Thanks to the incredible rise of athleisure, leggings are okay to wear as pants (under the right circumstances, of course). According to a study conducted by Social Context Labs, yoga pants are actually the most talked-about trend in the United States. Of course, there are still a lot of us out there that wear yoga pants for their actual purpose—exercise. That's why you might be shocked to know that a lot of the styles you're probably buying are pretty bad for working out in.
According to professor Rachel McQueen of the University of Alberta, who studies how textiles develop and retain smell, the synthetic stretchy stuff is totally not made to sweat it out in. She shared with Refinery 29 the worst culprit of them all: polyester. McQueen said, "Polyester, which is required to make clothing stretchy, is nonpolar and nonabsorbent. This is what makes it so famously 'sweat-wicking.' On top of that, because it repels water, polyester is harder to clean in the washing machine, which might be why, even after you wash your workout clothes, the odor sometimes doesn't go away. Odors cling to polyester's surface and waft away slowly over time, leading to a continuous stink all day." Gross!
Luckily, there are lesser evils out there when it comes to clothing materials. Cotton, for example, only becomes a problem when in a continuously wet environment. As long as you take your cotton yoga pants off after your workout to wash and dry them as soon as possible, you can still avoid the smelly leggings situation.
Scroll on to shop a few of our favorite cotton-based finds!