6 Best Fabrics for Gym Leggings

Making your own clothes is super fun and can be super rewarding, especially if shopping isn’t your thing. I know it isn’t mine so being able to make things for myself is great and helps me feel more confident.

Stretch fabrics are the best for gym leggings as they create ease and give comfort and support to the body during movement. The best fabrics are 4-way stretch so that the body can move in all directions.

In this article, I am going to talk about what fabrics you can use for gym leggings and the best ones to use.

Can I Use Any Fabric for Gym Leggings?

Everyone loves wearing leggings, whether you need something comfortable for the gym or stylish to go to work. Your leggings might look nice, but the question is whether you’re wearing the right fabric. Fabric for leggings should not only be well-fitting but also comfortable.

This takes us to the question of whether you can use any fabric for gym leggings. No, you can’t. When you need fabric for gym leggings, it needs to be stretchy but still holds its shape even when it is being stretched out.

It should also stretch extensively crosswise and lengthwise. When your leggings can stretch lengthwise, they can also become more fitting and long, so you don’t end up with tight and uncomfortable workout clothes.

The fabric for your gym leggings should also be able to let moisture like sweat pass through it because you would need a comfortable fit when exercising. It should also be smooth and shiny so that when you carry out high-impact activities like running, it would reduce chafing.

The first thing you should do when picking gym leggings is to check the fabric. It’s usually better to go for synthetic performance fibers like polyester and nylon than cotton when choosing workout leggings because they are more durable, hold moisture well, and also stretch well.

You should also look at the construction of any leggings before buying them.

The best fabric for gym leggings are usually polyester and Lycra, which are stretchy and flexible enough for working out.

You can use other types of fabric for your gym leggings, but they should have at least 5% Lycra content to give you stretch and recovery when wearing them.

What Should I Be Looking For In Fabric For Gym Leggings?

When looking at the fabric for gym leggings, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind. As long as the fabric ticks these boxes, then you can be sure that your gym experience would be more enjoyable than with leggings that are not up to par.


For one, the gym leggings must be stretchy, which is why we recommend fabrics with Lycra as part of the composition. Lycra is also known as Spandex or elastane and offers amazing elasticity.

So, when your leggings are made of Lycra fiber, you can be sure that they would stretch easily and without tearing, no matter the pose you take in the gym.

It isn’t enough for the gym leggings to stretch, but they must also return to their original shape when they are not being stretched. If you buy leggings that don’t keep their shape, you would end up with a sagging fabric that would no longer be comfortable for working out.


Another important factor that you should look out for when choosing gym leggings fabric is durability, which ensures that the fabric lasts for a long time. Using weak fabric would only be a waste of money and cause the leggings to sag or even tear after wearing them for a short while.

Having durable workout leggings also allows you to exercise without any fears about how weak your fabric is and if it could tear any minute. So, among all the fabric choices, go for those that don’t tear easily.


Since working out requires a lot of moving around exercising, it would be counterproductive if you buy those that are uncomfortable. The discomfort would restrict your gym experience and might even cause an injury or restrict your blood flow if it’s too tight.

You should choose a fabric that feels comfortable when leggings are wrapped around your legs. The fabric should be soft and smooth and feel great against your skin. It should also be comfortable to wear and remove the leggings without the fabric feeling like a hindrance.

The fabric should also be comfortable during all sorts of weather conditions, especially if they are good with temperature regulation. So, go for only comfy fabric.


Breathability is another important factor that you should keep in mind when choosing fabric for your leggings.

Breathable fabric allows air to effortlessly pass through and out the material and also helps you dry out sweaty workout clothes. If they are breathable, they should also be able to withstand heat and sweat.

Having breathable fabric for your leggings is also important to prevent the growth of bacteria in your workout clothes, which can be caused by sweat. When it comes to breathability, polyester is the perfect choice for your gym leggings.

Moisture Management

Your gym leggings fabric should also be a material that would manage moisture properly because working out has to do with lots of sweat.

If you’re using the wrong fabric, sweat can be trapped in the fabric, making you feel uncomfortable and also increasing the chances of bacteria growing in your clothes.

This is why it’s great to use fabrics that are odor-, mold- and mildew-resistant because they are good when working out.

6 Best Fabrics For Gym Leggings


The first on our list is polyester because it ticks all the necessary boxes when looking for fabric for gym leggings. Almost every workout outfit that you buy at an athletic wear store is made of or has polyester, and so it is the most popular of fitness fabrics.

Polyester is very durable and wrinkle-resistant, so you can use it for a long time whenever you exercise. The fabric is also very comfortable and also retains moisture properly, so it won’t feel weird when sweating.

Polyester has a lightweight and breathable feeling, so when you’re exercising, the sweat would go through the fabric and you’ll remain dry.

Even if polyester is lightweight and breathable, it also works well as an insulator, which means you can wear your gym leggings when working out in the cold weather. Polyester usually feels much better when it is blended with linen or cotton, so it’s not advisable to wear leggings made of pure polyester.

Polyester has one downside, and that is the fact that it holds on to odors. Any smells that you get while exercising would stick to your leggings, so you should wash your workout clothes after so that they can last for a long time.


Another amazing fabric that would make working out more exciting and easier while wearing your gym leggings is polypropylene. This is a type of plastic, and so when it’s turned into the fabric for clothes, it would look thin and flexible.

Polypropylene also has waterproof features which make it great for the outer layer of leggings, so it can also be used to make sports undergarments.

Image from Thomasnet.com

Because of its waterproof qualities, leggings made from or with polypropylene would keep you dry when you exercise in misty, humid, and cold conditions. It would keep you warm when you exercise in the cold. Its waterproof feature also makes it great at moisture management.

Polypropylene is also similar to polyester when it comes to its durability and wrinkle resistance. It stretches pretty well because it is flexible and lightweight, and so it is comfortable when you wear it during working out.

It is breathable, depending on the fabric that it is woven with to give you your leggings. It would be better to wear leggings that are made of polypropylene fabric and cotton or linen.


Next on our list is nylon, which we have previously identified as a good fabric for gym leggings.

Nylon is usually placed in the same bracket with polyester because they are both synthetic performance fibers, with all the important features that you need for your gym leggings. It is suitable for working out in all conditions and doing all exercises.

You might be familiar with nylon because it is a common fabric, usually used in pantyhose. The fabric is soft and stretchy, which allows it to move with you and be flexible as you exercise. Nylon is also known for having brilliant recovery, allowing it to go to its original shape after stretching.

Apart from this, nylon gym leggings are quite breathable, although it’s usually better when combined with another fabric. They are good with wicking out sweat from your skin and through the fabric so it evaporates without feeling uncomfortable.

Nylon is resistant to mold and mildew, which makes it easy and convenient to take care of. You don’t have to worry about these building up when you exercise, especially with the build-up of sweat. Apart from leggings, nylon can be used in sports bras, tank tops, performance underwear, and cold-weather sportswear.


If you’re looking for an eco-friendly (although more expensive) fabric for your gym leggings, the bamboo fabric would do the trick. Bamboo is a sustainable and eco-friendly material that has been used for tissue paper, furniture, paper, single-use cutlery, and décor.

Now, it is being used in making wear for exercising because of the lightweight, natural fabric that you get from bamboo.

Bamboo is usually blended with other types of fabrics when used to make gym leggings and other clothes for exercising. It can be seen as an eco-friendly and luxury alternative to nylon and polyester. So, if you’re going for bamboo leggings, you can expect a more expensive price tag attached to the clothes.

But even with the high prices, bamboo fabric comes with other benefits for your gym leggings asides from the eco-friendliness. It is good with temperature-regulating, which allows you to work out during hot and cold weather, whether you’re jogging outside or using the treadmill indoors.

Bamboo is incredibly soft too, making it very comfortable for exercising and having fun. With bamboo, you don’t have to worry about odors from exercise because it is resistant to this and is also good with moisture management. So, it has all the features for the right fabric for gym leggings.

Merino Wool

Merino wool is also another good fabric for gym leggings. When you hear wool, you might think of a fabric that would keep you warm during the cold weather, but it is a great fabric for warm and hot weather too.

Merino wool is thinner and softer than other types of wool and is also great with sweat management.

When using merino wool, you can benefit from the temperature-regulating function. When you’re exercising during cold weather, the wool would keep you warm by trapping the warm air in your body.

Textured surface of knitted cotton wave plaid, top view. Soft dusty pink pastel wool backdrop. Seasonal cosiness flat lay. Scandinavian minimal style. Stay at home, cozy, femininity concept.

Then when the weather is hot and you sweat while exercising, it would also wick the sweat away from your body and out of the fabric. This makes any gym leggings made with merino wool to be ideal for hot and cold weather.

You won’t find a lot of gym leggings out there made of only Merino wool, but you would find those that are blended with polyester and other types of fabrics on this list to increase the breathability and softness.

Merino wool is also quite expensive, so buying leggings made of only that would be uncomfortable, which is why brands don’t stick to it strictly.


Gym leggings made of spandex are great for workout sessions that have lots of motion like weightlifting or yoga. Although spandex is found in skin-tight clothes like leggings, you won’t have any clothes that are made purely with the material.

This is because spandex is not purely breathable or great at moisture management – it is only average at those.

But even with this, spandex is one of the most popular fabrics for gym leggings that anyone would enjoy wearing while exercising. You will easily find spandex leggings at any activewear shop, although they would be made with other types of material that add breathability and moisture management, like polyester or nylon.

The main reason why spandex is on this list is because of its stretching qualities. This material can stretch to be eight times longer than its original size, which is why it’s a great material for comfortable and unrestricted movement when exercising.

But spandex would lose its stretching ability if you iron it or put it in the dryer too often. Instead, you should wash your spandex gym leggings with cold water and air dry it so that it lasts longer.

Scroll to Top