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TikTok has a way of making you want to get in on trends without any real evidence or proof that they work. If Emily Mariko says to stick an ice cube in my rice before putting it in the microwave, I’m doing it. If Millie Leer vouches that bar soap is the best product to laminate my brows, I’m slathering it in on. And if every single person I see is wearing butt-lifting leggings that seem to make their rear look higher, firmer, and rounder than ever before, I’m buying them.
When it came to the TikTok leggings, however, there were a few problems: 1) I am frugal by nature and refuse to spend money on anything without doing sufficient research, 2) I kept seeing options that looked slightly different yet nobody was calling out brand names, and I had to know which pair was best, and 3) I needed to know if they could actually be worn during exercise.
For the sake of journalism, I decided to break my first rule and buy both the Amazon Seasum Butt Lift Tights and the Halara Butt Lifting Leggings (which my research showed to be the two most popular leggings on TikTok).
Before we dive in, it should be noted that I’m more of a sweatpants-to-lounge, leggings-to-work-out kind of gal. I rarely wear leggings without at least the intention of exercising at some point in the day, so it’s important to me that they are comfortable, flattering, and functional, which are the three categories I used to evaluate the leggings popular on TikTok. Yes, a flattering look is still important because most gyms and workout studios have mirrors, and seeing a reflection that makes me feel good can give me the confidence I need to push through.
I ordered both in black. Black and other similarly dark colors tend to be my default when it comes to leggings since I am a human who sweats when I work out. I prefer to not have that show through my pants, especially because that sweat generally comes through right around the crotch. (Although some high-quality colored leggings won’t show sweat either.)
As a 5-foot-6 woman, I’m slightly above average in height. I’ve been told that I have an athletic build with some curves. (In other words, my butt is neither flat nor is it anything groundbreaking.) Overall I would call myself medium-size, but after looking at the sizing charts, reading some reviews, and knowing how I like my leggings to fit, I ordered a small in both pairs.
You can buy the Seasum High Waist Butt Lift Tights from Amazon for around $19.
You can buy the In My Feels High Waisted Textured Butt Lifting 7/8 Leggings from Halara for around $28.
Do TikTok leggings make your butt look good?
After learning that even Lizzo had gone with the Seasum butt-lifting leggings, I was understandably excited to try them out. I watched countless videos of people not only feeling themselves, but also filming the frankly shook reactions of their significant others upon seeing them in these leggings. Since most leggings I own already make my butt look decent (if I do say so myself), I thought my life was about to be dramatically changed forever. I was wrong.
Unfortunately, I give these a relatively low score on the flatter meter for my particular body. They somehow flattened my butt while accentuating my hips and lower belly fat, which are two things I tend to want my leggings to flatten. I usually like a thicker waistband to compress that whole middle area and create more of an hourglass shape. The Seasum butt-lift leggings did not do that for me, nor did they lift my butt. They were also a bit long for my liking, basically meeting the tops of my ankle socks, which was surprising in a size small since I am of above-average height.
Some reviewers were on my side here: “I was betrayed by a TikTok. These make my butt look like a pancake and I actually have a butt so don’t be fooled by the TikTok. These ain’t it hunny.” —Jord
Others said that they can be super flattering on some bodies: “So, uhh, yeah. If you have a big butt and a smaller waist, get these pants. I’m 5' 9" and 230 pounds, VERY bottom heavy and the XL fit perfectly. I haven’t taken a thot picture since my early 20’s, but these pants looked so good there needed to be proof.” —Haley Havoc
I found the Halara leggings to be slightly more flattering. While I didn’t feel that they did anything magical, they gave me a bit better shape in the waist through the hips. They did not transform my butt, but they also didn’t flatten it. I preferred the length of these, and the textured exterior does a similarly good job of hiding any dimples in the skin. I’d give them a more medium-to-low score on the flatter meter.
Are TikTok leggings comfortable?
The Amazon leggings were far superior to Halara when it came to comfort. They had much more stretch despite the equally thick and bubbled texture. The waistband, though not as wide as I’d like, did fit comfortably snug around my waist without causing too much fat to protrude over the top.
A well-summarized review: “The material is super soft and has just the right amount of elasticity. The color is beautiful and they are so comfortable. They are true to size as well which is nice. I have to say that at first, it felt like I had a wedgie all day because of the seam but I got used to it. And yes, it definitely accentuates your butt. I am very modest so I would not wear these out of the house but they are so comfortable I actually think I want to buy some more.” —Robyn
I knew of Halara as a company that makes great affordable dupes for trendy workout wear like the Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress, so I thought they would make comfortable leggings.
However, I found these leggings to be difficult to pull on, and they felt strangely stiff for a piece of apparel designed to move in. The top band was thick and a bit more flexible than the legs without that honeycomb texture, though it still didn’t have enough elastic to hug me the way I’d like.
Can you exercise in TikTok leggings?
When it comes to actually working out, the Seasum leggings won out. However, it’s important to note that most reviewers, and even a fitness expert, agree that functionality isn’t their strong suit.
“Do I think those leggings are leggings that I would wear to work out in? Absolutely not,” Laura Pachnos, a senior coach at Solidcore in New York City, told BuzzFeed News. “Do I think they’re going to make you look great? Absolutely.”
I gave mine a spin for a hot yoga class at Y7 Studio. While they were admittedly not my favorite leggings to exercise in, they held up fine through the yoga flow. Since I opted for black, you couldn’t see any of the sweat even after 60 minutes of moving in a 90-degree room.
According to Pachnos, who has a dance background and is certified in a wide variety of group fitness classes, it’s best to choose leggings specifically geared toward the type of workout you’ll be doing.
Some may require a texture that’s thicker, tighter, or more supportive. Unless you plan to wear them only when lounging or running errands, they should have sweat-wicking technology. The Amazon Seasum leggings do not have this feature.
“If you sweat in them, depending on the color, it looks like you peed yourself and feels heavy afterward,” she said. (In case you were wondering, her favorites for any type of workout are from Sweaty Betty, which also has leggings that offer bum-sculpting benefits.)
Nearly everyone agreed that the quality of the Seasum butt-lift leggings isn’t ideal for strenuous workouts, making them far better suited for lounging than exercise, but they were still miles ahead of Halara as far as functionality goes.
I put on my Halara butt-lifting leggings for a workout with my trainer and almost immediately took them off. After moving my legs around a fairly minimal amount, I felt like the seam in the crotch might burst, which would not be ideal while doing squats and bear crawls at the gym. It was quickly apparent that I would not feel comfortable working out in them.
My final review
Given that the Halara leggings are more expensive than the Seasum leggings you can buy on Amazon and are only moderately more flattering (in my opinion), I would buy them only if you heavily prioritize the butt-lifting appearance over everything else.
Otherwise, I’d say the Seasum leggings are the way to go. While I didn’t feel that they were particularly flattering for my body type, many reviewers and TikTokers with other body types disagreed. Still, I would not advise getting these with the intention of wearing them for exercise.
“They are made for lounging,” Pachnos said. “If you were going to pair them with a cute chunky sweater and some Converse to go out for your morning coffee, that’s when I’d wear those leggings.”