Plus Size Hiking Leggings – Hiking is one of the most amazing forms of exercise, and it’s a great low impact way for plus-sized individuals to stay fit and healthy, or even consider moving down a few sizes if that’s their ambition.
Hiking is a great cardio exercise, but also amazing for mental health as it is challenging, rewarding, and gets you into the natural environment which is always a great salve for the soul.
One issue that many plus-sized individuals face, however, is finding activewear that suits their needs, and it’s an endemic issue in the larger clothing world, where designs, measurements, and features are only provided to smaller individuals, with larger people being left with a very small number of options to choose from.
This is a shame, as everyone should be able to work out in comfort, regardless of size.
Thankfully, there are at least a handful of quality brands and designs that suit plus-sized hikers, and to help you identify a good pair of leggings we’re going to look at the key features to keep in mind when purchasing, as well as the key brands, to look for when purchasing hiking leggings.
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The number one thing that hiking leggings need to provide is comfort.
While many people can suffer from chafing, plus-sized individuals are often at a higher risk of chafing in the thigh area, especially while doing intensive exercise like hiking, and this can be extremely discomforting, spoiling the hiking experience and keeping you out of the game for days or even weeks in severe examples.
There are other issues too, such as clothing that doesn’t fit properly, as well as clothing that doesn’t keep you warm enough, or cool enough to fully enjoy the hike and get the best out of your experience.
Quality hiking leggings, particularly for plus-sized people, should cater to these needs just as well as anyone else, providing you with protection from chafing, as well as a sweat-wicking, breathable yet warming pair of leggings that also offer some support and protection to your muscles.
There are various types of material used for hiking leggings, and this can differ depending on the brand being used, as well as the specific design and whether it’s suitable for warmer or cooler climates and conditions.
Ideally, hiking leggings should be made of materials such as nylon or polyester, as these are quick-drying and help reduce sweat buildup, but there should also be a good stretch and support, especially if you’re using compression tights to help with blood flow, so a good amount of materials like elastane are also key to help provide this stretch and support.
Some brands will use proprietary blends, so don’t be afraid to look at the details of the specific item to determine exactly what materials are used.
Whatever happens, avoid materials such as cotton as these tend to hold water and provide very poor cooling and sweat-wicking, making them a very poor choice for hiking leggings.
Breathability is key for all hiking leggings, but even more so for plus-sized hikers, as it can often be a little more difficult to maintain a stable temperature when you’re a heavier person, as there will tend to be a lot more… natural insulation keeping your body warm.
Improper or inadequate breathability in hiking leggings can lead to chafing, itching, sores, spots, boils, and general discomfort in all sorts of hard to reach areas, and this sort of discomfort can really affect your enjoyment of hiking as well as slow down your progress.
Good breathability helps wick moisture out of these areas, and also keeps you warm by ensuring that the leggings themselves don’t become too wet when sweat builds up.
The quick-drying nature of leggings should allow you to remain comfortable, and maintain a more even temperature for the duration of your hike.
Stretch and Support
Naturally, all leggings are generally stretchy (as long as they aren’t old and worm out!) but hiking leggings need to be even more stretchy, as the movements of hiking are typically more extreme and a wider range of motion is used.
Additionally, hiking leggings need to provide support, and the best options will be designed to help your muscles stay engaged and supported in key areas, which will in turn help stave off injury and aches that would otherwise make your hike much more difficult.
When it comes to plus size hiking leggings, the fit is absolutely key, and it’s what sets apart a decent pair of hiking leggings from a great pair of hiking leggings.
It’s also one of the more difficult things to judge, as everyone has a different body shape, and will require a fit that works perfectly to compliment this.
It’s best to try a range of different brands and styles of hiking leggings to find a pair that offers you support in the right areas, and all the other features you need, while also fitting well.
One thing that is often overlooked is the length of the leggings, and a pair of leggings that are too long will not offer the right amount of support, while a pair that is too short or too narrow will be incredibly uncomfortable, cutting into your waist and hips and generally not offering a very pleasant experience.
Always look for brands with a wide and inclusive size range, as this will give you the best chance of finding a fit that perfectly complements you and your needs.
For men, this should mean that sizes up to at least XXXL will be made to perfectly complement a larger waist and buttocks, as well as larger thighs, while for women the same rules apply, try to find options that have been specifically designed to offer support in the right areas, particularly in the navel, hips, and thighs.
Final Thoughts on Plus Size Hiking Leggings
While finding a good pair of plus-sized hiking leggings is never easy, when you do find the right pair, it can make a huge difference to your confidence and comfort and will often lead to a huge boost in your motivation and enjoyment of hiking.
One final piece of advice, if and when you do find a pair that perfectly suits you, buy more than one so that you have several pairs to rotate through, and can have an immediate replacement or backup pair if you should damage your leggings through falling or heading through rough terrain.
Finding a perfect pair of leggings only for them to sell out of be discontinued is a huge shame, and you can avoid this disappointment by stockpiling a personal supply for future use!