Best Hiking Leggings for Comfort & Performance on Any Trail (2021)
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Every hiker knows that the right clothing can mean the difference between an incredible hike and an absolutely miserable one. A solid pair of hiking leggings can provide better stretch and breathability than traditional hiking pants during warmer or more strenuous trails. The best hiking leggings are versatile – they’re durable enough to wear on their own, but lightweight and breathable enough to layer with hiking pants. It can feel overwhelming to choose a pair from all of the options out there, so we created this guide to the best hiking leggings to help you find the perfect pair!

Skimlinks Test

To narrow down our selection of the best hiking tights and leggings, we went through a rigorous research and testing process. Our investigation started with a list of dozens of products and brands. Using a mixture of professional review website, customer reviews, product pages, and our own hiking experiences, we used a very informed and practical approach to narrow down our choices and create this guide. We hope it helps you find the best pair of hiking leggings for your budget and preferences.

Best Hiking Leggings for Women


Patagonia Pack Out Tights
Best Hiking Leggings for Women

  • Materials: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
  • Length: Full length
  • Notable Features: Very durable, two side pockets (one per leg) and a zippered pocket, Fair Trade certified

If you’re looking for the best hiking leggings for women on the market, the Patagonia Pack Out Tights are our #1 favorite option. Thick, comfortable, and breathable, these stretchy leggings are basic but have all the bells and whistles you need in a pair of hiking pants for women. With three pockets – two side pockets and a zippered one – you can store small items you’ll need easy access to along the trail.

The best thing about the Pack Out Tights? They are known to be super durable, which many customers rave about. Not only are these leggings tough, but they are also backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, meaning they’ll repair or replace them if they become damaged when you use them.

Should you opt for the Patagonia Pack Out tights, know that they don’t come in Short or Long versions, so you may have some difficulty with length if you typically buy within those categories. Many customers complain of poor fit, so be sure to try them on before removing the tags so you can return them or exchange them if needed!

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR PATAGONIA PACK OUT TIGHTS:


Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights
Best Hiking Leggings for Backcountry Adventures

  • Materials: 82% Nylon, 18% Elastane
  • Length: Full length (runs long)
  • Why It’s Awesome: Thick, stretchy tights offer maximum range of motion on the trail with 3 practical storage pockets

Backpackers often need hiking clothes that are a bit more durable and sweat-wicking than day hikers, and the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights are the perfect hiking leggings for longer, more strenuous backcountry adventures. Made with a heavy-duty nylon and elastane blend, these stretchy leggings are built for tough terrain, rocky scrambles, and more. We love the standout look and feel of these leggings – they feel a little thicker and more sturdy than other hiking leggings, and they’ve got fabric reinforcements on the knees and rear to prevent wear.

The biggest downside to these hiking leggings is the price. With an MSRP of $175, these are the most expensive leggings on our list. But if you’re an avid backpacker who does some serious miles in your leggings, the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights are well worth the price. Additionally, some women have complained of fit issues with these hiking leggings, and a few have mentioned the dreaded “camel toe,” so we’d strongly recommend buying directly from Fjallraven (free returns with no shipping costs), REI (return for free in store), or Amazon before committing to these leggings.


IUGA High Waist Leggings
Best on a Budget

  • Materials: 77% Polyester, 23% Spandex
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: These super stretchy, soft, and affordable leggings are perfect for casual hikes or wearing as “athleisure”

If you’re a casual hiker who is looking for a solid pair of hiking leggings without breaking the bank, we love the IUGA High Waist Leggings. These leggings are made of a whopping 23% Spandex blend, so they’re super stretchy, soft, breathable, and comfortable. They are, by far, the cheapest hiking tights on our list, but have held up for our reviewers on many long hikes and adventures outside.

Although the IUGA leggings are soft and cozy to wear, they are definitely less durable than the other hiking leggings on our list. After a few months of wear on mostly moderate hikes and for leisure, these leggings started pilling quite a bit and even got a few small tears in them. Now, to be fair, we do put our gear through the wringer, but these leggings are definitely made of more budget materials than the higher-quality ones on our list.


Athleta Rainier Tight
Best Winter Hiking Leggings

  • Materials: Nylon & Lycra
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: SuperSonic brushed interior for extra thermal protection

Winter hiking is a whole different beast that sometimes requires a completely different set of gear. If you want to brave colder weather but still crave the feeling of a soft, stretchy pair of leggings, we’d recommend the Athleta Rainier Tight. Build with the same nylon stretch as many of the other best hiking leggings out there, it’s got a super soft, thick brushed interior for added warmth and protection from the elements. With that said, they’re not waterproof, so if you’re anticipating snowy or wet weather, we’d recommend a pair of hiking pants or rain pants to layer on top.


Smartwool 150 Base Layer
Best Baselayer Leggings

  • Materials: 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: They’re super breathable and moisture wicking, are thin enough to layer under hiking pants, and provide lots of extra warmth in cold weather

Want the comfort and stretch of leggings that you can layer under your favorite hiking pants? Smartwool makes the best Merino wool base layers, and their Smartwool 150 Base Layer leggings are no exception. Made of a soft Merino wool and nylon blend, these thin leggings are perfect for wearing under your outerwear on colder trail days. Because Merino wool wicks sweat and is super breathable, you’ll feel warm and dry in these base layer leggings, even if it’s rainy or snowy outside.

Pro tip: In extra cold weather, we usually opt for the Smartwool 250 Base Layers, since they’re a bit thicker and warmer than the 150 leggings.


Superfit Hero
Best Plus Size Hiking Leggings

  • Materials: 88% Polyester/12% Spandex
  • Length: Full length and capri options
  • Why It’s Awesome: These leggings are made specifically for plus size bodies and offer sizes L through 7XL

Let’s face it: historically, it’s been challenging to find the best hiking leggings in plus size fits…until Superfit Hero. This superstar brand creates outerwear for plus size ladies that’s perfect for any outdoor adventure. True to its mission, each pair of its leggings come in sizes L through 7XL, so you can find the perfect fit no matter your size requirements.


Patagonia Centered Tights
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 85% Recycled Polyester, 15% Spandex
  • Length: Available in full-length or cropped versions
  • Why It’s Awesome: Lightweight, durable, and stylish, these are the best all-around leggings we’ve found for active women and hikers

If you’re looking for a great all-around pair of leggings at a great value, Patagonia’s Centered Tights are some of the best hiking leggings for women. Thick, comfortable, and breathable, these stretchy leggings are simple but have all the features you need in a pair of hiking leggings. With a 15% spandex fabric blend, these hiking tights offer fantastic stretch and comfort on and off the trail. Designed for strenuous physical activity, these leggings are sure to hold up during any hike, workout, or trip (and if they don’t, they’re covered by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee).

Should you opt for the Patagonia Centered tights, know that they don’t come in Short or Long versions, so you may have some difficulty with length if you typically buy within those categories. They do, however, have a cropped option that you can choose if you’re vertically challenged (like me). The only thing we’d change about the Patagonia Centered tights is more pockets – these have just one hip pocket in comparison to Patagonia’s Pack Out tights (more below).


Arc’teryx Oriel
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 71% Nylon, 29% Elastane
  • Length: Full length with a short option (25″ inseam)
  • Why It’s Awesome: Designed for rock climbing, these leggings are tough as nails and have a tight, compressive fit

Arc’teryx makes some of the highest-quality outdoor gear on the market, and their women’s hiking leggings are no exception. We love the Oriel leggings because they’re some of the more compressive leggings on our list, perfect for more strenuous hikes or tough terrain that will put your clothes through the wringer. These leggings were designed with rock climbers in mind, and they allow for maximum movement and flexibility without compromising on durability. They’ve also got two thigh pockets for storing small essentials.

Some women complained that these run a bit short, so for taller ladies, you may want to consider a different pair if you’re looking for full-length hiking leggings.


PrAna Transform Legging
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 88% Nylon, 12% Lycra Elastane
  • Length: Full length, 7/8 length, and capri versions available
  • Why It’s Awesome: These super versatile and stretchy leggings are fantastic for hiking, yoga, or travel

PrAna makes some great hiking pants and leggings, and the Transform leggings are some of our favorites out of their lineup for outdoor activities. They come in three different lengths, so it’s basically impossible to not be able to find a size or color that fits your needs. They’re made of 12% Lycra, so they’re super stretchy, and the fabric blend feels super cozy for hiking or lounging. We especially love them for travel because they look great as casual bottoms as well!

Although we love these pants for their comfort and stretch, they’re not the most durable hiking leggings on our list. After a few months of use on trails and yoga, our Transform leggings started pilling around the thighs. They’re still usable, but the pilling does show very obviously on our dark-colored leggings. However, we still love them and continue to buy them because they’re so comfortable and come in a lot of colors and length options.


The North Face Women’s Paramount Hybrid Tight
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 80% Polyester, 20% Elastane
  • Length: Full-length
  • Why It’s Awesome: Super stretchy, loose-fitting tights have plenty of storage space for essential hiking items

Some women want the feel of leggings with the loose fit of hiking pants. If that sounds like you, The North Face Women’s Paramount Hybrid Tight is a great option for hybrid hiking leggings for women. With a whopping 20% of elastane in the fabric, they’re really stretchy and soft, perfect for tough trails or hanging out at a campsite in the evening. Additionally, these pants have four zippered pockets, so if storage space is a priority for you, these could be some of the best hiking leggings out there.


Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Rock Tight
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 91% Nylon, 9% Elastane
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: These climbing tights are really durable and can withstand a wide range of motion

Mountain Hardwear knows how to make gear for alpine lovers, and their Chockstone Rock Tights are a fantastic companion for climbing and hiking alike. With a thigh zip pocket and highly breathable materials, these are a fantastic option for hikers who want a versatile, tough tight that compresses. Many avid customers really love the construction and fabric of these leggings, but some have complained of durability issues (primarily pilling and snagging). They’re also a little less stretchy than many of the other hiking leggings on our list, and the single pocket isn’t as helpful as some of the other models we’ve mentioned that have multiple storage options.


Best Hiking Leggings for Men


Patagonia Endless Run Tight
Overall Best Hiking Leggings for Men

  • Materials: 79% Polyester, 21% Spandex
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: Compressive, durable, and stretchy, these are the best hiking leggings that you can wear for basically any outdoor activity

You know we love Patagonia for all things hiking, and the Patagonia Endless Run Tight is our pick for the best hiking leggings for men. Super breathable and lightweight, many men use these for running, hiking, and other outdoor adventures during the warmer months. There are also side pockets for storing small items and valuables while you’re on the trails. Because they’re so lightweight, they also work well for layering under shorts or pants in the colder months.

As with any leggings, you can’t store anything too heavy in the pockets or the waistband may slip. Additionally, because they’re meant for runners, these probably aren’t the ideal hiking leggings to wear in winter (unless you’re layering them under pants). But, for a great all-terrain option, the Endless Run Tights are some of the best hiking leggings out there for men.


UnderArmour HeatGear
Best Budget Hiking Tights

  • Materials: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: A great budget-friendly option for any season, these compressive tights offer stretchy and soft fabric at a fantastic value

Go to any gym or trail and you’ll probably see guys rocking UnderArmour. It’s true, the UnderArmour HeatGear leggings are a fantastic budget-friendly companion for any trail. In addition to being the least expensive hiking leggings for men on our list, these hiking tights are a great option for any season or conditions. Compressive, stretchy, flexible, and comfortable, you’ll find that these are great for layering or wearing on their own!

While these hiking leggings are comfortable and perform well, they tend to be less durable than some of the higher-end options on our list. We’d recommend them for day hikes and more laid-back terrain, but if you’re looking for a robust pair of leggings that are tough enough to withstand strenuous hiking, we’d choose a different pair.


Patagonia Terrebonne Joggers
Best Loose Fit Hiking Tights for Men

  • Materials: 100% Stretch Polyester
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: Jogger pant style, stretchy and lightweight, durable water repellent finish

For those seeking loose fit hiking leggings, the Patagonia Terrebonne Joggers are possibly the best option on the market. Don’t be fooled by these ultra light pants – they’re made of stretchy polyester for optimal movement and wick sweat and moisture during warm and cold weather. Men love these pants because they’re super comfy but also perform well on hikes, trail runs, and other outdoor activities. They also double as great travel, work from home, or loungewear pants because they look and feel so great.

Because these pants are so lightweight, they aren’t quite as durable as some of the tougher hiking pants on our list. They also aren’t the best crossover pants for climbers because the material is a bit thin for the movement required. Otherwise, there aren’t many drawbacks at all, and many reviewers state that they’d buy these pants again in a heartbeat.


Smartwool 150 Base Layer
Best Thermal Baselayer to Wear Under Pants

  • Materials: 100% Merino Wool
  • Length: Full length and 3/4 length versions
  • Why It’s Awesome: Thin, sweat-wicking, and breathable, this thermal legging layer adds warmth and comfort under pants for cold weather hikes

We mentioned the Smartwool 150 Base Layer leggings in the women’s section, but their men’s version is equally as fantastic for cold weather layering. Made of a soft Merino wool and nylon blend, these thin leggings are perfect for wearing under your outerwear on colder trail days. Because Merino wool wicks sweat and is super breathable, you’ll feel warm and dry in these base layer leggings, even if it’s rainy or snowy outside.

Pro tip: In extra cold weather, we usually opt for the Smartwool 250 Base Layers, since they’re a bit thicker and warmer than the 150 leggings.


Salomon Agile Long Tights
Honorable Mention

  • Materials: 84% polyester, 16% elastane
  • Length: Full length
  • Why It’s Awesome: Built specifically for active runners and hikers, these tights are compressive, stretchy, and moisture-wicking

Looking for a versatile, tough pair of hiking tights for men? We love the Salomon Agile Long Tights because they were built with the important details in mind. Equipped with reflective inserts for night time activities, 4-way stretch fabric, and moisture wicking properties to keep you dry, these tights are best paired with a pair of your favorite shorts or under hiking pants.


Choosing the Best Hiking Leggings for You

Breathability & Moisture Wicking

In our opinion, one of the most important aspects of the best hiking leggings is their breathability. A high-quality pair of hiking leggings is always made of materials that allow airflow and prevent hot air from getting trapped next to your skin. Otherwise, your legs will get sweaty while hiking and that moisture will build up around your legs, which feels gross and uncomfortable.

There are lots of different materials that are breathable – some of our favorites include synthetics like nylon or polyester, stretch materials like Spandex or elastane, and Merino wool. Our best recommendation when choosing hiking leggings is to avoid cotton fabrics and instead opt for a material that touts “sweat-wicking” or “moisture-wicking” properties.

Stretch

Another important trait of any hiking leggings is stretchiness. Any decent pair of hiking leggings needs to provide a full range of movement without ripping or coming apart. This will enable you to scramble over rocks, hop over downed trees, or climb steep trails without feeling like your pants are preventing certain movements. Similar to breathability, certain fabrics like Spandex are better for this, but the best way to determine stretchiness in any pair of leggings is to try them on.

Durability

So you’ve found a pair of hiking leggings that’s breathable and stretchy. Awesome! The next thing you need to look for is durability, because the last thing you want is to buy a pair that gets destroyed immediately after a few tough hikes. The best hiking leggings should last you for many, many miles of hiking.

Reading online reviews and asking friends for recommendations is our favorite way to determine a product’s durability. Additionally, many companies (REI, PrAna, etc.) offer guarantees on the quality of their gear and will allow returns if it fails to hold up on the trails.

Comfort & Fit

While highly subjective, comfort, fit, and style should absolutely factor into your purchasing decisions for hiking leggings. Any pair of gear you buy should feel amazing on your body and fit in with your preferences and desired aesthetic (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!).

Here are some of the style and fit elements people often consider:

  • Design
  • Baggy or slim fit
  • Petite or tall size availability
  • Crop
  • Comfort of the materials
  • Number of pockets and storage areas
  • Color and patterns

Some of these might sound silly, but if you’re going to spend money on hiking leggings, you should absolutely find ones that look and feel great on your body.

Price

While we aim to keep price out of the equation when we’re evaluating each of the individual pairs of hiking leggings, it’s absolutely an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a pair for yourself. The best hiking leggings aren’t always the most expensive. Typically, we’ve found that high-quality hiking leggings range from $50-100, but there’s a lot of variability within that range.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, paddling, or playing in the snow.

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