Yoga’s roots in the United States can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s. Today, there are dozens of forms of yoga and thousands of new members of yoga classes every day.
With such popularity, yoga has gone beyond just a spiritual and meditative practice, it has also expanded into the larger collective consciousness of social trends and fashion. Now, yoga is also associated with fitness and is a symbol of well-being with style. With such popularity come many new ideas and mixes. There are now so many products and apparel available that choosing the right wear for your yoga class has become a challenge. One of the biggest modern-day queries is, “what’s the difference between Leggings and Yoga Pants?”
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Before addressing the difference between leggings and yoga pants, it is first important to understand why yoga requires a specific type of wear.
Yoga is a meditative practice that varies in forms and styles. But what all styles of yoga have in common is that the practitioner will be required to move, stretch, and change or hold postures. Yoga practices also differ in that some are slower paced while others have a fast pace and practiced in heated rooms. Yoga also happens to be practiced both, in private rooms and studio classes. Each yoga session is 60 minutes on average.
By knowing these details about yoga, we can conclude the following about suitable apparel:
- They need to be comfortable.
- The material should be stretchable, without tearing.
- They should be fitting but not too loose.
- They should be able to absorb sweat and water.
- The material should be opaque and not transparent.
- They should be light enough to hold postures without being weighty.
- They should provide ease of movement as yoga requires a change in postures.
- Moreover, They should be durable for long term use.
- They should be washable without losing color or strength.
Activewear for Yoga
With the popularity of sports, clothes manufacturers started producing apparel (Sportswear) based on specific sports teams to appease the fan. Over time, these manufacturer’s noticed that public interest in fitness increased. They started producing apparel aimed at fitness enthusiasts and this apparel came to be known as Activewear.
Activewear clothing is manufactured with the need of the users. They are made from materials that provide thermal insulation and moisture-wicking fabrics that allow wearers to remain cool in hot temperatures and move perspiration away from the body to the outer surface of the fabric.
When yoga’s popularity skyrocketed, these companies began to tailor apparel with the specific needs of yoga too. Their experience with sports apparel had already given them experience and knowledge of the requirements. It was only a matter of making a few adjustments.
And thus yoga pants were born as functional Activewear.
What are Yoga Pants?
Yoga pants are Activewear made of opaque stretchable material. They have a thick waistband for a strong but comfortable grip on the abdomen. They are tight around the butt but become loose going down, flaring at the bottom. By design, yoga pants, allow the wearer to stretch and move in comfort without having to worry about tears or see-through fabric due to sweat.
What are Leggings?
Leggings are close-fitting bottoms, which were originally designed to be an additional layer against the cold. Traditionally, they were worn under the clothes, as they are thicker than tights. Originally worn by dancers and acrobats to keep warm but moved into the use of the general population.
Why is there confusion?
It seems strange to be confused about the difference between Yoga pants and Leggings when you consider this information. They sound very different, so why is there any confusion between them? While these descriptions are based on the respective apparels, today, they are not enough to distinguish between the two. The influence of certain fashion trends and celebrity lifestyles has produced a new type of apparel – Athleisure wear. This is apparel that looks like activewear by design but doesn’t necessarily provide the functionality. It is a fashion trend that compromises between comfort and being active.
Due to the influence of Athleisure wear, both leggings and yoga pants have become difficult to differentiate by just the naked eye. Both leggings and yoga pants now look exceedingly similar.
Difference between Leggings and Yoga Pants
Their use still setting them apart, they still have certain differences between them:
Even though modern versions of both leggings and yoga pants use similar materials like lycra, nylon, cotton, polyester, and spandex. The combinations of these materials are not the same for both. Yoga pants are thicker and put more emphasis on stretching. Leggings by comparison are more used for comfort than physical activity while giving the impression of an active lifestyle.
Yoga pants are designed for performance, and so provide the functional benefit of being made from moisture-wicking fabric, to move moisture to the outer layer of the fabric. Leggings can potentially have this ability but don’t necessarily.
Yoga pants are available in varying cuts and lengths. They range from knee-length to ankles and they have flare bottoms.
Leggings on the other hand are only available in ankle lengths, they are tight around the ankles and don’t flare.
Because yoga involves a lot of movement and stretching, they mustn’t fall off. This is why yoga pants have a thick waistband. It is thick enough to keep a grip on the abdomen but not enough to become too tight. It is made from an elastic material so it stretches along the body’s curves. you can even fold them for a tighter grip.
Leggings have a thin waistband, like regular pants. It sits on the mid to lower region of the abdomen. They are body-firm and made from breathable material. This allows someone wearing them to keep them on for extended use, especially outside, without getting sweaty.
Yoga pants are always opaque and non-see through. During yoga, especially in a class, we would advise the practitioners to wear material that doesn’t turn dark in sweaty areas or become transparent due to exposure to moisture.
Leggings can range from transparent to opaque. As you can accessorize them with other clothing apparel. They are also very light to remain comfortable during daily use.
Summary of characteristics
Following is a list of their characteristics based on their purpose:
- Flexible and stretchable for function.
- Varying in length.
- Sweat-wicking properties
- Opaque and non-see-through.
- Heat insulation.
- Leg warming.
- Prevents heat loss.
Blurred lines – Yoga pants and Leggings
We mentioned previously, due to modern fashion influences, Yoga pants and Leggings are becoming very similar to each other. The latest yoga pants available don’t necessarily have their flared bottoms and are tighter around the ankles. On the other hand, leggings are entering the fitness world in the form of Activewear Leggings. Designers are making these new leggings with the needs of gym and fitness enthusiast consumers. They also have the stretchability, durability, and moisture-wicking properties of yoga pants and other activewear. Soon, it is likely that some brands will merge these two to create hybrid activewear that will refer to as Yoga Leggings.
Originally, yoga pants and leggings were brought into existence due to demands for different needs. Leggings to keep the legs warm and yoga pants for practitioners of yoga. They both differ in the function of the material in their construction. This affects how their intent of use.
Yoga pants accommodated the needs of people interested in fitness. They have stretchable and durable material that has moisture-wicking properties, a stretchable waistband that holds the abdomen for support, anti-chafing material, etc. Meanwhile, leggings had their use as outer-wear apparel that was comfortable for wear outside and kept the legs warm.
Both forms of apparel, however, became so popular that they caught the attention of the fashion world and this influenced the demand for new changes in both which brought them to looking and feeling very similar. We do hope that this article has cleared the difference between Leggings and Yoga Pants.