Why Fleece-Lined Leggings Are A Travel (And Life!) Game-Changer…And The Best Pairs I’ve Found

December 21, 2021
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Some of you are going to be like “duh!” and for others of you I might blow your mind.  I’ve been in love with fleece-lined leggings since I first discovered them about 5 years ago, but the other day I said something to a friend about how much I love them, and she was like, “WHAT NOW???”

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I discovered fleece-lined leggings on my first winter trip to Norway, and was immediately hooked.  In just a few years, fleece-lined leggings have become a staple in my life.  I use them for my fall and winter outside workouts at home, and they come on almost every cold-weather trip with me—whether Chicago and Norway in winter, or Iceland in summer.

In super cold places where I’d be trudging through snow, I layer them under windproof or waterproof pants for warmth.  For exploring (cold, rainy, windy) Bergen in winter, I often wore them with a sweater and booties, and then my big coat over it…and definitely didn’t get too cold!

They’re also pretty lightweight and have synthetic materials so they pack easily and dry quickly even when they get wet (key in rainy Bergen, or for sweaty workouts).

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger, the best fleece-lined leggings for cold weather. My favorite three pairs, including for looking cute and for working out, a must-have for Iceland in winter (or summer), Norway travel, Chicago in winter, and many other cold weather destinations. #leggings #coldweather #wintertravel #fleecelined #fleece #musthavetravelgear

Should I get fleece-lined leggings or merino wool thermals?

Great question.  If you’ve read my super detailed cold weather packing list, you know I am a HUGE fan of merino wool items.  On my first Arctic trip, I really debated doing merino wool for my leggings too, but the cost of everything was stacking up.  So I tried one pair of merino wool ones and a couple (much cheaper) pairs of fleece-lined leggings.

And here’s what I learned—this is one cold-weather travel item that you don’t need to splurge on.  The fleece-lined ones worked just as well, cost a lot less, and I ultimately just liked them better.  So save your splurges for other items (my Arctic packing list tells you which ones).

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life")

Related:  Why A Neck Gaiter Is a Winter Travel Must-Have (& The Best One To Get)

The best fleece-lined leggings for cold weather travel (and life!)

So below are my three favorite pairs (and one that is next on my list to buy, as I’ve heard it’s a must-have).  I’ve also tested out some Eddie Bauer, Columbia, and Uniqlo ones in the past, but I didn’t love them as much the ones below (and they were more expensive).

In terms of more “cute” leggings, I’ve ended up wearing the Sejora ones a little more just due to fit (they were a little shorter with a good waistline), but definitely use both them and the Angelina ones on most trips.

They don’t take up much space, keep me warm, are versatile (whether active or “cute”) and both are crazy affordable (like $10-30).  I’ve shown the black ones (as that’s my preference), but most of the brands have multiple colors to choose from.

The Yogipace ones are a little different (I’ll explain why below), and I use them constantly even at home.

#1 – Satina High Waisted Fleece Lined Leggings

For cute AND functional, these Satina leggings are my top choice.  They’re snug in a good way (not loose and wrinkly) but not so skintight that they show every line and lump.  They’re a good thickness (not bulky but nice and solid), and they’re really affordable.

Don’t be fooled by the image below with heels and my cute high-heeled boots, I usually wear these with booties, tennis shoes, or snow boots when traveling in the winter, so they really can run the gamut.

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger for cold weather

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger, the best fleece-lined leggings for cold weather. My favorite three pairs, including for looking cute and for working out, a must-have for Iceland in winter (or summer), Norway travel, Chicago in winter, and many other cold weather destinations. #leggings #coldweather #wintertravel #fleecelined #fleece #musthavetravelgear

#2 – Yogipace Women’s Water Resistant Fleece Lined Thermal Tights

These Yogipace tights are my go-to when I’m going to be especially active, and I often wear them alone rather than layering (though you *can* layer).  These have helped me stay warm tramping through snow in the middle of the night in the dead of winter in the Arctic Circle, battling the rainy wind in Bergen in winter, and hiking through waterfall spray in Iceland.

They’ve not only become a mainstay for any winter travel, but are also what I wear every day at home when running in cold weather.  One thing I love??  They have a drawstring!  This is a must for me when running, or everything sags.

The only point they get docked on is super minor and subjective, and that’s the little silver line that runs across the back of the calf…for me, this keeps them more in “athletic wear” territory rather than “cute street clothes” (though that’s subjective).  You can see what I mean in the pic below (yes, my uber muscular calves don’t help the matter…).

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger for cold weather

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger for cold weather

#3 – Angelina Fleece-Lined Leggings

These Angelina leggings also a great option, and I usually have a pair of both these and the Satina ones when I go somewhere cold.  They’re just as good on relative thickness of the fabric, warmth, etc.

These are a little more interesting in that they’re one-size-fits-all (fitting up to size 14), but that still somehow magically works (my favorite non-fleece-lined leggings are as well).  They’re just a skoosh long on me as I have interesting proportions, but not in a dealbreaker way, like less than an inch.

The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger for cold weather

The ones I haven’t tried yet – 90 Degrees by Reflex 

I’ve been seeing these 90 Degrees by Reflex fleece-lined leggings recommended in a number of places and they’re next on my list to try out.  These have a bit more of a yoga pant-like look to them (kind of between the Satina and the Yogipace above) so could possibly do both cute and active things.

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So which camp do you fall into…”of course, fleece leggings are my go-to!” or “whoaaaa I’ve got to try this right now!”??  As someone who didn’t used to be all that into leggings in general, I’ve been surprised how these have become a staple in both my travel and my “real life” wardrobe.

FAQ About Fleece-Lined Leggings

Are fleece-lined leggings see-through?

No, while fleece tights can sometimes be partially see-through, fleece-lined leggings are fully opaque and provide full coverage.  Think of them more like thermals or leggings, and layer them under active outerwear (for warmth) or pair with a long sweater for casual.

Are fleece-lined leggings comfortable?

Fleece-lined leggings are SO comfortable, and are not as prone to wrinkling or sagging like regular leggings.  The fleece lining is very soft and keeps you warm, but most pairs I’ve worn breathe well and don’t make you really sweaty.

How much do fleece-lined leggings cost?

It will depend on the brand and the quality, but most fleece-lined leggings cost between $10 and $30.

Should I get fleece-lined leggings or merino wool thermals?

For most cold weather travel needs, I recommend fleece-lined rather than merino wool.  They’re much more cost-effective, very warm, still breathe well, and you’re usually either layering them under something like wind-proof pants, or you want them to be cute (like with a sweater).  I tested both on an Arctic winter trip and didn’t see a big difference.  Only for the most extreme cold weather outdoor trips would I splurge on merino wool.

Other must-have items for travel:

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The Best Fleece-Lined Leggings for Winter Travel (and "Real Life") | Why fleece leggings are a gamechanger, the best fleece-lined leggings for cold weather. My favorite three pairs, including for looking cute and for working out, a must-have for Iceland in winter (or summer), Norway travel, Chicago in winter, and many other cold weather destinations. #leggings #coldweather #wintertravel #fleecelined #fleece #musthavetravelgear

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