Ask the Expert: Are Expensive Workout Pants Worth It?

We asked an expert if those $100 yoga pants are worth the splurge.

Workout pants

The selection at City Sports on Boylston Street. Photo by Jamie Ducharme

Have you ever looked around your yoga class and felt like the only one in the room not in fancy brand-name workout pants? We have too. But before you hit the mall to shell out $100 on a new pair, we asked Lauren Blanda, apparel category manager at City Sports, whether the upscale styles are really better.

Q: Are expensive workout pants really better than lower-priced brands?

A: For the most part, yes. But no need to break the bank!

Fabrics in the higher-end pants are a noticeable difference. The fabric is typically more durable, holds shape, and has great stretch and moves with the body. Typically the less expensive pants are made with cotton or cotton blends, which many people find comfortable. But as we all know, cotton isn’t the greatest fabric for workout apparel because it retains sweat (instead of wicking it away) and doesn’t hold up to sweat, wear, and tear as well. Higher end pants may have a polyester-based blend with a higher content of supplex or lycra.

The design of higher-end pants also tends to have more style and thought built into them. For example, a nice flat waist that is flattering but also comfortable. Yoking on the rear end is my favorite design element in these types of pants. It’s essentially a line across the top of the bum that flatters, shapes, and improves the fit, too. Some brands also take the extra step to pull forward the side seams, elongat[ing] the leg.

Some casual gym goers want to look and feel good while they work out and may invest in a quality pair of pants or leggings to do so. Others couldn’t care less! Personally, I like to feel comfortable while I’m working out and don’t want to be distracted by clothing that doesn’t fit well or doesn’t perform. I often equate it to buying designer jeans versus jeans from the Gap or Old Navy. You may want to invest in one or two good pairs of denim and have a good balance.

Considering that a lot of women now wear workout pants or leggings on a casual basis or when they’re just on-the-go in addition to working out, I’d say invest in a high quality style. No need to break the bank, but there is a noticeable difference.

Still not convinced? We asked Blanda for her suggestions on some moderately-priced brands that still perform. She says:

Under Armour has come out with a studio line and I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried the studio leggings myself. We [City Sports] just brought in a new line called Pure Karma. They’re made of organic cottons or recycled polyesters, and made domestically. They’re a great value. CS by City Sports also has a well-priced tight and the composure rollover pant is a good deal versus similar styles from bigger brands. It has a high supplex content so it’s compressive and smooth.