Which black legging is best?

In the world of wardrobe staples, black leggings reign supreme. As versatile as they are, they’re anything but basic — and there are dozens of designs to explore.

Black leggings coordinate with virtually any top, shoe or accessory, making them one of the easiest garments to dress up or down. If you’re looking for an edgy pair, Spanx Women’s Faux-Leather Tummy Control Leggings have a shiny finish that adds dimension to any look. 

What to know before you buy black leggings

Popular styles

Generally speaking, black leggings fall into three main categories: fashion, athleisure and performance.

  • Fashion: Fashion leggings include casual and dressy styles that are either plain or embellished. Many styles distinguish themselves with unique patterns, cuts or materials.
  • Athleisure: Athleisure leggings are the most comfortable options because they’re made with softer material blends than most leggings. They’re popular for travel, everyday wear, lounging or light exercise. 
  • Performance: Performance leggings, designed for active use, have ultra-flexible material blends that allow for a full range of motion. Not only are these leggings durable, but they’re often made wick-away and odor-trapping materials. 

How to style black leggings

Because black leggings are neutral in terms of color and cut, they’re one of the easiest bottoms to style. 

  • White dress shirt: Crisp white dress shirts, including oversized styles, coordinate well with black leggings for simple preppy outfits.
  • High-cut boots: Knee- and thigh-high boots create an edgy look with black leggings, not to mention they elongate the legs. 
  • Flowy shell layers: Kimonos and duster cardigans, particularly those with black accents in their designs, match black leggings easily.
  • Cropped tops: Longline sports bras, baby tees and cropped sweaters are ideal to wear with black leggings when you’re building sporty or streetwear looks.

What to look for in quality black leggings

Materials

Black leggings derive their flexibility from blended fabrics that contain stretch materials, including Spandex, rayon and nylon. 

In many leggings, cotton or polyester dominate the fabric blend by 50% or more. Cotton blends, popular for athleisure and fashion leggings, are soft and breathable. However, they’re prone to shrinking, pilling and fading. Polyester blends, on the other hand, won’t fade or shrink. They retain their brand-new appearance longer, but over time, these blends warp or become looser. 

There are a few leggings on the market made with only stretch materials, such as Spanx styles made with only nylon and Spandex. They hug the body and offer a flattering fit, particularly around the hips, belly and thighs — but they’re usually expensive. 

Waistband style

Because waistband style affects the overall fit of leggings, they’re one of the first features to compare. 

Wide and high-rise waistbands are popular because they smooth over the hips and belly. Although they were mostly seen on performance leggings in the past, these waistbands are now popular across all styles. Mid-rise and low-rise waistbands, stylish options that accentuate the hips, are often seen on fashion leggings. 

Inseam

While full-length leggings are most popular, there are a multitude of styles available with different inseams. Seven-eighths leggings are cut an eighth of an inch shorter than full length leggings, so they hit above the ankle, while cropped styles fall mid-calf or a little lower. Capri leggings, the shortest option, are cut right below the knee. 

How much you can expect to spend on black leggings

Basic black leggings cost $20 and below, but they’re usually low quality and have short lifespans. Midrange options, which fall between $20-$50, including well-made styles manufactured by reputable brands. Designer and high-end performance black leggings cost between $60-$140.

Black leggings FAQ

How do I prevent black leggings from fading?

A. Fading is a common issue with cotton-blend leggings, and it’s especially noticeable in black leggings. To minimize color loss, wash leggings in cool water with bleach-free detergent. As far as drying is concerned, let them hang to dry because dryer heat can cause fabric dye to fade.

What sizes are available for black leggings?

A. Most black leggings are available in sizes XS through XXL. Plus-size styles are available in sizes 3X and above. There are a few brands that also have petite and long legging styles, but they’re harder to find. 

What are the best black leggings to buy?

Top black legging

Spanx Women's Faux-Leather Tummy Control Legging

Spanx Women’s Faux-Leather Tummy Control Legging

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a dressy pair of black leggings, this faux-leather style is a versatile option.

What you’ll love: The sleek style hugs the body, has a smoothing waistband and a subtle shiny finish that is easy to dress up with the right accessories. The nylon blend is thick and opaque, so it passes the “squat test.” 

What you should consider: Several wears said the leggings run small, and sizing up was necessary. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top black legging for money

Colorfulkoala Women's Buttery Soft Full-Length Legging

Colorfulkoala Women’s Buttery Soft Full-Length Legging

What you need to know: Not only are these leggings affordable, but they also have soft construction that is ideal for exercise, lounging or travel. 

What you’ll love: Flatlock seams eliminate chafing, particularly at the thighs, and the material is lightweight and wicks away moisture, making it ideal for sweaty workouts or warm weather wear. The high, wide waistband doesn’t roll down or shift.   

What you should consider: The leggings aren’t available in enough darker colors, and the light colors aren’t universally flattering. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Under Armour Women's ColdGear Compression Legging

Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression Legging

What you need to know: Popular for cold-weather wear, these performance leggings have a brushed lining that keeps wearers warm and cozy. 

What you’ll love: The leggings are flexible, but they won’t get overly loose while you wear them. They run true to size, making it simple to find the right fit, and unlike other cold-weather styles, this pair is non-bulky. 

What you should consider: Although they’re warm, they’re not designed for wear in extreme low temperatures. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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