Whether you’re gym obsessed or a yoga lover, a casual fashionista, or an online-learner just trying to get through Zoom school in the most comfort possible, there’s no denying it; leggings are a modern wardrobe staple, and Lululemon has earned a reputation as the absolute best of the best. The retailer offers their signature pants in a myriad of styles, lengths, and patterns, and while this wide variety of options is certainly welcomed, the process of settling down on a specific style can be daunting, especially if you’re a first time Lulu shopper.
If this has been a concern for you, worry no more! I’ve purchased and tried out three of Lululemon’s most popular styles—the Aligns, Wunder Unders, and Fast & Frees—and I’m here to offer my advice on how to pick out the best pair for you.
When I finally decided to invest in a pair of Lulus this past summer, I was immediately drawn to the Align style. This seems to be a common first instinct, as the Aligns are Lululemon’s most popular legging and offer the broadest range of colors, designs, and lengths. And perhaps most importantly, Aligns tend to be a hit with legging lovers because of their incredibly soft Nulu fabric. With all of this information in mind, I ordered a plain black pair of Aligns and anxiously awaited their arrival.
After I received my Aligns, I loved their comfort so much that I made the mistake of reaching for them before every occasion that constituted legging wearing, from weight lifting and cycling workout sessions and trips to the grocery store to lounging around the house and hanging out with friends. I loved their versatility and the ease with which I could make them work for nearly any circumstance, but I soon noticed that my Aligns had started to pill and degrade in quality after just a few weeks of frequent use. Upon conducting some research, I learned that the buttery soft fabric used in Aligns is only so soft because it’s incredibly delicate, meaning that Aligns are only intended for certain activities. Chilling and watching TV in these leggings is a go, while going on a run or hitting the gym in them ensures inevitable damage.
I go through the labor of explaining all of this only to emphasize that if you’re looking for a pair of leggings that you want to use for a wide range of activities, especially high-intensity workouts, Aligns may not be the right fit for you. To keep Aligns looking new and pristine, they only can be used gently, solely for loungewear and extremely low-impact movement. That being said, Aligns are incredibly comfortable and flattering—hence why I wore them so much after I first purchased them—and they also feature one of the highest rises of all Lulu leggings. They are so widely loved for a reason, but it’s a shame that such comfort comes at the expense of utility.
As far as sizing goes, Aligns generally fit closely to your normal dress or pant size. If you want a slightly more compressive fit, sizing down will work as well, as Aligns have a very generous amount of stretch. I wear a size eight normally, and the size eight in Align is a great fit for me, though I could go down to a six if necessary and still feel more than comfortable. Like other Lululemon leggings, the inseams measurements for full-length Aligns are 25”, 28”, and 31”. 28” inseam is the standard length, while the 25” and 31” lengths are better suited for short and tall girls respectively. Still measure your inseam before ordering, though; being 5’9”, I assumed that the 31” would be best for me, but when I double-checked, I realized that the regular 28” was actually of sufficient length!
Overall, Aligns are a great pant as long as you’re aware of the limitations that exist within their use. If you’re looking for a legging that offers more versatility and will stay intact better through vigorous movement, I would suggest another Lulu style. But if you’re totally chill with wearing other leggings to the gym or while out-and-about in favor of optimal comfort at home, then the Aligns are your absolute best match.
After my experience with Aligns, I decided to try out a different Lulu style that would be more durable through workouts: the Wunder Under. Marketed as a pant with low-friction fabric and support for all types of movement, I was confident that this would be a far better fit within my active lifestyle.
However, my initial reaction to trying on Wunder Unders was entirely opposite of my first impression of Aligns. When I tried on the Aligns, I fell in love with their smoothness and never wanted to take them off. Meanwhile, with the Wunder Unders, I was disappointed that the material wasn’t nearly as silky soft as my other pair of Lulu leggings, and they felt ridiculously compressive in comparison; in fact, I fought the urge to return them for another pair of Aligns instead, despite my past disappointment with the quality of Aligns over time.
But after I worked out in my Wunder Unders for the first time, everything changed. I hadn’t realized how quickly my Aligns stretched out and the frequency with which I was pulling them up until I wore leggings that actually stayed in place. The Wunder Unders also generally look sleeker, with absolutely no pilling or visible wear-and-tear over several washes.
For sizing, I would stick with your usual pant size; if you’re in between two sizes, go with the larger size. Wunder Unders are compressive and tight, so they may take a minute to put on, but they shouldn’t be fitted to the point that they restrict mobility or bring any kind of pain.
While Wunder Unders aren’t quite as comfortable or soft as Aligns, I truly believe they are the best match for those who intend to use their Lulus for high intensity workouts. They’ll keep you in place and move with your body, almost like a second skin, as opposed to presenting a distraction or becoming an annoyance as you try to get your sweat on.
The most recent addition to my Lululemon collection has been a brown pair of Fast & Frees. While I scored these leggings on clearance for less than $100—always take a look at the “We Made Too Much” section on the Lululemon website before checking out, as they occasionally offer significant discounts on popular styles!—they normally are $128, thirty dollars costlier than the already pricey Aligns and Wunder Unders.
The Fast & Frees are not only unique in price. They also are noticeably different in appearance from both the Align and the Wunder Under styles. For one, the Lululemon emblem is placed on the lower left leg in the Fast & Frees as opposed to the placement in the center of the back waistband in most other styles. The Fast & Frees also have deep pockets on the sides of each of the thighs, while the Aligns and Wunder Unders only offer a small compartment tucked in the inner waistband that is not suitable for holding much more than a key. There’s additional stitching on the Fast & Frees around the butt-area as well, while the bottoms of the pants are hemless as opposed to the small ankle hem that Aligns and Wunder Unders sport.
With these major changes in design, the Fast & Frees clearly stand out from the other two primary styles. These dramatic differences made me a bit apprehensive about my purchase, but I am so glad that I ordered them anyway, because the Fast & Frees instantly became my favorite Lululemon legging.
The side pockets are incredibly convenient for easily carrying items like my phone, AirPods, wallet, or keys, and the material makes the Fast & Frees a comfortable choice from the gym to the grocery store to my couch at home and everything in between. As much as I love the Aligns and the Wunder Unders, I envision that many more pairs of Fast & Frees are in my future.
Sizing for these is super straightforward: your standard pant size should be a match! The Fast & Frees have enough stretch to mold comfortably to your body, but they also retain their shape well and offer adequate support while moving.
In all, it’s hard to go wrong with Lululemon leggings. The brand is known for its superior quality, comfort, and durability, but with so many styles available, finding the ideal fit can be a tricky task. In my experience, I’ve found that Aligns are the most comfortable choice for lounging, Wunder Unders are best for more intense physical activity, and Fast & Frees reign supreme for all-around versatility and function. However, everyone’s preferences vary, so when in doubt, turn to your nearest Lulu store to try a pair on or check other online reviews.
Best of luck while finding your perfect match!