We Put Buzzy ‘Leather’ Workout Pants to the Test: Are They Really Worth It?

leather gym pants

It’s well documented that the lines between fashion and fitness are blurring—the fact that pretty much every designer from Alexander Wang to Fendi has embraced athleisure on the runway is a testament to that—but what kind of legs does the trend really have?

Enter two former Goldman Sachs employees who are hedging their bets it’s just a matter of time before all fashion is designed with activewear technology—they’ve also launched a new label called ADAY.

Yes, you read that correctly: Soon your work wardrobe could quite literally take you straight to Soul Cycle, and back again. ADAY’s founders, Nina Faulhaber and Meg He are putting that theory to the test with the release of a small, edited collection of activewear that includes a workout jumpsuit (seriously), and a $95 pair of machine-washable leatherette gym pants. With this unique blend of fashion and activewear, they’re hoping to capitalize on the trend.

We set out to create contemporary garments with fully active properties—a silk-feel tank, a leather-look track pant. We’re extending the activewear market beyond gym clothing to active fashion for work and play. In 10 years’ time, every item in your closet will have hidden active properties,” Faulhaber told us.

Personally, I’m always up for a fitness road test—I’ve been known to spend entire weekends testing superfoods, taking intensive meditation courses, and raising my hand for just about any buzzy fitness class. So, when I heard about a pair of leather-y gym pants that promise to be just as wearable as my regular old leggings, I knew I had to put them to the test.

leather look gym pants

A less hideous alternative to my lycra stretch pants is always a good thing, so I ordered a pair of ADAY’s Hail Yes Trackpants with little hesitation. The website promised an alternative to my gym pants in a “high-luxe matte black”  leather-look fabric that’s soft and UV resistant—they’re also designed with a loose fit, cinched waist, tapered ankle, and rose gold zips at the hips.

Full disclosure here: I was skeptical—really skeptical. Could I see these pants as a viable alternative when walking to work or running for the bus? Yes. But could I see them keeping up with my intense workout routine? Hell no.

I went back to Faulhaber, and she told me not to sweat it—or rather, not to worrying about sweating it: These pants were breathable and made to deal with sweat.

“We wanted to create a pair of pants that looks and feels like our wardrobe staple but allowed us to move freely, and even sweat in it,” she said. “We wanted it to be breathable, moveable, allowing us to be free, yet stylish.”

She explained that the pants might look like leather, but they’re made of an active elastane polyester from Taiwan that’s not only breathable, but also sweat-wicking and fast drying. Convinced, I booked a yoga class, and—the real test—a spin class to really see if this fashion-fitness hybrid really could be the future for our wardrobes.

With the mindset that I might as well test the stretch first, I wore the pants to a 60-minute morning hot-yoga class. Here’s what really surprised me: ADAY’s pants were easier to move in than my usual skin-tight leggings. I was stretching, moving, and downward-dogging like a bendy rubber-band, totally unabated by my leatherette track pants. I was comfortable, felt cool, and pretty impressed that this sweat-wicking stuff was definitely doing its job.

So, the pants could withstand yoga, but what I really needed to know is how my new pair would hold up against something more intense: A spin and circuit class. The same afternoon I pulled on the leatherette track pants, a crop top, and took off for the 30-minute cycle class followed by a 15-minute circuit workout.

Within 15 minutes, I was struggling through a world of regret. On an ordinary day this class is challenging, but swapping my regular shorts for full-length bottoms turned a mildly painful exercise into something next level. With sweat levels through the roof, I turned down the resistance on my bike and silently prayed for the class to be over.

We might not quite be there yet with workoutwear that can also take you to work, but these pants are pretty damn close. While I won’t be wearing them again–ever–to a hardcore cardio class, they really are a viable alternative for yoga, walking, and keeping up with the general business of an active lifestyle. Unless of course, I’m desperate to drop some water weight before a big event–in that case, I’ve got just the thing.

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Photos: Tiffany Hagler-Geard