Best Hiking Leggings for on the Trail Comfort [2022 Update]

Thanks to their superior mobility and comfort, hiking leggings are becoming the go-to legwear of hikers the world over. To help find the perfect pair for you, we’ve put together a list of the top hiking leggings out there.

Last Update:

The 9 Best Leggings for Hiking in 2022

Looking for a Great Pair of Leggings for Hiking?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Why you need hiking leggings
    • What you should consider when buying
    • Reviews of the 9 best hiking leggings for women
    • Our unbiased recommendation for the best hiking legging this year

In recent years, hiking leggings have become in vogue – and with good reason. They’re mobile, breathable, affordable, versatile, chafe-resistant, and a darned sight more comfortable than the comfiest hiking pants out there. 

There are, however, good hiking leggings, great hiking leggings, and the absolute best hiking leggings. If you’d prefer to treat your pins with the latter, read on! In this post, you’ll find 9 pairs of awesome leggings for hiking that earned top marks in our annual review. From ultralight summer tights to beefier, merino wool models ideal for winter leggings, our list has it all! 

At the bottom of our reviews, we’ve also included a short, BS-free guide on how to choose the perfect pair of hiking leggings for your body shape and adventure style.

Editor’s Choice

Hereafter The Earth Leggings

Hereafter The Earth Leggings

It was a close call, but after much deliberation, we chose the Hereafter Earth Leggings as our favorite women’s hiking leggings of this year. 

These hiking leggings offer everything we demand of our non-winter hiking clothes: they’re light, breathable, mobile, wick sweat in a hurry, and have a high waistband that provides added support and a flattering fit. They’re also made with bluesign-approved, odor-resistant, and uber-soft fabric that feels silky smooth against the skin. 

In short, if you’ve decided that hiking in leggings is the way to go, these are the ones you ought to be doing it in!

Bottom line: They’re practical, hardwearing, breathable, odor-resistant, as mobile as they come, and comfier than your average pair of pajamas – what more could a gal ask for?

At a Glance: The Best Leggings for Hiking

  • Editor’s Choice:  Hereafter The Earth Legging
    “High-performing hiking tights that offer oodles of comfort, mobility, and odor-resistance to boot.”
  • Runner Up :  Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights
    “A well-designed trail tight boasting added features that are well worth having if you can stomach the price tag.”
  • Best Value:  Eddie Bauer Trail Tight Leggings
    “These extra-tough hiking tights boast all the extras needed for added comfort, mobility, and protection on all types of trail and in all kinds of weather.”
  • Best Budget:  REI Co-op Active Pursuits
    “A low-cost pair of highly mobile and breathable leggings that pack just as much in the way of performance as many of their far pricier peers.”
  • Best Odor Control:  Patagonia Pack Out Tights
    “These tights’ HeiQ Fresh technology keeps them smelling sweet(ish) even after days of sweaty trekking.”
  • Best Cold-Weather Hiking Leggings:  Smartwool PhD Tights
    “The merino-nylon-elastane blend makes these hiking tights tough, breathable, warm, and just about as comfortable as hiking tights can be.”
  • Most Durable:  Arc’teryx Oriel
    “These tights’ interlocking knit and nylon-elastane fabric makes them more resilient than the toughest of the competition.”
  • Most Comfortable:  Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants
    “A tough and well-thought-out tight that’s softer and more supple than any other we’ve ever worn.”
  • Best Weather Protection:  Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Rock Tight
    “Designed specifically for rock climbing, these are also a great option for hiking in moderate rain and more rugged terrain.”

The 9 Best Hiking Leggings for Women

Hereafter The Earth Legging

Editor’s Choice

Hereafter The Earth Leggings

The Earth Legging from Hereafter is a great option for buyers looking for a pair of eco-friendly, high-quality leggings that offer simply outstanding performance on the trail. 

These midweight, high-rise tights are made with a super-soft poly-lycra blend that offers plenty of stretch and incomparable comfort. They also use activated carbon to speed up drying time and regulate body temperature, and silver technology that kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria. Not bad for such an affordable pair of hiking leggings, right?

While not as rugged as other options in our review, like the Arc’teryx Oriel or Fjallraven Abisko, there are other reasons we chose the Hereafter for our top spot. 

We particularly loved the oversized pockets and next-to-skin silkiness and found their mid-weight fabric to perform best in the widest range of temperatures, providing enough warmth in cold weather and keeping us fresh and dry when temps were high.

Specs

  • Fabric: Poly-lycra blend
  • Fit: High-rise 
  • UPF: N/A
  • PROs

    • bluesign-approved fabrics
    • Odor-free technology
    • Incredibly comfortable
    • Highly breathable
    • Large pockets
  • CONs

    • No internal drawcord

Bottom-Line: An affordable, incredibly comfortable pair of active tights with a handful of trail-specific features that set them apart from the best of the rest. 

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights

Runner Up

Fjällräven Abisko Trail Tights Navy/Dark Navy MD

The Fjallraven Abisko are the most trail-ready trekking tights on our list. They’re made with a tough but highly mobile nylon-elastane blend, have a UPF 50 rating and include reinforced panels in the seat and ankle areas for superior abrasion resistance and durability. 

The Abisko also boasts a total of three pockets, an internal drawcord for a dialed-in fit, flatlock seams to minimize chafing, and 4-way-stretch fabric that has a little more “give” than most other tights in our review.

These may cost more than twice as much as the Hereafter Earth Legging, but their ruggedness and trail-specific features make them a great pick if durability and functionality are high on your list of priorities.

Specs

  • Fabric: 82% nylon, 18% elastane
  • Fit: High-rise
  • UPF: 50
  • PROs

    • Flatlock seams 
    • 4-way-stretch fabric
    • Reinforced knees and seat
    • Recycled materials
    • 3 pockets
  • CONs

    • Pricey
    • Not quite so fitted in the ankle area

Bottom-Line: A pricey but very well-designed legging that offers the perfect combo of comfort, mobility, and hiker-friendly features.

Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants

Most Comfortable

Montane Women's Ineo Pro Jeggings (Regular) - SS17 - Small - Red

With their Ineo Pro hiking leggings, Montane did a little more than their closest competitors to keep us cool, chafe-free and moving freely on the trails. 

These high-rise “pants” are made with abrasion-resistant, Mala Stretch fabric that’s soft against the skin and harder-wearing than the fabric used in most polyester-based competitors. For added mobility and comfort, the Ineo also includes a gusset crotch and articulated knee, while their DWR coating will help to keep you dry in light to moderate rain showers. 

Unlike the Fjallraven Abisko, the Ineo doesn’t have reinforced panels in areas prone to wear. However, they cost significantly less, provide a little more freedom of movement, and feel just a fraction softer against the skin.

Specs

  • Fabric: Mala Stretch polyester-spandex
  • Fit: High-rise
  • UPF: N/A
  • PROs

    • Articulated knee area
    • Gusset crotch
    • 2 zippered pockets
    • Abrasion-resistant fabric
    • DWR coating
  • CONs

    • Expensive
    • A little short on features

Bottom-Line: A performance-oriented legging that goes the extra mile to provide added comfort on the trails. 

REI Co-Op Active Pursuits

Best Budget

REI Co-Op Active Pursuits

The REI Active Pursuits tights are made with a mid-weight polyester-spandex blend that’s nicely stretchy, highly breathable, quick-drying, and soft against the skin. While a little thicker than some other models in our review, the use of breathable mesh inserts along the outside of the leg means these tights have enough ventilation to keep you cool in high temps. 

Compared to more expensive options on our list, the Active Pursuits lack a few bells and whistles. But given their modest price tag, these are a great hiking legging if you plan on sticking to less gnarly trails. 

Specs

  • Fabric: 85% polyester, 15% spandex
  • Fit: Mid-rise
  • UPF: 50
  • PROs

    • Highly breathable
    • bluesign approved
    • High-vis reflective tape
    • Small zippered pocket in waistband
    • Flat-sewn seams
  • CONs

    • No DWR coating
    • Only 1 pocket

Bottom-Line: A low-cost but high-performing pair of form-fitting trekking leggings that are good for all outdoor adventures barring those on the most rugged of trails.

Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Best Odor Control

Patagonia Pack Out Tights

The USP of these versatile hiking leggings comes courtesy of their miDori™ bioSoft and HeiQ® Fresh technology. While the former ensures that they wick moisture lightning quick, the latter provides “durable odor control” that is more lasting and effective than in any other womens hiking leggings we’ve tried.

Even better, they’re Fair Trade certified, bluesign approved, have an under-leg gusset for added mobility, and a wide waistband that feels comfortable under a backpack. 

Although the Pack Out lack the abrasion- and weather resistance offered by options such as the Ineo and MH Chockstone, their all-day comfort and refusal to stink up makes them our go-to hiking leggings for multi-day backpacking trips. 

Specs

  • Fabric: 87% recycled polyester, 13% spandex
  • Fit: Mid-rise
  • UPF: N/A
  • PROs

    • Recycled materials
    • High-waisted
    • 2 thigh pockets and 1 zippered pocket
    • Odor-control technology
    • Moisture-wicking
  • CONs

    • Lack weather resistance

Bottom-Line: Super-comfortable, mid-rise, high-quality hiking leggings that are ideal for hot-weather hiking or backpacking trips.

Smartwool PhD Tights

Best Cold-Weather Hiking Leggings

Smartwool PhD Tights

Looking for the best warm leggings for colder days on the trail? If so, your search can probably end right here. 

Made with 44% nylon, 36% merino wool, and 20% elastane, Smartwool PhD Tights offer the perfect combination of coziness, toughness, and mobility needed for cold-weather adventures. 

Their design takes full advantage of the materials used, with the softer merino wool lining the inside for next-to-skin comfort and the tougher nylon exterior tackling the elements. 

These thermal leggings lack a few of the features (DWR coating, crotch gusset, knee articulation) found on models like the Fjallraven Abisko or Ineo Pro, but their extra warmth makes them a far better option for hiking in cool, dry winter weather.

Specs

  • Fabric: 44% nylon, 36% merino wool, 20% elastane
  • Fit: Mid-rise
  • UPF: N/A
  • PROs

    • Adjustable waist
    • Abrasion- and odor-resistant
    • Quick-drying and moisture-wicking fabric
    • Ideal for colder weather
    • Snug fit
  • CONs

    • Too warm for summer hikes
    • Don’t have reinforced knees, seat, or ankles

Bottom-Line: Warm, durable, and as comfortable as they come, these are the best winter hiking leggings we’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing.

Arc’teryx Oriel

Most Durable Hiking Leggings

Arc'teryx Oriel Legging 28 Women's | Climbing Legging with Crossover Style

Made with hard-wearing, abrasion-resistant interlock nylon and elastane knit fabric, the Arc’teryx Oriel are a great pick for buyers who anticipate spending time on more rugged trails and want a legging that will last more than just a couple of seasons. 

However, the Oriel aren’t only about toughness and longevity. They also breathe well when you’re working up a sweat, have a mesh-lined waistband for added ventilation and moisture management, and have two large cargo side pockets for storing your essentials. 

Compared to similarly priced models like the Pack Out Tight, we felt the Oriel were a little less soft against the skin but far better built to withstand the rigors of life on the trail. 

Specs

  • Fabric: 71% nylon, 29% elastane
  • Fit: High-rise
  • UPF: N/A
  • PROs

    • Tough!
    • High waist 
    • Breathable mesh waistband
    • Moderately wind-resistant
    • bluesign-approved materials
  • CONs

    • No DWR coating
    • Not as soft as other leggings on our list

Bottom-Line: A high-performing pair of hiking leggings that boast a little more rip-resistance than the toughest of their peers. 

Eddie Bauer Trail Tight

Best Value

Eddie Bauer Women's Trail Tight Leggings - High Rise

These tights tick just about every box that needs ticking – and at a very reasonable price point. 

They’re breathable, made with super-stretchy fabric, use double-weaved leg panels for added durability, have a high-wicking Coolcore crotch gusset, and use a Polygiene anti-odor treatment to help keep them smelling fresh. 

The Bauer’s Polygiene treatment isn’t as long-lasting as the Silver or HeiQ anti-odor technologies used in the Hereafter Earth Legging or Pack Out Tights. However, it’s best viewed as an “added bonus” on top of everything else these tights have to offer, which includes a DWR finish, UPF 50+ UV protection rating, a trio of pockets, and almost unequaled mobility.

Specs

  • Fabric: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
  • Fit: High-rise
  • UPF: 50+
  • PROs

    • Moisture-wicking fabric
    • UPF 50+
    • DWR finish
    • Mesh waistband
    • Zippered thigh pocket
  • CONs

    • Not made with bluesign-approved or recycled fabrics

Bottom-Line: Tough, impressively weather-resistant hiking tights that boast just about the best mobility of all the models in our review. 

Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Rock Tight

Best Weather Protection

Mountain Hardwear Women's Chockstone Rock Tight

The Chockstone’s 88% nylon, double-weave construction, and DWR finish make them almost as resilient and weather-resistant as many DWR-coated hiking pants. Their 4-way-stretch fabric, seat gusset, and high waistband, however, means they’re hands-down winners in terms of comfort and mobility. 

While a little less soft and stretchy than models like the Earth Legging, Ineo Pro, or Arc’teryx Oriel, the Chockstone are an excellent pick if you tend to hike rougher trails or want a tight that lets you leave your rain pants at home when light/moderate rain is forecast. 

Specs

  • Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% elastane
  • Fit: High-rise
  • UPF: 50+
  • PROs

    • 4-way-stretch fabric
    • Seat gusset
    • Reinforced panels
    • DWR finish provides good weather resistance
  • CONs

    • Only one pocket

Bottom-Line: A climbing-specific legging that doubles down on weather resistance with an effective DWR finish and tight, double-weave construction. 

Why Opt for Women’s Hiking Leggings Over Traditional Hiking Pants?

There’s no getting around the fact that in some circumstances regular hiking pants are occasionally a better choice than leggings. Nevertheless, leggings have a lot to offer that make them an attractive alternative for many hikers.

Silhouette of a Woman Jumping Over Dirt Trail in Hiking Leggings
Providing great range of motion and a comfortable fit many hikers are opting for hiking tights over traditional hiking trousers

Below, we’ve put together a shortlist of the advantages of wearing hiking leggings:

  1. They’re lightweight
  2. Stretchy fabrics allow for greater freedom of movement
  3. They’re durable (even if not quite as durable as most traditional hiking pants)
  4. They’re breathable and moisture-wicking
  5. They help to retain body heat
  6. Versatility – you can wear leggings either as a base layer or “solo” layer
  7. They provide light compression that supports your leg muscles
  8. They’re affordable
  9. They prevent chafing
  10. They’re more durable and resistant to abrasion than regular leggings

How to Choose the Best Hiking Tights

Comfort & Fit

Rise

This refers to the distance from the waistband to the seam of the crotch. Leggings are available in three types of rises – low, mid, and high. Low-rise models have the shortest distance between the waistband and the crotch, while high-rise models have the greatest distance.  

While largely subjective and a matter of taste, there are benefits to each style. High-rise models provide added tummy support and coverage, reduce the risk of your backpack rubbing against your waistband, and are less likely to result in a muffin top(!). Mid- and low-rise models, on the other hand, are often favored in warmer weather because there’s less fabric around your midriff. 

Waistband

In our experience, wide waistbands with a smooth and flat profile are the most comfortable and least likely to chafe or rub when you’re sweaty and wearing a backpack. Mesh-lined waistbands like those on the Eddie Bauer Trail Tight and Arc’teryx Oriel permit a little more airflow, so are great for hot-weather hiking. 

Flat-Sewn Seams

These are seams in which the two edges of the fabric are sewn directly together instead of on top of each other (as is the case with regular seams). This reduces bulk and the risk of the seam digging into your skin or chafing.  

The Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights, REI Co-op Active Pursuits, and Patagonia Pack Out Tights all use flat-sewn seams. 

Material

Hiking leggings first became a thing when outdoor brands recognized that hiking in yoga pants, though often more comfortable than wearing regular hiking pants, just won’t cut it on the trail. 

Woman hiking in trail of stones with leggings and hiking poles
Hiking leggings use stretchy but more durable materials than townie yoga pants

To provide you with all the comfort and mobility of yoga pants but enough ruggedness and durability to deal with the rigors of outdoor use, hiking leggings use a variety of materials. Below, we’ve added a brief overview of each type. 

Elastane (aka Spandex or Lycra)

This is the fabric that gives a legging its stretch. The percentage of spandex used in the pants in our review ranges from 29% (Arc’teryx Oriel) to 12% (Eddie Bauer Trail Tight and MH Chockstone). Those with a higher percentage typically provide more mobility.

Nylon 

While less breathable than polyester, nylon offers more in the way of durability and abrasion resistance. The Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights, Smartwool PhD Tights, Arc’teryx Oriel, and Mountain Hardwear Chockstone all use a high percentage of nylon in their construction and are among the most durable leggings on our list. 

Polyester

This is highly breathable and has great moisture-wicking capabilities, but it is a little less durable and rugged than nylon.  

Polyamide

Polyamide is less breathable than any of the other fabrics we mention but is usually a good option for cold-weather hikes because it’s both heat-retentive and water-resistant. 

If this sounds good to you, check out the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights, which are made with 82% polyamide.

Merino Wool

While pricey and not quite as durable as synthetics, merino’s a stellar performer in the outdoors. It’s naturally odor-resistant, high-wicking, breathable, and super soft to the touch. 

Most merino tights include a high percentage of polyester/nylon and elastane to add durability and stretch, as with the Smartwool PhD Tights.

Mobility

A few features and design characteristics can vastly improve how easy it is to move on the trail. In addition to stretch in the fabric, the most important of these are a crotch gusset and articulated knees.

Woman climbing on the rocky route up the mountain in hiking leggings
Range of motion thanks to a gusseted crotch and articulated knees help your mobility on more technical hikes

Gusseted Crotch

  • This is a diamond-shaped piece of material that connects the two pant legs in the groin area. The extra fabric provides unrestricted movement, especially when walking uphill. It’s also good for camel-toe-avoidance(!).

Articulated knees

  • Articulated Knee – An “articulated” knee is one with a pre-bent shape that conforms to the natural curve of your leg. This design provides a greater, freer range of motion when hiking or trail running and prevents the fabric from bunching up behind the knee.

Breathability & Moisture Wicking

Simply put, “breathable” and “high-wicking” fabrics are those that allow your sweat to escape from inside the legging to out, thus reducing the risk of saturation by perspiration. Saturation in itself isn’t a huge problem, just icky, but once a fabric becomes saturated it also breathes less efficiently compounding the problem. 

female hiker in leggings on trail
Breathability and a leggings ability to wick moisture is an important consideration on warmer hikes

Most leggings for hiking place breathability at the forefront of their design. Because different models use different fabrics, however, the breathability they offer can vary significantly. 

The most breathable models on our list are those made with polyester-spandex blends, while nylon-spandex and nylon-merino-spandex blends like the Smartwool PhD Tights come a close second. 

The least breathable are those made with polyamide and cotton. While cotton’s a highly breathable fabric, it soaks up sweat instead of wicking it and loses all breathability when wet. Pure cotton leggings are a definite no-go. 

Our advice? If you go hiking in warmer climates or are more of a speedy strider than a stroller, try to get your hands on the most breathable model available. The Hereafter Earth Legging, Montane Ineo Pro, Patagonia Pack Out Tights, and Mountain Hardwear Chockstone all fit the bill. 

Durability

While hiking leggings are typically a fraction less durable than your average hiking pants, the most recent models are closing the gap.

female hiker drinking water
If your trails are a little on the rougher side, you’ll want to opt for a more durable model

Needless to say, some models of hiking legging are more durable than others. The most durable and rip-resistant are those made with a higher percentage of nylon or polyester, nylon being the tougher of the two. It’s also worth noting, though, that this increase in durability might cause a decrease in flexibility.

Reinforced Panels

Some brands use reinforcing patches on areas prone to abrasion, like the seat, knees, or inside the ankles. This provides added protection against any abrasives you might come into contact with on your hike. 

Water & Weather-Resistance

Leggings are generally not as weather-resistant as traditional hiking pants, but some are coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment to add some water resistance. This treatment, in short, causes the water to bead up on the surface instead of saturating the fabric, and in most cases will see you through a short rain shower. 

female hiker crossing stream in leggings
Many hiking leggings are either quick drying or a few have a DWR coating making them water-resistant

Traditional DWR treatments have come under scrutiny for their use of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are linked to a range of environmental and health issues. These days, however, certain brands use treatments that are PFC-free, as with the DWRs in the Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants and Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Rock Tight.

The beauty of wearing leggings, of course, is that they also fit nicely under a pair of waterproof rain pants if the wet stuff starts falling a little harder.  

Other Features to Consider

Pockets

Some leggings have pockets in the thigh area for easy access to small essentials whilst hiking – handy if you like to keep your keys, phone, compass, GPS, etc., close to hand.

Sun Protection

The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating tells you how well any garment protects your skin from harmful UV rays. In hiking leggings, UPF ratings range from around UPF 30 to 50+ (the highest rating available). 

female hiker in leggings walking thru canyon
Leggings provide a great way to protect your legs from the sun while still keeping you cool

The most UV-resistant models on our list are the Fjallraven Abisko, REI Co-op Active Pursuits, Eddie Bauer Trail Tight, and MH Chockstone, which all have a UPF rating of 50/50+.

Reflective Tapes

These are high-vis patches or stripes used in some hiking leggings, like the REI Co-Op Active Pursuits, to make you more visible to vehicles, especially at night.

Sustainability

If this is one of your priorities, look for recycled materials, PFC-free DWR treatments, and bluesign-approved fabric. 

Best Hiking Underwear for Women Banner

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Eunice Kryna Verula is a writer by trade and a mountaineer by heart. Experienced with copywriting, design and mountaineering, she’s all about pursuing the highest peaks in the best outdoor gear.

In her quest to bag the 10 highest mountains in the country and Asia, she spends most of her days trekking and learning from seasoned mountain guides deep in the one of the most mountainous regions of the Philippines.

Before heeding the call of the mountains, she graduated Cum laude in Bukidnon State University and taught English & writing. While not in the backcountry she is striving to launch community programs to support local mountain guides and to equip them with proper mountaineering gear.