10 Practical and Comfy Pairs of Hiking Leggings

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Pull them on, get outside.

Best hiking leggings in 2024

Courtesy of the brands / Gabrielle Langdon

As soothing as hiking can be, it can also come with its fair share of bumps, scrapes, and stumbles. Thankfully, the best hiking leggings—ones that feature the versatility and stretchiness you probably associate with regular workout leggings, as well as the abrasion resistance you’d expect from outdoor gear—can get you through treks, climbs, and scrambles without snagging or chafing. When you have the right hiking pants, you can focus on getting closer to nature without the discomfort.

Our top picks

  1. Best Overall: Outdoor Research Ad-Vantage Leggings
  2. Best Budget: Columbia Boundless Trek Leggings
  3. Best for Cold Weather: Arc’Teryx Essent Warm High-Rise Legging
  4. Best for Warm Weather: Eddie Bauer Guide Trex Leggings
  5. Most Durable: Athleta Headlands Hybrid Mid Rise Tight
  6. Best for Long Treks: Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Read now:

The best hiking leggings

Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best hiking leggings from top-rated outdoor brands and retailers like Arc’Teryx, Athleta, and Patagonia—including some that have been trail-tested and approved by SELF staffers and SELF Activewear Awards testers. Read on to find your faves and gear up for springtime day hikes and backpacking trips.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • 1

    Outdoor Research

    Ad-Vantage Leggings

    Best Overall

    • Pros: Great for all kinds of movement, durable
    • Cons: Limited color options

    When we talk about leggings that strike that aforementioned balance between tough and stretchy, we’re actually talking about the Ad-Vantage Leggings from Outdoor Research. They won a 2023 Activewear Award for Best Hiking Tight and impressed our tester with how durable—yet lightweight—they felt (also, they have pockets). Outdoor Research worked with a professional rock climber to design these leggings, so you can bet that they’re not only made for movement, but abrasion-resistant where it counts the most too.

    • SELF tester review: “These leggings are meant to be reinforced for hiking outdoors. I am able to move at any angle in these and they stay in place. I also feel like they’re perfect for travel because they are durable, lightweight, and have some compression.”
    • Available sizes: XS to XXL | Available lengths: 25 inches | Available colors: 4 options
  • 2


    Boundless Trek Leggings

    Best Budget

    • Pros: Relatively affordable, lightweight
    • Cons: Fabric is on the thinner side, according to some reviews

    These budget-friendly, high-rise leggings are “buttery,” “stretchy,” and “lightweight,” per reviewers—perfect for a casual summer hike or for layering under heavier bottoms during the colder months. In addition to their highly comfortable fit, the Boundless Treks feature a single side pocket and are made from moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric. They aren’t the most rugged option on our list, but they’ll serve you well on casual nature walks.

    • Available sizes: XS to 3XL | Available lengths: 26 inches | Available colors: 5 options
  • 3


    Essent Warm High-Rise Legging

    Best for Cold Weather

    • Pros: Fleece-lined, water-repellent
    • Cons: Pricey

    You can beat the chill during late-fall and winter hikes with a good pair of insulated (but still breathable) leggings like these. Arc’Teryx’s Essent Warm leggings have a supersoft, brushed fleece interior that keeps warmth in but lets sweat out, according to reviewers, making them a great pick for even more strenuous cold weather hikes. The wide, high-waisted band has an elastic drawcord for a more precise fit, and the side pockets easily fit a standard phone.

    • Available sizes: 00 to 16 | Available lengths: 26 inches | Available colors: 3 options
  • 4

    Eddie Bauer

    Guide Trex Leggings

    Best for Warm Weather

    • Pros: Very breathable, UPF 50 sun protection
    • Cons: Runs small, according to some reviewers

    One SELF staffer received the Guide Trex Leggings as a gift from Eddie Bauer last year and now regularly wears them for everything from outdoor adventures to errands-filled weekends at home. Thanks to their high spandex content, they have a true second-skin feeling that we love to find in leggings of any sort, but it’s especially useful during hikes. You may need to high-step or deeply squat to navigate the terrain, so a pair of leggings that allows for that range of motion is key. Plus their fabric is made to wick sweat and control odor, so you don’t have to worry if things get sweaty.

    • SELF tester review: “I wore these on an uncharacteristically warm and humid fall day, during which I tramped all around the Chattanooga woods (and set a new personal best for bouldering outside). Not only did they move with me while hiking and climbing, they felt breathable and light—even after I was fully sweating. Even though they’re lightweight, they didn’t feel too thin and didn’t snag on any rocks.”
    • Available sizes: XS to 3XL | Available lengths: petite, regular, and tall | Available colors: 8 options
  • 5


    Headlands Hybrid Mid Rise Tight

    Most Durable

    • Pros: Thick fabric is abrasion-resistant and suitable for chilly weather, lots of storage
    • Cons: Mid-rise waist might not provide sufficient coverage for some

    We’re big fans of Athleta’s outdoor apparel, and the Headlands Hybrid tight is a shoo-in for the brand’s best leggings for rugged trails. They resemble pants in their appearance and durability (their fabric is made to resist snagging, tearing, and chafing), but their two-way stretch and slightly compressive fit makes them as comfortable and easy to wear as any leggings. They’re tough enough to keep you safe from the occasional scrape, and they have a whopping six zippered pockets for all your necessities.

    • Available sizes: 0 to 26 | Available lengths: petite, tall, and regular | Available colors: 5 options
  • 6


    Pack Out Tights

    Best for Long Treks

    • Pros: Durable panels in the knees and seat, comfortable for extended periods of time
    • Cons: Runs large, according to some reviewers

    Winner of 2022’s Activewear Award for Best Hiking Tights, Patagonia’s Pack Out tights are made to give you long-term comfort, enduring stretch, and protection (specifically around high-friction points like your knees). One of our testers found that the waistband stayed put the whole time they wore them, and shouted out the roomy side pockets too. Even when one of our testers wound up on a much longer outing than planned, they felt capable and comfortable in their pair of Pack Outs.

    • SELF tester review: “Wore them on an unintended hike. We thought we were going for a walk along the rim/base of a mountain and ended up at the top! They’re definitely secure and great for hiking—stayed in place without feeling restrictive. The fabric is very light and stretchy; cannot see through them; felt great on my skin. They’ll be my new hiking leggings of choice.”
    • Available sizes: XS to XXL | Available lengths: 29 inches | Available colors: 3 options
  • 7


    Swift Speed High-Rise Tight (28-in.)

    Best for Trail Running

    • Pros: Designed to reduce friction and discomfort, added Lycra prevents sagging
    • Cons: Not particularly rugged or durable

    Previously recommended to SELF by Sammie Bennett, Trail Sisters group leader in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and ambassador for Gazelle Sports, the aptly named Swift Speed High-Rise tights are made to help you move quickly and confidently down the trail. They have a highly intentional design that accounts for common running tight annoyances like sweat, chafing, and a poor fit: Their material retains stretch and wicks away moisture, their construction is inseam-free, and they have a continuous drawstring to hold everything in place.

    • SELF tester review: “[They] hold up tight in the waist—no sagging!”
    • Available sizes: 0 to 20 | Available lengths: 28 inches | Available colors: 8 options
  • 8


    Becksa Legging

    Most Comfortable

    • Pros: Soft and thick fabric, light compression
    • Cons: Not as rugged as other options

    For a pair of supersoft yet supportive trail tights, consider the Becksa from Prana. Several SELF staffers tested these leggings a couple years ago and were wowed by their unique ribbed fabric, just-right high rise, and flattering fit (“Honestly, these leggings made me feel hot,” one tester wrote). They probably aren’t going to hold up to a ton of scrapes and tight squeezes between boulders, but they’re an excellent choice if a quick hike, a trip into town, and lounging at home are all on your schedule.

    • SELF tester review: “These leggings held up well during a rather sweaty and generally wet hike. They stretch easily and the waist stays up, even when climbing step after step to reach a waterfall. The cut stopped right at my ankle, but I’m short, so that was a win for me. I’d wear these out on the trails or to brunch!”
    • Available sizes: XS to XL | Available lengths: 27 inches | Available colors: 8 options
  • 9


    Abisko Trekking Tights HD

    Best Splurge

    • Pros: Very durable, abrasion-resistant panels
    • Cons: Very pricey, may run long

    For any hiker who’s willing to spend a little more on their leggings, a pair of Fjällräven’s Abisko Trekking tights are a worthy investment. They have two pockets (one drop-in and one with a secure zipper) and reinforced panels at the knees to resist tearing and add extra padding. Though they’re plenty rugged, they’re also comfy and great for traveling, reviewers report.

    • Available sizes: XXS to XXL | Available lengths: 31-34 inches (depending on the size) | Available colors: 4 options
  • 10


    Evolve Legging

    Best for Layering

    • Pros: Sleek fit, waistband stays put and keeps a low profile
    • Cons: Lighter colorways may show sweat marks

    On days that start out frigid but warm up by the afternoon, it can be smart to wear a base layer you won’t mind wearing as stand-alone bottoms (without looking like you’re trekking around in your long johns). That’s where these SELF staffer-approved Vuori leggings come in: One editor swears by them for workouts, climbing, and, yes, layering when the temps drop. If you find that leggings tend to bunch at the ankles when you tuck them into socks, a pair with stirrups are another good option.

    • SELF tester review: “I initially reviewed the Evolves as standard workout leggings for SELF, but I’ve come to love them as a base layer on particularly cold days outside too. They have an endlessly stretchy and very, very lightly compressive feel that helps them fit close to the skin, so I can easily wear a pair of hiking pants over them without feeling restricted.”
    • Available sizes: XXS to XXL | Available lengths: 24.5 inches | Available colors: 5 options
  • What to look for in a pair of hiking leggings

    Any pair of high-quality hiking leggings should feel stretchy and comfortably fit your waist and leg length (for more on finding your perfect fit, check out our Activewear Buying Guide). Beyond those must-haves, you should look for pairs that have some amount of abrasion resistance, either in the form of thicker fabric, tough external materials, or reinforced panels, as well as the ability to wick away sweat (hiking is, after all, hard work). Features that protect you from the elements are helpful too: Water-resistant fabrics and durable water-repellent (often referred to as DWR) treatments can come in handy if you run into rain or bodies of water; UPF-rated fabrics can prevent sunburns and sun damage; and insulation like fleece linings can add extra warmth on winter days. Finally, a pair with pockets can be surprisingly useful to wear on a hike, when you want to have your phone, lip balm, and other small essentials easily accessible. Whatever leggings you choose, just make sure they’re comfortable above all else, so you can focus on enjoying the view—without worrying about your ensemble.

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Sara Coughlin is a writer and editor with ample experience covering health and wellness trends. As SELF’s senior commerce writer, she’s taken a special interest in skin care, outdoor recreation, sleep, fitness gear and apparel, and more.

SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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