To help you find workout gear that's as functional as it is stylish, we're trying out the latest products and letting you know how they fare when we put them to the test.
One quick, unscientific question can determine whether or not a pair of leggings is actually good at wicking sweat: Do they leave a butt-shaped sweat mark stamped on your seat after a workout? If you're someone who sweats a lot or just likes sweaty workouts, you know this struggle. That's why we were intrigued when Lululemon released a new Everlux fabric that's designed to be more comfortable in extra-sweaty, high-humidity, low-airflow environments.
How exactly is that supposed to work? Well, the Everlux fabric has a "unique yarn combination" that serves two different functions: the skin-side surface moves moisture away from the skin, while the outer layer spreads moisture across the surface to maximize evaporation, says Tom Waller, senior vice president of Whitespace, Lululemon's research and development center. In other words, it's two fabrics knitted as one. "[The fabric] allows us to have cool-to-the-touch yarns next to the skin and buttery soft, quick-drying yarns on the outside, ensuring that you feel cool, dry, and focused on your workout," Waller says. So, the Everlux fabric should dry faster and feel cooler than other leggings Lululemon makes, he says.
According to Waller, these leggings really are meant for crowded, balmy studio environments. "[Lots of bodies in space] leads to higher heat and higher humidity conditions that really impede normal evaporation, which is our body's basic mechanism to keep us comfortable when we need to keep cool," he says.
To put these to the test, three R29ers (myself included) tried them out. I purposely signed up for a packed SoulCycle class (shouts to Charlee Atkins) to see how they'd fare, and they were dry as a bone afterwards, save for a triangle-shaped sweat mark on my butt from the bike seat. And when Refinery29 senior editor Rebecca Adams wore them during a hot yoga class, she says the leggings were only slightly damp, and she was even able to wear them to dinner after the class.
When Sara Coughlin, health and spirit writer for Refinery29, wore them to a Y7 hot yoga class, she said they were a little damp afterwards, but not soaked. "It helped going outside and letting the air hit them," she told me. And while they weren't "leaps and bounds above other sweat-wicking leggings I have," she said they're among her favorites for Y7 now. According to Rebecca, the Everlux fabric is softer than other sweat-wicking leggings, but it's definitely comparable to Nike's sweat-wicking fabric.
I appreciated the high waistband during SoulCycle, and liked that they're form-fitting and smooth without making you feel like you're suctioned into your pants (Rebecca said the same thing). Sara also liked that the fabric is thin, but not sheer. One weird observation: Rebecca found that they tend to collect lint. And if you're not used to Lululemon's numbered sizes, it might be confusing to figure out your size (though sales associates are usually pretty helpful with this).
So, would we recommend buying these?
They're definitely a splurge at $98 a pair, but if you sweat a lot or mostly do hot workouts (or if you're a SoulCycle devotee), they might just be worth it.