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Allbirds’ New Natural Leggings Kept Me Cool During a 100-Degree Hike

The sustainable shoe brand's new activewear line is all about breathability.

katie wearing allbirds leggings on a hike in the woods
Katie Pittman

There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.

On Trial: Allbirds Natural Legging

The Tester: Katie Pittman, a sweaty hiker who's tired of polyester leggings

The Brief: A lot of leggings market themselves as lightweight and breathable, but I’ve always found that synthetic fabrics just don’t do it for me on hot, humid days. They’re great for when I’m lifting weights and need some compression, but for hiking and spending time outdoors, I often find myself peeling off my leggings as soon as I get inside, hoping I can pry them off my sweaty body without help.

I’m someone who regularly hikes and lifts weights, so I’ve tried about every cooling legging out there. Cotton leggings feel great, but they’re often slow to dry when I’m outside, or hold moisture in the waistband because of the double-layered fabric. When I’m lifting in them, they don’t pass the squat test.

When Allbirds released their sustainable activewear line, I was beyond excited. Not only is everything in the line sustainably made, but they're supposed to do what I needed most: Wick away sweat and keep you cool.

Women's Natural Run Form Tank - Shadow
Allbirds allbirds.com

The material in the leggings is made up of lyocell (a fabric made from tree pulp), recycled nylon, merino wool, and elastane (for stretch). They're extremely soft to the touch, and there's a good bit of stretch. The leggings come in four colors: black, gray, blue, and an eggplant hue, and you can make a matching set with the Allbirds Natural Run Form Tank which is made of the same material.

I first wore the leggings on a hot hike up the Flatirons in Colorado. It was nearly 100 degrees on the day my friend and I went hiking, so I was really putting the breathability factor to the test.

Immediately upon getting out of our rental car and walking to the trailhead, I noticed that the leggings weren't sticking to my thighs the way some others do. I could feel the breeze as we walked, and even though I was hot under the afternoon sun, I wasn't uncomfortable.

katie walking on hiking trail in colorado in allbirds leggings
Katie Pittman

After a few miles, I had definitely worked up a sweat, but I didn’t feel sticky or suffocated by the bottoms. The pants did show sweat, however. I have the leggings in the blue shade (“shadow” on the website), and I suspected it may show any moisture. The back of the waistband and right below it showed where I had been sweating, but it dried quickly after we finished our hike.

When it comes to fit, the leggings are a true mid-rise, hitting me right below my belly button. I personally prefer a high-rise legging, as those tend to stay up better on my body type, but even with the lower rise, I wasn't constantly pulling them up. There is an elastic drawstring in the waistband, which you can tighten if you need to.

It’s not my favorite type of drawstring, if I’m being honest — it’s a loop, rather than a string you can tie, so you have to fight with the knot when putting the pants on and taking them off. Even without the drawstring, my leggings didn’t need to be regularly pulled up like some others I have worn.

I was pleased to find the inseam wasn't cropped on me. I'm not super tall (5-foot-7), but a lot of leggings tend to hit me at an awkward spot on my calves, a couple of inches above my ankles. These hit right by my ankle bone, making for a more flattering fit. Plus, the seams down the sides continue around the back of the pants, giving a nice little rounding effect in the hip area.

allbirds leggings waistband pocket

I would’ve loved a pocket on the side of the leggings to hold my phone or keys. There’s one pocket in the back of the waistband, but it’s not great for holding your phone since it adds a lot of weight — when I tried this, it did make the leggings slide down a little bit. I'd say the back pocket is best for keys or a credit card.

The Conclusion: For hot hikes or runs, these sweat-wicking leggings are so much cooler than their polyester counterparts. They don't feel sticky or suffocating, and they look cute enough for morning coffee runs or lazy days, too. I would've preferred a higher rise, but these are marketed as mid-rise, and they sat right below my belly button.

I will say, as a lady who has a bit of a booty, these didn't pass the squat test for me. During our hike, my friend pointed out she could see through the leggings in certain sunny areas, and I noticed that while I lifted they stretched out and became pretty sheer mid-squat. However, I don't mind wearing a longer top to cover any areas that need it, so the pros outweigh the cons for me.

If you're someone looking for a cool, sustainably made pair of leggings for running, hiking, or working out, I highly recommend the Allbirds Natural Leggings. Not only are they easy on the planet, but they're cute and comfy, too. I'll be wearing these in the cooler temps for sure.

Shop Allbirds Leggings

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