last updated: January 5, 2022
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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.
You’ll see Luon in the classic lululemon legging style: the Wunder Under. The WU is the only pant currently made in lululemon’s original proprietary fabric. This pant has a traditional leggings look and a high-rise waistband.
On Black Friday 2021, lululemon announced that all styles + colors of the Wunder Under were being discontinued. This style is now on sale, while they last, for $69.
A little history side note: Ten 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 super-high-rise waistband and its now only available in Nulu fabric. 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.
Although not leggings, there are a few other popular styles available in Luon:
- Cool Racerback Tank Top
- Define Jacket *Luon (one of my fav classic lululemon styles; I have 6 of these jackets!)
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 a blend of Nylon and LYCRA. Luxtreme has the same technical features as Luon (moisture-wicking, breathable and four-way stretch), however 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 pants you’ll see in this fabric will have deep pockets on each leg as well as small pockets in the waistband and a drawstring in the waistband for a customizable fit.
My favorite Luxtreme pant was the Run: Inspire Crop for a verryyy long time, but it was retired many years ago and replaced with the Pace Rival Crop (currently on markdown for $69!). 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: 17″, 21″, 23″, 25″, 28″ and 31″ (the 25″ is only sold online) as well as an 8″ short. 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.
Seasonal Swift Speed Alert specifically designed to provide extra warmth in cold weather: Swift Speed High-Rise Tight 28″ *Brushed Luxtreme.
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 in the original high-rise 23″ crop and a newer high-rise 23″ crop with an internal waistband drawstring.
Seasonal Styles currently available in Luxtreme:
- Wunder Under Crop High-Rise 23″ *Scallop [ on markdown for $59! ]
- Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 25″ *Luxtreme [ on markdown for $69! ]
- Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 28″ *Brushed Full-On Luxtreme [ on markdown for $69! ]
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Luxtreme:
- Define Jacket *Luxtreme
- Energy Bra [ designed to provide medium support for B-D cups ]
- Free to Be Serene Cross-Front Bra [ designed to provide light support for C/D cups ]
- lululemon Ear Loop Face Mask *3 Pack
- Power Pivot Ribbed Tank Top
- Ribbed Train Bra [ designed to provide medium support for C/D cups ]
- Stretch High-Rise Pant
Nulu fabric was launched in 2015 as a “naked sensation” fabric (although I don’t think they technically call it that anymore). Now Nulu is referred to as providing a “next to nothing” feeling. 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 Align bottoms … and more Align Tanks + Align Reversible Bras than I’m willing to admit on the internet).
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 + 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 available within the Align family. [ As of late 2020, 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″ [ sold online only ]
- Align Short 6″ [ I have 9 pairs of this short; 12/10 highly recommend ]
- Align Short 8″
- Align Crop 17″
- 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″
There are also quite a few special edition versions of the Aligns out right now:
- lululemon Align™ Scalloped Hem High-Rise Crop 23″ [ 1 color on markdown! ]
- lululemon Align™ Scalloped Hem High-Rise Pant 25″ [ on markdown! ]
- lululemon Align™ High-Rise *Shine [ new for holiday 2021 + available in 21″, 23″ and 25″ inseams ]
A newer Nulu style making a run for Align popularity is the Unlimit High-Rise Tight 25″ (all colors currently on markdown for $79!). 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. I have a couple pairs of these, and I like them just as much as my Aligns!
Seasonal Styles currently available in Nulu:
- Groove Super-High-Rise Crop 23″
- Groove Super-High-Rise Flared Pant *Nulu
- Nulu™ Colour Block High-Rise Crop 23″ [ on markdown! ]
- Nulu™ Colour Block High-Rise Tight 25″ [ on markdown! ]
- Nulu Mesh Panels High-Rise Crop 21″ [ on markdown! ]
- Nulu Mesh Panels High-Rise Tight 25″
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Nulu:
- All Aligned Mock Neck Long Sleeve Shirt
- Back in Action Long Sleeve Shirt *Nulu
- Cool Racerback Short Tank Top *Nulu [ multiple colors now on markdown! ]
- Flow Y Nulu™ Bra [ designed to provide light support for A–C cups ]
- Hooded Define Jacket *Nulu
- Key to Balance Yoga Tank Top [ all colors now on markdown! ]
- lululemon Align™ T-Shirt
- lululemon Align™ Long Sleeve Shirt
- lululemon Align™ Reversible Bra [ designed to provide light support for A/B cups ]
- lululemon Align™ Tank Top [ multiple colors now on markdown! ]
- Nulu Asymmetrical Yoga Tank Top [ all colors now on markdown! ]
- Nulu Back-Twist Yoga Tank Top [ all colors now on markdown! ]
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 the fit 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 inseams.
- Fast and Free Short 6″ [ sold online only ]
- 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 31″
Seasonal Styles + Special Editions currently available in Nulux:
- Base Pace High-Rise [ new! | comes in 8″, 17″ 23″, 25″, 28″ and 31″ inseams ]
Although not leggings, there are many other popular styles available in Nulux:
- All Powered Up Bra [ designed to provide medium support for A–G cups ]
- Base Pace Ribbed Tank Top
- Nulux™ Racerback Cropped Run Tank Top [ on markdown! ]
- Nulux™ UVP Run Jacket [ all colors now on markdown! ]
- Nulux™ Waist High-Rise Running Short 4″
- Ribbed-Mesh High-Neck Bra [ designed to provide medium support for B/C cups ]
- Ribbed Nulux Running Jacket [ online only ]
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 lululemon has moved away from this style.
The Wunder Train is a versatile cross between the Align, the Wunder Under and the 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 the following length options:
- 4″ short [ sold online only ]
- 6″ short
- 8″ short
- 21″ crop
- 23″ crop
- 25″ tight (advertised as a 7/8 length, but fits like a full-length pant on me at 5’4″)
- 28″ tight
- 31″ tight
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. The Invigorate comes in the following length options:
- 6″ short [ on markdown! ]
- 8″ short [ sold online only ]
- 10″ short
- 17″ crop
- 23″ crop
- 25″ tight
- 28″ tight
- 31″ tight [ sold online only ]
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:
- Invigorate Training Tank Top [ multiple colors now on markdown! ]
- Power Pivot Tank Top *Everlux [ on markdown! ]
- Wunder Train Cropped Long Sleeve Shirt
- Wunder Train Bra [ designed to provide medium support for C/D cups ]
Quick Reference Cheat Sheet
|Fabric||Feels:||Best for:||Key Styles|
|Luon||cottony soft||low impact||Wunder Under (all styles on sale!)|
|Luxtreme||smooth and slick||high impact||Pace Rival Crop (on sale!), All The Right Places, Swift Speed|
|Nulu||buttery soft, naked sensation||very low impact, casual||Align, Unlimit, Groove Pant|
|Nulux||smooth and slick, naked sensation, cool against the skin||high impact||Fast and Free, Base Pace|
|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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