If you’re preparing yourself for the best leggings with pockets to set you back some major coin, take a seat. As a longtime runner and curator of all things spandex leggings, I can confidently announce that I found primo running tights hiding in plain sight at Old Navy for just $20.
Before getting into the specs of the tights, I want to set the benchmark for what I mean when I refer to myself as a “runner.” I mean literally anyone who goes running. Though I seem to only get slower the more mileage I accrue, I’ve spent countless hours pounding the pavement and trying out various leggings in hopes of finding the perfect pair. Leggings need to fit nice and snug, offer decent compression that’s not too restrictive, and, the pièce de résistance, they need to have side pockets—seriously, get out of here with zip pockets that have room for maybe a key. The ability to slide in a phone, packet of electrolyte goop, and money so that I can stride hands-free makes all the difference in the quality of my runs. (Arm bands? Never met her.)
Where previous brands’ leggings with pockets have failed me (the pockets are usually either stiff or too small), the High-Waisted PowerSoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings from Old Navy were a pleasant surprise. It’s like Old Navy heard all of the negative things I’d ever said about my leggings and whipped up a pair that would offer just the opposite. I knew people were loyal to the brand’s workout clothes, but I didn’t expect that I’d jump on the bandwagon so quickly.
I chose this specific pair primarily because of the glowing reviews. (Oh, did I not mention over 9,300 people have reviewed them?) Here’s one I found particularly compelling. “These are probably the fourth or fifth pair that I’ve purchased because I love this material and the side pockets. They’re so comfortable, are very flattering and functional, and they move great and keep me dry during a workout.”
Old Navy has eight categories of activewear bottoms, ranging from StretchTech to CozeCore (offering stretchy fits and providing warmth, respectively) and positions the High-Waisted PowerSoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings as “light compression with a ridiculously smooth, peachy-soft feel.”
I selected a medium—sizes are offered in XS to 4X—and the minute I slipped my legs into them, I understood what Old Navy meant by “peachy-soft.” In terms of ease, they were like sliding on silk pants. Ordinarily, getting running tights into place can be a journey. I typically have to pull the fabric wide and negotiate around the knee before I can even get to the good thigh-yanking part. And the fit was spot on; they offered a nice compression without feeling tight or rigid. They’re made of 77% polyester and 23% spandex, which creates a stretchy-thin feel.
Since I don’t enjoy running with arm bands (they weigh me down and usually slip) I couldn’t wait to see what I could stuff into the side pockets. The first time I took these PowerSofts out for a run, I put my iPhone 12 mini on one side and a mask, chapstick, and zippered wallet in the other. The pockets are made of the same thin polyester-spandex material, so it was easy to slide everything in.
During the run, everything stayed in place. No jangling, and nothing fell out. After the run, I came home, stretched, and sat in my own filth (for journalism) to see if they’d remain dry once the post-run sweat started. And they did! I’ve continued wearing and washing these, and they hold up up without pilling or losing elasticity. They’re even better for walks—in fact, last week I fit a mandarin in one of the pockets. Bottom line: Go ahead and add my name to the already long roster of PowerSoft fans.