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.
Why don't all workout leggings have pockets big enough for your phone to fit inside? Honestly, this is what I wonder each time I shove my iPhone inside the waistband of my leggings, or worse, haphazardly in the strap of a sports bra. Sure, there are armbands and waist belts that are supposed to solve this problem, but they tend to ride up or slide during high-intensity workouts and runs. Sometimes you just want leggings to be as sensible as cargo pants — and that's not too much to ask.
According to Jeannette Peters, senior manager of design at Athleta, lack of pockets is a common complaint that women have when it comes to leggings. When designing their newest release, the Up For Anything Tight, they were sure to add four pockets (two deep side pockets, a big zippered pocket, and an internal waist pocket), which is the most out of all their leggings designs. This tight is a "crossover" tight, according to Peters, meaning they're intended for all types of workouts.
Athleta spoke to their customers and found that 70% regularly participate in more than one exercise class, Peters says. "When she goes to the gym, she may not end up taking the class she planned to," she says. The Up For Anything Tight is supposed to be equipped for whatever you end up doing, and the pockets are just one feature. Given this, we tried these leggings running, rock-climbing, strength-training, and practicing yoga, to see how they felt.
First thing's first: the pockets. I wore them running and appreciated being able to slip all my stuff securely in the pockets and forget about it. (If you're running a race, these would be an awesome pair, because they can fit all your gels, Advil, and Vaseline.) Sara Coughlin, health and spirit writer for Refinery29, agreed that the pockets made it easier to reference her phone while timing rest periods between a strength-training session.
Beyond the pockets, the fabric is a lighter version of Athleta's Sculptek compression fabric, Peters says. Compared to other leggings, these are definitely on the thick side, and probably wouldn't be ideal for hot yoga or other sweaty workouts. I found that the pockets stretched out a lot after one wear, so if that's a pet-peeve of yours it's something to consider. Rebecca Adams, health and wellness director at Refinery29, said the fabric wasn't her favorite, and agreed it's on the bulky side.
The waistband is sleeker and higher than other Athleta styles, which is supposed to provide support and stability. Sara told me this helped while rock-climbing, because "you can't exactly pause mid-climb to adjust your bottoms." Indeed, you don't have to worry about fidgeting with your pants in these.
Another unique feature of these leggings is the asymmetrical hem, which is "engineered for a more comfortable fit at the bottom opening," Peters says. "The articulation subtly grades the light pressure of the hem across the calf muscle, while adding visual lengthening of the leg." Despite the fancy cut, Sara (who's 5'3") found that these run a little bit long and had to be cuffed (though they were a perfect fit for Rebecca's 5'6" frame). That said, they are available in extended sizes, which is definitely a bonus.
So, would we recommend buying these?
If holding your phone and keys during workouts drives you crazy, get these. While they're not exactly cheap at $89, they're a reliable pair that you can count on for all your different activities. But if you just want a pair to wear while running errands, there are chicer options out there.