What Is A Good Alternative To Leggings In Cold Weather?

So, picture this: You’re ready to do your yoga routine in your usual spot.

It could be in a practice studio, it could be outside under a gazebo or tent, or it could be anywhere. You’re in your yoga wear (your open vest, your leggings, your high-grip socks, and you’re ready to get started.

What Is A Good Alternative To Leggings In Cold Weather?

When the moment that you step into the space, you realize it is WAY too cold to be doing anything like yoga in leggings.

There’s just not enough material to help retain heat in any way. It’s one of the reasons why leggings are such a great item of clothing for yoga at normal temperatures, after all!

So, what do you do? Pack up your gear, go home, and not do your daily or weekly yoga set? No, we’re built of sterner stuff than that!

All you need to do is prepare for that colder weather with some alternatives. You need some thicker clothes, that is what you need!

Well, luckily for you, we have just the list for this scenario. Here, we’ll share with you some of the best alternatives that you can use or look for when you want to practice yoga, but 

Finding A Good Alternative

So, if we’re looking for a good replacement for our leggings in colder weather and areas, what are the big things that a substitute should be looking to replace, what should they aim to do?

Ideally, they should:

  • Help insulate your legs from colder air and weather, whether you’re practicing indoors or outside.
  • They should still be flexible to allow you to perform all of your necessary yoga poses.
  • Should stay out of the way of your body as you go through all of your yoga poses. No excessive flaps or pockets to get your foot stuck on during a tree pose!
  • If possible, allow the skin to breathe and perspiration through them. Your skin must be allowed to sweat and come into contact with the air, especially during something potentially intensive like yoga.
    • However, considering that this could also allow cold air to hit your legs, this isn’t as vital of a feature.


Starting this guide with an option that pretty much most people will have at least one or two pairs of in their drawers, sweatpants are an incredibly popular option when it comes to practicing yoga in cooler places.

It’s not too hard to see why, either. They’re both incredibly comfortable to wear and can come in a range of sizes to accommodate different body types.

Plus, depending on the make or design that you have, you can also find sweatpants that have elasticated waists and foot holes, so you won’t have to worry about them riding or falling up your leg as you go into difficult yoga poses.

Plus, sweatpants can also be an option for people looking to practice yoga but are somewhat self-conscious about how leggings can make their body look.

However, while these are all great features of sweatpants for yoga practitioners, there are a few drawbacks to using them. Their loose-fitting design usually means that they can make fast movement in them a little abrasive, if not a little clunky.

Plus, there’s the fact that sweatpants are usually made from cotton or some cotton-derived product, which not only makes it difficult to get cooler air to them to prevent overheating when exerting yourself, but also absorbs moisture very well, leaving sweat in the fibers of the clothing, and needing to be cleaned after using them.

However, that is true for pretty much every item of clothing that you ever wear. Plus, when exercising in colder weather, staying too hot part is probably more of a plus than a negative!

So, while we wouldn’t recommend wearing them in warmer temperatures, sweatpants are great for those colder times of the year when you still need to be getting your yoga sequence clocked in!

What Is A Good Alternative To Leggings In Cold Weather?


If we’re talking about a straight upgrade from sweatpants, joggers are probably the best next option to consider after them.

Developed as a more athletic and sport-friendly version of sweatpants, joggers are much more suited to exercising and more sporty activities, and that includes yoga. They’ll have the same elasticity and range of motion that sweatpants have, as well as extra pockets and thermal protection.

However, you’ll find that not only does the material stay out of the way of the rest of your body, but it also helps the skin to breathe better, meaning that you won’t get that nasty sweat buildup like with sweatpants.

However, these are a little harder to get a hold of, so you may find that you have to search in shops a little more to find them.

Thermal Leggings

As their name suggests, thermal leggings are leggings that have been designed with a thicker or more dense weave than traditional leggings, and a much better at retaining heat, and stopping cold air from reaching your leg.

Plus, they cling and stay out of your way better than sweatpants or joggers could ever do!

The only issue that you may find is that, like with sweatpants, you may find that your skin sweats a lot easier in thermal 

Extra Pair Of Leggings?

Okay, so we’ve been throwing shade at leggings throughout this guide, but there are good reasons why people like using them as yoga sportswear. They’re usually comfortable, they’re flexible, and won’t get in the way of a good stretch.

So, if it’s a little too cold, why not simply throw on another pair of leggings on top of your first layer? You get a similar level of elasticity while getting a little more thermal insulation.

The main issue that we can see with this strategy is that, although probably still more flexible than most other forms of legwear out there, you’re probably not going to have that same level of flexibility and freedom of motion that you’d have in a single pair of leggings.

Plus, there’s also the issue of letting your skin breathe through your leggings, so to speak. You’ll find yourself sweating up a storm in no time with an extra pair of leggings on.

Are Pantyhose A Good Substitute For Leggings?

While we’ve covered a lot of legging substitutes in this guide, we haven’t mentioned tights or pantyhose. After all, they’re pretty thin like leggings, and they allow your skin to come into contact with air like them too.

Well, that’s because anyone who has worn proper pantyhose would be able to tell you that, while similar in some ways, pantyhose just aren’t very good.

Yes, they have a very thin shear to them, making them look similar at a glance. But not only are they even thinner than leggings, making them even worse in cold weather, but they’re also not nearly as flexible as the other options that we’ve covered in this guide. They’re not made to stretch 

So, when looking for alternatives to leggings, we recommend staying well clear of pantyhose.

Final Notes – Best Option?

So, overall, which is best for you? Well, if money is no issue, the joggers and thermal leggings are your best option. If you’re trying to look for budget-friendly options, sweatpants, and extra leggings will keep your legs nice and warm.

Laura Simmons
Latest posts by Laura Simmons (see all)