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7 Best Hiking Leggings in 2024

When the weather outside is blooming, you’re going to want to get on the trail. Even the least vain among us sometimes wonder, “but what should I wear?” That’s because what you wear matters a lot when it comes to how you feel while you hike (more so than how you look).

If you’ve ever dealt with chafing, sweat stains, or horrid thick, heavy layers, or if you’ve ever suffered from banged-up knees after wearing shorts, do yourself a favor and buy some high-quality hiking leggings.

Our pick for the best hiking leggings for women are the Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tight. These hiking leggings are incredible for both their comfort and quality. You can wear them in just about any season. They have useful pockets and—bonus—they look cool. You can’t get much better than that.

We’ve also got picks for the leggings with the best pockets, the softest hiking leggings, the ones with the best storage, the most stylish, the fastest drying, and the best hiking leggings for winter. Read on to find the perfect pair for you.

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Our Picks for the Best Hiking Leggings

Best Overall: Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights

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Image by Fjallraven

The Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tight are incredibly durable lightweight leggings great for protection on the trail. Both stylish and rugged, these technical tights are the one pair of leggings you should pack for your backpacking trip or put on for local day hikes.

The fabric is silky and breathable, yet still practical, thanks to its abrasion resistance, reinforced knees, and seat. They feature a water-resistant fabric, which will help prevent wet clothing from rubbing against your skin, and they also dry fast and have a UPF rating of 50, protecting you from UV rays as you spend all day on the trail.

The pocket placement is on the outside of the legs; one is a zipper pocket and the other is open. The waistband is high and wide and incredibly soft. These leggings feature a comfortable high and wide waistband with a discreet drawstring.

The decently light weight stretchy fabric and gusseted crotch ensure ease of movement, with minor potential drawbacks like the thick seams that may cause initial discomfort, but reviewers reported back that they got used to the leggings and they wear in as they form to the body.

Balancing impressive comfort and functionality, the clever design, like the well-placed pockets and reinforced patches, plus the ability to wear these in different kinds of weather, both cold and warm, set them apart as the best leggings for hiking.

Why We Love It

  • Lifetime repairs
  • Reinforcements on the knees and butt
  • Can be worn in winter or warmer weather

What Could Be Improved

  • Expensive
  • May fit certain body types better than others

Best Pockets: Patagonia Pack Out Hike

best-hiking-leggings
Image by Patagonia

The description for the Patagonia Pack Out women’s hiking leggings should read, “the most durable and the most soft.” Praised for their soft and cozy feel, attributed to a blend of materials including 85% recycled nylon and 15% recycled spandex, the abrasion-resistant fabric combination offers a luxurious touch with plenty of stretch, great for hiking or climbing. They have a water-resistant coating and a stretchy material. There isn’t much that they missed.

There’s a zippered side pocket near the hip, perfect for securely storing fun items such as your phone or keys. The pants also have deep, stretchy side pockets positioned lower along each side for other useful things, like snacks. It’s not often you get to wear leggings that have enough storage. These pockets are not only practical but also strategically placed for easy access.

These hiking pants have a wide, non-binding waistband that sits comfortably just below the belly button for great coverage and support. This waistband helps to prevent the pants from sagging or bunching during wear, maintaining their shape as you hike or climb. There are chafe-free seams made with fat-seamed construction so you can just keep hiking along, pain-free.

Why We Love It

  • So many pockets
  • Durable panels for protection against rips
  • Very soft

What Could Be Improved

  • Fit can be funky
  • Make a swishy sound as you walk

Softest: Cotopaxi Mari Tights

best-hiking-leggings
Image by Cotopaxi

These hiking tights are among the best hiking leggings you can find, with a soft feel and supportive waistband that makes them comfortable all day.

What’s great about these leggings is how versatile they are. You can definitely wear them to yoga or the gym. The versatility does mean there are some compromises. For instance, they lack extra pockets or reinforcements. But some hikers are aiming for simplicity and want something soft, stretchy, really comfortable, and easy to wear—that is the Cotopaxi Mari Tights.

These hiking tights do have a stash pocket with a zipper, anti-chafing flatlock seams, and a quick-drying fabric with Polygiene, which resists odor—a nice bonus if you’re wearing them for multiple days on the trail.

They work well as winter hiking leggings and are thick enough to keep you warm in cooler weather.

With the relaxed compression and flattering fit, maybe the zippered pocket is enough when you get the softness, compression, and comfort these leggings provide.

Why We Love It

  • Versatile leggings
  • Super soft
  • Inclusive sizing

What Could Be Improved

  • Not enough pockets
  • No reinforced panels

Best Storage: Outdoor Voices Snacks 7/8 Leggings

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Image by Outdoor Voices

The unique Outdoor Voices Snacks 7/8 leggings offer a modern solution to the problem of never-enough-storage often tied to women’s outdoor gear and most leggings.

These hiking leggings with a built-in fanny pack have space for snacks and even a water bottle in the smart pockets.

There are side leg pockets, hidden hip pockets, and the “backpack,” which is removable. There’s also a back mesh pocket. You can carry so much with just these leggings, if you’re going out for a day hike, these are a great choice.

The fabric is very comfortable and buttery soft and offers light compression. They use SuperForm fabric designed to have sleek compression, so they don’t slide. There is built-in UPF 50 sun protection.

The high waistband has loop-through storage for when you need to carry a jacket but have no place to put it. These may not be the best choice for backpacking trips, but for a day hike, they are the best hiking leggings for going bag-free.

Made from a nylon and lycra mix, they are designed to be sweat in and can be used for running, jogging, or other high-intensity sports, but if you prefer hiking leggings without all the bells and whistles, you may want to try a different pair on our list.

Why We Love It

  • So much storage
  • Buttery soft

What Could Be Improved

  • Not as practical hiking with a backpack
  • Fabric may be a little thin

Most Stylish: Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tight

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Image by Kari Traa

Designed for your next adventure, the street-smart Kari Traa Ane Hiking Tight unites high-end style with outdoor wear. These hiking tights perform just as well as all the others, but look incredibly good, even with hiking shoes.

One of the really interesting features of these leggings is the zippered pockets’ placement; the two thigh pockets are on the front of the legs. These allow the leggings to have a bit more give without sacrificing storage. There’s a drawstring waist, but the waistband is wide and still lays flat. There’s also an elastic hem and silicone grips to keep the tights in place as you hike.

When on the trail, the stretchy fabric wicks moisture and moves with you, the UPF 40+ protection fights off the sun’s harmful rays, and the dual thigh pockets stash snacks and other small items. They have thick material and are great for backpacking trips.

They have all the features you need to be able to move around comfortably as you hike, like a gusseted crotch and four-way stretch. While not treated with a water-resistant coating, they are designed to wick away sweat, so they will dry quickly if they get damp.

Why We Love It

  • Stylish
  • Unique pockets

What Could Be Improved

  • No reinforced fabric

Fastest Drying: The North Face Dune Sky Pocket Tights

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Image by North Face

The North Face Dune Sky Pocket Tights are great for sweaty hikers who don’t want to compromise on style and comfort (you know who you are). There are multiple pockets, but the standout feature is the moisture-wicking FlashDry fabric technology, and you can’t beat the quality of The North Face.

These are great for everyday wear and a more protective option compared to hiking shorts. They may be less abrasion resistant, but they are extremely comfortable and fast drying if you are running, hiking straight uphill, or just sweating because it’s hot. The fabric is also resistant to pet hair—a nice bonus.

The pants rise above the waist, so they’re flattering and slimming with the elastic waistband. There is a phone pocket on the side. They’re so buttery soft that they’ll soon become your favorite pair to wear hiking. Although they’re missing a small zippered pocket, we still love these hiking pants for a hiker looking to balance comfort and style in something that is easy to wear, dries fast, and still gives you a place to store your phone.

Why We Love It

  • Great fit
  • Dry super fast
  • Very soft

What Could Be Improved

  • Fabric isn’t reinforced
  • No zipper pocket

Best for Winter: Arc’teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Leggings

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Image by Arc’teryx

For fall treks and winter jogs or cold days out rock climbing, these hiking pants are the perfect solution for staying warm on the trail. The Arc’teryx Essent Warm hiking leggings feature a nylon fabric with a soft brushed back to make them warmer than regular leggings.

They have a left hip pocket and a right hip pocket, making them great for multiple sports, like hiking, trail running, climbing, and yoga. They have plenty of elastane, almost 20%, which means lots of stretch. The material is abrasion resistant, ensuring longevity even when subjected to rough terrain and frequent use.

The high-rise design stays in place during activities like running or hiking. Additionally, the leggings feature deep thigh pockets that are strategically positioned so your stuff won’t fall out. These pockets are spacious enough to accommodate your phone and other small items.

The Essent leggings have quick-drying properties, too. They may require sizing down for some people. If you’re hiking in cooler areas, these are the way to go.

Why We Love It

  • Warmer than regular leggings
  • Deep thigh pockets

What Could Be Improved

  • Sizing can be tricky
  • Could be too warm for warm weather

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Hiking Leggings

Hiking leggings aren’t rocket science, but it’s important to get a few things right so you don’t up with leggings that rub you the wrong way. Consider these factors when buying hiking leggings.

Fabric

Leggings for hiking should always be made from moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics such as polyester or nylon blends. These materials will help keep you dry and comfortable by wicking away sweat and will keep you from feeling soaked to the bone. Don’t buy white, as the last thing you’ll want is sweat stains.

Sturdiness

Look for durable leggings with reinforced stitching in high-wear areas like the knees and seat that will last when you inevitably brush against trees, sticks, rocks, or catch your leggings on whatever rough obstacles are in your way. Look for leggings that are abrasion resistant or that have reinforced panels to protect vulnerable spots (like knees).

Fit and Comfort

Make sure your leggings are comfortable and allow for a full range of motion. Sometimes, leggings have extra padding or a higher waistband to help protect your hips against your waist strap or climbing harness. Look for features like four-way stretch fabric and a gusseted crotch for the mobility you need to do sports.

Multi-Use

If you want to use them for more than one thing, look for leggings that are made for more than just hiking. Maybe check out leggings that are versatile enough to handle rain. That’s a big one for hikers.

It’s a bonus to look for options with UPF sun protection for sunny days to protect your skin. If you pick leggings with more complex fabrics, it’s almost like having two pairs in one.

Cool Features

Consider searching for extra features that may enhance your hiking experience, such as pockets for storing stuff like keys, phones, or snacks. Some leggings also come with reflective details for added visibility in low-light conditions or have a hip belt, waistband pocket, stash pocket, thigh pocket, three pockets, or all the pockets. You need somewhere to store that lip balm, after all.

Brand Reputation

Research reputable outdoor brands that are known for their quality hiking gear and apparel. Some of our favorite brands include REI, Fjallraven, Patagonia, Cotopaxi, Kari Traa, The North Face, and Arc’teryx.

Investment

As with all things, cost is a consideration. Leggings can get pricey. Consider that more durable leggings may last longer, but pick the ones that are within your budget. Or better yet, find some on sale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to hike in leggings?

Hiking in leggings can be just as comfortable as hiking in pants, as long as you choose a material and waistband that won’t cause chafing. It’s generally best to avoid cotton. Water-resistant leggings are ideal for hiking in mist or light rain, and UPF treatments can offer additional protection from the sun’s rays.

What makes leggings good for hiking?

Leggings specifically made for hiking will have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable during long hikes, are durable enough to withstand rough terrain or unexpected abrasions, are breathable and will help you stay cool in warm weather and prevent overheating during strenuous activity.

Look for leggings that are comfortable and stretchy, so they won’t prevent you from being able to do any movements you need to do along the trail. Looking for features like reinforced patches or extra pockets.

Several reputable brands offer leggings specifically designed for hiking and outdoor pursuits, including Patagonia, The North Face, REI Co-op, Fjallraven, and Cotopaxi.

Are Lululemon leggings good for hiking?

Lululemon leggings can be used for hikes. We prefer hiking leggings over yoga leggings, but that doesn’t mean yoga leggings won’t work. Many hikers appreciate the technical features of Lululemon leggings, such as four-way stretch fabric, sweat-wicking capabilities, and waistband designs that stay in place while hiking.

Are compression leggings good for hiking?

Compression leggings are a great hiking option for colder weather hikes. They may also provide less friction compared to other hiking pants and will have stretchy material to keep your skin comfortable on the trail.

Compression leggings can be advantageous for hiking because they can provide muscle support, reduce soreness, and provide faster recovery post-hike. They may also help you stay warm as the graduated compression they provide enhances blood circulation, which can boost endurance blood flow and aid in preserving warmth.

Are hiking leggings better than regular leggings?

Hiking leggings are specifically designed for outdoor activities, offering features and materials tailored to the demands of hiking trails. Compared to regular leggings, hiking leggings often incorporate moisture-wicking fabrics, reinforced stitching, abrasion resistance, and functional pockets for storing essentials like keys or a phone. They may also have features like UPF sun protection and odor control technology, which are beneficial during extended outdoor excursions.

While regular leggings may be comfortable for casual wear or low-intensity activities, they may not provide the same level of performance, durability, or versatility as hiking leggings when subjected to the rigors of hiking terrain. Hiking leggings are engineered to withstand rough conditions, offer enhanced mobility, and provide additional protection against elements like sun exposure and moisture. Ultimately, the choice between hiking leggings and regular leggings depends on the specific needs and preferences of the wearer and the intensity of outdoor activities they plan to engage in.

Are hiking pants supposed to be loose?

Pants that are too tight restrict your movement when you’re hiking, but a lot depends on the fabric. Leggings are made from stretchy materials, so while looser pants may allow you to gain more airflow, tight-fitting leggings may also be comfortable to wear as they may prevent rubbing.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right trail tights can be tricky, since there are so many options. Start with trusted brands that make outdoor gear and see what they have available before you widen your search.

Buy leggings that are made from a comfortable material and won’t cause chaffing. Look for features like pockets and a wide waistband.

Our top pick for the best all-around hiking leggings is the Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tight. These leggings are super durable, yet light and comfy. They have all the right pockets and will last you a long time.

Whether you’re heading out for weeks on the trail or just for a short hike, when you find the right trail tights, you’re setting out on the trail doing it right.

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