Skip to Content

Is It Okay for Guys to Wear Leggings? If So, When, Where and Why?

Man working out with leggings and athletic shorts

Short answer: Yes, it’s totally fine for guys to wear leggings… as athletic wear and preferably with a pair of athletic shorts on top unless worn for performance purposes (i.e. cycling, running, etc.).  Leggings for men are sometimes referred to as “meggings”.

What’s the difference between leggings and tights? Not much. Both are skin-tight pants.  Some suggest leggings are thicker and that may be.  Leggings don’t cover the feet while tights can. Read the detailed differences between tights and leggings here.

I have three pairs of athletic tights that I wear to the gym or outside.  I ALWAYS wear them with a pair of loose athletic shorts on top.  It’s actually a stylish and functional workout outfit.  It also works as very casual wear such as running errands or goofing around with kids at the park.

Why wear leggings or tights at all? Why not just wear snug sweat pants or just shorts?

According to, “Compression tights support and stabilize your muscles while you train by absorbing some of the strain as you squeeze your muscles.  They also increase blood flow and muscle oxygenation. This speeds up the muscle repair process and reduces fatigue after workouts.”

A study titled “Influence of Compression Garments on Vertical Jump Performance in NCAA Division I Volleyball Players” found “that compression shorts, while not improving single maximal jump power, have a significant effect on repetitive vertical jumps by helping to maintain higher mean jumping power.”

Other reasons for tights is the aerodynamics they offer (less drag) for any racing sports and they help keep you warm in cold weather.

The best leggings look for guys

The best leggings look for guys is with a pair of loose athletic shorts worn on top. They can be the same or different color as the leggings.  That doesn’t matter.

When or where should guys where leggings?

Generally, it’s a pant for athletic activities such as:

  • The gym: Leggings with shorts on top is a classic gym look these days. I like it as well and wear it often.
  • Running:  Many male runners wear just tights in cold weather.  It’s obviously acceptable but I really don’t like the look. I prefer a pair of shorts on top but I get that just tights is more aerodynamic.
  • Cycling: Again, many men wear just tights when cycling for warmth and less drag.  If speed matters, wearing a pair of loose shorts on top will hamper speed so while not the most attractive look for men, it is the best for performance.
  • Cold-weather sports: Tights work well under snowpants for cold-weather sports such as skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, etc.
  • Jumping sports:

IMO, there needs to be a compelling reason to wear just tights. Cycling and running is compelling of course.  But around town or as casual wear, it looks pretty weird.

Man wearing tights running

What lengths are tights for men?

Tights come in three lengths for men:

  1. Shorts (just above the knee),
  2. Mid-length (below the knee, aka capri style) and
  3. Long (to the ankle or around the entire foot).

Are tights comfortable?

They’re not bad. If you like tight-fitting apparel, you’ll find it more comfortable than guys who prefer looser clothing. I fall somewhere in between.  I like the tight fit working out but I don’t care for wearing tights when not working out.  I prefer looser athletic wear such as sweatpants.  One comfort aspect of tights is because the material is so stretchy, they make movement easy.

What are the best type of shorts to wear on top of meggings?

I like the loose athletic shorts.  Here’s an example:

Mens Quick Dry Fit Dri-Fit Active Wear Athletic Performance Basketball Tennis Soccer Running Essentials Gym Casual Workout Tech Shorts-Set 2,X-Large

Source: Amazon

Can you buy leggings for men with shorts combined?

Yes, you sure can. In fact, this combo is becoming more and more popular. Here’s a stylish example:

SILKWORLD Men's 2 in 1 Running Yoga Training Pants Workout Leggings with Zipper Pockets,Grey,Large

Source: Amazon

Is it okay to wear khaki shorts or denim shorts on top of meggings?

No, not really. It’s not really a good combination. Leggings for men are for athletic pursuits. Khaki shorts and jean shorts aren’t. It would be an odd pairing.

Are tight sweatpants considered tights?

No, not really.  They’re just tight sweatpants.

Where’s a good place to buy tights for guys?

Most athletic apparel stores sell tights or leggings for men.  One excellent online store for male leggings is Matador Meggings. Another is Kapow Meggings. Lululemon offers many tights for guys and it’s very good quality.  Amazon is another option.  Another approach is to seek out leggings by brand such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas… all of those brands design, make and sell tights for men.