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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
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $100 List | $98.95 at MooseJaw
Pros:  Great tummy control, flattering
Cons:  Uncomfortable, constricting, limited ease of movement
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 25, 2018
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Breathability - 25% 7
  • Ease of Movement - 25% 5
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 4
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Style - 10% 9

The Skinny

Longtime yoga apparel company Lucy was recently purchased by The North Face and their clothing line was folded in under TNF label. The staple of Lucy's yoga line was the Perfect Core line (pants, leggings, and capris), which has been rebranded as The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise and is only available as a legging. They've kept the compression waistband, though the fabric seems a little different to us — a little softer and less shiny. The power-mesh at the waist does a great job of sucking everything in and keeping it tight, and these tights tend to stay in place and not sag down. But 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. We're also not so sure about exercising in something that restricts our breathing and ease of movement! If you're looking for something that is ultra-soft and comfortable, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye High-Waist is an excellent choice, and we loved our Editors' Choice winner, the Alo Yoga High-Waisted Airbrush, for its combination of good support and great ease of movement. If you are looking for the best option for tummy control though, the Perfect Core is where it's at.


Compare to Similar Products

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 Maroon), and no patterns. The current sizing options are XS to XL in Short and Regular inseams. Long-time Lucy fans have been blowing up TNF's review page with complaints about these leggings being different from the Lucy version, not available in a boot cut, and also a lack of Tall and extended sizes. Lucy was known for offering the most sizing options in the yoga apparel world, so it is unfortunate that TNF hasn't kept the trend going. Perhaps the dozens of reviews begging for a Tall version will persuade them to include it in the future. Meanwhile, if you need something out of the "norm" in the yoga pant world, whether that's a Short or Tall pant, or 1-3X sizes, check out the Pillar line from Prana. While we tested the capri, they also make a legging and pant in the same fabric and have many sizing options.

Performance Comparison


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!
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!

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 bodies' ability to breathe! The waist is so tight that it can be challenging to take a deep breath in them.


As for the material's ability to breathe, it was just okay. The current material formulation feels thicker and different from Lucy's old fabric, and we felt like we got a little sweatier in this pair. However, it was moisture wicking and seemed to dry quickly on us. And because 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 Maroon option, though since we didn't test those colors, we can't confirm whether they darken considerably when wet or not.

The leg on the right is wet but you can't tell. While this color didn't show sweat  we found it less breathable than others.
The leg on the right is wet but you can't tell. While this color didn't show sweat, we found it less breathable than others.

Ease of Movement


We also scored this legging lower for ease of movement compared to the other models in this review. Once again, the compression waistband was so tight that it felt like it was restricting us during our practice.


There's virtually no stretch in the mesh waistband, so when you are twisting or bending, you can feel the pants holding you back. The rest of the legging was not particularly stretchy either, and when trying to get into side splits or Lotus, we noticed a lot of resistance. This is where our Editors' Choice winner, the Alo Yoga High-Waist Airbrush excelled, letting up move easily into any pose we tried without holding us back.

We felt like these pants limited our movement  particularly in twisting poses and forward bends.
We felt like these pants limited our movement, particularly in twisting poses and forward bends.

Comfort & Fit


If you couldn't tell already, we thought this was the least comfortable pair of yoga pants in this review. TNF states alternately that the mesh panel offers "core support" and "helps you engage your core." Those are two different things. In our opinion, the waist offers more of the former. It keeps everything sucked in tight, but we don't think it makes us activate our core more than any other pair.


Some pants took it too far in the other direction and offered no compression, like the Yogalicious Ultra-Soft and the Ododos High-Waist Capri. We didn't like the feeling of those pants either, as we could feel everything jiggling in them during our classes. For us, the perfect pair is compressive at the same time as being stretchy and comfortable, and that is why we like the Alo Yoga Airbrush. If you are looking for something comfortable that you can wear lounging around the house in, check out our Top Pick for All-Day Comfort, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye High-Waist.

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.
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.

Durability


We were also a little concerned with the durability of this pair for several reasons and gave it a lower score in this category as well.


The fabric is a softer blend, and we noticed a bit of pilling on it after only a few washes in some high wear areas like between the thighs. We also had some concerns about the waistband — it is so tight but has to come up over our much wider hips each time we put them on, and we occasionally heard a seam popping when doing so. The material is on the thicker side though, and they'd be a better pair to wear outside for hiking compared to something thin like the Yogalicious Ultra-Soft.

Style


While this pair of leggings didn't score very high in any of the other categories, we were happy to give it a high mark for style. The high-waist and compression panel minimize the dreaded "muffin-top," and the leggings have a long and lean look to them.


Best Applications


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 limited our ease of movement. But, they might just work for you for hiking running, or other workouts. And if you are looking for a pair of leggings to pair with a tunic, these will suck everything in and provide decent shaping.

We tried to do yoga in this pair  but it didn't work too well for us. If you are looking for that compression at the waist though  no other pair does it better.
We tried to do yoga in this pair, but it didn't work too well for us. If you are looking for that compression at the waist though, no other pair does it better.

Value


These leggings retail for $99, which is a price reduction from the $108 Lucy version we tested last time around. However, they are still at the top of the price bracket for this category. If you can't see yourself spending quite that much, the $30 90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Powerflex, our Best Buy winner, offer good compression at a fraction of the price.

Conclusion


The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise are probably not for everyone. Anyone looking for extra support in the tummy area will appreciate this pair, but you might not be able to keep them on for very long. They also weren't the greatest pair for doing yoga in, since they didn't have the best ease of movement, but they could work well for other activities like hiking.


Cam McKenzie Ring