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choosing sports leggings

Support, cut, material... We tell you what you need to look out for when choosing sports leggings.

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They should be chosen with care.Support, fabric and transparency are just some of the factors you need to bear in mind to ensure you feel totally comfortable in them. Check out our advice on making the right choice.

Criteria for choosing a pair of sports leggings 

LEVEL OF SUPPORT

Cotton sports leggings are very soft to the touch and comfortable. Used mainly for Pilates and fitness and stretching classes, they're not too tight around the waist and offer good support.

In contrast, cardio and weight training leggings compress the waist more, increasing blood circulation and aiding recovery. They offer good support. The materials used for this type of legwear are specially designed to wick away sweat.

Advice: don't confuse compression with the size of the leggings. Decathlon's sports leggings range in size from XS to 3XL (size 52), which means you'll have no problem finding a pair that fits you. They shouldn't feel too tight when you try them on. The important thing is that they offer support

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WAISTBAND SIZE

The waistbands on sports leggings can vary in width and height depending on the activity they're designed for. For example:

for intensive, HIIT-type sessions we advise you to choose a pair of high-waisted leggings with a fairly wide waistband that will fit over your hips. The waistband will stop your leggings from falling down when you're working out. It'll also make you feel more at ease when you're running and jumping. 

For gentle gym workouts and stretching sessions, you can choose either a high- or low-waisted pair, depending on which you prefer.

Want to build your strength up? Then choose a high-waisted pair with a wide waistband. Washboard-stomach effect guaranteed!

THE MATERIAL

Natural materials such as cotton are ideal for jogging bottoms and the same goes for the leggings you wear for your yoga sessions and other wellness activities that are not so demanding on the body (stretching, Pilates, gentle gym workouts, etc). 

If your gym work is more intense, then go for light synthetic fabrics that let your body breathe. Spandex, polyester and nylon are ideal for wicking away sweat and will keep you dry during your cardio-training and running sessions.

Sports leggings containing elastane will also aid your movements.

Advice on looking after your leggings: most sports leggings are machine washable. Put them on a gentle 40°C wash. Do not iron or tumble dry leggings made of synthetic materials.

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THE CUT

Sports leggings come in several types of cut, each designed for different sporting activities:

- Cycling: cycling shorts cover all or part of the thighs.

- Cropped leggings: extend to mid calf. An excellent compromise between long and short leggings.

- Short or 7/8 leggings: extend to below the calf, leaving the ankles free. A shortened version of standard leggings, they are made with breathable material and are ideal for more intense fitness and Pilates sessions.

- Long leggings: cover the entire length of the leg, right the way down to the ankle. They stretch from top

to bottom. Conventionally used in fitness and muscle development sessions.

- Loose leggings or yoga pants: stretchy at the top, these leggings gradually widen from the calf down. The loose fit makes them ideal for Pilates and gym sessions.

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TRANSPARENCY

There's nothing more unpleasant than wearing a pair of see-through sports leggings that show your underwear when you're working out in the gym.To prevent that from happening, you need to wear leggings made from a fabric that doesn't show through.

It's not just about choosing the right colour though! Dark leggings can sometimes be see-through if they're too thin.

AESTHETIC APPEAL

Conventional women's leggings have come a long way since the early days, when they were all black or grey.

There is something for everyone these days, with two-tone motifs, inlays and transparent stripes just some of the wide range of designs on offer.

Long leggings in muted colours are ideal for making you look slim and slender.

Want to look good in your leggings? Pulling on a pair of graphic leggings will help you show off your figure. 

Puma, Adidas, Domyos and Kalenji (running leggings) are just some of the brands you can choose from.

Advice: to get your look just right, why not team up a pair of sports leggings with a T-shirt or vest? It's a chance for you to express yourself and show who you are.

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Which sports leggings for which activity?

FITNESS AND CARDIO-TRAINING LEGGINGS

Your fitness leggings have to meet your exact needs. They have to offer the support you need while you're working out, be light enough for you to forget you're wearing them, and offer enough stretch for you to have complete freedom of movement when doing your circuit training and cardio sessions.~You should also look for a breathable material that can wick away sweat quickly.

RUNNING LEGGINGS

If you're a keen jogger, then you need to go for leggings that feel like a second skin, ideally high compression leggings that help the blood to circulate. High-waisted leggings with a thin waistband offer optimal support. Look for a pair that wicks away sweat, as sweat patches can make you feel the cold. 

Like to run at night? Choose a pair with reflective stripes so that you can be seen from a distance. Remember: safety comes first!

Advice: Do you prefer speed or race walking? Then use the same type of leggings as you would for running.

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PILATES AND GYM LEGGINGS

For Pilates, stretching and gentle gym sessions, choose comfortable seamless leggings with a wide waistband. As well as being stretchy, your Pilates leggings should offer next to nothing in the way of compression. Why is that? So that you can be at ease in your positions and have complete freedom of movement. 

You can wear them at home too or when you're out and about, so don't be afraid to pick up an eyecatching pair that's high on colour and original motifs.

YOGA LEGGINGS

For yoga sessions choose second-skin leggings, which offer great freedom of movement. Seamless yoga leggings are very comfortable to wear. They're not see-through either, giving you peace of mind.

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BODYBUILDING AND CROSS-TRAINING LEGGINGS

Are you into cross-training and bodybuilding? What you need is a pair made of synthetic materials that wick away sweat when you're working out. Bodybuilding leggings also haveabrasion-resistant patches on the tibia and thigh areas, which makes them the perfect choice if you use machines a lot or do rope climbing.

DANCE LEGGINGS

Like to feel free when you're dancing? Dance leggings are seamless, completely non-see-through and stretchable. They hug your legs and are high-waisted to offer optimal support. They're your ideal partner for even the most daring moves.

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