8 best pairs to buy now, as tested by 5ft1 editors

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  • Looking for a pair of petite gym leggings? Keep on scrolling…

    Ah, gym leggings. As a petite girl (I’m talking 5ft1) I’ve always struggled to find the best gym leggings that don’t bunch up around my ankles or sag at the waist. If you’re also on the shorter side, then you definitely know what I’m talking about.

    Luckily, lots of my favourite brands have started to cater to shorter leg lengths, and here at MC, we couldn’t be happier about it. After discovering my first pair of petite gym leggings and realising how much easier it was to work out in sportswear that actually fit me, I got testing.

    Knowing where to start was the hardest part. Rather testing for the best high-waisted workout leggings or patterned gym leggings, I focused on options specifically designed for shorter legs – so 5ft4 and under – and tried a range of high-waisted, low-waisted, patterned and plain styles.

    I also enrolled the help of Marie Claire UK‘s Health Editor, Ally Head. Although we might be similar heights, when it comes to working out, Ally and I have very different methods. While Ally loves nothing more than a long-distance run and a bit of weight training thrown in for fun, you’ll find me at home doing a quick 20-minute HIIT workout before heading to the office.

    Keep on scrolling for our top picks of petite gym leggings for all kinds of workouts, and say goodbye to baggy leggings for good…

    Testing process

    So, what did we look for when testing the best petite gym leggings? The fit was the most important thing. We wanted leggings that weren’t too long on the leg, but still supported us during our workouts. As above, when it comes to fit kit and general clothing, petite is classed as 5ft4 or less, so we made sure to take this into account.

    Of course, we also looked at things such as how sweat-wicking they were, and if they were comfortable enough to wear from the gym to the local coffee shop (just like our favourites in our matching gym sets edit).

    What did I look for when testing petite gym leggings?

    • Are the leggings the right length?
    • Do they run true to size?
    • Are they sweat-wicking?
    • Are they non-see-through?
    • How did the material wash?
    • Is the product a reasonable price?

    Health Editor Ally Head and Ecommerce Writer Grace Lindsay in some of the leggings featured in this article

    8 of the best petite gym leggings to buy now:

    1. Nike 7/8 leggings

    Sportswear Essential Women’s 7/8 Mid-Rise Leggings, £27.95 | Nike
    “I’ve had these leggings for over five years now (yes, really) and they still look as good as new. I bought them on a whim as I was looking for a new pair of plain black leggings and these seemed like good value for money, and I was right. The length is perfect on me (if you’re taller than 5ft1 they might be slightly cropped), and the mid-rise waist is super supportive. Thanks to the colour and material, they never show up sweat, and in my opinion they could be worn for any kind of workout.” Grace Lindsay, Ecommerce Writer

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    2. SEFI 7/8 leggings

    Timeless Leggings 7/8 Goldstone, £50 | SEFI
    “These leggings are from SEFI, the activewear brand created by fitness influencer Stef Williams. When I first put these on, I knew I was going to love them. First of all, the brown colour is beautiful for autumn, and the material is super thick and supportive. The length was spot on, and in my opinion they would work for all petite ladies under 5ft4. I did a very sweaty HIIT workout in these, and you couldn’t see one single patch of moisture. An absolute winner.” Grace Lindsay, Ecommerce Writer

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    3. LNDR 7/8 leggings

    The Limitless 7/8 Legging, £98 | LNDR
    “If you don’t own any kit from LNDR, this is your sign. The female-founded kit company promises to produce sustainable, high-quality workout leggings here in the UK, and offer not one but two petite options. So what did I think when testing? I tried the 7/8 ankle grazing petite – you can also get a 6/8 cropped length – and they felt like butter and fit like a glove, sitting just above my ankle with no crinkly knees. They’re super lightweight and sweat wick quickly, too. An investment but worth the price tag as you’ll wear them for years to come (I’ve had mine for yonks now).” Ally Head, Health Editor

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    4. Adanola 7/8 leggings

    Ultimate Leggings – Olive Green 7/8 Length, £39.99 | Adanola
    “I used to think that Adanola was more of a fashion brand than an activewear brand, but boy was I wrong. Not only are these the softest leggings I have ever worn, but they are great for working out, too. The 7/8 length means they are perfect for petites, and can definitely be worn both to the gym and to brunch with the girls. I love this colour for autumn, however if you’re doing a really intense sweat session, black might be better. You have been warned.” Grace Lindsay, Ecommerce Writer

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    5. Sweaty Betty 7/8 gym leggings

    Power 7/8 Gym Leggings, £80 | Sweaty Betty
    “Sweaty Betty has been my go-to sportswear brand for a while now. Although the leggings are a little more on the pricey side, they will last you for years to come. The brand offers a wide range of 7/8 length styles, and the ‘Power’ leggings are my favourite. When I tested, I found that the stretchy fabric meant that they are comfortable no matter what workout you are doing, plus they sweat-wicked well. What more could you want?” Grace Lindsay, Ecommerce Writer

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    6. ASOS 4505 petite leggings

    ASOS 4505 Petite Icon Run Tie Waist Legging With Pocket, £18 | ASOS
    “The ASOS 4505 range is one of the best budget gym legging options out there, in my opinion. They have a range of different colours and custom fits – for example, slightly different designs for running and gym sessions – and petite options for us short girls, too. I’ve tried both the gym and run 4505 designs and both sweat wick well. When testing for this article, I also thought that they offer a surprising amount of compression for a lower price point legging, plus at 5ft2, sat just above my ankle – the perfect petite length. That said, do note that mine started to sag and retain that old PE-kit smell after around six months or so.” Ally Head, Health Editor

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    7. Lululemon 21″ / 23″ / 25″ leggings

    Lululemon Align High-Rise Crop with Pockets 23″, £88 | Lululemon
    “These leggings are another great investment that will last you for years to come. The Align leggings are designed for more gentle workouts such as yoga, and I’m not ashamed to say that I wear mine almost every day. Although they are advertised as a cropped style, the 23″ leg is perfect on me, and I could even get away with the 21″ leg as well. (Note that Ally wears the 25″ at 5ft2, so it’s worth trying on to see what suits you). When testing, I found that they ran true to size, fit comfortably, and were non-see-through, too. They also came out of the wash looking good as new. Nothing bad to say here.” Grace Lindsay, Ecommerce Writer

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    8. adidas 7/8 tights

    Training Essentials High-Waisted 7/8 Tights, £35 | Adidas
    “Adidas have long been one of my go-to’s for budget but high-quality workout tights. I’ve always found them to be both affordable and genuinely good for working out in – that is, they sweat wick, compress, and flatter, too. Despite their essentials tight only being £35, I’ve had mine for years now and they’ve never stretched or smelt. On the petite front, they have a  7/8 design which meant the legging sits just above my ankle at 5ft2.” Ally Head, Health Editor

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