We know the constant struggle of finding the perfect yoga pants. You want ones that are comfortable, squat-proof, and attractive. Curvier girls will have even more boxes to tick.
Finding yoga pants that are flattering and supportive with waistbands that stay up is no easy feat for the modern yogi. And if you do somehow find a pair that ticks all these boxes, what are the chances that you’ll need to remortgage your house to pay for them?
Activewear can be expensive, and no one really wants to spend a fortune on leggings that are just going to get sweaty. What’s the alternative, though? Buy cheaper yoga pants? Yes, you could, but no one relishes the expectation of their untimely end.
Imagine you are in the gym, bossing it on the treadmill, and feeling fabulous. You finish your run, then switch to the free weights. One squat in and the dreaded “rip” alerts you to the fact that everyone behind you can now see your underwear, and you have no hands free to cover yourself up.
To add insult to injury, you know you’re going to have to bend over to put the weights down and there’s nothing for it but to just take a deep breath, gently put them down and strut out of that gym, past all the open jaws, like you absolutely meant to show off your panties to the public today.
Spending less to get more pairs of cheap yoga pants isn’t exactly ethical, either. You don’t want to see dozens of pairs of worn-out leggings go to landfills instead of investing in a good pair of resilient and reliable yoga pants, but what’s to be done?
Well, one thing you can do is ensure that the yoga pants you get are sustainably made using materials that are natural. That means these hopefully won’t harm the planet as much when they do eventually retire to the dumpster.
Cotton is a natural plant-based material that has been used for centuries to make fabric for clothes. Modern synthetic materials like elastic are wonderful, but not too great at degrading in a timely fashion.
To help you out, we’ve found ten of the best cotton-based yoga pants, so you can do your bit for the environment and look great while working out.
OUR TOP PICK
These basic bootcut yoga pants are ninety-two percent cotton. They come in a great variety of prints and colors and are available in different height options. How brilliant! Any petite yoga enthusiast will know how annoying it can be trying to avoid standing on your own trouser leg in every pose transition.
- 92% cotton - Cotton is a natural fiber that is more biodegradable than manufactured fibers.
- Hidden inner pocket - These are great for keeping your valuables safe while at the gym or a fitness class.
- Skin-friendly - moisture-wicking, breathable material means no more chaff marks post-workout.
- Low elastane - With a planet-friendly eight percent of the fabric made from non-biodegradable materials, they might be good for the planet, but it doesn’t mean they will be super stretchy.
- Thin fabric - this means it’s breathable, sure, but they may not be altogether squat-proof. Better for light exercise, perhaps.
These comfy-looking flared pants are available in over fifteen colors, including some earthy tones and bold, bright shades.
They feature a high-waist fold over top for an extra flattering waistline. These definitely won’t break the bank, either, so that’s a plus.
- 95%cotton - These have a high level of natural cotton, which is better for the environment than high spandex or elastane type fabrics.
- Fold-over top - A nice firm fold-over waist can create a flattering Silhouette.
- Comfortable loungewear - These claim to be very comfortable, so would make ideal loungewear as well as yoga pants.
- Not available in different lengths - These yoga pants are only available in standard lengths, so possibly won’t suit a taller or petite person.
- Thin fabric - Cotton is a thin fabric, that’s why it’s so popular for summer garments. This is good news if you don’t like getting too hot in your yoga sessions, but not great for those seeking something for vigorous exercise.
These cuffed sweatpants could be a sturdy alternative to the traditional wide-leg yoga pants you see willowy instructors wearing in fitness videos. They are a thick cotton material that is still breathable and flexible.
The drawstring isn’t decorative like many sweatpants, so you can adjust it to ensure it stays where you want it to. They’re available in plenty of cheerful colors, so you can match them to your mood.
- Drawstring waistband - Some people enjoy gambling, but no one likes wondering if their pants will stay up until the end of the vinyasa flow. That’s why a functional drawstring belt is a comfort.
- Tapered ankles - Good news for the petite yogi. This design will mean that shorter girls won’t be falling over due to stepping on their own dangling pant leg.
- Available in fun colors - We’re especially liking the teal, navy heather, and purple ones. These bright colors make us want to get moving.
- Do they have the stretch? - Unlike yoga pants, we’re not sure if cotton sweatpants will have the stretch the accomplished yoga-doer would need. They should be fine for a bit of stretching and some warrior poses, but for the more advanced moves, you might need something a little more elastic.
- 92 % cotton - Our lowest percentage of cotton versus man-made material so far.
These ombre-style yoga pants are too cute. They feature a traditional V waist which can help freedom of movement during flows.
In three pastel colors, these are some of the coolest cotton yoga pants on the market.
- V-shaped waistband - The V shape waist hugs your hips without cutting into your stomach.
- Beautiful designs - The vivid pastel colors become deeper the further up the pant leg you look. This is good news for those who want their underwear design to remain a secret, since light colors are more likely to be see-through.
- Unspecified - These don’t specify what percentage of the fabric is made from cotton and how much is made from polyester.
These look so comfortable. We wouldn’t mind wearing these for a bit of yoga at home or in the studio.
There are some cute print designs but only for the wide, fold-over waistband, so they’re just a splash of color and not too much that it’ll put off the yogi on the mat behind you.
- Creative prints - These Bohemian prints are just a touch of fun.
- Lightweight and stretchy - Traditional wide-leg yoga pants are a staple of every yoga practitioner’s wardrobe.
- Big sizes - These have bigger sizes available than many others we have seen, so they’re suitable for the curvier individual.
- 4-way stretch fabric - In short, that means that it’ll move with you rather than against you. It should be non-see-through, too.
- 95% cotton - Although this is a big improvement on ninety-five percent polyester, some pants on our list have higher cotton ratios than these.
These are another pant in a jogger/sweatpant style. They don’t come in jazzy colors or different lengths, but what is special about these, is the cotton with which they are made.
They are 95% GOTS certified organic cotton, which is even better for the environment. Why? Because organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides which can upset the ecosystem.
They are also made in the US, so if you care about the emissions of buying and flying items made half a world away, then these will appeal to you.
- 95% Organic cotton - These sustainably sourced sweatpants are definitely an eco-conscious option for fitness enthusiasts. They also claim to use low-impact dyes to color their fabrics, which may explain the plain colors.
- Drawstring waist - We love a stretchy elasticated waistband as much as everyone else, but there’s nothing quite as safe as a strong drawstring.
- Sturdy fabric - This thick cotton should be able to handle anything from a spin class to weights to a steamy Bikram yoga session. It’s not flimsy, so it’s a good choice if durability is high on your priority list
- Made in the USA - It’s OK to be proud of home-produced quality items, and we all know that buying without air miles attached to the items is a more ethical way to shop.
- Expensive - These are undoubtedly on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but if you add up how much you might spend on less durable garments per year, it might look like a more appealing prospect.
These are a simple yoga pant to bulk out your activewear closet. No-nonsense designs and no whimsical, bright colors or prints, but this means they’ll go with everything.
The interesting thing about these pants is that one color seems to have more cotton than the others.
- Large sizes- These standard yoga pants are available up to 3x large, which is good news for the heavier warrior women amongst us.
- Wide waistband - Nothing says tummy control to us more than a nice wide waistband to keep anything around the midriff from wobbling.
- Seat Compression - These pants claim to gently compress around the hips and seat for added support.
- Only the black ones have high cotton content - The black pants have 92% cotton and 8% spandex, while the charcoal ones seem to contain only 55% cotton. If these are the exact same pants, then we’re confused about why one color seems to be more eco-friendly than the others.
These plain wide-leg lounge-style pants are great for the relaxed yogi. For lazy morning vinyasa flows, to evening wind-downs, these are a casual approach to yoga apparel.
Featuring Dri-Works technology to wick away moisture from perspiration, these seem to be a good choice for an all-round yoga pants.
- Drawstring- It’s unusual to find a functional drawstring on yoga pants, but it’s just as well because these are not high-waisted, so there’s not a wide margin of error if they slip down too low.
- Dri-Works - Dri-Works fabric ensures that any sweat will be quickly drawn away from the skin to avoid chafing.
- Relaxed fit - Giving up high-waisted pants isn’t for everyone, but for a more comfortable, free-moving fit, these are great to try.
- Low cotton content: They are 62%cotton, 33%polyester, and 5% spandex, so they’re far from the most sustainable option out there.
These active leggings are good for any activity and are made from 95% organic cotton, like the other Satva sweatpants we showed you earlier.
They are certainly a pricey item but have proven to be durable and more sustainable than cheaper alternatives. They can handle vigorous exercise too, not just gentle yoga.
- Organic - The cotton was grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides.
- Not see-through - The fabric is squat-proof for your confidence
- Naturally breathable - Cotton is a naturally breathable fabric and lightweight.
- Premium price tag - Nothing’s ever perfect, and these are pricier than most other pants on our list.
These high-waisted leggings are good for all-day comfort. Generous sizes mean that curvy girls can enjoy them too.
Containing 92% cotton, these are more eco-friendly than spandex and polyester varieties but contain less cotton content than others for a similar price.
- Plain - You can’t go wrong with black. If you’re not looking for anything too exciting color-wise, these will do just fine.
- Multi-functional - The creators of these leggings say they are perfect for sports or for casual use.
- Wide waistband - The Wide waistband provides secure control throughout your activities.
- Not squat-proof - These cotton blend leggings are not made from the thickest fabric, so occasionally being able to see through the fabric while it’s being stretched could be a problem. Perhaps these would be better for the home yoga studio.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are cotton yoga pants better than synthetic ones?
Cotton is a natural plant-derived fiber, so it is easier to degrade once thrown out. This means that if you do wear out your leggings, there will be less spandex and elastane in the landfill if you buy cotton.
They are a more sustainable and renewable fabric component than many manufactured fibers.
What is the difference between yoga pants and leggings?
Essentially, the biggest difference between them is the shape and fit. Yoga pants tend to flare at the ankle or even from the hip, this creates a more straight-leg silhouette which some people prefer to leggings.
Just as some people find yoga pants more flattering than skin-tight leggings, others feel the opposite. It’s a matter of personal preference, though, since the shape of the pants doesn’t add anything to the practice of yoga.
One factor to consider might be whether you want to use yoga pants for other sports too, in which case leggings might suit you better.
Flared yoga pants might not be suitable for running for example depending on how wide a leg they have. No one wants to go for a jog with excess fabric flapping about their ankles.