The Best Thermal Leggings

These cozy thermal leggings provide both comfort and protection from the elements

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Selecting the right clothing can make or break a hiking trip or camping adventure. After all, no one wants to find themselves cold, damp and uncomfortable. While most people spend a lot of time focusing on the best rain gear and perfect hiking shoes or boots for their trip, they overlook one of the basics – their pants. But a pair of high-quality thermal leggings can make a big difference in terms of your comfort level!

Leggings are often associated with yoga, but they are also a great choice for hitting the trails or a night out on the town. They are lightweight and compact, making them easy to fit in your hiking backpack for multi-day adventures. When you’re on the go, their stretchy design allows for full mobility regardless of what you may face along the way. As if that isn’t reason enough to include leggings on your packing list, many options also feature moisture-wicking and odor control to help you maintain good hygiene while camping, or when you’re out in the wilderness for an extended time.

Choosing the right leggings may seem impossible with so many different options on the market. To help you make the best choice for your next adventure, we have put together this guide including a list of high-quality thermal leggings for women.

Cover image: Shutterstock


Best Thermal Leggings for Women

 90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece-Lined LeggingsSpalding Women’s Ankle LeggingColumbia Women’s Titan Wind Block II Tights
editors choice
Brand:90 Degree By ReflexSpaldingColumbia
Sizes:X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 1X, 2X, 3XSmall, Medium, Large, X-LargeX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
Material:88% Polyester, 12% Spandex92% Cotton, 8% Spandex85% Polyester, 15% Elastane
Available Colors:Black, Winetasting, Cola, Dark Cherry, Golden Yellow, Gothic Grape, Mars Haze, Terracotta, Dragon’s Breath, Emerald, Dark Sea, and MoreBlack, Charcoal HeatherBlack
Inseam Length:28”26”29.5”

The Best Thermal Leggings for Women

  1. 90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece-Lined Leggings
  2. Spalding Women’s Ankle Legging
  3. Columbia Women’s Titan Wind Block II Tights 
  4. Carhartt Women’s Force Stretch Utility Legging
  5. Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression Leggings
  6. Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings
  7. The North Face Women’s Winter Warm High Rise Tights
  8. Champion Women’s Sport Soft Touch Eco Tights

1. Editor’s Choice: 90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece-Lined Leggings

 

Specs:

  • Brand: 90 Degree By Reflex
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 1X, 2X, 3X
  • Material: 88% Polyester, 12% Spandex
  • Available Colors: Black, Winetasting, Cola, Dark Cherry, Golden Yellow, Gothic Grape, Mars Haze, Terracotta, Dragon’s Breath, Emerald, Dark Sea, and More
  • Inseam Length: 28”

If you’re planning on enjoying some outdoor adventures during the colder months, these leggings are a great option. Suitable both as a base layer and as a pant on their own, they feature a high waistband, full 28” length, and a brushed fleece interior. These fleece-lined leggings are available in a wide variety of colors and can be purchased either with or without pockets depending on your preference.

Pros:

  • High waistband
  • Fleece lining for added warmth
  • Available both with and without pockets

Cons:

  • Less stretch than other options due to lining

 amazon.com

2. Best Overall Runner Up: Spalding Women’s Ankle Legging

Specs:

  • Brand: Spalding
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Material: 92% Cotton, 8% Spandex
  • Available Colors: Black, Charcoal Heather
  • Inseam Length: 26”

Made from a soft cotton blend fabric, these leggings were designed with comfort in mind but that isn’t the only benefit that they offer. They are durable leggings that can stand up to the abuse of spending time outdoors while the 4-way stretch technology allows for flexibility and mobility. They are a mid-rise waistband for those that prefer that style. When you’re finished, they are fully machine washable for quick cleanup.

Pros:

  • 4-way stretch for flexibility
  • Cotton blend fabric
  • Wide, mid-rise waistband

Cons:

  • Cotton fabrics retain more moisture

amazon.com

3. Best Leggings for Trail Running: Columbia Women’s Titan Wind Block II Tights

Specs:

  • Brand: Columbia
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
  • Material: 85% Polyester, 15% Elastane
  • Available Colors: Black
  • Inseam Length: 29.5”

For running enthusiasts that are looking forward to hitting the trails, these leggings offer mobility, comfort, and protection from the elements. With 4-way stretch comfort, they are flexible for full movement when running. The Omni-Wick moisture-wicking technology quickly wicks away any sweat from your workout. On the back center of the waistband, a zipped pocket keeps your belongings safely stashed away.

Pros:

  • Omni-Wick moisture wicking
  • Omni-Wind Block windproof
  • Interior adjustable waistband

Cons:

  • Many buyers report the sizing runs small

amazon.com

4. Best Reinforced: Carhartt Women’s Force Stretch Utility Legging

 

Specs:

  • Brand: Carhartt
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
  • Material: 91% Nylon, 9% Spandex
  • Available Colors: Black, Dark Coffee
  • Inseam Length: Regular 29”, Tall 31”

Designed with durability in mind, these leggings are a great choice for horseback riding, rock climbing, or even doing tasks around the yard. They are made from a durable, stretch knit fabric with added reinforcement in areas that tend to take the most abuse such as the knees. Featuring FastDry technology, they quickly wick away sweat to keep you dry and comfortable as well as to keep odors contained.

Pros:

  • FastDry technology wicks away sweat
  • Abrasion-resistant front, back, and utility pockets
  • Odor fighting capabilities

Cons:

  • The heavier weight may not be suitable for running or similar activities

amazon.com

5. Best for Outdoor Winter Activities: Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression Leggings

Specs:

  • Brand: Under Armour
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
  • Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
  • Available Colors: Black, Midnight Navy
  • Inseam Length: 30”

Leggings aren’t often considered the best choice for cold-weather activities, but these leggings may change your opinion. They are made with dual-layer ColdGear construction with a fast-drying outer layer and a brushed, heat-trapping inner layer to keep you warm throughout the day. Smooth, chafe-free seams and an encased elastic waistband add to the level of comfort.

Pros:

  • Dual-layer ColdGear construction with heat-trapping interior
  • Welded chafe-free seams
  • Moisture-wicking and fast-drying

Cons:

  • Leg length is longer than most legging options making them too long for some buyers

amazon.com

6. Best with Pockets: Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight Leggings

Specs:

  • Brand: Eddie Bauer
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 2X, 3X, Including Regular, Petite, and Tall sizes
  • Material: 88% Polyester, 12% Spandex
  • Available Colors: Black, Paprika, Teak, Dark Chinaberry, Heather Gray, Mineral Green, Mulberry, Dark Evergreen, Dusk Navy
  • Inseam Length: Regular 28”, Petite 25”, Tall 31”

Whether you are planning on hitting the trails or just taking your dog for a walk, there are items that you are going to want to keep close at hand. With 3 pockets, these leggings make it easy to stow it all away. In addition to having great pocket space, they are also designed to keep you safe outdoors. These leggings feature UPF 50+ sun protection, mesh piecing for enhanced ventilation, moisture-wicking, and odor control.

Pros:

  • 2 drop-in cargo pockets and a secure zip vertical pocket
  • FreeShade UPF 50+ sun protection
  • FreeDry moisture-wicking and Polygiene odor control

Cons:

  • Some buyers warn the waist rolls down during activity

amazon.com

7. Also Popular: The North Face Women’s Winter Warm High Rise Tights

Specs:

  • Brand: The North Face
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 1X, 2X
  • Material: 92% Recycled Polyester, 8% Elastane
  • Available Colors: Black, Asphalt Grey
  • Inseam Length: 30”

Not only are these leggings made from moisture-wicking fabric to help keep you dry throughout your day, but they have also included a DWR coating to help protect you from the moisture that you encounter along the way. The wide high-rise waistband includes an internal drawcord for a secure fit and smooth flat-locked seaming for comfort. An added zip pocket on the left thigh provides extra storage for your valuables.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant DWR coating on the thigh and lower leg
  • WindWall technology
  • 360-degree reflectivity for safety in low-light

Cons:

  • Water-resistant fabric doesn’t offer much stretch

amazon.com

8. Honorable Mention: Champion Women’s Sport Soft Touch Eco Tights

Specs:

  • Brand: Champion
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
  • Material: 78% Polyester, 22% Spandex
  • Available Colors: Black, Leopard Camo Country Walnut, Embossed Houndstooth Darkberry, Dark Berry Purple
  • Inseam Length: 27”

Not only are these leggings comfortable for long-term wear, but they are also part of the Champion Made initiative. This means that they are made using a portion of recycled polyester fibers which helps to keep plastic bottles out of our landfills. The moisture-wicking properties keep you warm and dry while also providing odor control. They are made with a soft brushed fabric that can be machine washed when you’re done for the day.

Pros:

  • Made with recycled polyester fibers
  • Pocket at inner side waistband for ID and credit cards
  • Moisture-wicking and odor control

Cons:

  • The horizontal seam can be uncomfortable for women with curves

amazon.com


Best Thermal Leggings for Women Comparison Table

Thermal Leggings for Women BrandSizesMaterialAvailable ColorsInseam Length
90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece-Lined Leggings90 Degree By Reflex High Waist Fleece-Lined Leggings90 Degree By ReflexX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 1X, 2X, 3X88% Polyester, 12% SpandexBlack, Winetasting, Cola, Dark Cherry, Golden Yellow, Gothic Grape, Mars Haze, Terracotta, Dragon’s Breath, Emerald, Dark Sea, and More28”
Spalding Women’s Ankle LeggingSpalding Women’s Ankle LeggingSpaldingSmall, Medium, Large, X-Large92% Cotton, 8% SpandexBlack, Charcoal Heather26”
Columbia Women’s Titan Wind Block II TightsColumbia Women’s Titan Wind Block II TightsColumbiaX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large85% Polyester, 15% ElastaneBlack29.5”
Carhartt Women’s Force Stretch Utility LeggingCarhartt Women’s Force Stretch Utility LeggingCarharttX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large91% Nylon, 9% Spandex
Black, Dark CoffeeRegular 29”, Tall 31”
Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression LeggingsUnder Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression LeggingsUnder ArmourX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large87% Polyester, 13% ElastaneBlack, Midnight Navy30”
Eddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight LeggingsEddie Bauer Women’s Trail Tight LeggingsEddie BauerX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 2X, 3X, Including Regular, Petite, and Tall sizes88% Polyester, 12% SpandexBlack, Paprika, Teak, Dark Chinaberry, Heather Gray, Mineral Green, Mulberry, Dark Evergreen, Dusk NavyRegular 28”, Petite 25”, Tall 31”
The North Face Women’s Winter Warm High Rise TightsThe North Face Women’s Winter Warm High Rise TightsThe North FaceX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, 1X, 2X
92% Recycled Polyester, 8% ElastaneBlack, Asphalt Grey30”
Champion Women’s Sport Soft Touch Eco TightsChampion Women’s Sport Soft Touch Eco TightsChampionX-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large78% Polyester, 22% SpandexBlack, Leopard Camo Country Walnut, Embossed Houndstooth Darkberry, Dark Berry Purple27”

How to Find the Best Hiking Leggings for Your Next Adventure

Breathability

When you first think about leggings, breathability is often assumed. But, with the addition of insulating layers, water-resistant coating, or reinforced panels, this breathability can sometimes fall short. If you’re going to be doing something physically active while wearing your new leggings, like hiking or trail running, this is a feature that is worth double-checking.

If you are particularly concerned about breathability, look for options that include breathable or mesh-based panels. You may also want to choose stretch-woven leggings instead of knit options as they tend to offer a little more air movement.

Durability

The thing materials used for making leggings can sometimes mean compromising durability, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Search for leggings that are hard-wearing, and made from heavy-duty nylon or polyester. These fabrics are more likely to stand up to the wear and tear that they will face on the trails. You may also be interested in reinforced leggings that feature patches of thicker, more durable fabric on areas that are more likely to tear or wear through like the knees and the seat of the pants.

Comfort and Fit

There are a few different areas of concern when it comes to finding leggings that are going to fit properly. This factor is even more important when enjoying higher levels of activity.

Waistbands have long been a pain point for women who love waistbands. Many options have been found to roll over, droop, or slide down as you move. To counter this, companies have made wider waistbands. Some have included drawstrings to help provide added security for those that may be concerned. This also extends the lifespan of your leggings by allowing you to keep enjoying them long after the fabric relaxes or stretches.

The placement of seams and their construction can also have an important impact on your comfort. Look for smooth seams that have been welded or fused in a way that they don’t cause chafing or added pressure on your legs.

Odor-Control and Sweat-Wicking Options

When you’re out and moving, regardless of the weather, you’re going to sweat. But, as the temperatures drop, that sweat is more than just a nuisance. This dampness will make you feel even colder and uncomfortable. Choose leggings that are made with sweat-wicking fabrics such as nylon, polyamide, or polyester. They quickly move the moisture away from your skin keeping you warm and dry throughout the day.

In addition to the feel and dampness of sweat, you may also be concerned about odor. Unfortunately, many of the materials used in leggings are prone to picking up odors like nylon and polyester. To counteract this, companies may include an anti-bacterial odor-control finish to keep you looking, feeling, and smelling fresh.

Warmth and Weather Resistance

If you plan on wearing your leggings in cooler temperatures, warmth can be an important factor in choosing the best pair. This means choosing leggings that are made from a thicker, warmer fabric. You may also wish to choose a pair that includes a fleece lining or those that use a technology designed to reflect your body heat towards your legs instead of allowing it to escape.

Of course, there is no point in worrying about added layers or insulation if you are wet or damp. Moisture can quickly chill you right to the bone. To prevent this, consider leggings that offer added weather resistance like water-resistant coatings, or pair your leggings with a pair of waterproof rain pants.

Pockets

You may view pockets in your leggings as a luxury, but they can be very handy when you’re out and about over the course of the day. Whether you’re storing your ID for an emergency or tucking your phone away so that you can take photos of the Instagram-worthy views you will enjoy along your hike, you want pockets that are secure and reliable. This includes deep cargo style pockets and those that feature zippers for added security.

Hiking Pants Vs Hiking Leggings

Both hiking pants and leggings have their benefits and weaknesses. Neither is guaranteed to be better in all situations. Instead, you need to weigh the pros and cons of your planned use and the adventures that you are going to venture out on.

Hiking pants offer more durable protection. They are thicker, keeping you safe from thick brambles or thorny plants that may pierce a thinner pair of leggings as well as from bugs. But this added thickness comes with more bulk and extra weight. If you are concerned about pockets and storage, hiking pants will have a lot more to offer.

Leggings are generally more breathable and lightweight. The skin-tight design offers better movement by easily moving with you and not restricting your legs from stretching or climbing, as needed. They are a great choice for preventing chafing by wicking away sweat before it can create a problem. This makes them a great choice for longer trips and more intense physical activity.

Notice:

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Britt Kascjak

Britt Kascjak is a freelance writer and content marketer based in Ontario, Canada. She specializes in writing about outdoor travel and recreation, especially exploring the great outdoors with pets. She has written for several outdoor-focused websites, such as Backyard Boss as well as contributing articles about pet-friendly outdoor travel on All Pet Voices. Inspired by her own travels with her husband, 3 dogs and 2 cats, she shares her experiences on her website The Kas Pack. When she isn’t working, Britt can be found camping, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking year-round including braving the colder Canadian winters outdoors.

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