Some of our favorite pairs of leggings come not from typical athleisure brands, but from shapewear company Spanx.
In addition to its iconic shapewear, Spanx makes leggings that are widely loved for their style, comfort, and flattering fit.
We tried four styles — the EveryWear Mesh Side Stripe Leggings ($110), Look At Me Now Cropped Seamless Leggings ($68), EveryWear Icon Leggings ($110), and Active Printed Leggings ($110) — to confirm they really are worth it.
Over the course of 21 years, Spanx has firmly entrenched itself into popular culture and become synonymous with looking and feeling confident in your evening dress.
Though it’s usually associated with smoothing, panty line-eliminating shapewear, another part of its business — which has expanded far and wide to include activewear, swimwear, and men’s underwear — is quietly raved about, too.
Spanx leggings have earned their own share of fans because they feature the same comfort and flattering look of the famous shapewear, but take everyone’s favorite form of pants-that-aren’t-really-pants.
The sleek and slick Faux Leather Leggings are slimming and make an ordinary outfit instantly more edgy, while the Moto version turns the edge up further with its textured moto seams. Though you’d expect these styles to be uncomfortable or restrictive, they’re quite stretchy and have control tops.
Meanwhile, the stretchy knit Seamless Leggings are an attractive legging basic you’ll default to on the weekends, but won’t feel ashamed to wear out of the apartment.
In total, Spanx sells nearly 40 styles of leggings, from “Jean-ish” to luxe velvet to active. They run from $60 to $110, with most styles priced around $100 to $110 — on par with premium athleisure brands. The Spanx difference, however, benefits from a design philosophy that has both comfort and style in mind, and executes through features like shaping waistbands and the absence of center seams.
We tried a few pairs of Spanx leggings to see for ourselves what the big deal was and came away impressed with their fit, quality construction, and flattering style. You can read more about our experiences, then shop all of Spanx’s leggings below.
For both stylistic and functional, breathability purposes, I love leggings with mesh details or panels, so I was immediately drawn to this pair. They have a lengthening and slimming mesh stripe down each leg that somewhat mimics the popular side stripe pant look of the moment, but has its own unique effect.
Your legs and butt will look great in these leggings because the fabric compresses and hugs your curves, but they’ll also feel surprisingly comfortable the whole time. They’re stretchy, and though I wouldn’t work out in them, they easily adapted to the unexpected squats and light jogs that can be required during an active day in the city.
The other parts of the comfort equation were the soft, antimicrobial finish and breathable fabric that allowed me to wear these leggings from day to night. — Connie Chen, senior reporter
Look At Me Now Cropped Seamless Leggings
I’m firmly in camp “leggings as pants,” and this semi-high-waisted pair has everything going for it. The extreme opacity means I never have to worry when I bend over to pick something up (which is often, I have a cat and a slippery phone), and the seamless construction is incredibly smoothing and comfortable. There’s no elastic strip in the waistband, so there’s no digging. The waist is basically just a continuation of the leggings themselves.
They’re also not as tight as Spanx shapewear, but they still hold me in without pressing too hard anywhere. I don’t wear these to work, but I do wear them as often as possible when I’m not in the office. I’m also 5-foot-1, so cropped leggings fit me perfectly as regular-length pairs. — Sally Kaplan, senior editor
EveryWear Icon Leggings
I was prepared not to love Spanx’s leggings. I spend most of my time in athletic leggings, and I had decided I’d outgrown athleisure pairs. I stand corrected.
The Every-Wear leggings are flattering and slimming, and surprisingly thin enough to wear all day comfortably. The four-way stretch lets you move around unencumbered. The design is smart: the absence of a center-seam and a waistband-free construction makes the transition from what is essentially shapewear to a more natural second skin (and no muffin top). It hit at my natural waist, and the seams in back work both functionally and as a kind of slimming and uplifting contour.
All in all, they’re movement-friendly, make for a lean and streamlined silhouette, and avoid most of my athleisure complaints. $110 is expensive, but I’d personally rather own one pair of these than three inferior pairs. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
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