Best Workout Leggings for Petites For All Activities

Best Workout Leggings For Petites For All Activities

First of all, all leggings are not created equal. You will always find several different brands and types of leggings in my workout bottoms drawer. Some leggings are more appropriate for yoga/pilates days. While others are more appropriate for days when I am lifting weights or doing cardio circuits. Finding leggings for petites for all activities that really fit and are functional is not the easiest task. The search has been going on for years now and have narrowed it down.

I live a healthy lifestyle and typically move my body five to six days a week. Mixing up the types of workouts that I do all of the time is what I love to do. Thus, the need to find great leggings for petites that fit my body and work well for how I am moving my body is real. Before we chat about the leggings that I like to keep in my workout wardrobe here are some other healthy living posts I have written that you might want to check out.

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Finding The Best Petite Leggings For Your Favorite Activities

They say that variety is the spice of life. That is how I view my workouts. Changing up what I do keeps my body guessing and keeps things fresh for me. Each week I try to lift weights, and do some sort of cardio. I also make sure I get in some recovery workouts like yoga or pilates. That being said, my leggings need to have various amounts of support to them.

So today I am going to share with you how I have found the best-fitting workout leggings for petites for all sorts of fun and effective ways you can move your body to stay in shape.

Leggings for Petites: Sizing and Fit

Just to clarify. I am 5′ 1/2″ and weigh in at just over 100 pounds. I usually wear an XS. When it comes to the length of the leggings I am usually ok with a 7/8 legging hitting me right at the ankle. Yes, that makes them full-length leggings for me. The issue that I usually have is the rise. Now that high-rise and ultra-high-rise leggings are the “in” thing, that is where I have to be careful.

Knowing how to measure your inseam and rise is super important when you are ordering. Most descriptions will have this information. To figure out how to measure your inseam click here and your rise here.

My Biggest Fit Pet Peeves

When I get in a new pair of leggings I make sure that I put them on and really examine myself in front of the mirror. Here’s what I really pay attention to before I decide if the leggings are staying or going.

The Crotch

The thing that I am pickiest about when buying leggings is the fit of the crotch. Having a crotch that is too baggy is not comfortable. The other issue is a crotch that is uncomfortable because of the way the fabric is sewn. You have to make sure that you don’t have a “camel toe”. Not a good look either.

Why am I so picky about this? I usually go to the gym early in the morning. I don’t know if other people are looking at my crotch or not, but the gym usually has plenty of men there when I am there. Not something that I want to advertise when I am working out. My workout time is my “me time”.

The Rise

Yes, the high-rise and ultra-high-rise waists are a thing right now. Not a good thing for most petites because they are made for women with much longer torsos. Many times I feel like the top of the legging is right up under my chest. That is neither comfortable nor a good look.

What I have discovered over the years trying various brands is that when they say they have petite sizing it usually just means that the length is shortened. It does not take into account the rise. So I have realized that I am not going to have many 7/8 gym leggings. My 7/8 leggings with a rise that works are just going to be full-length leggings on me and any other members of the short girls’ club.


This is why I have different brands and styles for different workouts. I prefer LOTS of compression when I am lifting weights (especially leg day) or doing any type of circuit work. If I am going for a power walk, or taking a pilates or yoga class, then I prefer less compression so that I can move more freely.

The compression in your leggings helps to provide support when you are training hard. The leggings add pressure to your calves, thighs, and glutes to help support you while you are using these muscles. It’s also great to have that extra support in your core area too.

Workout Leggings for petites That Have Made The Cut

Ok, I will be honest here. I am not one who goes out and buys all new workout clothes every season. Just like my regular wardrobe, my activewear is pieces that I like and feel good in. It is important to me that clothes last. Price does not always dictate that. How workout leggings perform is the most important aspect. So here are the brands/styles that I own and wear.

Spanx Booty Boost

Talk about compression. Spanx Booty Boost is one of my favorite leggings when I am really working my lower half. Not only do you get the compression, but makes the backside look great. The only thing that I will say is that the struggle to get in and out of them is real. Once they are on, it is worth it. The view from the back side is definitely boosted. Just make sure you cool down from your sweaty workout before taking them off. It’s easier that way.

I take my regular size XS in this legging and the 7/8 length is full length on me.

Athleta Salutation Stash

First of all, thank you Athleta for making so many petite workout legging options. This is probably the best site for petite activewear that exists. This is an OG tight in my collection. I love the Salutation Stash for days that I am doing pilates, yoga, or even upper body workouts.

The fabric on this legging is so soft, yet offers just the right amount of support to get you through your workout and beyond. I love that they always offer so many colors each and every season.

Athleta Ultimate Stash

The Ultimate Stash Tight is another one of my go-to tights from Athleta. This petite workout legging has great compression from the waist to the ankle. I wear them for lifting weights or when I am doing some HIIT workouts. They are flattering on the body. Another bonus is that they are made of recycled materials.

Zella Studio Luxe HighWaist

This Zella tight is a pair of leggings that works for petites. I have a few pairs of these leggings and they have held up beautifully wash after wash. My usual XS size in this legging fits nicely and the length is good. They are good medium compression leggings. I wear them on days that I may be doing upper body work at the gym or if I decide to take a fun studio class. Also great for a long walk.

Alo Yoga Airlift Legging – 7/8

This Arilift workout legging is another medium compression option for short girls. What I like about this particular legging is that the fabric is very soft to the touch. The fit is good in my torso and the length in my normal size. Alo makes the legging in so many color offerings season after season so you know that they have repeat customers.

Athleta Ranier Tight

Once you buy this tight which is a little pricey for just winter workouts you will understand why it sells out every season. It keeps you cozy for any medium or high-impact workouts because it is lined with this soft, brushed interior fabric. I like to wear them for winter outdoor walks. Living in a moderate climate in the south they are perfect for that. There is nothing like a walk or run in the brisk morning air. If I lived in a cold climate, they would be my winter go-to leggings for many workouts.

I have never seen them go on sale. They do sell out of them because they are seasonal workout leggings so I am sure they only make so many. Treat yourself and your winter workouts will be much better wearing these.

THANKS, Let’s stay in touch

As always thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet. Hopefully, I have helped guide you to some great leggings for petites to try. I have learned that you just have to try different brands to find what works best for your body so that you feel good in them while you are working out. If we look good and feel good in our activewear, then hopefully it encourages us to move our body on a regular basis.

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Updated October 2023

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  1. Love this info! I think I’d live the fleece tights for Canadian weather- would be great for my walking in the cold. Thanks Beth!

    1. Lucy,
      You would love them. I turned a friend of mine onto them a few years ago that lives in NC on a lake and walks here dog early in the am. She won’t go out without them. She learned the hard way not to wait until you need them to get them. She now has a few pair.

  2. jodie filogomo says:

    It’s sad that the petite leggings aren’t true petites then, because it’s supposed to shorten in the crotch area too.
    I have been a huge fan of the ruching in the rear ever since I found a pair. I can’t tell you how amazing it makes your behind look. Try it and you’ll see!!

    1. I know. The crotch area of leggings is one of my biggest pet peeves. You don’t want them saggy and you don’t want them too tight. Neither is comfortable or a good look. I just haven’t gone there yet with the ruching. I still live by the motto of my beloved coach Herb that trained me for years. The booty can never be too high or too tight. I work it all of the time.

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