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.
In the age of KiraKira, it's impossible to look at any sparkly object and not imagine what it'd look like with the app's extra twinkle and shimmer. So, when we heard that Ultracor released a line of workout leggings with literal Swarovski crystals sewn into the fabric, we had to try them for the KiraKira — and also because Swarovski workout clothing sounds so extra.
How exactly do you get authentic Swarovski crystals onto a pair of leggings? According to Melissa Pizzuto, head designer at Ultracor, the crystals have been "fused together with an innovative material with heat." The result is a lightweight elastic fabric that moves with you and won't tear, she told Refinery29. A pair of leggings from the Swarovski line will cost you between $275 and $286, which is very pricey for something you're going to sweat in. And yes, they have to be washed by hand.
Besides the crystals, there's one other detail that really sets these leggings apart from others: the built-in "shaper." Sewn into the crotch of all Ultracor leggings is a seamless thong, designed to get rid of cameltoes and "free you from the hassle of panty lines," Pizzuto says. When I first tried these on with underwear, the built-in pair bunched up and felt uncomfortable, which makes sense because they're meant to be worn commando. Sara Coughlin, health and spirit writer for Refinery29, agreed that "the underpants situation was funny, but not unpleasant."
To see how they would feel during an actual workout, I wore them to a trendy new SoulAnnex class called Bootycamp. (If you're going to wear excessively flashy leggings, SoulAnnex is the place to do it.) But first, I took a bunch of KiraKira photos with my dog.
We did tons of squats and lunges in the class, which meant I had lots of time to admire the leggings in the mirrors, but also meant that I sweat a whole bunch. The leggings wicked moisture right up, and didn't leave any sweat marks. That said, I probably wouldn't wear these to a hot yoga class, just because of the hand-washing situation.
So, the leggings definitely look cool and feel good, but are they durable? At one point in the SoulAnnex class, we had to do kneeling exercises, and I was cautious not to snag the delicate crystals, but somehow they didn't move. Sara wore hers rock-climbing, and said she was concerned she'd mess up the crystals somehow. "I'd come off the wall and check if any had scraped off, but they appeared unscathed by the end of the night!" she told me.
In truth, these sparkly leggings are a bit of a departure from my brand, but I was surprised how much I liked them. Sara agreed that she wants another pair of Ultracor leggings to have in her arsenal for yoga class. And I have to say, the buttery fabric, thick waistband, and built-in shaper make these Ultracor leggings incredibly flattering and seriously comfortable.
So, would we recommend buying these?
If you have $300-ish dollars to blow and absolutely love sparkles and crystals, then these are worth it to have as a statement piece. But if you just want to splurge on a more basic pair of high-performance leggings, you might be better off with another one of the Ultracor styles sans crystals, that are cheaper (though still close to $200) and just as comfy.