I’ve been really liking the Sweaty Betty pieces in my wardrobe so far, and the past couple of weeks I got the chance to test out some of their new leggings from this season. Sweaty Betty crowned these three their hero leggings; in other words they’re the focal point of their bottoms lineup this season. Each pair even has their own highlight video on their YouTube channel. So, do they live up to the hero status? Here’s my take…
Disclosure: these three leggings were gifted to me from Sweaty Betty. As usual, everything here is my own honest opinion and experience.
Urdhva yoga leggings
If you want to make a leggings statement, the urdhva leggings definitely fit the bill. They’ve got multiple mesh accents in black and grey, plus a space dye panel at the bottom. The color, toucan blue, is a nice shade leading into spring.
The urdhva leggings (along with the amritas below) were my first pair of Sweaty Betty’s yoga bottoms. Besides of course the bold look, my first impression of these was the fabric–it’s incredibly soft and wonderful. It’s a little bit cottony but still pretty smooth. It actually feels a lot like thermal fabric (e.g., lululemon’s rulu or Alala’s tactel), just a little lighter weight and not brushed. I love, love the fabric. I would definitely encourage you to check out any of SB’s bottoms in this fabric.
I got the urdhvas in XXS short. The ones I have in XS fit pretty well, so I wasn’t sure how this size would work out, even though I generally consider XXS my ideal size. I was happy to discover that they fit perfectly! So, if you’re between sizes, you’re safe to take the smaller of the two sizes. Otherwise, I recommend taking your true size. The fabric and fit has nice stretch but still holds everything in. The seam placement and angles are thoughtfully placed. Although sometimes contrast seams can draw attention where you don’t want it (ahem–crotch seam), the fact that these leggings have so much going on definitely helps with that.
I’m glad that these are offered in petite length since it means I have minimal bunching at the ankle in this length (I am 5’3″). It also means the seams hit where they’re supposed to instead of cutting across the knee. Also on the fit topic: these are a high rise, pretty much covering my belly button. The rise is nice when you want to wear just a sports bra or crop top but want a little more coverage.
The urdhvas are fully reversible, which means there is a seam at the top of the waistband. That means there’s a little bit of extra bulk there as opposed to the more thin, wide high rise bands I’ve seen on other brands, but this thicker band doesn’t cut in on me. The waistband also has a continuous drawcord inside, though this will be on the outside if you’re wearing these black side out.
As Sweaty Betty advertises on their site, this fabric is 100% opaque, even in deep bends and squats. If you reverse these to the solid black side, the blue will show through a little in a bend, but it still won’t show your underwear. On the black side, you lose some of the contrast seam effect since all the seams are black. Overall, the black side is less busy, which is nice for when you want to tone things down a bit. Functionally, these have worked great so far for my workouts, and I didn’t find the seams to get in the way at all. The ample mesh airs out these leggings a lot, too, so they were a little chilly for particularly cold weather, but would work well when you’re working up a sweat and need some ventilation. More on the fabric’s functionality below…
Amrita yoga leggings
The fit, fabric, and function of these is pretty much identical to the urdhva leggings above. This pair is also XXS short and fits great. The seam placement is flattering, and the mesh is more subtle on this pair than the urdhvas. The mesh itself is particularly soft and you don’t even notice that the accent panel is there (in a good way).
Take note that pattern placement does vary from pair to pair. Every pair I’ve seen pictures of appears almost perfectly symmetric, though, which is great news for those of you who are more exacting when it comes to patterns. My pair ended up with amusing placement–my bum looks like it has pockets or eyes. :)
Although these are billed as yoga leggings, they could really suit plenty of other workouts, too. In fact, the first day I wore these, I went to CrossFit and rope climbs ended up being part of the workout. I was nervous the rough rope would leave a mark, but I did 8 ascents and didn’t have any issues.
Speaking of putting these through the ringer…
I also took these on a brief hike two weekends ago through some snow. On my hike, I crossed the creek 10 times (each way). Some of those crossings were a little sketchy, especially since there was some snow and ice in places. On the 10th crossing, I SLIPPED. Yes, I fell into the frozen creek. Basically, I ended up in a sort of plank pose and ended up getting the front of my pants pretty wet. Mostly, I was just glad my phone and camera were spared! (Side note: also wearing these Sorel boots.)
Getting wet was really not ideal because the temperature was in the 40s and dropping with almost no sun. It was about an hour before we got back to the car, but by the time we did, my pants were completely and totally dry! I was also surprised to find that I actually didn’t feel significantly colder or more uncomfortable with wet pants than when they were dry. I definitely didn’t plan on testing these pants out to that extent, but I was pretty pleased with the results.
Overall, I really love these leggings, as evidenced by the fact I’ve already worn them like 3 times in just a couple of short weeks. They’re incredibly comfortable and functional for a nice variety of activities. If I had to pick a favorite of the 3, these would come out on top.
Zero gravity run tights
In contrast to the two pairs above, the zero gravity tights are made with high performance in mind. The cabana print is new for this season; it’s subtle, but spices things up a little bit.
The fabric has a more synthetic feel, and is quite a bit more firm (i.e., a bit less stretchy) than the leggings above. Don’t expect ultra silky softness from these–they’re more of a technical feel. I got these in XS short, which turned out to be a good choice. I might’ve been able to shimmy my way into an XXS, but they would’ve been ultra-tight. So, if you want maximum compression, lean toward a smaller size. I’m happy with the compression I get in the XS–it’s firm but not chokehold-level tight. The petite length also meant that the mesh behind the knee hits at a good spot.
One thing that makes these tights unique is the use of bonded seams. The hem is bonded, and the behind-the-knee mesh accent and reflectivity is all bonded as well (the inner seam is flatlocked, not bonded). It’s virtually impossible to see in the pics, but there’s also a bonded seam that runs across the outer quad (it meets up with the mesh accent behind the knee). I actually didn’t notice that seam at first! The nice thing about bonded seams is that they tend to be especially good for resisting chafing. The downside is that they are less flexible than sewn seams. In particular, I noticed that the mesh and reflective accents behind the knee are a tad stiff. It’s not something that rubbed or hurt, but it was something that I was aware of while I was wearing them.
Sweaty Betty doesn’t claim that these have perfect opacity, which I found to be true. Although they’re opaque upright, if you’re going to be bending or squatting, you’ll need discrete underthings.
On that note, the fabric is pretty lightweight. It’s quite breathable, but that also means you shouldn’t expect insulation from these. Even though these are full length, I expect you could wear these in warmer weather than most other tights. Also, despite being lighter, the tighter knit makes these nicely flattering.
The waistband has a continuous drawcord and rear zip pocket. The rise is just a hair lower than the yoga leggings–it hits just a little bit below my belly button.
Overall, the zero gravity tights have some nice technical, functional pluses that makes these especially suited to high-intensity activities like spinning or running.
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