Both Are Fan-Favorites, But Who Has the Best Women's Leggings?
There's nothing quite like the feeling of a new pair of leggings, especially when you find one that fits just right. Athleta and Lululemon, two major companies in the athletic apparel industry, claim to have the best leggings. They're both popular brands with thousands of good reviews, but which one is better? We decided to settle the debate ourselves! We tested a pair of leggings from both brands to help you decide which one is worth investing in.
Disclosure: Athleta sent samples of their Salutation Stash, and Lululemon sent samples of their Align High-Rise Pant for us to review.
Scott Kerslake founded Athleta in 1998. It was later purchased by Gap Inc. in 2008. Athleta’s goal is to promote healthy and active lifestyles and provide comfortable and functional workout clothing options. The company is also dedicated to sustainability and uses eco-friendly materials in its products. We reviewed the Salutation Stash.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Structured back paneling
- Deep pockets on both sides
- No signs of wear or pilling after several washes
- Keeps everything in place
- Waistband rolls over
- Material easily picks up lint and dog hair
- Big, itchy tag
Lululemon is a Canadian brand that was founded in 1998. The first store opened in 2000 and came to the U.S. in 2003. Since then, the company has opened hundreds of stores worldwide. Their mission is to provide inclusion for all, offering products for women in various sizes for various activities. We reviewed the Align High-Rise.
- Incredibly soft
- High-quality material and comes with a Quality Promise
- The waistband doesn't move while exercising
- Keeps everything in place
- Great for all activities, including intense workouts and running errands
- No external pocket
- Inner thigh pills quickly
- The thin fabric is uncomfortable during casual wear
Comparing the Two
We tested Athleta's Salutation Stash and Lululemon's Align High-Rise Pant for this review. We compared fit, function, material, quality, price, and sizing to determine which product we liked best.
Both pairs of leggings fit true to size, despite some Lululemon reviews suggesting to size up. They both have a high waistband that keeps everything in place, even during intense workouts. However, with both pairs, the waistband may be too high for shorter women or those with short torsos. Neither pair had issues with bunching around the ankles or exposing underwear lines.
They both have a high waistband that keeps everything in place, even during intense workouts.
One thing that made Athleta stand out in terms of fit is the back paneling. This offered more support and structure that was extremely flattering. It helped to highlight all the right places without drawing attention to anything you don't want to be seen.
We love how stretchy both pairs of leggings are. Even though they're both compression leggings, they don't restrict movement at all. We stayed comfortable during all kinds of activities, from yoga to runs and other intense workouts. They both also have moisture-wicking abilities, which helped us stay dry and free from sweat even in hot temperatures.
While we appreciate the high waistband on both pairs, Lululemon's was our favorite. Athleta's band would roll down while we did squats, sit-ups, and any other type of bending. However, we never had this issue with the Lululemon pair. The waistband always stayed put through all kinds of movement.
Another significant difference between these two pairs of leggings is the pockets. Athleta's leggings have a large pocket on both legs, while Lululemon leggings only have one small internal pocket. We could securely store phones, wallets, and keys in the Athleta pair without fear of them falling out, even during runs and intense workouts. The pocket on the Lululemon pair is only big enough for a card or small keychain. We also found storing items in this pocket uncomfortable while we exercised.
These leggings had similar lightweight material, which we appreciated during workouts because they allowed for better airflow to keep us cool. The fabric was incredibly soft on both materials, but Lululemon's was slightly softer. Lululemon's light, soft fabric actually made us feel like we weren't wearing pants! This was great during workouts, but we didn't love this feeling for casual wear. We preferred the Athleta leggings for hitting the town or running errands.
We loved the quality of both pairs of leggings. They're both highly durable despite being on the thinner side. We didn't have any issues with wear or shrinkage. However, we did notice pilling on the Lululemon leggings after only one wash, while the Athleta leggings remained pill-free after several washes.
One thing Lululemon has on Athleta is their Quality Promise. If you have items with a product flaw or defect during its lifetime, you can request a Performance Return and receive a refund.
The Athleta Salutation Stash leggings cost $109, while the Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant cost $98. While they both come at a higher price tag, there isn't a significant cost difference between them.
Both brands offer a wide range of sizes. However, Athleta's sizing goes up to 3X, which is slightly higher than the size 20 Lululemon offers.
Which Is Better?
There's a lot to love about both pairs of leggings! They're very similar in many ways, providing flexibility, support, and moisture-wicking abilities. However, if we had to choose, we'd pick the Athleta Salutation Stash leggings. While we weren't a fan of the waistband rolling down, we loved the deep pockets and supportive back paneling. The Lululemon pair didn't have a rolling band and had slightly softer fabric, but it wasn't as supportive and only had one small internal pocket.
Ultimately, the best pair for you will come down to personal preference. Some people may prefer external pockets, while others want a waistband that stays in place. You can outweigh the pros and cons of each with your preferences to find the perfect pair. When you're ready to try them out yourself, you can find Athleta's Salutation Stash here and Lululemon's Align High-Rise Pant here.