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Joggers vs. Sweatpants: All you Need to Know

joggers vs sweatpants

Both joggers and sweatpants hold a special place in men’s fashion. They are often touted as must-have items that every man on earth should have in his closet, and they are certainly worthy of this legendary status. With the exception of formal/semi-formal, almost every style can be replicated with these pants.

However, a big misconception among people is that joggers and sweatpants are the same things; they are not. Yes, they look similar from far away, but they are totally distinct pieces of clothing, made from different materials, and serve different purposes.

Let’s take a look at what joggers and sweatpants are and then analyze the differences between the two.

What are Joggers?

What are Joggers?

Joggers are lightweight trousers that are comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. The thing that sets them apart is their distinctive sporty yet minimalist aesthetic. Their light weight combined with the semi-loose design means that you can move however you want without getting restricted by your pants.

What are Joggers for?

The primary purpose of joggers is to be the default sports pants. Whether you’re jogging, lifting weights, or learning boxing, there is no better pair of pants than joggers. Sure, you can do all of these things in a pair of plaid pants if you want to. However, if you want the optimal experience without getting held back by the pants of your choice, then there is no real-world substitute for joggers.

Types of Jogging Pants Material

Joggers or jogging pants are made from fleece, cotton, polyester, or a combination of these. The final fabric is extremely lightweight to allow obstruction-free movement and is also fully breathable to avoid heat buildup. Additionally, any material aimed for physical activities needs to be as durable as it gets, and joggers excel in this department as well. So, whether you’re running laps or practicing wrestling, you don’t have to worry about your pants ripping open.

Different Types of Joggers

Joggers became popular decades ago, and they’ve been on top of men’s fashion ever since. However, their design has been anything but static. It evolved over time, and there are many types of joggers available today.

Twill Joggers

First and the most well-known are the twill joggers with the elastic drawstring belt. It’s a simple yet effective design with two side pockets, and that’s it. As far as working out and physical activities are concerned, these are the best options.

Shirred Leg Joggers

Shirred leg joggers are the way to go if you want to dress retro. Whether you’re inspired by the hip-hop era or just want to emulate the 80s’ fashion for men, these will serve you well. Just pair these joggers with simple shirts, and you’re good to go.

Hip-Hop Joggers

Hip-hop played a massive part in introducing joggers to the mainstream. Joggers were only worn by athletes and gym-going folks before. Then hip-hop arrived and proved the fashion potential of joggers to the whole world. Modern-day hip-hop joggers are an homage to that era and the perfect choice for hip-hop-style outfits. They are a bit looser than regular joggers to aid with dancing as well.

All you need is an off-the-rack hooded sweatshirt, a pair of low-top sneakers, and you’re dressed to perfection.

Splash-color Joggers

Traditionally, joggers come in plain colors like grey and charcoal. So, what if you want something a bit more colorful and vibrant? The splash-color joggers are the answer you’re looking for. They are as vibrant and bold as it gets in men’s fashion without overdoing the colors. Finding suitable tops for these joggers is a bit complicated, but it can be done with some experimentation. Anorak jackets, for example, are a flawless pairing.

What are Sweatpants ?

What are Sweatpants ?

Let’s bring our attention to the other part of the equation, the sweatpants. They are the king of comfort, according to many, and this claim holds true in the real world. There is no better pair of pants for weekend night relaxation.

What Material are Sweatpants Made of?

Most modern sweatpants are made from a cotton fleece material. It is soft and cozy, as well as extremely durable. You can wear a pair of high-end sweatpants regularly for years and still not see any wear and tear on them. However, the comfort and coziness of this material are what makes it, and sweatpants by proximity, so special.

This material is also used in many types of jackets for men.

Different Kinds of Sweatpants

As far as variety is concerned, sweatpants aren’t a slouch either. There are many options available to men, each with its own unique perks.

Basic Length Sweatpants

These are the ones that come to mind when the “sweatpants” word comes up. The basic-length sweatpants are also the most versatile. You can wear them with sweatshirts, winter coats, leather coats and much more. If you’re building a capsule wardrobe, these are the ones to keep.

Baggy Sweatpants

Baggy sweatpants take the loose and free design of sweatpants and amp it up to eleven. If you want to wear something that is cozy yet poses zero restrictions on movement, then baggy sweatpants are for you. After all, there is a reason why this baggy clothes style is so popular with hip-hop dancers.

Tailored Sweatpants

Sweatpants are not ideal for most professional settings on their own. They can be spruced with some help from things like an unstructured blazer, but that only goes so far. So, to combat this issue, fashion designers created tailored sweatpants.

These are made from the same material as regular sweatpants and even exude the same energy. But their design and form factor is a lot more refined and akin to preppy style outfits. You can wear these with t-shirts, a leather bomber jacket, and even some button-up shirts.

Striped Sweatpants

Most sweatpants are made from one solid color. Yes, there are some accent colors here and there, but they don’t attract any attention and are easy to miss. Striped sweatpants, on the other hand, put stripes of color onto a pair of plain sweatpants. For example, a pair of black sweatpants with white vertical stripes to make a trouser that is an uncontested staple of Scandinavian fashion.

What are Sweatpants for?

Just like there are no movement restrictions when wearing sweatpants, there are no purpose restrictions either. You can wear them for anything, and they will fit in that situation. For example, you can wear them for exercise, working out, going to the gym, jogging, etc. Or, you can wear them for relaxing on the weekend, going to the local coffee shop, watching Netflix after work, and even sleeping in them. The options are truly endless.

How Should Sweatpants Fit?

The fit of sweatpants depends heavily on the type you’re talking about. Baggy sweatpants, for example, are loose and open, while cropped ones are tight-fitting. The regular sweatpants, however, are somewhere in the middle. They are tight enough to look defined while also being loose enough for unrestricted movement. As for the length, they should go all the way up the waist, and the bottom should wrap around your ankles when standing up; no higher, no lower.

Difference between Joggers and Sweatpants

Let’s summarize the main differences between sweatpants and joggers.

They both belong to a similar style of pants that are designed with comfort and efficiency in mind. However, the main difference between them is in the materials and weight of fabric. One is lighter in weight than the other. Also, sweatpants are meant to encourage sweating during strenuous activity and joggers are meant to keep the wearer cool during the same activity.

Joggers are relatively thin and breathable, meant to be worn in summer. They keep you cool even on the hottest of days. Sweatpants, on the other hand, are insulating and cozy. The material regulates body temperature without making you feel too hot. Then there is the difference in styling.

You can wear a lot of the outfits interchangeably between the two, but there are also certain outfits that work the best with one or the other.

Joggers vs. Chinos

Joggers are made from lightweight materials with a core focus on athletic aid. Chinos, on the other hand, are style first. If you want to look well dressed, then chinos are your best option. They are simple pairs of pants in solid colors. But don’t get fooled by their simplicity. Chinos are a master of manipulating the items around them and to craft cohesive outfits.

Tops like sweatshirts, shirts, and leather jackets look as good on joggers as they do on chinos. However, business casual is where chinos truly shine. They offer a level of comfort that is comparable to joggers while also fitting flawlessly in a professional environment. Something as simple as a button-up with a cream-colored sweater and a pair of chinos looks miles ahead of regular office attire.  

Sweatpants vs. Joggers: Which Will You Choose?

Both sweatpants and joggers are excellent choices, and you would not go wrong with either of these. However, they do not occupy the same space, and there are things where one is preferred over the other and vice versa. So, ideally, you want to own both sweatpants and joggers.

You can use them for different seasons, e.g. joggers for the summer and spring and sweatpants for winter and autumn. You can alternate between them daily, depending on what you’re doing. For example, joggers are the perfect choice for heavy workouts and cardio, while sweatpants will be fantastic for relaxing and going out.

If you do have to choose one of the two, consider the material and design.


Sweatpants are noticeably heavier than joggers and offer better insulation. So, if you live in an area with lower average temperatures, then sweatpants are the way to go. On the other hand, joggers are extremely breathable and do not cause any issues, even in high temperatures. So, they are the better option for tropical/hot climates.


Design, however, is not as simple as hot = joggers and cold = sweatpants. Choosing one based on its design requires you to consider what you’re going to be wearing on top? When are you going to wear them? And what situations would you be wearing them?

The final choice depends completely on your answer to these three questions. For example, if you want to wear a vintage leather jacket in a business environment, then black joggers will work better. If you’re going to wear them with a sweater on weekends for grocery shopping, then sweatpants are the superior choice.

So, think about these questions, formulate clear answers, and then make a choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most frequently asked questions regarding sweatpants and joggers.

What material are sweatpants made of?

Sweatpants are made of a thick cotton fleece material. It is durable, warm, cozy, incredibly soft on the inside. It is also great at temperature regulation.

Are joggers good for jogging?

Yes, joggers are the best choice for jogging, as well as other similar activities like track running and cycling.

Are joggers supposed to be loose or tight?

Joggers are neither loose nor tight. They are somewhere in the middle as they are loose enough to let you move freely but tight enough to be a good replacement for jeans in a jeans and blazer outfit.

How to make sweatpants skinny at the bottom?

You can easily find sweatpants on the market that are loose and baggy on the top and get gradually tight as you go down. This particular design is fairly popular with athletes and dancers as it lets them do crazy stunts without having their pants slide up their legs.

If you already own a pair of regular sweatpants, you can tighten them at the bottom by pin rolling the extra fabric at the back and tucking into the folded elastic cuffs.

Are jeans warmer or sweatpants?

Denim is good at wind and moisture resistance, but it is not good at heat retention. Sweatpants, on the other hand, will keep you warm no matter what. The cotton fleece will retain heat, and the internal soft polyester lining will further increase the insulation.

So, jeans are not warmer than sweatpants, not by a long shot.

How long are joggers supposed to be?

This depends completely on the type of joggers. Cropped joggers, for example, go halfway down the shins. Regular twill joggers, on the other hand, should be aligned with your ankles. They should wrap around the ankles and completely cover them without getting wrinkled at the bottom.

As a side note, this particular length is what makes joggers such a good match for loafers.


Men’s fashion is diverse and constantly changing. Things become trendy and fade out of existence in months, sometimes even in weeks. However, both joggers and sweatpants have become a vital part of modern-day men’s fashion, and they are here to stay.

The best option for you is to own both if you can. If you do have to choose one, think about it carefully. Consider the climate around you, as well as your usage, before you make a purchase.

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