The 4 Best Black Leggings of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Old Navy PowerSoft Leggings stood out the most

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black leggings
Photo: People/Tara Donne

Black leggings are an absolute wardrobe must-have. Sure, they're handy to have on hand for a yoga class or a bootcamp workout, but they're also a staple for running weekend errands or just hanging out at home. Need proof? Just check out how celebrities from Kendall Jenner to Lizzo to Jennifer Garner have styled theirs.

Choosing a pair of black leggings is really dependent on three things: what you'll wear them for (working out and/or eating pizza), how they'll wear over time (will they roll down? Pill after washing?), and whether you can see through them. (The last one might be the most important!). But since you can't buy, try on, wash and squat down in every pair on the market, PEOPLE Tested did it for you, evaluating 23 different leggings to see how they held up after a 30-minute workout and a wash. We checked out material, hold, durability, fit, and, yes, opaqueness. The pair that stood out, Old Navy's PowerSoft Leggings.

Here are the winners of the best leggings that we PEOPLE Tested

Best Overall: Old Navy PowerSoft Leggings

black leggings
Old Navy

Pros: Old Navy PowerSoft Leggings hold up through working out and running around it all and come at an affordable price tag.

Cons: The waistband slipped a little.

We took these leggings through it all: hiking, weight-training, stretching, and wore them to a five-hour-long baseball game. They have almost no downsides: they're comfortable, supportive where they need to be, sweat-wicking, lightweight without being see-through, affordable, and didn't stretch or pill after multiple wears. A+ leggings all around! (Hey, 3,000 positive reviews don't lie.)

These leggings come in a regular, tall, and petite inseam, and our petite tester said they were some of the only ⅞ length leggings she's ever tried that felt right on her frame: "They actually hit above my ankle, like they're supposed to!" Our tester also noted they were extremely flattering, writing, "My legs looked so long and lean in them."

Even though the fabric feels light, these leggings passed the "squat test" easily (not see through), and the lightweight fabric actually felt very similar to much pricier pairs we tried.

Our tester also noted that the sweat-wicking technology on these is very effective: even after hiking vigorously in these leggings she didn't feel damp or cold from the sweat. And they got high marks for comfort, with the tester noting she wore them for a half-day baseball game and never felt the waistband dug in or felt restrictive.

In fact, we're hard-pressed to say anything negative about these leggings. If we had to, it would be that over the course of more intense workouts we had to pull the waistband up a bit, but overall, they didn't slide too much or get looser over time, as other brands did.

Our tester found these to be perfect for both working out and hanging out, fit great, and be an excellent value for the money. Oh, and did we mention they have pockets? Yeah, we loved these.

Fabric 77% Polyester, 23% spandex
Fit Fitted through hip and thigh
Sizes XS - 4X

Best Budget: Target JoyLab Ribbed Leggings

black leggings

Pros: In our tests, the sweat wicking really worked and we stayed cool during our workouts.

Cons: Can fit awkwardly though the crotch

Our tester wore these to an hour-long workout where her top was "drenched" but her lower body was "dry and comfortable" within minutes, a testament to the sweat-wicking power of this budget-friendly pair. The design is well-thought-out, too— they cinch at the waist which makes them great at staying in place during a workout, even during lots of squats! "They were pretty much glued to my body," our tester raved (And they passed the squat test with flying colors: our tester was wearing printed underwear she couldn't see at all).

That said, the fit is a little strange through the crotch, our tester notes. She says it took some careful positioning to avoid the dreaded camel toe, but that this was her only complaint.

Another unexpected perk of these leggings: our tester has a dog who sheds, which can be a recipe for disaster with black leggings. "These were great at repelling his hair!" she said.

Fabric 96% Nylon, 4% spandex
Fit Athletic fit
Sizes XS - XL

Best Splurge: Lululemon InStill High-Rise Tight

black leggings

Pros: These ultrasoft leggings are compressive in the right spots and give you an opaque look.

Cons: More expensive than others and they only come with one pocket.

Our tester "absolutely loved" these black leggings. They're designed for yoga, and she was easily able to do a 45-minute flow in them, finding they held their structure well. In fact, she said, they encompassed her "holy grail" trio of being ultra-soft, stretchy, and compressive.

While these leggings are buttery-soft, they're not at all sheer when squatting, which might have been a concern given how stretchy they are. They held their shape well for the jumps and squats our tester did—but if you're between sizes you may want to size up, or you may find they will roll down.

And though they're meant for yoga, our tester wore them on a cross-country six-hour flight and found them super comfortable for that, too. They held their shape and color well on the first wash.

Really the only negative is that they're pretty pricey, and they only have one back pocket (which can be hard to stash your phone in).

Fabric 74% Nylon, 26% Lycra® elastane
Fit Snug, supportive
Sizes 0 - 20
best leggings
People/Tara Donne

Best for Yoga: Alo High-Waisted Airbrush Legging

Pros: The thicker material helped pass our squat test and we found them easy to throw on.

Cons: Not great for vigorous workouts because the waistband moved around.

We found these leggings to be really well-made, with a thick, supportive fabric that never felt suffocating but still held us in where we wanted to be held. The thicker fabric also meant these passed the squat test easily.

These are a ⅞ length, and our 5ft2in tester found them to hit just below her ankle, so they may be more of a full-length style on petite folks. They washed and wore quite well.

They were nice to lounge around in and stood up well to a sweaty yoga workout— after 30 minutes, no sweat showed through. However, more intense workouts where you're moving quickly might be a little more than these leggings can handle; we found in more rigorous movement, the waistband tended to sag down, so save these for lower-impact days or just as a fashion piece. Celebs including Kylie Jenner, Kaia Gerber, and Hailey Baldwin love Alo, so you'll be in good company.

Fabric Nylon / Spandex
Fit Snug, supportive
Sizes XXS - XL
best leggings
People/Tara Donne

Things to Consider Before Buying Leggings


A great pair of leggings should be stretchy and compressive, and if the material claims to be sweat wicking, it should be! Look out for seams that could cause itching and chafing, too.


You'll want leggings that hit at the right place on your waist and inseam. Brands that offer tall and petite sizing might help you nail down the fit.


Make sure you can't see through the fabric to your underwear when squatting, bending over, or in a downward-facing dog!


The waistband shouldn't dig into your body or roll down when you're moving around.

How We Tested Leggings

We PEOPLE Tested 23 pairs of black leggings. Our testers wore their leggings for at least one 30-minute workout, then washed them (they were of course free to wear them and wash them more often). Each tester assessed the quality of the material, the fit (by performing a set of basic stretches), how well they stayed up during the workout, whether they were see-through (by squatting backwards in front of a mirror), and durability (evaluated after the wash, looking for fading, pilling, and loss of shape).


Is it OK to wear leggings under a dress?

Absolutely! Leggings are a great substitute for tights, they're stretchy, comfortable, and perfect for layering under long or short dresses.

What length leggings are the most flattering?

Just shy of ankle-length, 7/8 leggings are considered the most flattering. Since a bit of ankle is showing, they make your legs look longer and also give you a variety of footwear options.

Should you go up a size in leggings?

Since there is no standardized sizing in leggings, there is no reason to size up in all cases. Leggings need to fit well — no bagging at the knees or slipping down from the waist. When selecting leggings, start by choosing your normal pants size, see how they fit, and go from there.

What tops look best with leggings?

Oversized button-downs, hoodies, tunics, sweatshirts, and crop tops all pair well with leggings.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our People Tested content.

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