Lululemon Align II Review
Cons: Needs delicate care
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Lululemon Align II
|Price||$98 List||$79.00 at Backcountry|
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|$65.56 at Backcountry|
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|$22.99 at Amazon||$65.50 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Buttery soft, easy to move in, great color options and fit, comfortable, breathable||Compressive, shaping, stylish, and durable||Comfortable, supportive, easy to move in, contoured high waist with no elastic||Lightweight, breathable, easy to move in, inexpensive||Durable, look great on, comfortable material, breathable, capri fit|
|Cons||Needs delicate care||A little tight, thick, could be more breathable||Decent breathability but not the best for heated classes||Fabric is a little stiff compared to others, durability issues in previous pairs||A little tight around the waist, not much variety in style and color|
|Bottom Line||Soft and comfortable for various athletic activities, we love their breathability, ease of movement, and color options||A compressive all-around tight that's great for most activities, but doesn't breathe well for a heated yoga class||Great for most types of yoga classes plus they look and feel great on||An inexpensive pair that works well for a variety of styles||Performs well for most yoga classes and is a great addition to the closet|
|Rating Categories||Lululemon Align II||Patagonia Centered Tights||High-Waisted Airbrush||High Waist Powerflex||Transform High-Waisted Capri|
|Ease Of Movement (25%)|
|Comfort And Fit (25%)|
|Specs||Lululemon Align II||Patagonia Centered...||High-Waisted...||High Waist Powerflex||Transform...|
|Material||80% nylon, 20% Lycra||85% Recycled polyester, 15% Spandex jersey||87% Polyester, 13% Spandex||87% Nylon, 13% Spandex||88% Supplex nylon, 12% Lycra|
|Features||Comfortable waistband that lies flat against skin, naked sensation, hidden pocket in waistband, high waisted||Recycled material, flattering wide waistband with 1/2 inch elastic band, soft thread in seems for skin to skin comfort, key pocket||Wide waistband, anti-microbial fabric||Moisture wicking, 4-way stretch fabric||Wide waistband, double layer powermesh inset panels in waist for max support, triangle gusseted crotch, high waist|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lululemon Align II is crafted from an engineered fabric Lululemon has named "Nulu". They employ a specific type of yarn with an excellent microfiber and engineered a weave that ensures these pants are extra soft. They also added Lycra fiber for the perfect amount of stretch and shape retention. You can find these pants in sizes 0-14, with a variety of colors and patterns. We tested the 28-inch full-length version, but you can also purchase them in the 21-inch and 25-inch length.
Lululemon has made an art out of making their yoga pants breathable with the perfect amount of compression. We found that this delicate balance of breathability and support is tough for many yoga pant companies to accomplish. Because Align is the best of both worlds, this yoga pant was extremely versatile. It is perfect for hot yoga, yin yoga, HIIT, running, your favorite spin class, — literally any type of physical activity.
Sometimes, we end our workout drenched in sweat. Some models in this review, such as Beyond Yoga Caught Midi, offered excellent breathability but were too thin to provide any support or comfort. On the other hand, we found the Core 10 pant to have significant compression but found they were very thick and hot, particularly for hot yoga.
The Align Pant II manages a balance between a lightweight, supportive material that stays in place and provides coverage while offering excellent breathability for all of your hot exercise needs. The breathability is one of the highest scorers, and you'll find that they will dry incredibly fast when out and about on an errand (after class). When you combine exceptional breathability with equally (or higher) ease of movement, comfort, and style, you've got a pair of yoga pants that significantly outweigh the other options.
Ease of Movement
We flowed smoothly through our practice in the Align II. Sometimes, a thick high-waisted band can feel like it is squeezing our skin, creating a mushroom effect around our waist. Align was just right, lending high-waist support that doesn't feel like it's squeezing our sides.
Other brands have tight waistbands that are uncomfortable and impedes the movement in our practice. Specifically, the ODODOS Dual Pocket dug into our waists so much they left a red mark around our belly. The feeling of the waist digging into our belly during forward folds flows or twisting poses accentuated our "belly rolls", and distracted us during practice.
Others didn't have elastic in the waistband, and sure enough, as soon as we began to move, the pants would shift and need to be adjusted. The Align II struck the perfect balance between compression and comfort, and never felt too tight.
Comfort and Fit
These pants are so comfortable that they almost matched the Beyond Yoga Caught in the Midi for silky fabric. As such, they're a pair that we felt inclined to leave on for the entirety of the day. Seriously though, when Lululemon states that the Nulu fabric is "buttery soft," they aren't lying. These pants are so comfortable, you may forget you even have them on!
Super stretchy in nature, if you are someone who prefers a "tighter" fit, we'd recommend purchasing a pair that are down a size from your street jean. We tested the same size as our street size and thought it was comfortable and snug without being too tight. There is also a small pocket in the waistband, which allows you to carry your credit card, a little cash, or a key with you as you are out and about in your new favorite pants.
During our testing of this fabric, the seams stayed woven together, but the material did produce some mild pilling on the front of our legs and in our inner-thighs where our thighs rub together.
The fabric is lightweight and delicate. We washed them more than a dozen times with only mild pilling. However, no matter how carefully you take care of Align, they do show wear over time. Pilling becomes inevitable and they do lose a lot of their softness after a few months.
Lululemon as a company is notorious for making yoga clothes that are difficult to care for; the Align is no different. According to Lululemon, the specialized and highly engineered fabric needs special care, and they recommend machine washing cold and laying out to air dry. It is also important to wash with clothes that are similar material; avoid washing with jeans or anything with Velcro, as it wears and snags the material.
We all have experienced that moment when your mom, boyfriend or roommate thinks they are helping you out by throwing your clothes in the dryer. What happens when your Lulus end up in the dryer? Don't fret, they will not get destroyed if this happens on occasion. We would just recommend not making the dryer a habit.
Lululemon prices the Align II on the higher end, making them one of the most expensive pairs in our review. If you are looking for a wonderful deal, the 90 Degree by Reflex retail for much less and offer a great bargain.
The Lululemon Align II achieves the perfect balance of compression and breathability. They're so comfortable you won't want to take them off. Their simple patterns and a multitude of colors make them a versatile pair of leggings for all-day use and will add to any ensemble in your closet. We wore these pants to several different yoga classes, running, spinning, and hiking, as well as around the house and even to work. The only downfall is the durability and ease of care. We did notice some pilling on the front of our thigh, but all of the stitching stayed intact. This is a small price to pay for their comfort and compression.The Align II looks great on, flows and moves easily during any yoga practice or exercise, and allows for exceptional breathability both on and off the mat. They provide enough compression to stay in place during all of the pretzel-like poses or binds you may find yourself in. If you can't tell by now, we are in love with these yoga pants.
— Bo Outland