What are the best leggings for hiking?


Whatever your next adventure, you’ll need leggings that will go the distance. From the trail to the peak, leggings are a must-have for any hiking trip. When it comes to choosing the best leggings, you’ll want something with a durable fabric construction to help with moisture and temperature regulation. 

Could there be a more versatile item of clothing than leggings? Designed to be worn alone or layered as an undergarment, the best leggings out there will actively protect you from excess moisture. A cut-and-sew base layer with an elastic waistband will also ensure freedom of movement and a formed fit. 

When selecting the right leggings for you, keep in mind what you’ll be wearing with them. For instance, seamless leggings are ideal to layer under hiking trousers. But if you’re trekking in the summer months, you might want to invest in a lightweight pair with a pocket or two for your valuables.

In terms of length, high waisted leggings pair well with a crop top but a mid-rise fit may be preferable when worn with other, heavy-duty winter layers. The ultimate combination of lightweight material and long-lasting construction, leggings are easy to launder and made for the long haul.

Can I wear leggings for hiking?

Yes, leggings are a great option for hiking and virtually any other outdoor adventure. Made for active or athletic use, the right leggings are comfortable, have a close fit, and a durable synthetic construction for long days on the trail.

Designed for active adventures, be sure to pick out a pair with slight compression to help reduce muscle fatigue and stretchy materials for ease of movement. When it comes to finding the right leggings for you, perhaps the most important thing to consider is durability and versatility. 

All of the Sports Tights in our Sports Range are both durable and hardwearing. Plus, they do not wear down when brushed up against other layers. As you pick your way along the trail, leggings with body-mapped ventilation will help to regulate your temperature and also rapidly decrease moisture build-up. 

Best leggings for cold weather hiking 

The best leggings, also known as compression tights or trail tights, for cold weather hiking are made of breathable fabric to help regulate body temperature. It’s best to keep an eye out for functional extras like quick-drying, moisture-wicking technology for an unimpeded range of motion too. 

Keep in mind that not all leggings are ideal for extremely cold weather. Consider pairing your leggings with a durable pair of hiking trousers. Pieces like the Women’s Resolve Trousers will provide an extra layer of protection from wind and rain while optimising breathability. Whatever winter throws your way, don a pair of leggings and hiking trousers to keep on trekking.   

Here are the best warm leggings for winter hiking:

  • Best Overall Hiking Tights:  The Women's Paramount Hybrid Leggings are perhaps the most versatile option out there. Designed for the trail, a quick-drying fabric moves moisture to the surface to evaporate almost instantly.

  • Best Hybrid Leggings: The Women’s Paramount Hybrid Leggings are super stretchy, with woven nylon on the back to guarantee you get the stretch and strength you need on the move. 

  • Best Mid-Rise Leggings: The Women’s Ambition Mid Rise Leggings are great for layering under your hiking trousers. The mid-rise waistband, complete with an adjustable drawcord, ensures your leggings stay put, while the sweat-wicking FlashDry™ fabric will keep your legs dry all day.

  • Best High-Intensity Sport Leggings: The Men’s Pro Tights are the ideal lower-body layer for any high-intensity sports. If you’re looking for body-mapped ventilation, look no further than these compression tights. 

  • Best High Rise Leggings: The Women's New Flex High Rise Leggings offer extra compression at the waist with mesh inside the waistband. Their quick-drying fabric will move moisture to the surface to evaporate quickly when you’re on the trail.


Compression leggings for hiking

Compression leggings, or compression tights, are great for hiking because they keep your blood circulating at high elevation. High waist compression leggings will also help to reduce muscle fatigue and improve recovery as you go.

Slim-fitting, seamless leggings like our Women’s Active Leggings offer minimal compression to keep you comfortable. As an added benefit, a ventilation pattern on the front and back upper will help keep you cool as you work up a sweat. 

Best winter leggings for hiking

The best winter hiking leggings, also known as thermal leggings optimise weather resistance and have a gusseted crotch to sustain ample movement. For particularly cold temperatures, seamless leggings are ideal to layer under a pair of hiking pants. 

It’s no secret that all great adventures start with the ultimate base layer. That’s why we’ve compiled the best winter leggings for hiking out there for you to check out. 

Here are the best winter leggings for hiking:

  • The Best Overall: The Women’s Teknitcal Leggings are specifically designed for hitting the hiking trail in winter. Made with an engineered rib around the waist, bag, and sides, you can take advantage of maximum mobility and stretch. Additionally, our signature FlashDry™ technology will keep you comfortable by pulling away moisture as you heat up on the trail.

  • The Best Training Leggings:  The Women's Ambition Mid Rise Leggings are perhaps the most comfortable leggings available. The lightweight polyester material layers efficiently under most hiking trousers. 

  • The Best High-Intensity Leggings: The Men’s Sport Tights are an absolute must for any intense outdoor adventure. Stretchy, seamless, and synthetic, they also stand up to frequent washing, ensuring they look good as new at all times.

Are leggings good for hiking?

Yes, leggings are good for hiking because they are flexible, versatile, and offer compression to reduce muscle fatigue as you summit that peak. Despite being a relatively lightweight layer, the best leggings can be the ultimate base layer for even the coldest climates. 

Dressing for any outdoor adventure starts with layering. Before you hit the trail, an explorer should always assume that the temperature could drop significantly over time. This is particularly true as elevation increases. That’s why we recommend using a three-layer clothing system, with a  moisture-wicking layer as your base.

Our Women’s Flex Mid Rise Leggings are specifically engineered with quick-drying fabric that rapidly moves moisture to the surface to evaporate. These leggings are perfect for regulating body temperature and keeping you comfortable with a breathable layer. 

Before you head out on your next adventure, be sure to pack a spare medium or heavy-weight Glacier Fleece and a spare pair of hiking trousers. If temperatures drop to sub-zero levels, a durable outer shell will keep out the wind while your seamless leggings will keep your temperature on track. 

The right hiking gear is essential to a successful and comfortable trip.  Whether you’re seeking a pair of women’s leggings or hiking leggings for men, tackle your next adventure with The North Face by your side. From the local trail to paths unknown, pick the perfect pair of leggings for hiking today.