16 comfortable leggings that make a long travel day fly by
Instantly upgrade your trip with these picks.
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As magical as it is to hop on a plane and be transported into a faraway place, the journey itself can feel constrictive, even in the most luxurious of airline seats. One simple solution to help ease any discomfort: the right pair of leggings.
Once reserved for the athletic set or at-home use, leggings have become a staple for frequent travelers, thanks to the plethora of brands making quality products that can outlast the wear and tear from navigating travel, yet still be comfy enough to move along with you once you reach your destination. (Plus, they take up minimal space in your suitcase.)
Since the stretchy pants fit so snuggly, finding the right pair may vary for each person, depending on individual preferences for length, waist height, material, and compression. Here are a few of our favorite brands that offer a range of plane-friendly leggings to help you find your perfect fit.
There’s a reason that Lululemon leggings are starting to proliferate airports as much as gyms—for one, the Vancouver, Canada-based company’s leggings slip on like a second skin. The Fast and Free High-Rise Tight 28” (sizes 0–20), offers plenty of coverage with a high waist and ankle-length fit. Made of Nulux fabric (a mix of nylon and Lycra elastane), it’s breathable and quick drying—and still has four-way stretch to effortlessly go in any direction. Another solid choice is the High-Rise Mini-Flared Pant 32” (sizes 0–14) from the popular Align collection. They have the same buttery soft fabric and high waist with the addition of a subtle flare aren't as compressive and can double as casual pants.
Everlane was founded on the principle of transparency, so every element of what goes into each product is fully disclosed, with sustainability and responsible sourcing being top priorities. What that means in the legging world are reasonably priced pants with high-quality materials that will last. Case in point: The Perform Legging (sizes XXS–XXL)—at just $68 each or two for $98—made of performance fabric from an Italian mill with mostly recycled nylon that’s made in a Sri Lankan factory. Another A+ choice: The Seamless Legging (sizes XS/S–XL/XXL) with extra high-rise and a super stretchy waistband with ribbed detailing.
Alo puts an emphasis on eco-consciousness, as evidenced by the fact that the brand runs its Beverly Hills flagship store and L.A. headquarters purely on solar power. That kind of mindfulness trickles into every element of its popular yoga pants. Its Airlift High-Waist ⅞ Game Changer Leggings live up to their name with a bootcut fit, high-rise waist, and ankle length paired with snaps down the bottom sides in case you need some extra breathing room on the flight. Or perhaps opt for the Alosoft Ribbed High-Waist Shimmer Legging, which contrasts the casualness of a ribbed material with an iridescence to bring a little personality to your travel uniform. Both come in sizes XXS (00-0) to L (12-14).
The feel-good factor starts even before you put on a pair of Tentree pants. Embedded in its name is its promise to plant 10 trees for every item purchased—and in 2023, it’s expanding its efforts to restore kelp forests with regenerative kelp and coasting planting in a new initiative called Ocean Collection. The Canadian company offers plenty of legging options for every preference in its InMotion collection, from the $30 High Rise Organic Cotton Legging (sizes XS–XL) made of fair trade knit with two-way stretch to the best-selling ⅞ Pocket Legging (sizes XS–XXL) with upgraded four-way stretch and deep side pockets. The latter is great for pet parents, as its made with tightly woven fibers to ensure small hairs won't stick.
Every brand in the Gap family—Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Gap itself—has its own take on everyday leggings, but its activewear specialty line Athleta rises to the top when it comes to the comfort and durability. Each of the brand's five different legging styles vary in compression, feel, and features. The Transcend collection, including the Transcend Stash Straight Leg Pant, is all about lightness, both in compression and material, so that it won’t weigh you down on the go. Meanwhile, the Salutation, as seen in its Salutation Stash ⅞ Tight, has medium compression and slippery-soft fabric that touts itself as a “gentle hug.” Most Athleta leggings are available in sizes XXS to 3X, including both of these options.
Here’s a company that makes leggings with a secret super power: period protection. Black-owned brand Ruby Love specializes in period underwear, but also offers two kinds of leggings with built-in protection, including the Period Leggings (sizes XXS–3X), which are made of light cotton and spandex and have an at-waist fit, and the Athletic Leggings (sizes XXS–XL), which are designed to keep up through more active use. Both and can be worn in conjunction with a menstrual product like a pad or tampon—or without on lighter flow days.
Non-member price from $75
The Kate Hudson co-founded activewear subscription brand Fabletics has long been known for its leggings through a popular two-for-$24 leggings deal for new VIP members—a membership that’s $60 a month. Among its offerings are the best-selling Define collection, with firm compression and sculpting, like the Define PowerHold High-Waisted Leggings, which come in more than two dozen prints, including a wavy cheetah and wild camo. Want even more colorful options? The Oasis PureLuxe High-Waisted ⅞ Leggings come in nearly 50 patterns in super soft polyester and elastane fabric with built-in UPF protection. Fabletics has the widest size range on this list, offering leggings in XXS to 4X.
Indie clothing brand Janji specializes in technical wear for runners, adventures, and, of course travelers—and is committed to responsibly sourced materials that are free of perfluorinated chemicals. Plus they donate two percent of the proceeds from every purchase to clean water initiatives. Its 7/8 Groundwork Pace Tight (sizes XS–XXL), available in seven colors, features deep pockets, an ergonomic waistband, and shape retention, while the full length version (sizes XS–XL) has reflective seams and added interior warmth.