Are High End Leggings Worth It? A Review on Athleta, Michi, and Calvin Klein

There’s no sense in fighting it anymore–leggings have become a part of my daily uniform. I never quite understood why many moms, even trendy ones, are often seen wearing leggings and other athletic wear, but now I get it. You need something that you can move in, be vomited on, and come out of the washer and dryer booger-free. I’ve ripped some designer jeans trying to crawl on the floor once, and never mind trying to machine-dry denim unless you want them to shrink and fade after a few washes. Besides, now that I’m always in sneakers I may as well complete my outfits in athleisure.

I started with Target leggings, because why spend $100 when you can spend $10? But honestly they were a little scratchy and a bit thin for my liking. Plus I wanted something with an edgier style, so I dropped into a local Athleta store on my way home from yoga class one day.

I tried on every style of leggings they had in the store and liked the Excursion Tight (photo below) the best. I also picked up a pair of Polartec Power Stretch Tight, which is a fairly basic piece but amazingly warm. I’ve been reaching for it when the temperatures drop below 50s at night.

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At a recent Shopbop sale, I gave the Michi Storme Pocket Leggings a try. I thought the sheer paneling was tastefully done, and was curious what leggings at over $100 felt like. I can tell you the fabric was incredibly comfortable, and truly felt like a second skin. While I haven’t tried every premium brand out there, these were definitely a step above the Athleta ones, so the quality seemed worth the price. Of course, how much you ultimately want to spend is a personal choice.

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For sake of comparison, Calvin Klein recently had a huge sale and I picked up a pair of leggings that had a similar style to the Michi Storme leggings. There was definitely a difference in quality, as I could feel the ridges where the solid fabric connected with the mesh and you could tell the stitching on the hem was not done as well. Though the fabric was thick, it didn’t feel as nice as the Athleta ones, and at regular price ($55) I would prefer to settle for Target.

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Do you wear leggings? If so, what are your favorite brands?

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  1. Christine says

    Your post is timely for me. I was just thinking I need more mom leggings and want some that are more durable. I might check some of these out. I found some from a brand called Pact that are nice but not quite as thick as I was thinking. I like that they are cotton and organic though. I like cotton better than the man made fabrics.

    • lifeunrefined says

      People have been telling me to check out Lululemon as well, so I’ll update this post as soon as I try them out! Otherwise, I think Athleta pieces are good quality for the price.

  2. Virginia says

    For spring weather leggings,I prefer cotton too. For those, I buy from Aritzia. They have a high waisted style (mullaly?) that’s great. I used to really like Lululemon, especially the softer seasonal fabric knits (not luon). It’s seems that quality has deteriorated over time while they’ve continued to increase the price.

  3. says

    Personally I believe leggings as pants are a style that should have stayed in the 80s and will be highly regretted when most people look back on their photos from this decade. I said it when the trend started, and I am sticking to it.

    In all seriousness, I think you look great in leggings. For my body type, that is a hard no, and even when I was very thin, I think I felt immodest in them apart from an exercise or dance setting. But for those who feel confident and healthy and comfortable in them, I say great! :-)

  4. Mikaela says

    Just curious, how tall and what size are you? I’m trying to choose the right size for Athleta and my leg shape is pretty similar to yours


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