My wardrobe is no stranger to a tough workout. In fact, the more extreme the activity, the better. As a marathoner, triathlete, and ClassPass addict, my leggings have endured everything from 20 mile training runs to heat yoga classes to even hanging on a trapeze (more on that later).
That being said, I have a confession—I don’t understand the hype around super-expensive Lululemon leggings. Anyone who understands my deep passion for athleisure and exercise is always stunned by this: “But they’re so comfortable and they last forever!” my friends insist. But I have tried enough brands and styles to know you don’t need to drop $100 to get flattering, opaque, perfectly fitting leggings—I’ve found the best ones and they’re only $16 by 90 Degree.
The budget leggings that can stand up to any workout
This unfussy brand has created the perfect storm when it comes to leggings: they stay in place, are fully opaque, and extremely durable. On my 5’8″ frame, they are a perfect fit with a high waist and thick waistband that ensures a snug fit no matter what I do in them. Not only are they built to withstand cardio, but they stand up to any type of stretching/bending/hanging off/climbing scenario possible. I’ve tested them out in pretty much every workout you could imagine and just thinking about how much they’ve survived makes me want to go buy another pair.
Inclement weather: A pair of 90 Degree leggings saw me through the 2018 Boston Marathon in the pouring rain. Actually, let me rephrase that: pouring rain is a mild understatement. It was more like a grueling downpour with 25 mph winds. I had to change my gloves twice, triple knot my shoes, and fiddled with my water soaked sleeves for about 10 miles. The only thing that I never thought about? My leggings. After four hours of insane running conditions, these things never slipped off my hips and weathered the storm like a champ. Best of all, they protected my poor legs from chafing throughout the entire 26.2 mile ordeal, which made for a much nicer recovery day post-race.
Marathon and distance running: As a distance runner, the most maddening thing is leggings that fall down during your run. I’ve spent way too many miles pausing to hike faulty leggings back up onto my hips. With 90 Degree leggings though, I truly never have to worry about that. Their thick waistband ensures that they actually stay high-waisted, allowing you to fully focus on your workout without having to constantly re-adjust. They also stand the test of time: I’ve owned pairs for years and after countless washes, they still hold their shape and retain elasticity. As a proponent of the theory “look good, feel good, run good”, I always reach for my maroon pair with mesh cutouts when I have a tough long run coming up. While I still don’t crush a five-minute mile, having my legs look good gives me the unearned confidence of someone who does.
Fitness classes: Beyond distance running, these leggings have held strong during all the usual workouts like spin, yoga and strength training. But they’ve also performed through ballet, rowing, and even trampoline classes (look it up because it’s the most fun you’ll ever have). They don’t show sweat, so no matter how grueling your workout is or what color your leggings are, you won’t have to deal with any unfortunate sweat stains afterwards. Plus, since they dry quickly and wick sweat, you won’t feel like you’re walking around in soggy leggings after a particularly tough workout. They look so good post-workout that it’s socially acceptable to lounge around/do errands in them for the rest of the day.
Aerial circus class: These bad boys truly proved their worth at aerial circus class. I hung upside down on a trapeze, climbed to the top of ropes, and wound my legs up in aerial silks. No matter what apparatus I hung from, my leggings stay put. They have yet to meet a workout that tears them, even the ones with the mesh design—making them feel like an indestructible super suit designed by Edna Mode.
Leggings that are as functional as they are stylish
To top it all of, it’s not like 90 Degree just offers one boring palette of black leggings. They have capri, ⅞ and full lengths and an array of colors, fabrics and designs. Most of my pairs come with a little pocket in the waistband to hold keys or a card during a run, which is a vast improvement from all the years I spent tying a key to my shoe. For those who like to workout with music, other pairs come with a side pocket on the leg to easily carry your phone too.
There are multiple fabric options to choose from—some have a light, almost cotton-like touch and others feel silky smooth or there are thick and fleece-lined options. My steadfast go-to’s are the classic spandex, but you could wear simple black capris to yoga class and then hit the track with a pair of full-length purple leggings with diamond cutouts. The possibilities, and workouts, are truly endless with these leggings.
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