How Should Leggings Fit?


Have you ever noticed that it’s the simplest clothing that's often the most difficult to nail down? A perfect pair of jeans that makes your butt look [chef’s kiss], that perfect white t-shirt… and, of course, leggings.

It can be so overwhelming that you even start to second-guess yourself. What should you expect when you’re shopping for leggings?

Leggings Fit Too Small: Here’s Your Biggest Clue

When you try on leggings, there are 3 immediate signs that will tell you the fit is too small for you and you need to size up:

  1. They’re hard to get on. You can’t slide them on without a lot of painstaking wriggling and shimmying. Putting on leggings shouldn’t be like putting on Spanx; they should go on relatively smoothly. 
  2. They fit so tight, they dig in around the waist. Your leggings shouldn’t leave you with red marks around the waist, or creating a "muffin top". They should sit snug but comfortably, like a car seatbelt.
  3. They become transparent. Leggings or yoga pants or workout leggings are not supposed to be transparent. One reason they can become transparent is they’re too tight and the fabric is being stretched too thin.

...Or Fit Too Big: The Telltale Signs

On the flipside, if your legging fit is too big, you’ll notice the following:

  • They slide down. One of the biggest reasons leggings can slide down is because they’re too big for you. Jump around in the changing room and make sure they’re fitting you snugly.
  • They’re baggy. Leggings should be second-skin tight. This means no wrinkles or bagginess. If the leggings hang loose away from your body, they’re not tight enough and you’ve probably gone too big.
  • They don’t feel like a hug. Leggings (especially leggings with compression) should give you a feeling of snug security, or be gently tight. If they just feel ‘there’ but there’s no snugness, they’re probably too big. Remember that they’ll stretch more over time (with wearing and washing etc.) so definitely look for snug to begin with.

Leggings Should Fit Like a Second Skin; Snug But Not Constricting

Okay, so it sounds like you’re looking for a perfect in-between fit. And that’s exactly it. If you want to go full on Goldilocks and try on the size up and down from your regular size, it will be obvious which fit is “just right”.

Remember leggings can look deceptively small on the hanger (especially leggings with compression). So don’t be thrown off when you first see leggings; you'll know the right size and fit when you try them on. When you do, move around in them, squat, jump, stretch. Check for wrinkles or gaps where there should be none.

Also check for transparency: You may not notice this at first, it may only be visible when you bend and stretch. So our advice is to shop with a friend, or even ask the store assistant to tell you.

Compression Workout Leggings Are Designed to Fit “Nice Tight”

Compression is often added to athletic gear (including leggings and yoga pants) to help control unwanted movement and provide a sense of sleek security. Some of us also appreciate that it can provide some gentle shaping. Compression fabric puts pressure on different parts of the body. Some compression garments are all-over compression and some (like Knix leggings) have compression zones.

The purpose of the compression pressure fabric is to improve blood circulation, which can help with athletic performance, reduce fatigue and even aid with muscle recovery. Compression leggings will usually have a thicker waist band and are often high rise. 

Materials will not be 100% cotton and you’ll probably notice greater elasticity, which may mean these items look much smaller on the hanger.

They Should Be Completely Opaque - No Exceptions

Leggings should absolutely never be see-through. Indeed, a lot of their bad reputation comes from the fact that cheaper leggings can be see-through (or become that way after a few washes). But good quality leggings should be solid. When you get new leggings, make sure you check that they’re not see-through. 

Moreover, cheaper leggings may also lose their shape, becoming baggy in the ass or legs. You may also find the color fades, so your perfect black leggings soon become a sad grey version of themselves.

So, if you want leggings that will hold their shape, color and opaqueness, spend a little more. You’ll be the best judge here. But do try leggings on and keep an eye on them as they wash. Soon you’ll be able to separate the real deal from the pretenders.

Choose Your Rise Carefully

Leggings come with different waist rises, from low and medium to high waisted. We recommend high rise or high waisted leggings and yoga pants for both modesty but also wearability and comfort. 

High waist leggings will not only help you feel snug and contained, it will also be less likely to either roll or slide. They will give you the 'nice kind of tight' feeling.

High waists cover the abdominal area, which is most likely to expand and contract as you move, bend, sit, stand etc. By covering it up, you add some stability to prevent all that movement causing the fabric to move, as well as preventing that “muffin top” look (much as we hate that term).

Don’t Feel Overwhelmed By Length Choices

And when it comes to length, there’s a lot of choice too: Basically, you’ll have full length, ankle length (also known as 7/8 length), and cropped. Basically, be clear on the look you’re going for. Do you want to show a little ankle? Do you want to show a little bit of your lower calf? Or do you want full coverage? When you find a legging you love, you might want it in different lengths.

The 7/8 length is basically 1/8 shorter than full length leggings. It is designed to sit just above the ankle (and therefore will show some skin between your legging cuff and your footwear). The 7/8 length is most people’s preferred length of legging. Many say it is the perfect length to elongate the leg, whereas cropped leggings can make you seem shorter.

Some brands refer to the 7/8 length as ankle length.

Skip the Search: Try Knix Leggings

Knix  leggings come in seasonal colors, but basic black is by far the most popular and versatile. Our seamless leggings put comfort first. They’re made with 360-knit BlissFit™ Fabric for body-hugging smoothness that moves with your body.

Plus, when it comes to compression, we’re here to support (yep, pun intended). A ribbed waistband for gentle compression that smooths and holds your tummy. 

Finally, they’re as versatile as they come. Perfect for lounging, for layering with whatever ensemble you’re putting together and, of course, as activewear. The flattering high rise silhouette is easy to style and easy to wear inside and outside.

Check out all our leggings here.

But don’t take our work for it. Just hear what our customers have to say:

“These are my go-to leggings. They are the perfect rise and have the right amount of stretch.” - Ashley S.

“I had little expectation that these leggings would be any better than the dozens I’ve tried. Again, Knix exceeds my expectations. Flattering and comfortable, these leggings are amazing. Their high waist is the first that doesn’t fold down when I bend over. Awesome.” - Gayle M.

“These are one of my fav Knix products and certainly the one I wear the most. They have some compression and shaping while stretchy and soft. I wear them with a dress shirt and shoes, to the gym, to yoga and for lounging.” - Tammy R.