I wear a lot of yoga pants, which is not surprising since I am a yoga teacher. Through the years I have gone through countless numbers of these pants through many different fashion changes. When I first began yoga, tight leggings were in style. Things then changed and nobody wore tight leggings because the loser fit yoga pants were the fashion. Then the fashion seemed to take a trend towards very billowing and lose yoga pants, then back to more straight leg and finally has turned the corner back towards the tighter fit leggings. I am happy to report that as of now, anything you happen to wear for your pants in a yoga class is totally in fashion.
Aside from fashion, another thing governs yoga pants and that is comfort. You might think that comfort was always the top concern, however there was a time when it was common for women to wear these thong leotards over lycra leggings. I was not one of those women and I am not judging you if you were, but thank God, that style craze has not reappeared. Not comfortable and not exactly subtle either.
As I have said, these days just about anything will work for you in the fashion arena so you can afford to focus totally on comfort. With that in mind I thought I would share with you my favorite yoga pants. As I have said I have been through a lot of pants since these are in pretty much constant use and with repeated washings eventually wear out. It is very important for those who wish to retain at least a little bit of dignity to regularly check your yoga pants for signs of wear. Broken seams in the crotch area are a problem as is the ever present threat of see-through fabric in the butt.
They say that people who run or walk frequently will need to change their workout shoes every 6 months or perhaps sooner depending on the miles walked. For yoga wear, how often you need new pants is related to how frequently your yoga pants get washed. In addition to that, if you put those stretchy yoga pants in the dryer versus line drying you can expect them to need replacing nearly twice as fast.
One thing that can prolong the life of yoga pants is choosing a long lasting fabric. There is an incredible variety of fabrics to choose from including synthetics like nylon and polyester to organic cotton and hemp. Most yoga pants will be a blend of substances and if you like them to be stretchy there there will be some small percentage of lycra or spandex.
My favorite fabric and what seems to be the longest lasting of natural fiber blends includes hemp in the weave. Hemp is one of the oldest and is one of the strongest of natural fibers. Some history buffs may know that the first American flag was made out of hemp fabric, but the existence of hemp cloth dates back to at least 2000 B.C.
Hemp fabric is similar to cotton in its breathable and porous nature, however hemp is more durable and wears better after repeated washing. Industrial grade hemp is still illegal to grow in most parts of the world even though it is a plant that requires no irrigation nor pesticides and its cultivation improves soil health. Be that as it may, due to restrictions on the plant most hemp is grown in China and then imported.
As a fabric by itself, hemp is not very soft, but when blended with other fibers such as organic cotton, recycled polyester or spandex the cloth is quite soft and grows softer with wear and laundering.
The first hemp blend cloth yoga pants I ever tried were the Mina Wear roll top boot cut. They are 27% hemp, 68% organic cotton and 5% spandex which makes them very soft. These are also some of the most vibrant of colors and I even have a tie dyed pair that Mina made especially for me (one of the perks of meeting her at a yoga conference). Her yoga pants tend to run slightly large, so what is listed as a medium is really more a medium/large. I really like her style and I would probably own every color she makes but she is currently out of my size.
Minawear’s low inventory had me searching for other hemp blend yoga pants and I found a great one with PrAna’s Linea Pant. This one is 53% hemp, 42% organic cotton and 5% spandex. Due to the increased amount of hemp it is not as soft of fabric as the Minawear, but that does not diminish how really nice these pants are. The seams are all double stitched and this one has a wide waistband which is very comfortable. It also has these little pockets on the back, which for me are totally useless, but hey, if you need pockets they are there.
I see that PrAna also carries a men’s Sutra pant that is 53% hemp, 44% recycled polyester (PET) and 3% lycra. These would likely also be very soft and probably wear even longer than the cotton blends. Another choice is the Gramicci Women’s Wing organic performance legging that is 53% hemp, 42% organic cotton and 5% spandex. These are the tighter fitting leggings and based on the fabric blend probably just like my PrAna pants in that the fabric softness will be slightly less than a higher cotton blend.
All in all these are my top choices in yoga pants. I have had the Minawear for almost a year now and they show no sign of wear or fading and I have worn/laundered them quite a bit. The weave of the fabric makes them slightly thicker than some yoga pants but the fabric breathes very well. These have taken me through the heat of our summer and now I know they will keep me warm in the winter as well. They are pricier than some yoga pants out there, but these are going to be around for quite some time. If you are looking for a high quality and attractive yoga pant, you can’t go wrong with the hemp blends.