Although originally touted as a casual purchase, rising athletic wear brands have transformed the Yoga Pant into an investment as potentially pricey (and trendy) as a pair of designer jeans. Promises of advanced fashion, fit, quality and service encourage you to pay big bucks for your stretchy pants. But is the extra moolah really resulting in added quality, or is it just the price to pay for that swanky brand name?
We researched five popular active/everyday wear legging styles to help you decide NOTE: SKIP AHEAD TO SUMMARY FOR A QUICKER REVIEW OF THE LIST!
"+" stands for positive features that stand apart
"--" stands for negative features that stand apart
"-" stands for a standard feature the products generally share
--Lululemon “Patience” Pant: $98
--Nike “Legendary” Tight: $95
-Athleta “Chaturanga” Tight: $64
+Gap “GFast” Legging: $59
+Target “Champion C9” Leggings: $20-$40
-Lululemon: Company promises that product will withstand 5 years of use. No reviews to confirm or deny on this specific pant!
-Nike: The company makes no outright durability promises, however 75% of customer reviews described the "legendary" tight as "durable."
-Athleta: The company claims the Chaturanga tight will hold up well after many washes and uses. The website promotes it for durability even throughout extreme use and customer reviews generally align with this.
-Gap: Designed to withstand the most rigorous of workouts. No specific customer feedback on durability.
-Target: 100% of customer reviews rewarded the Champion tights 5 out of 5 stars, many of which mentioned product quality, versatility and ability to withstand washes.
Lululemon: Sweat-wicking, soft, breathable, four-way stretch, internal key pocket
+Guarenteed won't shrink in wash
Nike: Sweat-wicking, chafe reducing flattened seams, internal key pocket
+Comfortable coverage, esp. in bum area
Athleta: Sweat-wicking, stretchy (not necessarily "four-way"), soft, breathable, chafe reducing flattened seams, internal key pocket
+UPF 50+ protection
Gap: Sweat-wicking, four-way stretch, soft, smooth, chafe reducing flattened seam, internal key pocket.
+No notable "stand apart" features
Target: Sweat-wicking, four-way stretch, soft, breathable, chafe reducing flattened seams, internal key pocket
Lululemon: "Luon" patented technology is described as a signature technical fabric meant to function particularly well when it comes to stretch, sweat, fit and softness.
Nike: "Dri-Fit" High-performance, microfiber, polyester fabric wicks sweat
Athleta: "Pilayo" patented technology that claims breathability, resilient stretch and a cooling fit.
Gap: Signature "Perform" fabric aids moisture wicking
Target: "Duo Dry Max" Technology promotes dryness, coolness and comfort
Lululemon: In-store yoga and events, complimentary hemming
+Staff specially trained in emotional, physical and mental health.
Nike: In-store specials and service vary based on Nike location.
Athleta: In-store yoga and events, complimentary hemming
Gap: No in-store specials or complimentary hemming. Gap is not niche athletic wear establishment so staff may lack knowledge
Target: No in-store specials or complimentary hemming. Target is not niche athletic wear establishment so staff may lack knowledge
--Lululemon: No. Items must be unworn, unwashed, with tags and returned within 14 days of purchase.
+Nike: Yes. Product can be returned within 30 days even if it has been worn and washed.
+Athleta: Yes. "Give it a Workout Gaurentee" allows you to return any product after any amount of wears or washes at anytime.
-Gap: Semi. Items may be returned within 45 days of purchased if they are unworn and unwashed.
-Target: Semi. Complies with Target's generally pliable return policy. Must not be worn or washed before returning.
+Lululemon: Absolutely. Available in XXS-XL, Regular, standard and tall lengths
--Nike: Limited. Availabe in XS-XL
+Athleta: Absolutely. Available in XXS-2X, regular, tall, petite and plus
-Gap: Semi. Available in XXS-XL
-Target: Semi. Availabe in XS-XXL
Nike loses in price, lacks somewhat in special features, and does not promise varied fit options. However Nike offers a mostly durable product, consistent standard features of fit and wear, a signature technology and a relatively good return policy.
Lululemon also loses price wise. The brand offers the worst return policy, making it difficult to test which expensive products are worth keeping. Lululemon thrives when it comes to in-store service and events as well as in promising durability, providing standard and special features and offering special technology and varied fit options.
Athleta proves a good mid-range price option and wins in return policy, hands-down (return basically any item under any circumstances). Althleta claims durability which customer reviews back up, offers products with standard and additional special features, hosts in-store and out-of-store events and provides a high variety of fit options. There are no notable Athleta negatives.
Gap is also a mid-range price option. The Gap legging lacks many additional special features and comes with a moderate return policy (return without wearing within 45 days). Gap does have a special fabric technology like the higher priced leggings, but offers less varied fit options and can't guarentee a knowldegable fitness staff.
Target is far and away the least expensive option. Unlike its more expensive counterpart, Gap, Target offers pants with a list of features that exceeds the "standard" amount. Target has a relatively lax return policy and a product that boasts durability and a signature technology.
Overall it seems that variance of price far exceeds the variance of physical features. It is in matters of style and service where the difference shows. Cheaper leggings are a viable option, but If you want to spend a little extra money to stay pampered and on-trend, we certainly won't judge!