I go through A LOT of athletic leggings/yoga pants/joggers each weeks, so I thought since I've spent millions of dollars on mine, I'd share my pros on cons for each brand and let you know what I would throw down for again and what I'd probably pass on next time. That being said, I haven't tried some brands that I have been eager to, like Cove or Spanx (which Oprah just told me about in her magazine that somehow keeps showing up in my mailbox), but I have tried from cheapest to most expensive, and I work out enough to know what I want in a legging----pockets, comfort, structure, and warmth (but breathable). So if that sounds similar to your list --read on!
The one who really started it all, and then got an ego as big as the country it started in. When I first got married I worked at a yoga stuido in Phoenix/Scottsdale and I saved up all my money just to get the employee discount for that first pair on the left there. And everyone had them. But it seems as time has gone on, we have more to choose from and people are choosing more affordable and easier to return/exchange brands. While I love the structure of the Wunder Under (and by "structure" I mean it holds me all together and feels compressive without making me feel like I'm wearing jeans 3 sizes too small, you know?), for $98 I want pockets, I don't care what activity they're made for, every pair of pants/leggings should have pockets, as far as I'm concerned.
These are my newest leggings, and mostly I got them because I loved Altheta's magazine they sent me (again, how do I get all these magazines I don't subscribe to?). There was an outfit in there I could see myself wearing every day and I bought it. All of it. These ones have the fit and feel of an athletic legging but with two back pockets and a tuxedo stripe down the side, they could easily be worn with some loafers or pumps and be ready for a meeting or a night out. Not as structured as Lulu's, but still very comfortable and flattering.
WINNERS. I love these so much. My sister-in-law introduced these to me and as soon as I saw them on her I ordered some for myself. They don't have this color combo anymore, but they have them in black, so needless to say I'm using a serious amount of self control not to clickity-click those things right to my front doorstep. They have my favorite side pockets for podcast listening (I can't do music when I run.), good structure without being too thick, and they're flattering, which I think is hard to find in a patterned legging.
My Uinta's I love, but the front side zipper situation doesn't work for me. It zips open to a mesh backing and but moves too much for my liking. The Pacesetter Slope has my favorite side pockets, but neither of them have as much structure and material thickness that I love. If you want something lighter weight, these will be great for you.
By far the biggest bang for your buck. These ones (freedom) stretch out kinda weird on me after a workout and aren't very flattering. And if you're like me and wait to shower a good 2-3 hours after a workout, you want to at least FEEL like you look good if you won't be smelling good for a while. That being said, I did have someone reach out to me about their "embrace" leggings and the reviews looked great, too. So try those ones if you're wanting a new pair and don't want to break the bank!
As far as light weight, these are the winners. Because of the sheen and thinner material, I feel like they aren't very forgiving to the ins and outs of your shape (if you know what I mean). I really like that they are high waisted, but the very top waistband is too tight and hard to get over my hips. Once they're up there, they feel just fine, but I've never had that problem with leggings before, even with these big ol' hips! They have my favorite side pockets, so they're a favorite outdoor running pick, as long as it's warm!
Well, there's the round-up/run-down/hoe-down! Please let me know if there are any MUST TRY leggings out there, because you know I'll spend all the money to find my favorites. (insert eye roll emoji)