There’s yoga and then there’s trendy yoga. Alo yoga pants are the yoga pants you want to get if you are looking to take that ultimate selfie in that perfect yoga posture.
Trendy yoga is the kind of “yoga” you can find on Instagram, where yoga is often more about fashion than spirituality.
There is a big caveat, however. Read on.
Alo Yoga Pants Review
What Are Alo Yoga Pants and How Do They Work?
On the plus side, Alo yoga pants are stylish, fashionable, and a bit different from your average yoga pants.
However, Alo, the company that is behind these modernized versions of yoga leggings, has recently gotten the stink eye from many in the yoga community.
While this information may not be necessary for a review of something like, say, plain vanilla t-shirts, for yoga, it is essential in a way. Yoga stirs up strong emotions among many devotees.
You will either be extremely angry about what you read next, and it will inform your purchase. Or, you may decide you can’t take sides and purchase Alo yoga pants anyway. But you should probably know a little bit of the history of the controversy surrounding Alo.
A Brief History of Western Yoga (Fashion)
To understand this, we need to back up first and take a look at the current state of yoga in America.
When yoga came to the West starting in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was a revolution. Yoga gurus from India, who originally kept their secrets to themselves, had decided to share the knowledge with the growing and increasingly influential West.
Yoga started making inroads into the American consciousness in the 1950s. Actress Marilyn Monroe was a devoted practitioner of yoga. She also encouraged other celebrities, including Olivia de Haviland, Gloria Swanson, and Greta Garbo, to take up the practice of yoga asana.
Yoga was still fairly fringe, however, way up until the late 1990s, when a new type of yoga class, “vinyasa flow” made yoga into an attractive workout for the average young person looking for the physical challenge instead of spiritual peace.
Prior to the year 2000, most yoga clothes were fairly modest, and fashion was not an issue with yoga whatsoever.
However, as more and more yoga became commercialized and mainstream, yoga became more, well, shallow. This was led in part by Yoga Journal’s transformation from a more scholarly, academic magazine to a sensationalized women’s magazine that showcased primarily young white women in gymnastic poses on the covers.
What does this have to do with Alo yoga pants? Plenty.
Commercialized Yoga and the Inevitable Backlash
As yoga has continued its commercial ascent, it has become more and more embroiled in the fashion world, which is not known for its spiritual underpinnings.
Furthermore, women’s magazines in general (forget about Yoga Journal) have been under fire by feminists for many years for promoting unrealistic images of women’s bodies. Unfortunately, these feminist efforts to try to encourage more diversity of size, age, or looks into women’s magazines have largely been ignored.
In the yoga world, however, a huge backlash has been forming in the past five to ten years to the glamorization of skinny young women in yoga.
More and more dedicated yogis are calling for a change in Western yoga, blasting its departure from its spiritual core, as well as its exploitation of the female form. Prominent plus-sized yogis are starting to fight back. They call the focus on skinny women in yoga a form of “body shaming.”
A lot of work is being done to make yoga more accessible, not just to plus-sized women, but older people, people of color, and people who might not be able to afford yoga or expensive yoga clothes.
Despite this massive backlash to shallow “fashion yoga,” many young women still spend oodles of money to try to get that perfect yoga “butt” and follow other young women on Instagram who do their yoga poses in teeny weeny bikinis.
Not surprisingly, certain parts of this trendy yoga culture have become more enamored with yoga celebrities instead of genuine yoga teachings.
So, on the one side, we have traditionally minded yogis trying to bring yoga back from becoming too corporate and shallow. They want to make yoga more accessible to all.
On the other side, we have big businesses making lots and lots of money from shallow yoga. For whatever the reason, they don’t see the potential opportunity in marketing plus-sized yoga.
In other words, there is still big money to be made off of yoga as “fashion” instead of spirituality.
Enter Alo yoga pants.
The Controversy Over Alo
Alo is a hugely successful yoga brand that primarily markets to the trendy, fashionable demographic of skinny young yogis.
You can see from their website that they talk a good game about “mindful movement” and boast about their solar-powered office.
Yet, they only offer Alo yoga pants for slender women, and that shows by their choice of models and available pants sizes. Believe it or not, their sizes go from XXS to L. No XL, XXL, or plus sizes are available.
Because of Alo’s lack of plus sizes, one advocate for accessibility in yoga for all body sizes got into trouble with the company.
Dana Falsetti had previously posted her accessible yoga videos on an app called Cody. Well, Cody was bought by Alo, and Falsetti did not want to be associated with this big company that focused on marketing to the fashionable yoga trendies. She told Alo to take her videos down.
Alo sued Falsetti, and then another yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor (who is, ironically, skinny and often posing in a bikini), who also wanted out of her contract.
These lawsuits by Alo have led to a boycott of the company by some yogis, who aren’t happy with Alo going after independent teachers. Alo is also coming under fire for not having plus-sized models or clothing sizes.
Now, after reading all the above information, you can decide for yourself whether Alo did anything wrong with their lawsuits.
However, Alo clearly goes after the trendy yoga fashion market. If that’s your thing, and you don’t care to be embroiled with all the yoga politics, then you might like these yoga pants.
What Makes Alo Yoga Pants Unique
If Alo yoga pants are anything, they are, in fact, “fashion forward.” They offer unique designs and styles that should appeal to a certain demographic of young people.
Many of these styles replicate the kind of ripped, tattered look that would have graced the legs of big hair bands in the 1980s, only updated for the new millennium.
Alo yoga pants also have a lot of see-through mesh. If you are under 30, you might really like these “edgy” leggings. If you are over 40, you are probably going to roll your eyes and think, “These folks are trying too hard to be sexy.”
But hey, Alo yoga pants have been seen on Taylor Swift and Kendall Jenner, so they must be great, right?
(This is what Alo advertises in their “About Us” page. Seriously.)
Bottom line, you will either love or hate these styles. We are not huge fans overall. But we can say that these yoga pants are unique.
Alo yoga pants are on the upper end of the pricing scale. Their leggings go for $80, $90, and $100 or more.
If you are absolutely gaga over their unique styling, then you need to resign yourself to paying good money for these yoga pants.
Public Perception (Other Alo Yoga Pants Reviews)
We have gone into great detail about the current political environment in yoga. Then taled about how Alo inadvertently stepped on a hornet’s nest when they sued a well-known plus-sized yogi. You will find many angry comments on reviews of their products for this reason.
People who reviewed Alo positively (especially prior to the recent controversy) generally “looooove” their Alo pants. However, some have commented they work better as fashion leggings because they fall down in a workout.
Two other frequent complaints about Alo yoga pants is that they pill too easily and end up being a bit see-through (beyond just the mesh). Also, quite a few people reported stitching coming loose. This is surprising if you consider the average cost of their leggings.
How It Compares
Unless you absolutely love their styling at first glance, Alo’s fashion aesthetic may not be for you.
If you love them, you will say they are the cutest pants ever.
But here’s some heavy criticism. We think some Alo yoga pants do not seem to have much to offer the dedicated yogi besides some hipster styling that veers on the edge of being more of a tacky porn star look.
Whether or not you can pull this look off will depend on how these clothes hang on you. We suspect they will look the best on very thin, attractive young women, and look downright silly on older or plus-sized women.
(Perhaps this explains why their sizing abruptly stops at “L.”)
So, these could end up looking extremely cute or be a fashion disaster.
For this reason, we think that a lot of other yoga brands do better at offering styles that are for serious yogis who want comfort and coverage with a little hint of fashion.
Prana is another trendy yoga fashion company that unfortunately does not offer much accessibility in their marketing. Prana, like Alo, needs to get with the accessible yoga bandwagon and add more size, age, and ethnicity diversity in their offerings.
Still, Prana does a much better job creating attractive, fashionable, and somewhat modest clothing. They also have a bit of a wider range in sizes (they have XL at least).
Women of all different ages and body types can wear Prana and they look great.
Also: Prana’s styles often have this soft, spiritual feel that makes you think “yoga.”
Alo yoga pants say: “pop music.”
Perhaps that’s what you want, which is fine. You may want to be the Joan Jett or Pat Benetar of yoga.
What We Think
The bottom line: While Alo has some interesting ideas for yoga fashion (we should have more than just swirly paisley prints, no?). It is obvious that they need to do much better.
The sad thing is, they can do much better. They have the money and the resources. So why don’t they?
We think Alo has an interesting line of yoga pants. However, they really shoot themselves in the foot by limiting their sizing options.
They aren’t just missing out on sales from plus-sized women. Tall women who are not overweight know that a “large” is just not big enough. You need an XL.
We are just scratching our heads at what they were thinking with this limitation in sizing. Forget about the politics of it – this just seems shortsighted.
They should have known better than to sue a plus-sized yoga advocate. That was just ill-advised.
We get that none of this really says much about the quality of the yoga pants themselves. We are just hoping that the people at Alo get a clue and start to expand their offerings a bit.
It doesn’t matter how fashionable it is if you can’t wear it because they only offer a small “L” and nothing bigger.
Coupons and Deals
Often, you can find yoga pants for cheaper on Amazon, depending on the style and size of the legging. However, Alo yoga pants seem to be universally expensive on Amazon. The “cheapest” of their leggings seems to run around $70. That is compared to a $100 or more at full price.
Featured image credit: CC0 Public Domain via Canva, with text, banner, and logo added.