Lifestyle

I tried the Spanx leggings with a cult following—are they worth it?

These popular faux-leather stretch pants are slimming and stylish.

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

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Over the summer, Nordstrom hosted its half-yearly sale and, suffice to say, there were a ton of amazing deals to shop.

However, the one product that caught my eye was wildly popular Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings. The cult-favorite leggings have a solid 4.5-star rating from more than 2,600 Nordstrom reviewers. As a Nordstrom card holder for the last eight years, I can say the reviews are usually pretty spot-on. But, these fake-leather leggings aren’t the cheapest on the market, costing more than I’ve ever paid for a pair of stretchy pants before. I wondered: Are they actually worth nearly $100?

After the Nordstrom sale wrapped up in August, I felt some regret about not purchasing the leggings at a discounted price—and Instagram must’ve known it, because I kept seeing ads for them everywhere in my feed. As I work from home, I wear leggings almost daily and I’m always looking for a way to add style to my wardrobe without sacrificing comfort. I’ve been tempted by other fake-leather pants before, like these Faux-Leather Paper Bag Pants from Target’s Who What Wear line. But the Spanx faux-leather leggings offer a more slimming appearance... very intriguing. I’m not one to miss out on a good trend, so I finally decided to order a pair to find out if they’re worth the hype.

As the leggings were no longer on sale at Nordstrom, I used a sign-up code good for 10 percent off to save $9.80 on my purchase directly from the Spanx website. After tax, that brought my grand total to $93.94 (basic shipping is free).

What’s the story with Spanx?

Spanx is a popular women’s shapewear brand, but you probably already know that. What you may not know, however, is that the company makes more than just undergarments that claim to suck you in. It all started in 2000 when founder Sara Blakely released the footless, body-shaping pantyhouse. The garment quickly became a top-selling item after Oprah listed the remarkably comfortable shapewear on her beloved "Favorite Things" list.

Spanx also has the backing of other popular celebrities like actress Sarah Hyland, Eva Longoria, and Gweynth Paltrow. In the mid-2000s, Spanx began selling a line of intimate apparel, then launched a line at Target, and the rest is history.

Now the recognizable brand sells other apparel, such as jeans, bras, tops, jackets, and even men's underwear, undershirts, and socks. And, of course, these now-legendary faux-leather leggings.

What are Spanx’s Faux-Leather Leggings?

Side view mirror selfie
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

These leggings look just like real leather and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Spanx's Faux-Leather Leggings claim to "keep you ultra-comfortable" while also giving you a "flat gut" and a "great butt." Those are some bold claims, but if any brand can manufacture a pair of figure-slimming leggings, it’s Spanx.

The leggings are constructed of a couple of fabrics. The body of the leggings is made from 87 percent nylon and 13 percent Spandex/elastane, which gives a soft and stretchy yet firm feel. The “Power Waistband,” where the shaping magic happens, is made from 80 percent polyester and 20 percent Spandex/elastane.

How do the Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings fit?

mirror front selfie
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

No camel toe! Unlike other pairs of leggings, the Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings don't ride up in the wrong areas.

Spanx makes these leggings available in regular and petite lengths, as well as a variety of inclusive sizes ranging from extra small to 3X. I stand about 5 feet, 3 inches tall on a good day, and finding bottoms that fit lengthwise can be problematic. As Spanx offers petite sizing in this product (recommended for anyone under 5-foot-4), my leggings hit right at the base of my ankle—perfect.

However, the leggings run on the small side. Going based on the size chart, I would've normally ordered a medium, but after reading several purchaser reviews, I decided to go up one size to large and am glad I did. For reference, the Spanx leggings size chart puts a medium at sizes 6-8, and a large at sizes 10-12. (For reference, I’m 150 pounds and usually an 8 in pants.)

On the inside, the material resembles that of athletic leggings you probably have in your closet. It’s cool and soft to the touch, and feels a lot like moisture-wicking fabric. Of course, as the product name states, the leggings are not made from real leather. Instead, they’re coated with a black sheen to give off the look of leather. So, why fake leather? It's generally more affordable—and more comfortable as pants—than real leather, plus no cows were harmed in the making of the leggings.

What I love about Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings

walking
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The leggings are versatile enough to wear with sneakers for a casual outfit or with heels for a fancier look.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “These leggings really do sound amazing,” you’re correct. After two kids, I certainly don’t have rock hard abs, and Spanx’s leather leggings really flattened out my post-baby stomach pooch.

I was also a little skeptical that leggings could be both slimming and comfortable at the same time. When I’ve worn regular Spanx previously, like the Power Conceal-Her Mid-Thigh Short, I’ve felt like I was being squeezed from the waist. As you can imagine, that’s not a great feeling after several minutes of wear. However, these faux leather leggings are much more enjoyable to wear than Spanx’s shapewear.

Oh, and camel toe—you know, that unflattering riding-up in the crotch—can also be a common problem with leggings. However, Spanx designed these leggings without a seam in that area, so you don’t have to worry about them bunching up in your lady parts.

The leggings are sold in five colors—black, rich olive, mahogany, night navy, and wine. I got mine in black, because it goes with everything.

What I don’t like about Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings

The leggings could stand to improve in a couple of places. While these aren’t deal breakers for me, they may be for you.

Most of my everyday leggings hail from Nordstrom’s Zella line and come with a slim built-in pocket for credit cards and driver’s licenses. I’ve even put a single key in this pocket, too. The Spanx leggings lack this handy feature, which is convenient when you’re out running errands and don’t want to carry a purse.

Additionally, because of the legging's leather-y sheen, I can hear the sound of the material rubbing together when I walk. Again, nothing major, but definitely something to keep in mind if you’re considering buying these.

How do you wash the Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings?

spanx leather tag
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Although the leggings are machine-washable, it's best to air-dry them to maintain the quality.

Unlike real leather, you can toss the leggings right into your washing machine for an easy cleaning. Spanx recommends turning the leggings inside out, so that the leather-like coating isn't exposed, before washing to help maintain the quality of the leggings.

The care instructions suggest using cold water for washing, as well as lying them out flat to dry. While I strive to air dry the leggings, there have been a few times they've slipped through into the dryer with other laundry (hey, it happens). I haven't noticed any difference in the quality or the sheen after using the dryer. But, since these leggings are a little on the pricey side, I really should launder them as the care tag recommends.

Do Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings ever go on sale?

Yes, but only on occasion. During the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale over the summer, the leggings were marked down from $98 to $64.90. The most I’d ever paid for any pair of leggings is around $60, so the Nordstrom sale price is more in my budget.

If you want to save a few bucks on a pair, I suggest signing up for Spanx’s email list. This is how I scored my 10 percent off coupon. The discounts vary, though, depending on when you sign up. At the time of publication, Spanx was running a promotion where you can earn $20 your order of $75 or more for every friend you refer. In turn, your friend receives a discount of 15 percent off.

Are Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings worth it?

The Spanx Faux-Leather Leggings live up to the claims. There are certainly plenty of dupes out there, but when it comes to quality, fit, and style, these leggings check all the boxes. They are comfortable, fit great and slim me down in all the right spots, and are a stylish alternative to regular leggings without looking like cheap, fake leather.

The leggings are thick enough to wear in cooler weather paired with a baggy sweater or tee and jacket. Leather leggings may sound fancy, but these also look great paired down with white sneakers and a jean jacket if you’re running errands on the weekend or hitting up the farmer’s market.

My general rule of thumb when it comes to buying anything: I never pay full price. I only saved $9.80 on these leggings, but I’ll take any discount I can get. However, these leggings are worth the splurge.

Get Spanx Leather Leggings at Nordstrom for $98

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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