Difference Between Yoga Pants and Sweatpants

Difference Between Yoga Pants and Sweatpants

What is the difference between yoga pants and sweatpants and what are they used for? If you’ve found yourself asking that question, don’t worry you aren’t alone.

There is a fine line between these two forms of athletic wear and they get easily confused with each other. Believe it or not, the yoga pants and sweat pants are two different things. The tricky part is figuring out exactly where and when it is appropriate to wear one or the other.

This quick guide will not only help you differentiate between the two, but also will give you examples of the appropriate places and activities where these types of sportswear are best used.

Difference Between Yoga Pants and Sweatpants: Material

The biggest difference between these two types of athletic wear is the materials used. Yoga pants are usually made of a cotton, lycra spandex, polyester, and nylon material. This allows them to stay lightweight while still remaining strong and stretchy. The result of the combination of two or more of these materials in the fabric gives it nice, smooth, polished, and even silk-like finish that yoga pants are known for.

Sweatpants, on the other hand, are usually made with a blend of cotton, polyester, and fleece. Sometimes it is a 50 – 50 blend of the first two materials. Other times, there is more cotton than polyester. The fleece material is usually reserved for the interior lining that gives sweatpants their signature comfy and warm feeling. Sweatpants are usually soft and fluffy to the touch and provide better insulation as compared to yoga pants due to the fleece interior lining.

Difference in Main Function

The keyword in sweatpants is sweat. This is mainly because sweatpants have the ability to increase a person’s body temperature to encourage calorie burning and intense sweating during a workout session. This is the primary function of sweatpants.

They are used to encourage sweat production to enhance the effects of exercising. Sweatpants also have the ability to protect your legs from the cold weather when you are out for a jog during the colder seasons of the year. This is something a pair of yoga pants cannot do.

Yoga pants tend to be very thin in nature. Because of the materials used in making the active wear, it is smooth and thin which is not great for insulating heat. Instead, the main function of yoga pants is allowing flexibility and stretching.

The thin but strong materials have enough stretch in them that allows a user to contort and follow yoga poses without any restriction. The stretch of the fabric used in yoga pants makes it more comfortable to wear during Pilates, yoga, and other similar activities where stretching plays an important part.

In short, yoga pants are more fluid and stretchable than sweatpants, but sweatpants provide better insulation and enhance calorie burning more than yoga pants.

Which is Better for Casual Wear?

What is the difference between yoga pants and sweatpants when they are both used for casual wear in public? Which one is better and more acceptable? The truth is, both are often worn outside the home and gym and well beyond exercising routines.

People are still divided when it comes to wearing athletic wear as casual wear. Many say that it is acceptable in today’s modern times, but others still believe that it is a major fashion mistake to leave home in either yoga pants or sweat pants.

As for casual wear between these two types of athletic ensemble, the only thing to remember is the fit. Yoga pants are more form-fitting as compared to sweatpants and this can sometimes be a big advantage or a huge disadvantage. Depending on how well you carry yoga pants and how the pants fit you, it can be a fashion faux pas. The same goes with sweatpants.

Keep in mind that you can wear either of the two as casual wear; it all depends on how the pieces fit your body. To put it simply, if it is too tight (yoga pants) it’s a no. If it is too baggy (sweatpants) it’s also a no.


Whether you plan on using yoga pants or sweats for working out or as casual wear, it is all about comfort and lifestyle. If you are more of a jogging person who is always at the gym, stick to sweats. If you are into activities that require stretching, choose yoga pants instead.

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