Hi, I’m Amy, and I wear fitness leggings as normal pants all the time. No, my office isn’t really that casual, but yes, I use my job as a fitness editor as an excuse to don activewear more often than I should. Any day I don’t have to wear jeans or a dress schlepping around Manhattan is a good day. On the weekends, I change out of my “lounging around the house” leggings right into my “out on the street” leggings as I move from cleaning my apartment to running errands or meeting friends for lunch. Basically, I fancy myself somewhat of a leggings expert, if that were an actual title that a person could hold.
Since part of my job as a fitness editor is to know about all the new activewear and athleisure options on the market and what’s worth recommending to our readers, I have tested out my fair share of leggings. I’ve probably sweated in at least 100 different pairs of leggings, and at one point I had about that many sitting in my apartment. (Please don’t ask my husband about this, it’s a sore subject.) Beyond having the unique and very specific opportunity to discover exactly what I like most in a pair of leggings depending on the activity I’m doing, I’ve also learned to deeply appreciate the power of a great pair of black leggings.
I’m not usually an “all black everything” type of person, but black leggings are truly the most versatile. They’re like the little black dress of the activewear world. Black is so easy to match with most of my sports bras, tanks, sneakers, and sweatshirts. I also feel more confident in black as opposed to a light pattern that will betray me the second I get sweaty or (god forbid) end up being more see-through than I had planned. Brightly colored and patterned options are fun, and I do wear them, but not nearly as often as I wear a trusty pair of solid black leggings.
Over the years, I’ve clung to a handful of black leggings I love the most and while the list is always evolving, there are a few staples that I turn to regularly. Not all my favorite leggings are black—I wear many more pairs than just the options below (for example, when I’m running I usually turn to pants specifically meant for the sport) but these are the all-black pairs I find myself throwing on whenever I need to grab something quick without overthinking it.
Black leggings are reliable. The pairs below, in particular, have never once let me down, which is why I wear them again and again and recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone still on the prowl for that one great pair of black leggings.
One thing I want to note: As a straight-sized woman, I realize that it’s way easier for me to find leggings that fit my body than it is for many other people. While some of the leggings below do go up to 3X, it’s harder than it should be to find size-inclusive clothing options, particularly in activewear. Some mass brands are slowly but surely extending their size offerings, and many new and wonderful size-inclusive activewear brands have launched in recent years (check out these 40 plus-size brands our Big Fit Girl columnist, trainer Louise Green, recommends), but we still have a long way to go when it comes to this issue.
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