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Have you ever tried trekking in inferior clothing? If you choose the wrong material, like jeans, it will be a truly miserable experience. Sweating, chafing, and restriction are all things you have to worry about if you are not dressed appropriately on the trails. Thankfully, hiking apparel has changed a lot in the recent years, and you can now find trekking clothing that favors comfort and breathability.
One of the most popular items of late is hiking leggings for men and women. In the past, wearing leggings on the trail was unthinkable; now, trekking leggings are one of the best purchases you could make for all your outdoor adventures.
If you ever wondered which brands have the best hiking and trekking leggings for men and women, look no farther. We’ve done the research for you and have listed the hiking leggings below.
Best Hiking and Trekking Leggings For Men and Women in 2020
Are Leggings Good For Hiking?
Yes! Hiking leggings have distinct advantages over traditional hiking trousers and pants. Modern trekking leggings for men and women also excel at one thing more traditional pant styles do not: compression.
Compression is ideal for minimizing muscular fatigue, helping you walk farther and faster. Not all hiking legs are going to have compression, but it is definitely something to keep an eye out for when shopping.
Also, leggings are going to conform to your body, fitting like a glove. This increases your range of motion. Whether you want leggings for more air flow and less sweating or want something with compression and added fleece for warmth, there are plenty of hiking leggings out there for you to try.
Best Hiking and Trekking Leggings for Men and Women
It’s time to embrace comfort when you go hiking. Mens and womens hiking leggings come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so you might not know which ones to choose. We have compared some of the top-rated outdoor leggings available right now to help you decide.
Looking for leggings that can tackle all kinds of weather and keep you feeling awesome the whole time? HeatGear by Under Armour is one of the best choices for all-round comfort and breathability. The version for men features a stretchy mesh gusset and inseam panels to assist with ventilation. The 2.0 version offers enhanced seam placement to prevent abrasion in sensitive areas. Under Armour’s HeatGear Armour 2.0 Leggings also have exceptional 4-ways stretch, a super-tight fit for enhanced compression, and are ideal for overnight camping trips.
- Great for a wide temperature range. It doesn’t matter if you are hiking under the scalding July sun or sleeping in a tent overnight in October, you will stay comfortable throughout the day.
- Airflow is exceptional. You will remain dry.
- Compression is excellent, thus preventing premature muscular fatigue and cramping. You will also recover faster.
- Constructed with anti-odor technology to keep you smelling fresh.
- HeatGear Armor leggings are not designed for freezing and below-freezing temperatures. If you need something for winter, choose a thicker legging.
Looking for exceptional comfort and compression? What about cool, dry skin no matter the time of day or temperature? Then Under Armour’s HeatGear Armour Women’s Leggings may be right for you. These leggings are seriously stretchy, even with the patented UA locked-in compression technology that keeps your muscles well supported. The best part about Under Armour’s leggings is that they are efficient. You never have to worry about excess moisture and sweat building up and weighing you down. The jacquard inserts enhanced ventilation, too. Also, the waistband on these leggings have recently been updated, making them more comfortable than ever before.
No wonder these are our top pick!
- Fantastic moisture management. You never have to worry about sweating or chafing.
- High breathability. Air circulates, and the insert panels increase ventilation.
- Flatlock seams and four-way stretch fabric for superior comfort.
- Compression fit that feels like a second-skin.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Has anti-odor technology that prevents the growth of microbes that give the material a musty scent.
- Not see-through.
- Not built for wintry temperatures.
- The women’s version of the HeatGear Armour leggings tend to run a little small. Be sure to check the size chart to confirm your size before purchasing.
Most Comfortable Warm Leggings:
Here is a sustainable option made of 100% Merino wool. In case you didn’t know, merino wool is one of the best materials for winter hiking. It is sustainable, lightweight, soft, warm, breathable, antimicrobial, and moisture-wicking. So, these leggings have the same characteristics. They are ideal for any wintry trip you have been cooking up, such as mountain biking, hiking, skiing, or running. Since Icebreaker leggings are technically base layers, you can wear them under another pair of pants, which a lot of men tend to do.
- A functional fly.
- Merino wool helps regulate body temperature. Some reviewers report staying warm even in below-freezing temperatures with just these leggings during outdoor activities.
- Odor free and antimicrobial.
- Made of all-natural fibers that are more sustainable than synthetic materials.
- Lightweight yet exceptionally warm. You won’t feel restricted in these leggings.
- Some buyers report that the waistband is not properly stitched.
- If you are looking for a truly thick pair of leggings, then Icebreaker’s base layer leggings may not be exactly what you want. These are thinner than other brands.
Want a female version of Icebreaker’s Merino leggings? Check out Icebreaker’s Comet leggings.
Snowy outdoor yoga anyone? Because that is exactly what you can do in these fabulously warm and stretchy high-waisted winter leggings for women. You can easily tackle 30 degree weather in these leggings and think nothing of it. BALEAF is a great company that has a broad range of athletic products, ranging from yoga pants, volleyball shorts, and now, thermal winter leggings. The fleece-lined pants help lock in heat to keep you moving. You also get a bunch of features like a tummy-control waistband, deep side pockets for your smartphone, a waistband pocket, and a double-layered gusset for exceptional range of motion.
- V-shaped waistband for enhanced style and tummy control.
- Three pockets to carry more.
- Soft synthetic fleece that keeps you warm throughout your winter hike.
- The fabric is soft, warm, breathable, and moisture-wicking, so you won’t get chilled once you stopped moving.
- Flatlock seams prevent abrasion.
- The lining is light compared to some other brands. If you want a thicker fleece lining, you can always use these leggings as a base layer.
- Some reviewers claimed that the leggings ran a little short. Be sure to check the size chart to make sure you are purchasing the correct length.
Best Budget Leggings:
For those who don’t want to compromise quality but also don’t want to pay a lot of money for comfort, Roadbox’s Compression Pants are a smart buy. For a low price, you get a cooling base layer that provides plenty of support for hard workouts and long hikes. These leggings feature a flatlock seam that hugs the body but doesn’t rub. The compression feature supports your lower body and can prevent fatigue even during higher intensity physical activity. Since the material is a little thin, Roadbox’s outdoor leggings are not recommended for cooler weather. The trade off is the added UV resistance, making these wonderful for summertime.
- Highly affordable price for great quality.
- Stylish design. Choose between four colors.
- High elasticity and mobility. The gusset and stitching allows you to move in any direction, unrestricted.
- The leggings come in 6 different sizes.
- Can be used as a base layer in the winter but are best paired with something a little heavier to keep you warm.
- Breathable. Dries quickly when wet and wicks away sweat.
- UV resistance.
- Some reviewers state that the waistband was too loose for them. Others commented that the compression is more subtle than more expensive brands.
Tired of purchasing expensive leggings only to have them not fit well or show off your undergarments when you squat or bend over? Toss them in the garbage, because these squat-proof leggings from BALEAF are all you are ever going to need. This is a truly budget-friendly buy that doesn’t sacrifice style and quality. The nylon and spandex fabric is not clingy but is still form-fit enough to provide you with maximum mobility and breathability. Although these leggings do not have any compression, they are superbly lightweight. The waistband falls right under the belly button and stays in place without discomfort.
- Quick drying material keeps you cool even when hiking, running, or exercising outdoors.
- Fabric is thin but not see-through. Move with confidence!
- There is a hidden pocket in the waistband for small items, like your keys or ID card.
- Fantastic color options. Choose between bright blues, purple, red, green, gray, or black.
- Lightweight material is flattering for all body types. These hiking leggings are stretchy, not clingy.
- No lining around the crotch, and the seam is down the middle.
- Lighter colors may show off panty lines.
- Fabric tends to attract lint and pet fur.
What is the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Leggings?
Leggings, in essence, are unisex unless otherwise specifically stated for one body type over another. Some men prefer a tighter fit and will use women’s leggings and vice versa. In the end, it’s up to you. That said, there are a couple key differences in legging design for men and women.
High quality leggings usually have crotch padding or liners that provide protection. Men’s leggings have a larger padded area, while women’s leggings are less concerned with protection and will merely have a triangle of fabric (also called the crotch gusset). This is the main difference between men’s and women’s trekking leggings.
In terms of styling, you can expect men’s versions of hiking leggings to look more sport-oriented. The colors and logos will be masculine in nature, and the coloring will be less vibrant. Muted colors, such as blues, blacks, and grays are the dominating palette. Matte or satin dominates finishes. Meanwhile, women’s leggings come in a variety of colors (pinks, yellows, floral) and may have feminine elements, such as cut-outs and mesh. There is no limit to how women’s leggings look.
Lastly, the waistband. Men’s leggings are going to have a waistline that runs right beneath the belly and is usually a thin elastic strip. Leggings for men do not come in low-rise nor high-rise for tummy control. On the other hand, women’s leggings come in varying lengths and waistband styles. Most of the time, the waistband on women’s leggings is thicker, since it usually contains a tiny pocket.
How to Choose the Best Leggings for Hiking
Here are some tips to help you choose the best hiking leggings for your next outdoor adventure:
Terrain, weather, and climate play a role in which leggings you will choose for your hike. For winter, you need something that is warm and tight enough to keep in your body heat. In the summer, you will need something that provides sun protection and moisture-wicking to keep you cool.
Although it might seem weird, do not choose cotton for hiking. Cotton is best for a quick jaunt in the park, but it is not going to help you when it soaks up sweat and then chills you overnight. Cotton increases the risk of hypothermia, especially in the winter.
The most popular materials for leggings come from plastic, such as polyester or nylon. While this may not be the most sustainable choice, such synthetic materials do dry quickly, have breathability, and are durable.
Comfort and Mobility
When it comes to leggings, comfort is paramount. As is mobility. Even if you have warm, breathable leggings, if they don’t fit comfortably, you’re out of luck.
Leggings are known for being form-fit, but that means that you have to consider your body type before smashing the “Buy” button. Are you long and lean? Do you have muscular thighs? You need to keep this in mind.
Unlike hiking pants that are loose and tend to flap around in the breeze, leggings are meant to maximize your mobility and decrease any resistance. But this can also be a disadvantage if you choose leggings made of cheap material. The leggings could stretch to the point of becoming see-through…and that won’t offer much protection.
Ask yourself: Do you want leggings that can be used on and off the trails? Or do you prefer something specifically for hiking? There are dozens of ways leggings can be made more versatile. For instance, some may have pockets and features to keep your phone or keys or other gear safe. Others can be dressed up or down, so you can wear them on the trail, in the gym, or even out for a quick meal.
Another thing to keep in mind: base layers. These are more common for men’s hiking leggings, but women may be able to use thinner leggings in the same way. Many base layers are designed to be worn under board shorts or hiking shorts to help protect the legs, but you can also wear some base layer leggings alone for more breathability and mobility.
Most leggings for hiking are not weatherproof, but some do have water-resistance. If you are going to be hiking somewhere that sees a lot of precipitation or you know you will be fording a river, it might be a good idea to use a pair of waterproof hiking pants as a top layer.
The most durable material you can choose is going to be nylon, which is also the most weather-resistant. Polyester is considered mid-grade in terms of lifespan, while wool tends to be the least durable.
There are three features that make hiking leggings durable: flat sewn seams, gusseted crotches, and articulated knees. Flat sewn seams minimize chafing and decrease irritation around the waist, legs, and ankles. Always double-check that the product has flat sewn seams. Cheaper leggings may not have them.
A gusseted crotch helps increase comfort while decreasing restriction. Lastly, articulated knees. This means that the knees of the leggings are cut to allow for greater movement and will not ride up as you walk around.
Avid hikers everywhere know what a plague chafing can be. The best leggings for hiking are going to have moisture-wicking fabric that draws perspiration away from the skin.
FAQs About Men and Women’s Hiking Leggings
Here are some typical questions that people have when shopping for hiking leggings and other gear to keep in mind:
1. Is it better to hike in shorts or leggings?
It depends on the weather where you are going to be hiking and what kind of dangers you are facing. Most hiking shorts are made of the same material as hiking leggings or pants. They’re just shorter. Hiking in the summer or in places with high humidity certainly makes shorts the better choice.
If you want to store some items on your person, then leggings may be the better option for women, since more and more brands are (finally) adding pockets. For men, the situation is reversed. Hiking shorts tend to have more pockets than men’s leggings do.
2. Is it okay to hike in jeans?
While there may be no hiking fashion police up in the mountains to tell you what to do, jeans are not a recommended option for hiking. There are a few reasons for this. First, denim material is not great at wicking away moisture—which is why jeans feel horrible when they are wet—and that can lead to chafing. Denim is also not breathable and will not handle variable weather conditions that well.
3. Which brand has the best leggings?
This is all a matter of preference. There are thousands of brands out there offering up leggings for all sorts of activities, but not all of them are going to hold up to the rigors of hiking. Make sure you are choosing high-end leggings that will offer protection from the elements. If you can, choose a brand that is committed to sustainable ingredients and manufacturing.
Also, choose brands known for making quality outerwear. UnderArmour is a wonderful example of this.
You can’t just wear any type of pants while you are tackling the trails. Cotton and jeans will not offer any protection and can cause chafing. But if you have the best trekking leggings out there, you are ready to tackle whatever the mountain has for you. Hiking leggings can be used for more than just climbing hills and traveling through nature. You can use them for sports like cycling and soccer, too.
Whichever pair of leggings you choose, you will be enjoying increased mobility, breathability, and compression. Try out any of the leggings on the list and experience hiking a whole new way.
Let us know what you think about hiking with leggings in the comment section below!