last updated: July 17, 2021
While you’re here, be sure to check out my “lululemon Explained” posts on shorts and sports bras.
You go into a lululemon store on the hunt for a new pair of leggings. Maybe you’ve seen your friends wearing them to brunch. Or you’ve spotted them on classmates in barre, CrossFit or spin. You did a little research, maybe Google ‘lululemon fabric types’, checked out the website and read some reviews, and decided you want to try them on before buying. So now you’re staring up at this wall of pants trying to figure out which of the 15 leggings you saw online and liked. Which ones did you read were really good for running? Which ones had reviews about the material pilling?
A salesperson (lululemon calls them educators) approaches and asks if you need help.
Maybe you say yes and admit you’re totally lost among all the choices, the educator helps you and you walk out with the perfect pair. They feel great, your butt looks great and they’re designed for your favorite workout. YAY you!! Enjoy your new leggings!
… or maybe you get a little intimated and say no, you try on a couple pairs, find one you like but then a couple weeks later you realize it isn’t working for you. What now? Well, I can’t send you back in time to pick a different pair, but I can help explain what you should be looking for next time.
… or maybe you don’t live near a store but want to order online. I can help with that too.
Luon, Luxtreme, Nulu, Nulux, Everlux, Everstreme.
Ok, that last one isn’t actually the name of a lululemon fabric. But looking at that list, it could be, right?
All those fabrics names sound pretty fancy, but what do they actually mean? Which leggings are best for HIIT classes? yoga? being a mom or a student?
Let’s just dive in.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read more about my use of affiliate links here.
Created in 1998, this is the fabric lululemon was built on (and the only one they offered for the first 8 years). Back in the 90s, the founder of lululemon noticed that women in yoga classes were practicing in cotton pieces with no stretch; he knew that people loved the feel of cotton but needed a material that would perform for them and move with them through poses. He created a solve: a new fabric he called Luon, a proprietary blend of Nylon & LYCRA in an open loop knit – and lululemon was born.
Luon feels like cotton, but has four-way stretch and moisture-wicking capabilities (meaning it’ll both breathe and wick sweat away from your body during that hot yoga class).
This material is designed for low impact activities such as yoga, barre, pilates, etc.
Years ago, if you came in to the store asking for a yoga pant, I’d show you Wunder Unders, Groove Pants, Astro Pants, Gather and Crow Crops – but nowadays, when the teenage girls come in asking for “yoga pants”, they’re specifically looking for the Groove Pant. The Groove is a long, flared pant with a high-rise waistband. It’s been through many variations over the years, but this is the closest pant you’ll get to the original lululemon yoga pant (called the Boogie Pant) that started an athleisure revolution.
Hot tip: If you like this style, but prefer the buttery-soft, naked sensation Nulu fabric (scroll down for more info on this fabric below), Groove Pants come in Nulu too!
The second classic style is the Wunder Under. This pant is the traditional legging look, has a high-rise waistband and comes in a couple other fabrics as well, but let’s keep it simples and stick with the Luon versions for now.
Launched in 2008 (in conjunction with a material called Swift seen mostly in running shorts and casual styles), this material solved for runners. It’s much more compressive than Luon and feels slicker – more like Spandex than cotton – although it’s also blend of Nylon and LYCRA. Luxtreme has the same technical features as Luon (moisture-wicking, breathable and four-way stretch), although it actually dries faster.
Hot tip: If you have pets that shed and you’re looking for something that won’t pick up fur, go with Luxtreme or Nulux.
This fabric is best for high-impact activities such as running, interval training, CrossFit, spin, etc.
Most of the pant you’ll see in this fabric will have deep pockets on both sides of the legs as well as small pockets in the waistband and a drawstring.
My favorite Luxtreme pant was the Run: Inspire Crop, but it was retired a few years ago and replaced with the Pace Rival Crop. These leggings have a high-rise waistband and offer a “hugged” compression level and non-sheer mesh behind the knee for breathability.
The newest member of the Luxtreme family is the Swift Speed collection. These high-rise tights come in multiple lengths: 21″, 23″, 25″, 28″ and 31″ (the 25″ is only sold online). These are the most compressive tight we sell in my store. Although you aren’t supposed to have to bounce between sizes based on compression level, more often than not I do see ladies size up one size from their normal lululemon size in the Swift Speeds.
A third luxtreme option you’ll see offered year-round is the All The Right Places family. These are in a class of their own as far as the waistband design (no drawstring), seaming set-up (no middle seam down the front) and having no zippered pocket in the back. As the name implies, these were designed for a wide-range of activities making them the most versatile of the luxtreme options, so if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop pant, I’d suggest these. I will say, this is maybe my least favorite waistband, personally, and the one I’ve seen as the biggest hit or miss with ladies either absolutely loving it or hating it. You’ll find these only in a high-rise 23″ crop at the moment, although it’s usually also available in both a high-rise and low-rise 28″ inseam.
Seasonal Styles currently available in Luxtreme:
- Ribbed Contoured High-Rise Short 8″
- Ribbed Contoured High-Rise Crop 17″ [ on markdown! ]
- New Ambition Super High-Rise Tight 25″ [ on markdown! ]
- Wunder Under Crop High-Rise 23″ *Scallop
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Luxtreme:
- AirWrap Pullover Hoodie
- Energy Bra
- Invigorate Bra
- lululemon Ear Loop Face Mask 3 Pack
- Rogue Renegade Zip Hoodie
- Stretch High Rise 7/8 Length Pant 25″ [ online only ]
- Stretch High Rise Short 3.5″
Nulu fabric was launched in 2015 as a “naked sensation” although I don’t think they technically call them that anymore. Now they’re referred to as a “next to nothing” feeling, I think. This is hands-down the best-selling fabric, and my personal favorite for everyday wear (between shorts, special editions and the regular tights, I have at least 10 pairs of Aligns).
Along with being designed to feel like you aren’t wearing anything (in a good way, I promise!), this fabric has a buttery soft hand-feel … and is very delicate. That means no high-impact workouts or any kind of intense activity since the process used to create that buttery soft sensation makes the fabric susceptible to natural pilling over time and with heavy use. These won’t be the most durable leggings you buy from lululemon, but they’ll probably be your favorite.
Leggings made with Nulu fabric are the top choice for pregnant women. A quick Google search for ‘lululemon pregnancy’ or ‘lululemon pregnancy pants’ will show you how Nulu fabric (and the Aligns specifically) are revolutionizing the field of maternity pants.
Nulu is best for light everyday wear (I wear this fabric to work almost everyday) and light-impact workouts like barre, pilates and yoga.
Since it’s the most popular and best-selling style, you’ll see the most options within the Align family. [ As of 8/25, the Groove Pant Flare is now available in Nulu! ]
Hot Tip: When deciding on the best length, think about where you want the bottom hem to hit on your leg. I’m 5’4″ and the 25″ inseam, which is designed to fit as a 7/8 length, hits me right above the ankle in the perfect full-length spot. The 28″ length leaves a good bit of extra fabric at the bottom that bunches up unless I have them hemmed (which lululemon will do for free in their stores, fyi).
- Align Short 4″ [ online only ]
- Align Short 6″ [ I have 8 pairs of this short and have been living in them during this quarantine. 12/10 highly recommend ]
- Align Short 8″
- Align Crop 17″
- Align Crop 19″
- Align Crop 21″
- Align Crop 23″
- Align Wide Leg Crop 23″
- Align Pant 25″
- Align Pant 28″
- Align Pant 31″
- Align Jogger Crop 23″
- Align Jogger 28″
Super High-Rise Lengths:
- lululemon Align™ Super-High Rise Short 6″
- Align Super High-Rise Short 10″
- Align Super High-Rise Crop 21″
- Align Super High-Rise Pant 28″ [ online only ]
There are also quite a few special edition versions of the Aligns out right now:
- lululemon Align™ High Rise Short with Pockets 6″
- lululemon Align™ High Rise Short with Pockets 8″
- lululemon Align™ High Rise Crop with Pockets 23″
- lululemon Align™ High Rise Pant with Pockets 25″
- Align Pant 25″ *Diamond Dye
- Align Pant 28″ *Diamond Dye
A newer Nulu style making a run for Align popularity is the Unlimit High-Rise Tight 25″. We’ve seen this pant pop up a couple times over the last year and it looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Seasonal Styles currently available in Nulu:
- Groove Pant Flare *Nulu
- Nulu™ and Mesh Mid-Rise Yoga Crop 23″ [ new! ]
- Nulu™ Fold High-Rise Yoga Short 8″ [ on markdown! ]
- Nulu™ Fold High-Rise Yoga Tight 25″ [ on markdown! ]
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Nulu:
- Adapt and Align Bra
- Align Jogger
- Blissful Bend Super High-Rise Short 8″ [ on markdown! ]
- Cool Racerback II *Nulu
- Cool Racerback Shorter Length *Nulu
- Flow Y Bra *Nulu
- Get Centred Crop Hoodie
- Hooded Define Jacket *Nulu
- In Alignment Racerback Bra
- In Alignment Straight Strap Bra
- Key to Balance Tank
- Light Support Nulu™ Yoga Bra [ on markdown! ]
- lululemon Align™ Tank
- lululemon Align™ Reversible Bra
- Nulu™ and Mesh Yoga Tank Top [ new! ]
- Nulu™ Cropped Slim Yoga Short Sleeve
- Sweat Intention Onesie [ new! ]
- Unlimit High Rise Short 8″ *Mesh [ new! ]
Nulux was launched in 2016 as the high-impact companion to Nulu fabric. It’s my favorite workout material and I own an embarrassing number of shorts and tights from the Fast and Free family, which is the main pant option you’ll find in this material. Nulux is lightweight, cool-to-the-touch and feels like you’re wearing nothing while also staying in place perfectly during any type of high-impact workout. You’ll feel compression in the waistband, but through the leg truly feels “next to nothing.” I get asked a lot about the durability of the raw hem at the bottom and I promise you, it doesn’t fray, so don’t worry.
This fabric is best for high-impact activities such as running, interval training, CrossFit, spin, etc.
The main style family you’ll find in Nulux is the Fast and Free. Just like the Aligns, this is a very popular style so it comes in a ton of different varieties. It’s divided into two main categories: those that have reflective dots on the bottom of the legs and those that do not.
- Fast and Free Short 6″
- Fast and Free Short 8″
- Fast and Free Short 10″
- Fast and Free Crop 19″
- Fast and Free Crop 23″
- Fast and Free Tight 25″
- Fast and Free Tight 28″
- Fast and Free Tight 28″ *Brushed
- Fast and Free Tight 31″
Seasonal Styles + Special Editions currently available in Nulux:
- Gloss Trim Run Super High-Rise Crop 17″ [ on markdown! ]
- Gloss Trim Run Super High-Rise Tight 28″ [ on markdown! ]
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Nulux:
- Final Mile Jacket [ on markdown! ]
- Gloss Trim Run Super-High-Rise Tight 28″ [ on markdown! ]
- Nulux™ Racerback Cropped Run Tank Top
- Nulux™ UVP Run Jacket
- Nulux™ Waist High Rise Run Short 4″ [ new! ]
- Serene Stride Dress [ online only ]
- Strong at Heart Bra [ on markdown! ]
As the newest revolutionary fabric, Everlux was launched in 2017 as a solve for sweaty studio workouts that were somewhere in the middle of the low- and high-impact. These are great for Zumba classes, cardio classes and spin classes – basically any indoor class that gets your heart-rate up (but doesn’t involve long-distance running). Everlux is designed to feel cool on the skin and to dry very quickly.
Indoor studio classes such as Zumba, cardio, spin, weights, etc. (anything that doesn’t involve long-distance running, really).
We’ve only seen Everlux in a handful of styles so far, the original one being the In Movement family. In Movements used to be available in a 2.5″ short, a 25″ length (I’m 5’4″ and these are full-length on me) and a 28″ full-length, however only the 25″ is currently available – and it’s on markdown for only $59!
The Wunder Train is a versatile cross between the Align, Wunder Under and In Movement. You get the minimal seaming and timeless “legging” look of the Wunder Unders + a soft-to-the-touch hand-feel similar to the Aligns – all in a more technical, faster drying fabric with the addition of a drawstring in the waistband. This is my favorite of the two new styles. Wunder Trains come in a 4″ short, 6″ short, an 8″ short, a 21″ crop, a 25″ tight and the brand new (and much anticipated) 28″ length and 31″ length.
The second new style family is the Invigorate. The Invigorate looks more similar to the In Movement as far as seaming goes, but has the addition of side drop-in pockets (which actually makes it look a lot like the Fast and Frees, come to think of it). The Invigorate comes in a 6″ short, 8″ short, a 10″ short, a 19″ crop, 23″ crop, a 25″ tight, a 28″ tight and a 31″ tight. (The 28″ and 31″ lengths are only sold online.)
Seasonal Styles currently available in Everlux:
- Everlux™ and Mesh High-Rise Tight 25″ [ on markdown! ]
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Everlux:
- Everlux™ and Mesh Cropped Short Sleeve [ on markdown! ]
- Everlux™ and Mesh Cropped Tank Top [ on markdown! ]
- Everlux™ Cut-Out Train Bra [ on markdown! ]
- Power Pivot Tank *Everlux
- Wunder Train Cropped Long Sleeve
- Wunder Train Long-Line Bra
- Wunder Train Pocketed High Rise Short 6″
Quick Reference Cheat Sheet
|Fabric||Feels:||Best for:||Key Styles|
|Luon||cottony soft||low impact||Wunder Under, Groove Pant|
|Luxtreme||smooth and slick||high impact||Pace Rival Crop, All The Right Places, Swift Speed|
|Nulu||buttery soft, naked sensation||very low impact, casual||Align, Unlimit|
|Nulux||smooth and slick, naked sensation, cool against the skin||high impact||Fast and Free|
|Everlux||cottony, but feels cool against the skin||sweaty studio classes||Invigorate, Wunder Train|
All stock images are the property of lululemon. Although I do work for the company, I am not an official spokesperson of lululemon. The opinions + positions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of lululemon.
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