Not all leggings are squat proof, and no one wants to find that out while doing squats in a crowded gym. In fact, the best time is before you buy them. Here are some pro tips when you’re shopping for your next pair of leggings. 

Pair Your Leggings with Your Activity 

Think about what activity you’ll be doing in the leggings. Your racetrack needs will be different than your squat-rack needs. If you already love a pair of leggings that leave nothing to the imagination mid-squat, set them aside for cardio day and start shopping with the following tips in mind. 

Choose High-quality Fabrics 

Some fabrics weren’t made to squat. Nothing good will come of doing squats in cotton, for example. Instead, choose fibers that will stretch and give when you’re bending, then snap right back to their original shape. Save the cotton leggings for the couch. 

Window Pane Test:

Get a feel for how the leggings will perform during bends while you’re still in the store. Take a section of fabric below the waist and stretch it 2-3 inches while holding it up to the light. If you can read a sign through them, these are not the leggings for you. The less light that bleeds through the better that fabric will be for squats.

Choose the Right Size & Compression Combination 

It’s tempting to buy leggings a size smaller to get more compression. But you will get better results from buying leggings in the correct size but from a line that offers the level of compression you want. These fabrics are usually denser, so they can hold you in without straining their thread count. 

Can Light-colored Leggings be Squat Proof? 

Darker leggings, such as black and navy, are better at offering effortless coverage than lighter colors. But if you want to wear something light and fun, try these changes to make your leggings squat proof: 

  • Match the color of your underwear to your skin tone (not the legging). 
  • Choose a high-compression fabric that is dense. 
  • Choose a reflective fabric style. We found even brilliant white leggings could be squat proof if the fabric bounced away some of the light. 
  • Size up one, especially if you’re between sizes. 

Fabric Quality and Seam Quality Matter 

The adage, “you get what you pay for,” definitely applies to leggings. Cheaper leggings can still be comfortable, but won’t deliver the quality of construction, materials, or product life offered by higher-end leggings. And all too often, those bargain leggings won’t provide the coverage needed to conceal your panty color. 

Sublimated Patterns Can be Your Squat-proof Friend 

Patterned fabric is fun to spice up your workouts, but not all patterns are made to squat. Sublimated patterns are printed on the top layer of the fabric only, so when you squat, you can get a whiteout effect that isn’t flattering—because even if your undies aren’t showing, it can look like they are. 

For the best results, look for patterns printed over coordinating background fabric. These typically aren’t as bright and high-contrast, but they will give you better coverage than anything printed over a white background. 

Consider Going Commando 

It may come as a surprise to you, but about 60% of those we surveyed workout with leggings and no undies. Many cited superior sweat-wicking and reduced chafing as their reasons for skipping the undies. We’re not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. 

Working out shouldn’t cause anxiety. Keeping these factors in mind when you’re shopping will save you stress at the gym. And when you’re free to focus, you can go further, train harder, and get in that one more rep.