Difference between Leggings and Yoga Pants

Updated on May 27, 2017

Many people agree that leggings and yoga pants are the same thing. They are both active wear and made of flexible material in general. Although it is true that they are very similar to each other, leggings and yoga pants actually have differences, too. So, how are they different from each other? This question will be answered in this article.

Descriptions

Leggings
A pair of black leggings

Leggings are tight-fitting lower wear that usually cover the entire legs. They are typically made from lycra, nylon, cotton, polyester, or a combination of different fibers.

Originally, leggings were used by dancers and acrobats. Nowadays, they are worn for exercise or as activewear. It has also become acceptable to wear leggings as streetwear. Leggings are versatile and can be worn with other casual garments such as sweaters, sweatshirts, shirts, polos, blouses, tunics, short dresses, skirts, shorts, ballet shoes, slip-on, heels, sandals, boots, sneakers for a relaxed look, short dresses, shorts, etc.

Leggings typically cover the legs down to the ankle. However, various designs have been created for the past years. Some leggings have hems that sit right above the ankle or mid-calf. They also come in different colors and patterns.

yoga pants
A pair of black yoga pants

As the name suggests, yoga pants are opaque, light, soft, thick, and flexible lower wear that were originally made for yoga enthusiasts. They are usually made from cotton, spandex, polyester, nylon, wool, lycra, or other synthetic materials.

Nowadays, yoga pants are used for a lot of other physical activities such as pilates, aerobics, martial arts, dancing, and other sports that require a lot of movement and stretching. Many women also wear them as everyday wear or maternity wear.

Many years ago, yoga pants were bell-bottomed and were only available in black. This design was made primarily for confidence, comfort, and flexibility, especially when doing complicated yoga positions. Today, yoga pants are available in different colors and styles including bootcut, tight-fitting, capri, kundalini, etc.

Leggings vs Yoga Pants

What, then, is the difference between leggings and yoga pants?

Leggings are elastic, tight-fitting pants that tightly cover your legs. They were originally worn by acrobats and dancers. On the other hand, yoga pants are flexible, flared pants. They were made primarily for yoga enthusiasts.

Originally, leggings cover your legs down to the ankle and yoga pants were bell-bottomed and only available in black. Nowadays, however, both are available in many different styles and colors. In fact, many yoga pants now look like leggings and some leggings look like yoga pants. (However, if you see a pair of kundalini-style pants, they are for sure, yoga pants and not leggings.)

In terms of usage, the terms “leggings” and “yoga pants” are somewhat interchangeable. Both can be worn as gym outfit, everyday wear, or casual wear.

Comparison Chart

LeggingsYoga Pants
Soft, elastic, tight-fitting pants; traditionally covered the entire legs down to the ankleOpaque, light, soft, thick, flexible pants; traditionally bell-bottomed and only available in black
Originally used by acrobats and dancersPrimarily made for yoga enthusiasts
Now available in different cuts and lengthsNow available in different cuts (bootcut, tight-fitting, capri, and kundalini) and colors