If you’re looking for longer athletic wear for working out or staying in, it’s well worth considering the differences between sweatpants vs joggers.

When talking about athletic wear, the terms best sweatpants and joggers are often used interchangeably. They’re both essentially activewear, allowing you to train in comfort and style. And they’re also equally suited to lounging on the sofa, as they’re both made with downtime in mind. Yet, the best sweatpants and the best joggers are designed to perform slightly different roles, so if you’re looking for longer athletic or loungewear, it’s worth considering the subtle differences between the two.

Although both styles feature elasticised or cinched ankles, the main differences between joggers and sweatpants are materials and overall fit – and both these factors hint at their intended use.

Differences between sweatpants vs joggers

While the term sweatpants implies they’re made for exercising and sweating in – and that is indeed what they were originally made for – sweatpants are actually the slightly less athletic-focused of the two, and more suited to lounging.

Sweatpants tend to be made of thicker fabric to keep your legs warm. Joggers, on the other hand, are typically made of thinner materials to provide breathability and keep the legs cool.

In terms of fit, sweatpants are usually baggy, while joggers are form-fitting and tapered. So while both are a great choice for casual streetwear, it’s joggers that allow you to move and keep cool more easily. As such they’re more suited to working out, particularly with any intensity.

Product shot of a man wearing sweatpants


  • Best for outdoor warm-ups
  • Best for lounging in comfort

Sweatpants generally feature a thick type of cotton that’s comfy and soft, ideal for staying warm during colder months. And although they cinch at the ankle like joggers, they’re baggier, less shaped and don’t taper down the leg.

While they will often have pockets, they tend not to be as feature-rich as joggers either. The thicker the fabric, obviously the slightly more cumbersome they will feel if doing more intense workouts.

Sweatpants are ideal for outdoor warm-ups, rather than anything too grueling. They’re the kind of athletic wear you’d take off once you get down to the real hard graft, and it’ll be down to you to decide whether the exercise you do in them warrants washing your sweatpants after every session.

waist down photo showing man wearing black workout sweatpants


  • Best for track and gym workouts
  • Best for maneuverability

Unlike sweatpants, joggers are available in a whole host of materials – from cotton-poly blends and polyester to elastane, lycra, twill, or even silk or satin. These materials are chosen specifically for their performance benefits: light weight, stretchiness, breathability and comfort.

Often joggers won’t have the same insulating properties as sweatpants, but they’ll tend to be lighter, less cumbersome and with better moisture-wicking capabilities. They’ll usually have relaxed hips and be tapered, too, to give more of a tailored look.