In recent years, the urban lifestyle has seen a surge in yoga’s popularity, and it’s not just about striking the perfect pose or finding inner peace anymore. Yoga has become a holistic fitness choice for urbanites, offering stress relief, muscle strengthening, and improved flexibility. And, at the heart of this movement is the beloved yoga pants, the unsung heroes of the yoga studio. But, these versatile garments have also found their way into everyday wardrobes, becoming a fashion statement in their own right.
The Consumer Council recently conducted an extensive study of 20 different models of women’s yoga pants available on the market, all models are leggings, 7/8 length or full-length and high-waisted, with prices ranging from HK$149 to HK$980, shedding light on their performance, comfort, durability, accuracy of fibre composition labeling and chemical safety of the models. What they discovered was a fascinating world of yoga pants, each with its unique set of features and quirks.
According to the study, Lululemon Align™ High-Rise Pant 24″ Asia Fit (HK$880) scored the highest overall 5 marks, while it gets 5 marks in terms of comfort level and 4.5 marks on breathability and moisture evaporation rate. And followed by 6 different brands scoring overall 4.5 mark, the GU Women Sports Leggings GA HK$149 and PUMA Train PUMA Strong HW Tight HK$299 are the most value-for-money among them.
Stretching the Limits: Varied Elasticity
One of the key attributes of yoga pants is their elasticity, crucial for accommodating the wide range of stretching poses involved in yoga practice. The study delved into this aspect by simulating fabric stretching during daily wear. The results revealed a significant variance in elongation, with lengthwise elongation ranging from 78.1% to an impressive 177%, and widthwise elongation ranging from 61.8% to an astonishing 277.1%.
Notably, some models experienced changes in elasticity after repeated washes. While most pants retained their shape, one model’s widthwise elongation reduced by a whopping 108%. However, there was a silver lining, as another model showed improved stretch performance after washing.
Moisture Management: Staying Dry and Comfortable
Comfort during yoga practice hinges on moisture management and breathability. The study evaluated moisture evaporation rates by assessing how quickly pants could dry after exposure to sweat. Results ranged from the slowest-drying model, evaporating only 0.38 ml of water per hour, to the fastest-drying model, which clocked in at 2.03 ml per hour—a four-fold difference.
Pants with slower moisture evaporation rates tend to retain sweat, leading to discomfort, stickiness, and even skin issues for some individuals. However, all models in the study displayed a high degree of breathability, with five models achieving a water vapor permeability of 1000g/24hr/m² or more, ensuring a dry and comfortable experience for the wearer.
Colorfastness and Composition: Staying Vibrant and Safe
Colorfastness is a crucial factor in yoga pants, as poor color retention can lead to fading and even color transfer to other clothing. The study found that most models showed some level of discoloration after 50 washes, with two models experiencing serious color issues, and one model’s print detaching after washing. Additionally, four models displayed slight pilling after repeated washing, affecting both appearance and fabric integrity.
Concerning chemical safety, all models met relevant standards. However, two models contained a small amount of free formaldehyde, signaling room for improvement in this area.
Moreover, the study uncovered discrepancies in fiber composition labeling. One model displayed an 8.2% difference between the labeled and actual composition, exceeding EU regulations, which specify that the gap should not exceed 3%. The Consumer Council has called for manufacturers to enhance the accuracy of fiber labels, with test results shared with the Customs and Excise Department for follow-up.
Choosing Your Perfect Pair: Tips for Consumers
When it comes to choosing the right yoga pants, here are some handy tips:
- Fit Matters: Try them on before buying, and ensure they don’t leave marks on your skin after removal, as this indicates a size issue that could hinder comfort and circulation.
- Hygiene First: Wash your yoga pants promptly after use to prevent bacteria and mold growth, which can lead to unpleasant odors. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can trap dirt, leave odors, and impact elasticity.
- Handle with Care: Avoid high-temperature washes and tumble drying to preserve wicking and elastic performance and prevent shrinkage, deformation, or color fading.
- Turn Inside Out: Machine wash your yoga pants inside out, place them in a laundry bag, and use a low-speed setting to prevent damage from sharp objects.
Choosing the perfect pair of yoga pants goes beyond style and brand preferences. Consumers must consider their budget and the intended use of the product, whether for casual wear or specific types and intensities of exercise. With the right knowledge and care, your yoga pants can be more than just workout gear—they can be your trusted companion for both fitness and fashion. So, go ahead, strike that perfect pose, and feel fabulous in your yoga pants!
Source: Hong Kong Consumer Council