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Joggers Vs Sweatpants: What Is the Difference?

When it comes to choosing new athletic wear during colder months, there are two styles of pants that you are likely to see the most: joggers and sweatpants. Maybe you’re having a hard time deciding which one to choose because you don’t know how they are different. So I’ve written this guide to answer your questions about joggers vs. sweatpants: what is the difference?

The main difference between joggers and sweatpants is that joggers are typically fitted, while sweatpants have a looser and more relaxed fit. They are both worn primarily for athletic purposes and made from the same type of fabric. Joggers also tend to keep you cool, while sweatpants keep you warm.

In this article, I’ll explain the similarities and differences between joggers and sweatpants, as well as the pros and cons and each. That way, you can decide which one of them to choose.

Joggers Vs Sweatpants

Are Joggers Sweatpants?

Many people assume that joggers and sweatpants are the same thing and actually use the terms interchangeably. After all, they are both worn for athletics purposes. But joggers and sweatpants refer to two different styles of pants.

Yes, it’s true that they can be very similar in terms of function, what fabric they are made from, and how they are made. However, the key differences lie in their appearance, style, and overall fit. So it’s these characteristics that we’ll explore in more detail.

Joggers vs. Sweatpants: Key Differences

DesignCuffed ankles, front pockets, drawstring waistOpen ankles, side pockets, elastic waist
FitComfortable but tapered fitComfortable but relaxed fit
FabricCotton/Polyester blend, thinner fabricCotton/Polyester blend, thicker fabric, some may be fleece-lined
BreathabilityMore breathableLess breathable
WarmthNot as warmWarmer than joggers
Moisture WickingYesYes
UsesMostly athletic, can be worn casually, more stylish than sweatpantsMostly athletic, can be worn casually
CostGenerally inexpensive, cost varies by brandGenerally inexpensive, cost varies by brand
Ease of CareLow maintenance, can be machine-washed and tumble-driedLow maintenance, can be machine-washed and tumble-dried

What Are Joggers?

What Are Joggers

Joggers are just one of the many different styles of athletic pants. They are called joggers because the original design and fit was meant to keep you cool while jogging. But just because they are called joggers doesn’t mean that they can only be worn by jogging.

Joggers usually afford the person wearing them a free range of motion, which makes them so effective as athletic pants. However, they have recently become more popular and can be found in many different styles. Today, they aren’t always worn just for athletics.

They are typically made from a lightweight, thin fabric, which is how they keep you cool. But they are also comfortable, and many people wear them casually to be stylish but still comfortable. They are one of the most versatile styles of athletic pants.

What Are Sweatpants?

What Are Sweatpants

Sweatpants are another style of athletic pants, so named for their ability to make you sweat while you are wearing them. Sweating is something that you want to happen when exercising because your body is burning fat. Sweat is your body’s response to try to cool you down, so you don’t overheat, and sweatpants help to encourage that.

Sweatpants tend to have a looser fit, and they are designed to be comfortable while still giving you a free range of motion. But due to their comfort, sweatpants aren’t just worn for working out. Some people wear them when they are just sitting around the house or running quick errands. Some people even sleep in them.

Sweatpants are most commonly seen during the colder months. This is because they are made from thicker fabric and are designed to keep you warm. Some of them are even fleece-lined for more warmth. Even though some people wear sweatpants as part of their casual attire, they are ultimately meant to be functional rather than stylish.

What is the Difference Between Joggers and Sweatpants?

Now that we know the basics of what joggers and sweatpants are and that they aren’t the same, let’s look at the more specific aspects. Hopefully, this will help you determine how they are similar and different to decide which one (or both) will suit your needs.


LA12ST Women's Juniors Soft Camouflage Jogger Pants Drawstring PocketsOne of the easiest ways to distinguish joggers from sweatpants is their design. They both have some distinct design features that set them apart, and you can usually determine which one is which just by looking at them.

For starters, joggers are fitted at the ankles. They either have elastic in the ankles or are cuffed at the bottom, which helps to keep them tighter around the ankles while being non-restrictive as far as movement. Most types of joggers have pockets on the front of the pants and a drawstring waist. The drawstring can either be on the inside or outside of the waistband.

Sweatpants are not fitted at the ankles, but are open at the bottom, and the opening often covers most of the shoe when worn. Instead of front pockets, they have pockets on the sides of the pants that usually can’t even be seen. Most sweatpants have an elastic waistband, although some have a drawstring instead.


The fit is another easy way to tell the difference between joggers and sweatpants. While both of them are comfortable and have a loose fit in the hip and thighs, the main difference regarding fit is determined by the pants’ legs.

Joggers are typically full-length and cover the entire leg. But because they are cuffed at the bottom, joggers have a tapered fit. They are looser at the top, where you need more room to move and get tighter closer to your ankles.

While most sweatpants are full-length and cover the entire leg, some styles are knee-length or Capri length to make them cooler in warmer months, and can be full-length or knee-length. Sweatpants have a relaxed and looser fit down the pants, from the hip and thigh area to the ankles.


The fabric that joggers and sweatpants are made of is one thing they have in common. Both joggers and sweatpants are usually made from cotton, polyester, or a cotton/polyester blend. But, the percentage of cotton and polyester can vary for individual styles.

However, joggers and sweatpants do have some differences when it comes to fabric. Joggers are usually made of a thinner, more lightweight fabric, while sweatpants are made from a thicker fabric. The differences in fabric thicknesses has to do with their function. In addition to being made from a thicker fabric, some sweatpants are also fleece-lined.


These two styles are very different in terms of breathability, which is very important to keep in mind if you wear them for exercising or athletics. Their level of breathability mostly has to do with the type of fabric they are made from.

Joggers are usually more breathable than sweatpants because they are made of a thinner and more lightweight fabric. Being more breathable means that joggers will circulate air better as you run or exercise, which helps to keep you cool without sweating.

Sweatpants typically aren’t as breathable since they are made from a thicker fabric, especially fleece-lined sweatpants. Sweatpants are designed to make you sweat, which is why they don’t need to be as breathable as joggers.


Warmth is something you want to consider, especially if you typically exercise outdoors or plan an outdoor activity outside. Which one you choose ultimately depends on the activity.

Sweatpants are typically warmer than joggers since they are thicker fabric. For the warmest sweatpants, choose a fleece-lined style. Due to the thinner fabric, joggers usually aren’t as warm. Instead, they tend to have a more breezy feel to them.

It’s also important to remember that joggers are more breathable, affecting warmth. In general, joggers are typically better for cooler temperatures in fall and spring, while sweatpants are better for winter.

Moisture Wicking

Both joggers and sweatpants can be moisture-wicking, which is what you want in clothing to be worn for athletic purposes. Joggers are typically moisture-wicking due to their breathability. But since sweatpants make you sweat, they also need to have some moisture-wicking properties.

How moisture-wicking joggers and sweatpants are depends on the particular led of fabrics used to make them. Joggers and sweatpants with a higher percentage of polyester will be more moisture-wicking than if the fabric has a higher percentage of cotton.

Cotton is not as moisture-wicking as polyester; it tends to absorb water instead of wicking it away. Even though sweatpants and joggers can both be moisture-wicking, joggers are slightly better at moisture-wicking due to their breathability.


Both joggers and sweatpants are intended to be worn for athletic purposes. Hence their name, joggers, were originally designed to be worn while running and jogging due to their breathability and ability to keep you cool and comfortable.

Sweatpants can be worn while running and jogging but may not keep you as cool. If you wear them for running, doing so in the winter months is better due to their warmth.

However, there are no rules that say that joggers can only be worn while running, and just like sweatpants, they can be worn to the gym, in addition to hiking and other athletic activities that you may be participating in.

When determining which one to wear, you just need to keep in mind the temperature outside and the activity you’re going to be doing. Remember that joggers keep you cooler while sweatpants keep you warmer. The last thing you want is to be made warmer when it’s already warm outside or not as warm when it is cold outside.

There are also no rules that say that joggers and sweatpants have to be worn exclusively for athletic events. However, if you’re wearing them for other reasons, joggers are generally more stylish than sweatpants are.

Joggers can be dressed up or down with a t-shirt and sneakers for a comfortable but casual outfit. Sweatpants are sometimes worn casually, but most people wear them just for lounging or running quick errands instead of making a style statement. However, when and how you choose to wear joggers and sweatpants is ultimately up to you.


Joggers and sweatpants that are made for athletics are both pretty affordable. Since they are made from cotton and polyester, neither of which is an expensive fabric, both sweatpants and joggers can be very inexpensive.

Neither one of them is necessarily more expensive than the other. The cost depends on the brand, as some brands charge more for their clothing than others. But, since joggers are more stylish, some of them may be made from other fabrics besides cotton and polyester, which could cause them to be more expensive.

Even if you end up paying a little more for joggers or sweatpants, they are both very durable due to being made of fabrics that are made to last. With the proper care, both joggers and sweatpants should last for many years.

Ease of Care

Since most joggers and sweatpants are made from a cotton and polyester blend, they are very low maintenance and easy to care for. They can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer, so you don’t have to worry about any special washing instructions.

However, both cotton and polyester can be damaged due to heat. Cotton tends to shrink to heat, while heat can melt and burn polyester fibers. It is still possible to damage the fabrics while washing and drying if you don’t use the right settings.

With cotton, the amount of shrinking that can occur depends on what percentage of cotton is in the fabric. Polyester is more likely to be damaged in the dryer than in the washer. For the best results when caring for your joggers and sweatpants, follow these steps:

  1. Wash them with other cotton and polyester clothing.
  2. Wash in cool or cold water.
  3. Use a mild laundry detergent.
  4. Wash on a normal cycle.
  5. Tumble dry on low heat to prevent shrinking and damage.

Pros and Cons of Joggers

Joggers have many benefits that may lead you towards choosing them over sweatpants. However, they also have their cons as well. When making any kind of decision, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons if you’re only choosing one product.


  • Joggers are versatile.
  • They can be dressed up or down.
  • Joggers are more breathable than sweatpants.
  • They have a tapered fit for better mobility when worn.


  • Joggers aren’t as warm as sweatpants.
  • Some people may not like the tightness around their ankles.
  • Front pockets may not be as deep or as functional as side pockets.

Pros and Cons of Sweatpants

There are many benefits that sweatpants can provide that joggers can’t. However, sweatpants also have cons as well. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of sweatpants to see how they stack up against joggers.


  • Sweatpants keep you warmer than joggers.
  • Some sweatpants are fleece-lined for extra warmth.
  • Sweatpants have a looser, more relaxed fit.
  • They can have deeper, more functional pockets.


  • Sweatpants aren’t as versatile and stylish as joggers.
  • They make you sweat and may be too warm.
  • Sweatpants are not as breathable as joggers.

Sweatpants vs Track Pants

Southpole Women's Track Pants w/Stripe Panel, Dark Navy, MediumAnother type of athletic pants that is similar to sweatpants is track pants. Just like with joggers, many people use sweatpants and track pants interchangeably. Track pants can have characteristics of both sweatpants and joggers, so it can be hard to tell them apart. But, there are a few key differences between sweatpants and track pants.

Track pants get their name because they were designed exclusively for track and field events. In this way, they are very similar to joggers in their function and can even be fitted at the ankles. But there are some styles of track pants that are wider at the bottom and are more similar to sweatpants.

The main difference between sweatpants and track pants is that a lot of track pants are made from polyester or nylon, such as the material that is used to make windbreakers. Being made of a windbreaker material makes them more functional at resisting wind and rain.

However, the fabric used to make track pants is usually more lightweight than the fabric used to make sweatpants. Sweatpants are still a bit warmer than track pants, and most track pants are not fleece-lined the way that a lot of sweatpants are.

Joggers vs Leggings

Amazon Essentials Women's Studio Mid-Rise 7/8 Length Yoga Legging, Light Olive, X-LargeLeggings are another popular style of pants that are commonly worn for athletics. They are similar to joggers in some ways, but they also have their differences as well. For their similarities, leggings tend to be made out of the same type of fabric that joggers are made of, which is usually a lightweight cotton and polyester blend.

However, many leggings also have a small percentage of spandex blended in, which leads to the key difference between the two. Joggers are looser at the top, in the hip and thigh area, then get tighter closer to the ankles. On the other hand, leggings are tight from the hips to the thighs to the ankles and don’t have as much relaxed fit as joggers have.

Leggings also generally have an elastic waist, while joggers have a drawstring waist. Another key difference is that although some leggings have pockets, most styles don’t. Remember that joggers have pockets on the front of them.

But, another similarity between joggers and leggings is their versatility. Both can be dressed up or down and worn for style purposes instead of exclusively for working out. Even though leggings have a tighter fit, they are still very comfortable to wear.

Which Should You Choose: Joggers or Sweatpants?

Now that you’ve learned about the similarities and differences between joggers and sweatpants, which one should you choose? You can always go with both if you’re having trouble deciding. That way, you have athletic pants for all occasions.

But if you can only choose one, it’s just a matter of personal preference. Keep the overall design, fit, and function in mind as you decide. If you want to stay warm and don’t care much about style, go with sweatpants. But if you want to stay cool and have versatile and stylish pants for more than just working out, then choose joggers.

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