Leggings may have started off as athletic apparel but now they're a wardrobe staple that is worn well beyond the gym. This is great news for anyone who loves comfortable clothing (and honestly who doesn't?), but the shift from performance-focused to fashion-focused design has made it difficult to differentiate which are the best running capris for working out and which pairs should be reserved for just running errands.
The first thing to look at when picking out a pair of capris for running is the fabric. The best leggings for working out should not only be able to keep up with your workout, but should actually help to improve your performance, and a lot of that is going to come down to the fabric. While nylon, cotton, and polyester each have their own pros and cons, it's worth it to invest in new material technology like DRI-fit or Coolmax that can take moisture wicking and temperature regulation to the next level.
Construction is another factor that sets athletic leggings apart from simply stylish ones. Things like, flat-lock stitching to prevent chaffing and gussets that maximize a full range of movement are often under-appreciated features of performance leggings.
Then there are the little bonuses to consider, like leggings with pockets, picking between high- or low-waisted styles, or finding a printed pair that brings a little more personality to workout ensemble (if that's your thing).
Considering all of the above, I sifted through tons of Amazon reviews, poured over product specs, and compared price points to compile the best capri leggings for running, and here is what I found.
1. The Overall Best Running Capris For Most People
These may not be the cheapest leggings, but that's for a good reason. Core 10 is quickly becoming known for their outstanding quality and attention to fit. The brand has a few great pairs of capri leggings (including an option to build your own custom pair,) but what makes their Flashflex capris the best for running is that they're lighter weight and have extra breathable features to help keep you cool while you work up a sweat. (Of course, if you want a heavier pair there is a medium-weight option that's also great, albeit very warm.)
The Flashflex capris are made with a lightweight blend of nylon and spandex. This means — thanks to the nylon —they're moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and mildew-resistant. They also have incredible stretch (thanks in part to the spandex) and are designed to feel like a second skin.
Bottom Line: These Leggings Are High Quality, Lightweight, & Come In The Widest Range Of Sizes.
Speaking of fit, the mid-waist design strikes a good balance between high-waisted and hip-hugging styles and should ensure that you aren't pulling them up while you run. Additionally, if your waist is much narrower than your hips and butt, and you find that even form-fitting leggings tend to gap at your waist, you'll appreciate that this pair has a discreet drawstring waist that you can adjust for the perfect fit. Plus, they cater to a wide range of sizes (from 0 to 24W,) which is something of a rarity in athletic apparel.
On top of all that, these capris feature flat-lock stitch to prevent chafing and perforated panels on the calves for breathability.
- Available in sizes: XS-XL
- For sizes 1X-3X check here.
2. Runner-Up: Ultra-Lightweight Performance Leggings, But With Limited Sizes
Nike is, of course, a world leader in athletic apparel, so it's no surprise that when it comes to the best capris for running, their Pro Training leggings tick all of the boxes — and then some.
First, they're made with Nike's famed Dri-FIT technology which helps wick away excess sweat and reduces overall moisture, to leave you feeling dry and cool. They also have a light compression for a "flexible but locked in" feel, and the flat-lock seams prevent chafing. These leggings also feature a waistband that is tilted in the back for a better range of motion, more natural fit, and extended coverage.
But while these are great for runners looking for ultra-lightweight leggings, they do have a few flaws that prevent them from truly being the best for most people. For starters, despite receiving dozens of rave reviews, there were several reviewers across multiple sites that complained that the fabric was so thin you could see through it. Also, they just don't cater to as many sizes as the Core 10 leggings do. But, if you're looking for advanced sweat-wicking tech, don't mind showing off your underwear when you do squats, and you find your size, then these are a great buy.
- Available in sizes: XS-XL
3. Also Great: The Best Compression Capris
Not everyone needs compression (and many people won't find it comfortable,) but if that is what you are looking for, these are amongst the best compression leggings out there.
Along with all the features that make for a great pair of running tights (read: stretchy, lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric and flat-lock stitching), these Under Armor leggings have ultra-tight compression to help increase blood circulation.
The impressive features don't start and end with compression though. Like Nike, Under Armour is a leader in athletic apparel and they bring their own proprietary technology to the table in the form of HeatGear. According to the brand's website, HeatGear was designed for hot weather, and has superior moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool. It also boasts UPF 30+ protection and odor control which makes these some of the best running capris on the market— if, of course, you want a super-tight compression fit.
4. Also Great: Running Capris With (Phone-Sized!) Pockets
Plenty of capris and leggings boast a pocket, but these mesh capris with pockets have extra-large side pockets that are big enough to carry your cards, cash, keys, and even your phone. And for some people that's more important the fancy high-tech fabrics — and I get that. Pockets can be a pretty big deal. Luckily though, pockets aren't all you're getting.
These capris also keep you cool and dry with Starter's moisture-wicking DRI-STAR fabric — which sounds a lot like Nike's Dri-FIT technology. (Considering Nike owned Starter in the early 2000s, it's even possible the two fabrics share more than a few similarities. But that's speculation.) They also have a wide, mid-waist waistband and breathable mesh panels down the sides.
The flaw with this pair is that even the best reviews mentioned that these leggings tend to fall down and need to be readjusted regularly. That being said, they do cost much less than the other leggings on this list, and if you're looking for a good pair of running capris that have pockets — these are your best bet.
- Available in sizes: XS-XL
5. Also Great: Running Leggings That Come In Different Prints
With these functional and fashionable printed capris by RBX, (which come in a variety of colors and patterns), you can bring a little more personality to your workout gear without sacrificing too much in terms of quality.
They have moisture-wicking fabric for breathability and strategic ventilation across the material to keep you cool, regardless of intensity or temperature. As with so many leggings they also have flat-lock stitching to reduce chafing, and even a small pocket to hold a locker key.
Of course, personal style is, well, personal, so these leggings may not be for everyone. But if you're not looking to add yet another pair of plain leggings to your wardrobe, these could be for you.
- Available in sizes: S-XL
6. Budget Pick: Running Leggings That Come Several Colors & Cost Less Than $20
Depending on the size and color you choose you can get these leggings for as little as $10, which is a steal. But just because the biggest draw for these capris is the price tag, it doesn't mean it's the only perk. You can also choose between different waist styles including a high waist and a wrap waste — the latter of which is a rare find, but is very comfortable.
These legging may not get too high tech in terms of fabric, but they do claim to be moisture-wicking and anti-microbial. They're made from a polyester and spandex blend, so they are stretchy and will form-fit to your body as you bend or move. They also incorporate a smaller, hidden pocket at the waistband as well as gussets to help reduce irritation while increasing flexibility. The capris come in several different colors and two distinct varieties: heather or solid.
- Available in sizes: S-XXL
7. Budget Pick: Quality Leggings In Plus Sizes Under $20
Another solid budget option, these leggings don't offer the same high tech specs as the others, but they're a highly-rated pair of leggings for less than $20 — and they are available in extended sizes.
Made of 90 percent polyester and 10 percent spandex, these capris are flexible and breathable. They sport a mini interior pocket and are high-waisted.
As one Amazon reviewer said, “I love these pants. They fit well and they stay up even with high intensity workouts. The high waist is a new favorite of mine for workout pants...I love them.”
For the stretch, the thickness, and the trendy look of a higher waist, these plus size capris are both stylish and effective for the gym or everyday wear.
- Available in sizes: 1X-3X
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