Do Leggings Keep You Warm?

woman in leggings and sneakers stretches

The increasing number of fitness enthusiasts in the US have made leggings become all the rage for quite some time now. In addition, many other people wear leggings as casual wear because they’re lighter than jeans and allow a wider range of motion. But do leggings keep you warm, especially in winter?

Leggings made of wool, polyester, or acrylic keep you warm even in cold winter because the materials keep your legs dry and have good heat retention properties. Many manufacturers also release fleece-lined leggings with a windproof outer fabric like polyester. 

Whether it’s for fashion, comfort, or convenience, leggings are popular for men and women. Therefore, clothing companies have worked on making functional leggings. This article will discuss the different materials used to make warm leggings and their functionalities. 

Leggings With Warm Fabrics Can Keep You Warm

While many leggings keep you warm, not all of them do so. In summer, people wear the breathable type because it keeps them cool and dry. In winter, they need to replace the leggings with a warmer alternative. 

The key to warm leggings is the fabric material, and each of them has its benefits and downsides. Let’s see below: 


Wool is a natural material derived from sheep and other animals such as yak, goat, alpaca, camels, and oxen. There are many variants of wool, such as cashmere and Merino, which are fashionable and functional. Modern wool leggings look chic and comfortable for men and women

knitted clothes

Although wool is great for making warm leggings, they have a few disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of using wool: 


  • Wool is biodegradable, making it excellent for environment-friendly fashionistas. 
  • The material is versatile, as it can be used in both warm and cold weather, reducing the need to tuck away your favorite pair of leggings for a different set when seasons change. 
  • It’s naturally resistant to bacteria buildup and pretty durable, meaning your leggings will serve you years down the road.
  • Wool is renewable; sheep, for example, may regrow their fleece. 
  • Wool doesn’t retain odors, so you don’t have to worry about your leggings smelling from sweating during working out. 


  • Some people seem to have allergic reactions to wool. One study showed that lanolin, a waxy material coating wool strands, triggered sensitivity responses in some people. However, another study showed that modern products, most products,  especially those made using fine Merino wool, don’t elicit an allergic reaction. 
  • Wool products mustn’t be washed using bleach or fabric softeners. They mustn’t be heat- or tumble-dried, either, because the material will get damaged. These limitations may prove troublesome when washing your wool products. However, they have a protective wax layer that protects them from stains, meaning you don’t need to wash them often. 


Polyester is a synthetic fabric material made from petroleum derivatives. It’s also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The material used to be inelastic, unbreathable, and uncomfortable when it first came out, but modern technology has done great at eliminating such problems. 


  • It works very well in cold weather due to its ability to draw moisture or sweat away from the skin, thus, keeping you warm. 
  • Since polyester is 100% synthetic, it’s one of the best vegan options for winter clothing. 
  • It’s widely used in fitness or workout clothes because it’s lightweight, durable, and elastic. 
  • Polyester is resistant to water-based stains. 
  • The material is wrinkle-free and easy to maintain. 


  • The disposal of old polyester leggings may pose some problems for the environment since it’s non-biodegradable. 
  • It’s not as breathable as natural fibers and thus may cause skin irritation. 
  • Chemicals used in the production process may cause sensitivity reactions to the wearer. 
  • 100% polyester products may cause static reactions. 


Similar to polyester, acrylic is also synthetic. It’s made from a polymer called polyacrylonitrile. The material is versatile and used in many other industries since it’s a suitable replacement for glass and used in paint. In the apparel industry, acrylic fabric is often used in winter clothing due to its warmth.

dry paint


  • Leggings made from acrylic fabric are easy to wash and dry quickly. 
  • The material is soft and stretchable. 
  • Like polyester, acrylic also has good heat retention abilities and can draw moisture away from the skin. 
  • It’s moth-resistant and wrinkle-proof. 


  • The material tends to pill over time. 
  • It’s not as breathable as natural fibers. 

A Mix of Fleece Lining and Polyester Outer Layer

Many new products mix wool and polyester through an inner fleece lining and an outer layer made of polyester spandex. Fleece is a synthetic fiber made from polyester. 


  • The inner fleece lining protects the skin from direct contact with polyester, which many believe causes irritant dermatitis. 
  • The outer polyester layer provides a windproof cover for the otherwise non-windproof fleece. 
  • Fleece and polyester have good heat retention ability, making the leggings sufficient outdoor workout clothing during freezing weather. 
  • Fleece doesn’t trigger the same allergic reaction seen in people allergic to wool. 
  • Modern technology helped produce modified polyester, making the fleece-polyester combination breathable. 
  • Fleece and polyester spandex are lightweight and flexible, making them comfortable to wear while jogging, stretching, and running.
  • The combination is an excellent vegan alternative because it’s 100% synthetic. 


  • Both fleece and polyester trap odors. 
  • Washing a product with fleece and polyester materials may prove hazardous to the environment because they both release microplastics that get into the sewage system. 
  • The material combination is prone to collecting lint. 

Final Thoughts

Leggings are an excellent wardrobe option that both men and women can wear. Not all leggings are created equal; so, some leggings may be warmer or cooler than others.

Today, apparel companies continue to develop better leggings to cater to a wide variety of customers: vegan, environment-conscious, fitness enthusiasts, and more. As a result, you’ll find functional and fashionable leggings that can even help you maintain your fitness routine even in freezing winter months. 

If you prefer to wear natural fabrics, I recommend choosing leggings made of merino wool.

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