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Joggers vs Sweatpants: The Differences You Need to Know

It’s easy to mistake joggers for sweatpants and vice versa, especially at first glance. After all, both pieces of loungewear appear to be very similar and are designed with comfort in mind. You’ll probably see both whether you’re at the gym or hanging out around the house. So what’s the point in comparing joggers vs sweatpants?

Despite their similarities, these two styles each offer their own unique features. Neither are restricted to pajamas or athletic apparel, and they each present unique styling opportunities to make them perfect for everyday or even smart casual wear. This guide will walk you through the similarities and differences of joggers and sweatpants and will describe how to best pull off each style.

Joggers vs Sweatpants: What’s the Difference? 

The difference between joggers and sweatpants is that joggers are more fashionable, lightweight, multipurpose and flexible while sweatpants tend to be heavier, more sweat-inducing and designed for cold weather.

While each offers unique qualities, both options are great for people wanting to maintain an active lifestyle as the weather starts to cool down. Let’s continue to explore each style’s characteristics as well as some common questions when deciding which of the two to purchase.

Side by side comparison of joggers vs sweatpants including features like fit, cut, weight, softness and use.

Are Joggers Sweatpants?

You may have heard it asked, “Are sweatpants and joggers the same thing?” The short answer is no – despite their similarities, joggers are not technically sweatpants.

Some of the differences between these styles are rooted in design. For example, each style tends to use different types of fabric, present a different shape and size and fit differently on your body. Other distinctions are rooted in how each style is commonly used – although sweatpants are designed for activity and movement (like joggers), they tend to be used for leisure more often than joggers.

What are Joggers? 

We now have a pretty solid understanding of sweatpants, but what are joggers? And how are they any different from sweats? Jogger pants, also known as joggers, are athletic pants that offer excellent mobility. Rather than keeping you warm, they’re designed to cool you down with their breathable and lightweight design.

As far as appearance goes, joggers tend to get slimmer as they approach your feet, ending with cuffed ankles. They are usually more stylish and sporty than sweats, making them great for both a morning jog and a casual night out.

What are Sweatpants?

Sweatpants are thick, loose-fitting and comfortable bottoms that are commonly used for both lounging and exercising in cold weather. Unlike joggers, they’re made to encourage heat retention and sweating as opposed to leg cooling, and they often have a bootcut that’s wider around the ankles. Sweats are also more commonly used as pajamas than joggers, as they tend to be more comfortable for sleeping.

High-quality sweatpants tend to be made entirely of cotton, but sweats can come in cotton/polyester hybrids or more unique materials, like fleece or wool.

How to Choose the Best Sweatpants 

Four squares showing the considerations when choosing between sweats and joggers including illustrations of weather, comfort and style, fit and lifestyle.

Once you’ve decided whether you want to buy sweatpants or joggers, you’ll probably want to get a little more specific. With so many types of sweatpants and joggers to choose from, it’s natural to wonder whether there’s a “best” pair and what that might look like.

The first thing to consider when choosing sweatpants is the weather. Do you live in a warmer climate or one that brings in a lot of cold air and snow? You may opt for thicker sweats if it’s cooler and thinner ones if it’s warmer.

If you plan to wear your sweats out and about, you’ll probably want to take style into consideration. Sweats with sleeker designs and nice prints might be a wiser choice than plain and baggy sweats that are better for lounging at home.

Regardless of climate and appearance, the best sweatpants tend to be those made of 100% cotton. Cotton makes for a very breathable and durable pair of sweats and allows them to best fulfill their primary purpose – to absorb sweat and keep you comfortable.

How to Style Sweatpants

Sweatpants and joggers are usually worn as loungewear, activewear and streetwear – not the kind of bottoms you’d typically wear for a dinner date. That said, there are still strategies for styling these bottoms to make them look great, and maybe even dress them up! Let’s start with tips for how to wear sweatpants.

Sweatpant Style Tips for Women

If you’re struggling to figure out what to wear with your sweatpants to make them fashionable for everyday use, give the following tips a try.

Go for Fitted

As tempting as it may be to go for the comfiest baggy sweatpants you can find, if your goal is to look chic and fashionable you may want to opt for a more fitted pair. The extra material in baggy sweatpants is great for relaxing around the house but can look a bit messy and disheveled when worn out.

Pair With a Nice Jacket

Fashionable jackets pair with fitted sweatpants like fine wine. If you’re looking to curate a stylish athleisure look, you’ll find that something like a trenchcoat, blazer or leather jacket will bring balance to your more casual sweatpants. Just make sure that the color and fit of your jacket matches your sweatpants ahead of time!

Redheaded woman wearing a heather grey blazer crossing a busy street and looking down at her phone

Be Mindful of Your Shoes

Sneakers are great for exercise and dressing down nicer pants, but they don’t add much to the fashion appeal of sweatpants unless you’re going for a super casual or sporty look. Try pairing your sweats with some heels or boots to add some snazz to your outfit.

Sweatpant Style Tips for Men

Men’s sweatpant styles tend to differ a bit from women’s, though some tips, such as aiming for more fitted options, hold true regardless of gender.

Keep it Casual

Rather than trying to dress up sweatpants, consider leaning into a more casual (but not sloppy) look by pairing your sweats with a fitted t-shirt. Jackets and hoodies also look great with sweatpants if it’s too cold to just wear a t-shirt.

Go for Neutral Over Flashy Colors

Sweatpants pair nicely with other neutral, minimalistic colors. Black and white are safe options if you can’t figure out what tops will go with your sweats. Avoid pairing sweats and tops of very similar colors unless you can make it cohesive like a tracksuit – otherwise, this can look a bit messy.

Add an Accessory

Such a simplistic outfit presents the perfect opportunity to add an accessory that pops. Consider adding a beanie, a thin silver necklace or a watch to upgrade your outfit and draw the attention of admirers.

A younger man with blonde spiky hair putting on a denim jacket over a black hoodie and necklace

How to Choose the Best Joggers

While sweatpants tend to offer a more relaxed look, joggers are meant to compliment the shape of your body with their tailored design. That said, they are also more equipped to handle strenuous physical activity as they tend to be lighter and more breathable than sweats.

Since joggers are both stylish and functional, choosing the best pair requires a little more effort. You’ll want to go for the pair that feels best when you’re moving around as well as the pair that best fits your form. Our Second Skin Jogger, for example, is designed with ultimate softness as well as a form-fitting structure.

How to Style Joggers

Due to joggers’ unique, fitted yet comfortable design, you may be wondering how to wear joggers in the most fashionable way possible. Figuring out what to wear with joggers might take some trial and error, but the following style tips should help you get started.

Jogger Style Tips for Women

While joggers can be styled very similarly to sweatpants, their fitted design makes them a bit more versatile. If you choose to invest in a pair of joggers, here are some style tips to experiment with.

Aim for Form-fitting Over Baggy

While sweatpants are designed to be baggier and allow for easy movement, baggy joggers may restrict movement – it’s best to invest in pairs that are form-fitting rather than those that offer extra space. Tailored pairs also provide you with more opportunities for dressing up your joggers.

<b>N</b><span style="font-weight: 400;">eck down view of a woman wearing a white T-shirt, fitted grey joggers and white sneakers</span>

Try Going for Smart Casual

While sweatpants are usually best paired with other casual options, form-fitting joggers can be leveled up to smart casual by throwing on a blazer or a trenchcoat. You’ll look classy and fashionable without appearing to try too hard.

Tuck in a T-shirt or Button-down

To make a bold fashion statement, try tucking your casual t-shirt or button-down into your joggers. Exposing your joggers’ waistband and drawstring allows you to craft a high-waisted trendy look using these casual bottoms.

Jogger Style Tips for Men

Just as joggers can fit both casual and smarter looks for women, they are just as versatile for men! If you’re struggling to figure out how to make your joggers look their best, try pulling some inspiration from the following ideas.

Choose Joggers With Cuffed Ankles

While most joggers come with cuffed ankles to complement their fitted design, some do not. We recommend opting for joggers with cuffed elastic ankles, as these reinforce a sleek look that can complement casual and nicer tops alike.

Throw on a Trendy Hoodie

To maintain a cool and casual streetwear look, consider throwing a hoodie over your t-shirt. The hoodie-jogger combo is perhaps the most popular way to style these bottoms, and they look great with both plain and graphic hoodies – choose your favorite and get pairing!

A white man with a beard wearing a grey hoodie and a maroon beanie while he walks through town

Dress it Up With a Stylish Jacket

If you’d prefer to go for a dressier smart-casual look, you might consider pairing your joggers with a stylish jacket. Try throwing on a denim jacket, bomber jacket, leather jacket, trenchcoat or any other piece of outerwear you’d put on for a fun night out.

FAQs: Joggers and Sweatpants

If this guide has taught you anything, it’s that there aren’t too many significant differences between joggers and sweatpants. While this means that you can’t go wrong when choosing one or the other, it also may leave you with additional questions about these two styles. Let’s review some frequently asked questions so you can feel confident as you continue to compare joggers vs sweatpants.

What Size Joggers Should I Get? 

When in doubt, refer to your regular pant size when deciding what size joggers to get. Just be sure to pay attention to each brand’s size disclaimers to ensure that their joggers run true to size as opposed to running larger or smaller.

If you want to confirm your pant size before making a purchase, check out our size guide for tips to measure your waist size and pick the best-fitting joggers for you.

What are Sweatpants Made Of? 

Sweatpants can be made of any number of materials, including cotton, polyester, nylon, fleece and wool. Many sweats are made of a blend of these fabrics.

That said, some of the most high-quality and breathable sweatpants are made of 100% cotton, so if you like the style and your budget allows, it may be worth your time to explore fully cotton sweatpants.

What’s The Difference Between Track Pants vs. Sweatpants?

When browsing for athleticwear and loungewear bottoms, you may have seen track pants thrown into the mix. While very similar to joggers and sweatpants, track pants actually fit into their own category of pants.

Track pants are typically made of nylon and thus tend to be more lightweight than sweatpants. Since they are not always tailored and are specifically worn for athletic purposes, they aren’t considered joggers either.

Whether you’re deciding between joggers vs sweatpants for relaxation, athletic or fashion purposes, it’s important to find the pair that feels most comfortable and best fits your style. Don’t forget to explore our men’s and women’s lounge pants (and shorts) for the softest and coziest options on the market.