Yoga pants vs leggings – what is the difference?

As leggings and yoga pants have increased in popularity over the last few years – not just for exercise but for everyday wear – we have to ask the question: what’s the difference between legging and yoga pants? The lines are blurred!

yoga pants vs leggings

You might think that yoga pants and leggings look the same, but they’re both actually intended for two different purposes! Whilst yoga pants are considered fitness wear, leggings have more adaptability and were designed to be worn with a regular outfit either at home or in public.

What’s the difference between leggings and yoga pants?

The major difference between leggings and yoga pants is the original intended purpose: leggings were initially intended to keep the legs warm under regular clothing, whilst yoga pants were designed to give the body flexibility and comfort during exercise – hence the name!

Nowadays, both yoga pants and leggings can be seen worn down the local supermarket and leggings are a gym staple! So the lines have been blurred. You can find both yoga pants and leggings in various styles, colours, and patterns. But, to answer the fundamental question: are yoga pants and leggings the same thing? No, and we’ll explain why.

Which is better, yoga pants or leggings?

To answer this question, it all depends on what you want to use your leggings or yoga pants for. Here are some general pros and cons of both yoga pants and leggings:

Yoga pants (or gym leggings), pros

  • Material sticks to your body during exercise for ultimate flexibility
  • Not see-through
  •  Thick waistband for better hold during exercise
  • Thin leg material great for comfort during yoga, Pilates and stretching exercises
  • More suitable for plus-size wearers due to elasticity and stretch
  • Make your bum look great!

Yoga pants (or gym leggings), cons:

  • Not always suitable for everyday wear
  • Less affordable than leggings
  • Wearing skin-tight yoga pants for long periods of time can cause yeast infections, body acne and other skin irritations
  • Highest quality yoga pants cannot always be found on the high-street

Everyday Leggings, pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great for warmth
  • Come in various styles, patterns, and designs
  • Come in all different types of fabrics
  • Cheap and readily available on most high streets
  • Less restrictive than yoga pants
  • Can be worn with almost anything

Every day Leggings, cons:

  • Can be restrictive during exercise (gym leggings required!)
  • Don’t hold sweat well
  • Can become see-through, especially during exercise when the fabric is stretched
  • Don’t last as long as yoga pants

Are yoga pants or leggings better for exercise?

When it comes to most forms of exercise, you’ll want to opt for yoga pants or gym leggings instead of regular leggings for ultimate comfort and flexibility. Yoga pants or gym leggings stick to your body and adapt to your movements, allowing you to train without any restrictive materials holding you back. The thicker waistband on yoga pants is also optimal for exercise, as your yoga pants won’t fall down when you’re in a compromising exercise position! The materials used for yoga pants are also better for exercise, as they tend to be sweat-wicking: this means the material pulls the sweat away from your body, allowing it to evaporate through the material. This helps avoid sweat-induced body acne and irritation, although always remember to remove your yoga pants after exercising and pop them in the washing machine!

How to wear yoga pants (or gym leggings) for exercise

Yoga pants (or gym leggings) are best paired with a light, non-restrictive top (such as a lightweight vest or lightweight, slightly oversized t-shirt) to give your body the ultimate freedom of movement, letting you perform your exercise routine correctly without any discomfort.

Is it ok to wear yoga pants in public?

Yoga pants can be worn almost anywhere and are not limited to the yoga studio or gym! However, if you’re looking for a pair of skin-tight trousers that can be adapted for any type of outfit, you’d be better off going for a pair of fashionable leggings. Not only are leggings intended for everyday use, but there are also numerous styles and fabrics to choose from.

Types of Leggings

Cotton Leggings

Cotton leggings are your most commonly worn and most readily available type of legging. You can find a good pair of cotton leggings almost anywhere, from your favourite high-street fashion brand to even down the local supermarket clothing section. Cotton leggings are usually cheap, easy to wear and go with almost anything, whether it be a dress, top or jumper. Whilst cotton leggings don’t last as long as yoga pants, they’re more adaptable for multi-use and can be worn every day.

Polyester Leggings

Slightly higher ranking in quality, polyester leggings are a lot more stretchy than regular cotton leggings, meaning that they can be used for exercise if you don’t have the means to invest in a pair of high-quality yoga pants. Look out for a polyester blend, but don’t forget to wash them after every workout!

Faux Leather Leggings

If you’re looking to try out a daring, bold look, try a pair of leather leggings! Leather leggings are preferable to leather trousers, as the fabric will be thinner, and you’ll enjoy a more skin-tight finish. Leather leggings are also generally cheaper than leather trousers, so you can enjoy your Ross-from-Friends look even on a budget! Note that they definitely do not count as gym leggings!

Is Wearing Yoga Pants 24/7 Bad For Your Health?

Whilst we love our yoga pants and leggings, make sure to switch up your wardrobe occasionally and let your skin breathe from time to time. When choosing a pair of yoga pants for exercise, always try to go for the highest quality so that the fabric can wick away sweat and not leave you with any form of body acne or skin irritation afterwards. What’s the use of working on your bum in the gym if it ends up covered in spots? If you do end up with any dreaded bum spots, you can read our guide here on how to treat them and keep them at bay. But overall, are yoga pants and leggings safe to wear? Yes, they are safe, but make sure to also take care of your skin when wearing any form of skin-tight clothing.

What are the best leggings for the gym?

House Of Peach have supplied beautiful yet function gym leggings designed to make you feel confidently beautiful without hindering your workouts. Check out our favourite ranges below:


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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