in bright light,” reports one woman, who likes the “medium-firm compression in all directions” which fit best when she purchased one size larger than usual. The double-layer waistband smooths the stomach area, natch—because it is possible to find a legging that does it all.

Buy It ($68)

Available in sizes XS to 3X

11. Outdoor Voices Swift 7/8 Legging

Best With Pockets

Outdoor Voices recently innovated its SuperForm fabric to be especially squat-proof. It’s got more nylon than most other high-coverage leggings—63 percent, to be exact—but thanks to the addition of Lycra, it also has users praising its full-coverage qualities and lightweight feel. (Bonus: Wearers say the stitching accentuates even the flattest rear end.) And we appreciate how, unlike so many pocketed leggings that seem to assume we need a bajillion little pockets, this design has one phone pocket on the right side, which is, in a word, perfect.

Buy It ($98)

Available in sizes XS to M, XL

12. Y-3 Swim Y-Cut Leggings

Best Swim Legging

Say you’re taking a surf lesson, or doing some sort of beach workout, or, bless you, meeting up with some pals to run through your triathlon training. It might be a bit chilly out, or you might not feel like displaying everything in a bathing suit bottom. That’s where a good swim legging comes in. This one, from Yohji Yamamoto’s collaborative line with Adidas, Y3, is made of a high percentage of nylon, so it drip dries quickly when wet. It’s basically the little black swimsuit of leggings.

Buy It ($130)

Available in sizes 2XS to L

13. Alo Yoga 7/8 High-Waist Airlift Legging

Best for Hot Yoga

“It does hide cellulite, it is truly opaque, and it stretches in all the directions with no surprises,” says one user. Alo Yoga’s Airlift fabric has a gentle sheen (the opposite of a tacky shine) that looks expensive, and its double-knit poly-spandex fabrication manages to seriously hide whatever color knickers you’re rocking. Also, the fabric is treated to be anti-microbial, which is why no matter how drenched these get during your ashtanga flow, you’re not going to have the aroma of a gym locker.

Buy It ($114)

Available in sizes XXS to L

14. H & M Seamless Leggings High Waist

Best Budget Option

The recycled polyamide-and-polyester fabric is free of seams, so you’ll be super-comfortable. Plus, the heather-knit pink hue hides any lines or colors that could be visible during even the deepest stretch.

Buy It ($30)

Available in sizes XS to XL

15. Baleaf Women’s 3D Padded Bike Leggings

Best for Cycling

We have two words for you: Seat padding. Multi-density chamois cushioning is sewn right where you need it, while extras like reflective details and zippers on the hems give you all the bells and whistles you expect for endurance rides. And the UPF 50+ poly blend delivers leg and fanny coverage you will appreciate.

$33 at Amazon

Available in sizes S to XXL

16. Amposh Woen’s Maternity Leggings

Best Maternity

Rayon comes to the rescue for expectant moms, as this super-soft, but matte opaque fabric stretches everywhere you need. (Because baby’s first workout is going to start way before their due date). The waistband expands from your early days of pregnancy, when you might indeed still be doing squats, up to the end of your pregnancy when you just hope exercise will induce labor.

$23 at Amazon

Available in sizes S to XXL

17. Anivivo Women Tennis Skirted Leggings with Pockets

Best for Racket Sports

This tennis skirts-and-leggings combo has handy ball pockets and a skirt that keeps you looking classic, while the leggings keep you warm. It’s enough to make you start the tennis season super-early (AKA, just as soon as the snow melts).

$27 at Amazon

Available in sizes XS to 4XL

18. Fabletics The Boost II 7/8

Best for Stretching

We finally found it, a white legging that's entirely non see-through. This one achieves the honor by being lined and made of 88 percent polyester (with the addition of 12 percent elastance to lift and shape your assets). We love the idea of wearing this to a slow-flow yoga sesh or a stretch class, where you have time to admire how pretty and fresh-seeming white leggings can be—and how flattering the four-way stretch fabric shapes your figure.

Buy It ($54)

Available in sizes XXS to 4X

RELATED: The 25 Best Workout Leggings for Every Body Type and Fitness Need, According to Real People

PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.