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Columbia Women’s River Leggings review: sleek-but-sturdy for all-day comfort

These stylish, stretchy leggings keep you comfortable, cool and dry on long trail runs and provide great mobility during steep hikes and scrambles

Columbia River Leggings
(Image: © Columbia)

Our Verdict

These sleek-but-sturdy leggings are built with mobility in mind, keeping you cool, dry and protected from the sun on long trail runs and fair weather hikes.

For

  • Sleek fabric means no chafing
  • Highly breathable and cooling
  • Sun protection
  • Hidden pocket for keys and credit cards

Against

  • Not waterproof
  • Not insulated
  • Not made using sustainable materials

Columbia Women's River Leggings: first impressions 

On the rack, these sleek-but-sturdy women's running leggings are ultra-stretchy to support movement and moisture-wicking for all-day comfort when you’re working up a sweat. They’ve even added sun protection to keep you covered.

The 7/8 length hits just above the ankle which makes them easy to wear with the no-sock running look, while the body-fitting style means you can pull your hiking socks up over them no problem.

They boast a hidden pocket for carrying your car key or credit card.

Specifications

RRP: $60 / £45
Sizes available: XS-XXL
Materials:  Polyester (88%), elastane (21%)  
Colors: Black, Black/White, Malbec, Stone Green, Nocturnal Best use:  hiking, trail running 

Columbia Women's River Leggings: on the trails 

Columbia River Leggings

These sleek-but-sturdy leggings are ultra-stretchy to support movement and moisture-wicking for all-day comfort when you’re working up a sweat  (Image credit: Columbia)

I got these leggings out on a couple of trail runs and a hike and was impressed with their cooling technology. As a yoga teacher, I’ve owned a lot of pairs of leggings and these are sturdier than most, which is what you want for hiking and running. They’re flattering and stylish and somehow manage to be body-fitting and stay up during a run without being restrictive or uncomfortable around the waist.

These leggings have that sleek, non-slip feel that’s popular with many outdoor enthusiasts, offer added protection from the sun on bright days and have a handy hidden pocket for a car key and a credit card.

A lot of leggings are too long, leaving wasted extra fabric bunching around your ankles, so I loved the 7/8 length which is perfect for wearing with running shoes or tucking into hiking socks.

Another thing I was impressed with was the odor-control – after three pretty vigorous gear tests, I still don’t feel like I have to wash them, which is unusual for leggings in my experience.

On the flipside, the fit felt ever so slightly off on my body with a little unwanted space around the hips and pelvis, but they were skin tight around my waist, thighs and calves. This gave the impression initially that they were going to fall down and needed to be pulled up at regular intervals, but in fact they stayed in place and the fit didn’t affect performance at all.

These are definitely for cool to warm weather hikes and runs and won’t provide much protection in winter. They’re not waterproof which may not matter on a shorter run, and they do dry quickly.

Overall I’d say these are a solid pair of performers in the leggings category that you would be happy running, hiking and lounging around the house in all at a decent price point. 

Here’s how they performed:

Sizing

True to size. I always wear a small on the bottom and these were just right. 

Fit

Like any legging, these are meant to be skin tight. Mine have a little extra fabric around the hips and pelvis but are form fitting everywhere else, so it might just be my body shape.  

Comfort 

These definitely get five stars for comfort. They’re high waisted and managed to stay up while I was running but weren’t at all uncomfortable around my waist. They’re very stretchy so they allow for unrestricted movement, the fabric feels nice and silky meaning no chafing whatsoever, and the cooling technology ties it all together once you get moving. 

Temperature regulation 

These pants have moisture-wicking technology which seems to work really well and kept me nice and cool on a couple of warmer expeditions. 

Breathability 

I can't say I typically get sweaty on my lower body, but the idea of hiking in leggings makes me think I’d get clammy in them, whereas the reality was I stayed dry. 

Durability 

These are sturdier than your average yoga pants and you can definitely get a few wears out of them before they need a wash so they should hold up. 

Here’s where we tested the Columbia Women's River Leggings: 

This loop is just 20 minutes from Glasgow but offers a splendid, steep grassy climb by a waterfall and takes you by several reservoirs before following a bonnie burn downhill with glittering views of the city spread out at your feet.