Updated: 11/7/2019 | Leggings That Don’t Pill
Does anyone suffer from pilling activewear? *raises hand* Pilling makes leggings look extremely used, cheap and is oftentimes uncomfortable to wear. The pilling causes itching in between the thighs and anywhere else where there is pilled fabric rubbing against the skin.
Pilling also really hurts the quality of an apparel brand.
What is Pilling?
Pilling is when little balls lint form on the surface of fabric when it is brushed against another surface. The lint balls usually dangle from the fabric until you pull it off by hand or using a tool.
This could be caused by normal to moderate wear and washing, or fabric being brushed against itself (ie. the Chub Rub in between the thighs). This wears out the fabric and might make the fabric thinner (cue see-through issues) and itchy.
This chart displaying the different grades of pilling. I’ve experienced grades 1-5 in my activewear as well as other articles of clothing, such as wool sweaters.
I am going to list a few activewear brands that I have pilling issues with the most. Then we’ll explore brands that don’t pill.
Activewear Brands That Pill
Unfortunately, some of the brands that pill the most are also some of the most beloved ones on the market right now.
We’re baffled that companies are charging $100+ on a pair of leggings when it’s prone to issues such as pilling, opacity, and compression.
It goes to show how effective marketing and that with the right influencers and clients–you can sell anything.
Below are activewear brands with which we’ve experienced pilling.
- ALO Yoga – Alo Yoga also has issues with being see-through. Read my ALO Yoga reviews here.
- lululemon – Their stuff is so cute and trendy. It’s too bad that some of their fabris like Luon or Nulu ALWAYS pill. we’ve experienced pilling at the seams and on both the backside and surface of their fabric. Their Align fabric (Nulul) in black is the worse. I’ve attached photos of my pilling issues with them. I experienced grade 3 pilling within 5 wears.
- Athleta – Athleta‘s Lycra fabric is brushed and unfortunately pills. Some of their other fabrics, fortunately, do not pill. Read my Athleta reviews here. I experienced grade 3 pilling within 5 wears.
- Fabletics – Kate Hudson’s activewear brand is the epitome of fast fashion and unfortunately you get what you pay for.
- Glyder – Glyder material is brushed and will pill. They also have see-through issues. Read my Glyder review here. I experienced grade 3 pilling within 5 wears.
- Montiel – An LA brand offering a brushed fabric and simple silhouettes. The fabric pills in the armpits and between the legs. I still wear their teardrop bra often but it does tug at my neck and causes some strain. I experienced grade 3 pilling within 7 wears.
- Tuff Athletics – This is a popular Costco brand that unfortunately pills. I experienced grade 3 pilling within 5 wears.
10+ Leggings Brands That Don’t Pill
I’ve worn these brands again and again and they’ve never pilled on me. I highly recommend them if you’re anti-pill like me. I included some additional tips below that may be helpful in choosing non-pill activewear.
We recommend Zella’s Live In leggings in both medium and high-waist length. The fabric has a brushed feel and comes in different lengths and colors. Some printed fabrics may appear shiny and are typically white-backed (printed on white fabric).
Zella is part of the Nordstrom Product Group (NPG) and offers activewear for both men, women and kids.
Read our Zella Live-In leggings review here.
#2 Niyama Sol
Niyama Sol is another one of my favorite brands. Their printed designs feel brushed, won’t pill and come with a high waistband.
Their prints run out quick, so as soon as you see something you like, buy them ASAP. They’re a small batch activewear company based out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
#3 Inner Fire
Inner Fire is a Canadian based brand created by my friend Leah Emmott!
The brand is very community and eco-friendly focus. Leggings are white backed and thick, making them very compressive. Their prints are great and unique to the Pacific Northwest vibe.
Based out of LA, Carbon38 has been creating their own luxury line of activewear. None of the pants I own have pilling issues.
We recommend sizing up in Carbon38.
Girlfriend Collective makes eco-friendly and sustainable leggings are both affordable and very high quality. Their leggings come in both compression (classic) and LITE fabrics. All are made with certified recycled plastics.
SPANX makes leggings for all walks of life. They also have a line made specifically for exercising and active living. We personally love them because they offer a lot of compression and are great quality!
Read our SPANX reviews here.
Chill by Will is an LA-based brand made by two moms. Their fabrics are durable and their designs are sexy.
Read our Chill by Will review here.
Use code YOGANEWS for 20% off your orders. Shipping will be from Serbia.
Read our Arthletic Wear reviews here.
#9 Dharma Bums
Dharma Bums hails from Australia. Their fabrics are thick, stretchy and super durable.
Read our Dharma Bums reviews here.
#10 Evolution and Creation (EVCR)
Evolution and Creation (EVCR) is a popular brand sold in TJ Maxx. The brand definitely falls into the fast fashion category. They also offer unique prints and the fabric and design are actually high quality.
Read our EVCR review here.
KiraGrace is a San Diego activewear brand that doesn’t pill.
We recommend sizing down in their bottoms and sizing up in their tops. For example, I wear a size XS in KiraGrace and size 6 in lululemon for sizing reference.
Read our KiraGrace reviews here.
Liquido Active is a Brazilian activewear brand that makes fun prints in a super durable and pill-resistant fabric.
All their leggings come with a 7/8th or extra long length. They also offer shorts, sports bras, and some cover-ups.
Read our Liquido reviews here.
We couldn’t leave lululemon off this list. They do make fabrics that don’t pill.
We recommend going for Luxtreme, Nulux or Everlux fabrics if you hate pilling. These fabrics are more durable, high-performance, sweat wicking and do not pill.
#14 Wolven Threads
Use code SCHIMIGGY for 20% off at Wolven Threads.
Read our Wolven Threads reviews here.
#15 Yoga Democracy
We absolutely love Yoga Democracy. Their prints and designs are so beautiful. Their fabric is soft and offer a bit shine.
TEEKI is a California based activewear company that is all about eco-friendly practices and fair wages.
Their stuff doesn’t pill, but it does stretch out and fade over time. You win some, lose some.
Read our TEEKI review here.
Our friend Chriztina designs all her prints by hand. How impressive is that?
WERKSHOP uses high quality Italian fabric that is super durable and doesn’t pill! They also have an Athleisure fabric that is better for low-impact sports like yoga, barre and pilates.
Many of these brands are also featured in the YogaClub activewear subscription box. You’ll find these brands for more than 80% off through the activewear subscription service.
Things you should really take into account when purchasing activewear are fabric material and sizing. There are certain brands that I only shop for leggings and other brands where I shop only for bras.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your brands and pieces. You can create some really unique outfits that way.
How to Care for Pill Prone Fabric
If your favorite pair of leggings is caught in a pilling disaster and you would rather wear them out until they’re dumpster worthy, I recommend buying an electric fabric shaver to remove pilling from your leggings.
Other methods that have been used to remove pilling include razors, lint rollers, tape, and cutting them tediously off with scissors. Save yourself the headache and just invest in the electric shaver. Here is my guide on how to remove pilling from your activewear.
I also recommend hang drying your pants.
Avoid tumble drying, even on the lowest setting. Drying causes static and friction against other fabrics (even against its own) and will cause pilling to worsen and spread. It may even cause some fabrics to shrink.
Best way to avoid pilling is to shop for pill-resistant pants. This will save you the most headache against future pilling issues. Think about what fabrics you like and try one of the aforementioned brands out. They might become your new favorite legging!
Check out my comprehensive list of 15+ medium to low-impact bras that will go great with the leggings listed above.
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