Difference Between Yoga Pants And Leggings? Yoga Pants Vs Leggings

Sunil Murthy
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Leggings and Yoga Pants; Confusing Similarity but a Lot of Difference Too…

Leggings have a lot of similarity with yoga pants. Both are used for exercising, and activities like biking and even for lounging around.

Both have similar styles though one may be more figure hugging than the other.

So, are leggings and yoga pants the same thing? Does it really make any difference between them? Or is it just a marketing gimmick by the fashion industry?

Yes there is a difference between these two, and yes it can influence your choice. But before you go and buy a pair of leggings, you should first check if it is really what you want it for.

The purpose of this article is to inform you about the common differences that you would find between leggings and yoga pants and other things that will help you make an informed decision.

This piece of information will surely be going to help you prefer one over the other depending on your needs and what are the things that can influence your decision about leggings and yoga pants.

So read on to find out more…

What are Yoga Pants?

Yoga pants are one of the most popular casual pants worn on the go. They are designed to be worn during physical activity, which is the reason why they are stretchy and comfortable. The basic design is tight elastic with an attached cotton pant leg and waistband.

They are generally made from a blend of cotton and Lycra, or nylon. Patented yoga pants by the prestigious brand Lululemon are very popular but there are many other brands that offer similar options. The best part about yoga pants is that they are very versatile and can be worn under almost any type of outerwear.

One can hardly doubt their practicality and comfort. They look great if you wear them on their own with a stylish panties as a layering piece.

It is also very easy to dress them up with a stylish crop top, or blouse.

What are Leggings?

Leggings are one of the oddest looking types of pants you can find. They were designed in the 1500s as a form of underwear and were intended to cover the legs when the wearer of that time wanted to wear pants. Usually made out of nylon or cotton, leggings are still worn as underwear in some places, but for the most part, they are worn as a type of fashion item.

The most unusual part of the legging’s design is that they put a complete halt to any idea that you may have had about chunky clothing. In this era of chunkier clothing and larger than life looks, leggings fall flatly on the ground. Due to a tendency to either look transparent, or like you’re walking around in your underwear, they are seen as underwear, which is partly true. Since leggings offer up little in the way of backup and additional material, it’s sometimes wise to wear them with a skirt or gown to at least give you some kind of a fallback.

Similarities and Differences

There are various forms of both of these garments, such as long, knee-high, and capris, which makes the confusion very common. Here are several ways in which the two garments are similar.

  • Neither should be worn during certain types of exercise such as dance or with street shoes.

  • The two garments should be loose-fitting and tight enough to prevent them from slipping.

  • The best practice is to also ensure your yoga pants, as well as leggings, have flat seams to prevent any chafing.

  • Both should be made from synthetic fabrics which are soft and comfortable.

  • If you have large thighs, be sure that the pants or leggings have an elasticity that will enable you to draw them up.

  • Interestingly, most yoga pants, leggings, and even joggers, spandex, PU, and yoga capris are made from fabrics that are imported from Asia.

While yoga pants and leggings may look very similar and it's quite easy to get the two garments mixed up, these two types of clothing have many subtle differences as well. Here you'll learn what those differences are so that you don't have to refer to them as "jeggings."

The Difference in Design

The main difference between yoga pants and leggings comes in the way each garment is constructed. Yoga pants tend to be a heavier material that adds warmth, helps with sweat control, and creates a thick layer. Leggings, on the other hand, tend to be lighter material and are more breathable, which tends to give them a trendier look, though not always the 'comfy' look of yoga pants.

When choosing between leggings and yoga pants, it comes down to personal preference and the climate in which you live. Some parents make their kids wear leggings under a pair of yoga pants (or a pair of jeans) for added warmth and extra protection when drops and falls do occur.

When it comes to price, yoga pants are usually more affordable. Though if you want the trendier look by wearing leggings, keep in mind that the price can be significantly higher than yoga pants.

The Difference in Purpose

Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are vital to the people who practice Yoga. It is not just about comfort, style, and waistline. Yoga pants are purposely designed to be as close to wearing nothing as possible. Yoga pants have natural fibers such as nylon, spandex, and polyester and blended, synthetic fibers like Lycra (nylon/spandex) for added stretch. Conventionally, like the women’s yoga pants, the men’s yoga pants also didn't have any pockets, because they were designed to be almost skin tight to prevent distractions. But recently many brands have launched yoga pants with pockets for both men and women. They are not like a two-inch slit at the back of the waistband, but a built-in compartment, deep enough to securely hold keys, etc. Yoga pants are designed to keep the internal body heat against the body so you can maintain core temperature and stay protected from any bacteria.


Leggings are the best alternative to your yoga pants. They are designed to look and feel like your yoga pants, but that is where the similitude stops. The leggings are made with soft cotton or polyester and spandex that wicks moisture away from the body. Leggings are great to wear while having a cozy time in the cold weather either lounging or pairing with a sweater. You may love the look and feel of both women’s and men’s leggings, but they are not as practical as yoga pants for a yoga class.

The Difference in Material, Stretch, and Flexibility

Material is a key component when it comes to deciding between yoga pants and leggings. They can also help determine your preference. Stretch and flexibility are also important factors that tend to differentiate yoga pants from leggings.

Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are usually thicker in the material to be more supportive. The fabric of yoga pants is less form-fitting and allows for a complete range of motion. If you want to wear your yoga pants OUT of your yoga practice, reconsider your choice! Because in that case wearing leggings would be a better option.

Yoga pants are more stretchy and tolerant in both directions. This property will allow you a greater range of motion during your yoga session allowing you to do any kind of stretching. Yoga pants have the flexibility and elasticity to facilitate all yoga postures and movements but also go right back to their original position almost instantly.


Leggings are usually thin and gauzier to be more form-fitting and lightweight. Leggings are great for showing off your tights underneath. Leggings tend to be less easy-going as compared to yoga pants. If you happen to squat a little too low or bend over a little too far, you’ll likely see a tiny bit of your hoo-ha as the fabric won’t immediately go back to its original position.

The Difference in Shape and Colour

Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are made of a spandex blend or more likely nylon/spandex blends and are more tightly fitted. They offer more control, especially in the form-fitting sense. Yoga pants are very good for stretching, due to their tighter fit and super stretchy material without giving a feeling of being restricted. Most yoga pants will cover the entire leg from ankle to waistband having a micro seam and are unlikely to have much, if any, descriptive coloring. Yoga pants are sold in all colors and come in bold patterns and designs.


Leggings are generally made of a cotton/spandex blend and are generally loose-fitted to allow freedom of movement. Leggings usually do not have a micro seam but may have other colored or descriptive seams, depending on the production of the garment. Leggings are most commonly sold in black and grey, sometimes in dark, flattering colors, such as hunter green.

Concluding Thoughts; Yoga Pants Vs Leggings

Leggings and yoga pants are quite similar other than how they are marketed. They are even made of the same durable fabric or a mix of fabrics. Both yoga pants and leggings are leg-hugging garments, typically worn as casual attire.

There are trivial differences between both of them except for what is printed on the tag. For example, leggings traditionally had no pockets, while recent-age yoga pants typically have pockets.

Putting it simply, these are simply two different names for the same garment with almost similar function and design.