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The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise Review

This pair will suck it all in and hold it there, but the result is constricting and not at all comfortable
The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise
Photo: The North Face
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Price:  $100 List | $85.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great tummy control, flattering
Cons:  Uncomfortable, constricting, limited ease of movement
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Hannah Hall & Cam McKenzie Ring  ⋅  Dec 14, 2020
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 13
  • Breathability - 25% 7
  • Ease of Movement - 25% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 25% 7
  • Durability - 25% 8

Our Verdict

The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise legging cultivates the perfect core with a tight power-mesh waistband that does a great job of sucking everything in and keeping it tight. This design shapes well and keeps the leggings securely in place, doing exactly what the title indicates, creating the "perfect core". That being said, the waistband is constricting and uncomfortable, and while we could handle these tights for a couple of hours, they are not for all-day wear. With the waistband being so tight, every time we would assume a forward fold or try to move through chaturanga, the position on our hips would shift a little and start to squeeze our love handles and had us constantly readjusting throughout practice.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $85.00 at Amazon$98 List$45.98 at Backcountry
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Pros Great tummy control, flatteringButtery soft, easy to move in, great color options and fit, comfortable, breathableComfortable, supportive, easy to move in, contoured high waist with no elasticLightweight, breathable, easy to move in, inexpensiveDurable, warm, comfortable fabric, inexpensive
Cons Uncomfortable, constricting, limited ease of movementNeeds delicate careDecent breathability but not the best for heated classesFabric is a little stiff compared to others, durability issues in previous pairsSometimes too warm, falls down during running or HIIT
Bottom Line This pair will suck it all in and hold it there, but the result is constricting and not at all comfortableWith a great balance between compression and breathability, these pants are silky soft and perform exceptionally during various activitiesA comfortable and stylish pair that looks and feels greatA good pant for the price that will make you question whether the expensive ones are really worth itA durable pant perfect for yoga practice or high-friction sports like rock climbing
Rating Categories Perfect Core High-Rise Lululemon Align II High-Waisted Airbrush High Waist Powerflex Amazon Core 10 Buil...
Breathability (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
3.0
Ease Of Movement (25%)
7.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
Comfort And Fit (25%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
10.0
Specs Perfect Core High-Rise Lululemon Align II High-Waisted Airbrush High Waist Powerflex Amazon Core 10 Buil...
Material 89% Supplex nylon, 11% Lycra Black spandex 80% nylon, 20% Lycra 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex 87% Nylon, 13% Spandex 88% polyester, 12% spandex
Key Pocket Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Features Extra compression at waist is meant to engage core Comfortable waistband that lies flat against skin, naked sensation, hidden pocket in waistband, high waisted Wide waistband, anti-microbial fabric Moisture wicking, 4-way stretch fabric Available in different lengths

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise are made with an 89% Supplex nylon and 11% Lycra Black spandex blend. They currently come in limited color choices (Black, Navy, and Blue), and no patterns. The current sizing options are XS to XL in short and regular inseams. We aren't the biggest fans of these tights for yoga practice, but they will do well for a day out hiking or running. If you're looking for something that is ultra-soft and comfortable, the Beyond Yoga Caught in the Midi High-Waist is an excellent choice, and we loved the Lululemon Align II for its combination of good support, breathability, comfort, and great ease of movement. If you are looking for a great option for tummy control though, the Perfect Core is where it's at.

Performance Comparison


The Perfect Core pant has a mesh compression panel at the waist to...
The Perfect Core pant has a mesh compression panel at the waist to suck everything in and keep it there. They aren't very comfortable, but if you are looking for tummy-control these are the leggings for you!
Photo: Matt Bento

Breathability


We scored this pair on the lower end for breathability. Normally when we think of breathability in yoga pants, we are considering the way the material breathes and vents our sweat, but this pair actually impeded our body's ability to breathe! The waist is so tight that it can be challenging to take a deep breath when wearing them.

As for the material's ability to breathe, it was just okay. The current material formulation feels thick, and we got a little sweaty in this pair. However, it was moisture-wicking and dried quickly while wearing. Since we tested the black color, you couldn't see if the leggings were wet or not. This pair currently also comes in a Navy and "Dazzling Blue" option; since we didn't test these colors, we can't confirm whether they darken considerably when wet or not.

It's harder to see sweat on dark colored leggings, so choose your...
It's harder to see sweat on dark colored leggings, so choose your colors wisely.
Photo: Matt Bento

Ease of Movement


There's virtually no stretch in the mesh waistband, and when you are twisting or bending, you can feel the pants holding you back. When you try to move through chaturanga and the pants move a little out of place, they suddenly feel like they are squeezing in all of the wrong places, and we found ourselves adjusting the waistline quite a bit throughout practice to make sure our love handles were not being squished.

The rest of the legging was not particularly stretchy either, and when trying to get into splits or lotus, we noticed a lot of resistance. This is where the Lululemon Align II excelled, allowing us to move easily into any pose we tried without holding us back.

These pants aren't particularly stretchy and we noticed some...
These pants aren't particularly stretchy and we noticed some resistance in certain poses.
Photo: Matt Bento

Comfort and Fit


If you couldn't tell already, we thought this was one of the least comfortable pairs in this review. TNF states alternately that the mesh panel offers "core support" and "helps you engage your core."

The North Face Perfect Core is very flattering - but the tight and...
The North Face Perfect Core is very flattering - but the tight and compressive waistband felt restricting and uncomfortable.
Photo: Matt Bento

Those are two different things. In our opinion, the waist offers more of the former. It keeps everything sucked in tight, but we didn't find that it made us activate our core more than any other pair. While these might do the trick for a quick workout, we certainly didn't find that they're comfortable enough for errands or lounging.

A close-up view of the mesh compression panel. This non-stretchy...
A close-up view of the mesh compression panel. This non-stretchy fabric offers great support and tummy control, but it's not very comfortable.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Durability


Overall, the durability of these pants was comparable to most of the others in the review. After a handful of wears and washes, we noticed some piling - but overall, the seams stayed woven together. These pants are on the thicker side, and our testers agreed they would make an excellent hiking or running pant, especially over some of the models with thinner fabric.

The care instructions for these pants is also very easy compared to the other models we tried. Machine wash with like colors and tumble dry; no need to hang these pants up to dry like Beyond Yoga Caught in the Midi or Lullulemon Align.

The Perfect Core High-Rise wasn't our favorite pair to practice yoga in. The fabric is a little on the heavy side, and the compression waist felt constricting, and they limited our ease of movement. But, they might be just what you're looking for if you're after a pair for hiking or running. Or, if you are looking for a pair of leggings to pair with a tunic, these will suck everything in and provide decent shaping.

Made from a thicker fabric than other pants in our review, these...
Made from a thicker fabric than other pants in our review, these pants may withstand the rigors of climbing, running, or hiking.
Photo: Matt Bento

Value


These leggings retail toward the top of the price bracket for this category. If you can't see yourself spending quite that much, the Best Buy 90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Powerflex offers decent compression at a fraction of the price.

Conclusion


The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise is not for everyone. Anyone looking for extra support in the tummy area will appreciate this pair, but you may not find them to be incredibly comfortable, nor might you want to wear them all day. They also aren't the greatest pair for practicing yoga in due to what we found to be a limited ease of movement, but they could work well for other activities like hiking, running, or climbing.

Hannah Hall & Cam McKenzie Ring