If you’re like us, you live in leggings — even when you have zero intention of getting in a workout. Whether you’re working from home or lounging on the couch, there’s nothing more comforting than slipping into your favorite pair.
For many, Lululemon has become basically synonymous with comfortable leggings. Long known for its thick, nontransparent Wunder Under collection, Lululemon has been all over social media feeds of fitness influencers for the past few years with leggings instead from the brand’s Align collection.
After seeing dozens of women rave about the super-soft material and ultra-flattering high waist of the leggings, we had to try them for ourselves. Let us tell you, Align is officially Lululemon’s dark horse. In fact, we tested them along with a dozen other top-rated leggings when we found the best leggings of 2021, and we named the Aligns the best workout leggings.
What’s so great about them? First, there’s what the brand is calling “naked sensation” — while that might sound like marketing jargon, this really is the best way to describe how Align pants feel against your body. They are soft and slinky and literally skim your curves, from waist to ankle. Second, there’s the fabric. Called Nulu, the material is über soft, sweat-wicking and has a four-way stretch. You can move in these pants — whether you’re doing hot yoga or hopping in and out of your car doing errands.
Then there’s the design. The waist is high. Very high. There’s extra coverage on the torso, thanks to the double-layered waistband, which gently sucks you in and gives you the tummy control you crave without any digging, pinching or bulging.
- Align Pant II 25-Inch ($98; lululemon.com)
Our other testers who contributed to our guide to the best leggings of 2021 also raved about the incredible softness of these leggings, and they gave the Align leggings perfect scores for everyday comfort and stretch. Where the leggings really shined, however, was during hard workouts. Thanks to the Align’s lightweight yet opaque fabric, amazing support and high waistband, they were far and away the best workout leggings we tried.
Need more reasons to give them a try? We talked to A Double Dose blogger Alexis Belbel, who often shares her love of Align with her more than 418,000 Instagram followers. “My favorite thing about these Align leggings is that they are so soft and feel like butter on,” she says. “Almost like you have nothing on, in the best way possible. I also love the colors they come in and the different length options, so if you’re tall or shorter, they have the perfect ones for you.”
It’s the same story for Genuinely Jessica blogger Jessica Hall, who regularly shares selfies in Align pants with her 50,000 followers. “The Align leggings make me feel secure and confident during all types of workouts,” she says. “I love how high waisted they are and how they shape my body. They’re hands down my favorite.”
Truly, Align’s only downside is the price, which ranges from $88 to $98. The good news is there are similar pairs on Amazon for a fraction of the cost. Equally high waisted and ultra thin, both the Colorfulkoala and the CRZ Yoga Naked Feeling collections are similar to the Align leggings — and they start at just $24.
Colorfulkoala’s most similar legging to the Align — the High-Waisted Yoga Pant — has nearly 35,000 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.6-star rating. So when we were researching leggings to test as part of our best leggings of 2021 story, we just had to try these. After weeks of testing with 10 different staffers, we realized that all those reviewers were actually right — the Colorfulkoala leggings are truly a 5-star legging for a fraction of the price.
We loved them so much that we named the Colorfulkoala High-Waisted Yoga Pant the best budget leggings of 2021, thanks to their surprisingly supportive and stretchy material, stellar durability and useful pockets. While they didn’t quite feel as buttery soft as the Align leggings, our testers said they came pretty close, especially for a pair that’s nearly a quarter of the Align’s price. Plus, these leggings come in a whopping 35 colors and patterns.
So if you’re dreaming of a pair of fantastically soft, supportive leggings that can handle everything from a lazy day on the couch to a hard workout session, but you don’t want to shell out too much cash, you’ll be more than happy with the Colorfulkoala High-Waisted Yoga Pants. Check out our tried and tested pick for the best budget leggings and other options from Colorfulkoala below.
Colorfulkoala Women’s High-Waisted Yoga Pants 7/8 Length Leggings With Pockets (starting at $25; amazon.com)
Ridiculously soft, supportive and comfortable, your money will be well spent on these leggings. So much so that after testing them we named them the best budget leggings of 2021. They’re super similar to Lululemon’s Align leggings, so if you want a high-quality pair but can’t afford the Aligns, this pair is the one for you.
Colorfulkoala Women’s High-Waisted Yoga Capris (starting at $23.99; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for a different style, Colorfulkoala also has these high-waisted capris, which come in 10 different colors and feature a convenient side pocket.
Colorfulkoala Women’s Buttery Soft High-Waisted Yoga Pants ($22.49; amazon.com)
This pair doesn’t have any pockets like our best budget pick; however, the Buttery Soft leggings are made with an 80% polyester blend instead of a 75% blend to feel even softer.
Colorfulkoala Women’s High-Waisted Biker Shorts With Pockets ($19.99; amazon.com)
When the weather starts getting hot, sometimes you just can’t wear full-length leggings. That’s why bike shorts are an absolute must-have this summer.
CRZ Yoga Naked Feeling leggings
Available in dozens of colors and patterns, the CRZ Yoga Naked Feeling line has a multitude of styles (cropped, with pockets, biker shorts), but our personal favorite — and the style most similar to the Align Pant II 25-Inch — is the High-Waist Tight, which comes in a whopping 42 colorways and patterns.
We also tested these when searching for the best leggings, and they ended up being our runner-up pick for the best budget leggings right behind the Colorfulkoalas. We found them to be extremely soft, not quite as buttery as the Aligns but very similar to the Colorfulkoalas. However, they felt a tad less sturdy and had smaller pockets, and one tester had some waistband issues, which frequently rolled down during runs. On the other hand, the CRZ leggings come in more sizes than the Colorfulkoalas (XXS to XXL compared to XS to XL) and didn’t show any sign of wear or pilling after a few runs through the wash.
While we ended up picking the Colorfulkoala leggings as our best budget pair, CRZ Yoga also has some surprisingly great leggings for seriously low prices. Read more of our thoughts on these and other leggings in our guide to the best leggings of 2021, and check out our favorite items from CRZ below.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling High-Waist Tight Yoga Pants 25-Inch (starting at $24.99; amazon.com)
Similar to thr Align Pant II 25-Inch, these pants have a high-rise, double-layered waistband and a lightweight, super-slinky feel. With more than 22,000 positive reviews on Amazon, they are quickly becoming a top category seller on the site.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling High-Waist Yoga Pants With Pockets (starting at $28; amazon.com)
If you’re constantly misplacing your keys and phone, opt for these pants, which come with two handy pockets deep enough to actually store your stuff. Want a cropped version with pockets instead? Try these.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling High-Waist Crop Capri Yoga Pants (starting at $24; amazon.com)
Just like the 25-inch pants, only cropped to a midcalf 21-inch inseam, these leggings have the same tummy control and are available in 25 cheery colors and patterns.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling High-Waist Biker Shorts ($18; amazon.com)
We love the handy back pocket in these cute shorts, which come in three colors, have stylish (but not too revealing) mesh side panels and don’t break the bank at only 18 bucks.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Stretch Lounge Sweatpants ($32; amazon.com)
For ultimate relaxation, opt for these stretch sweatpants from CRZ Yoga. You can dress them up or dress them down, plus they feature pockets and an elastic waist equipped with a drawstring for a comfortable fit.
Lululemon Align leggings
Align Pant II 25-Inch ($98; lululemon.com)
Perfect for those shorter in stature who are looking for an ankle-grazing legging, these pants are available in 18 hues. If you’re on the taller end of the spectrum, you’ll want to give the 28-inch pants a look.
Align Crop 21-Inch ($88; lululemon.com)
Perfect for yoga, spinning or simply running errands on a warm day, these cropped Align pants are on the lower end of the price range (yippee!) and are available in 14 hues. Looking for a longer crop that lands in the midcalf region? Then you’ll want to try this 23-inch version instead.
Align Jogger 28-Inch ($98; lululemon.com)
Depending on who’s judging, these joggers just might be the best of the Align worlds, mixing the buttery soft Nulu fabric with the loose, relaxed design of a jogger. Did we mention they have pockets? More to know: A shorter version is also available.
Align Super-High-Rise Pant 28-Inch ($98; lululemon.com)
While all of the Align pants have a high-rise waist, if you’re looking for something with even more coverage, the 28-inch inseam on these super-high-rise pants will do the trick.
Align Short 6-Inch ($58; lululemon.com)
Align Wide Leg Crop 23-Inch ($98; lululemon.com)
If you’re looking for a looser, wide leg fit, these super-high-rise leggings are for you. And yes, they have pockets.