THIS is the blog post I would have loved to read years ago. As an avid online shopper and studier of fashion, I have long seen the IG bloggers raving about Spanx faux leather leggings. They were a staple piece that seemed to be included in many of their outfit posts. Sure, they looked cute, but were they even comfortable or worth the nearly three figure price tag?
Due to the cost and Spanx always seeming to be sold out when they were most being talked about (N-sale), I never pulled the trigger and bought a pair. And then, one day, Aerie came out with their own version:
To my untrained eye, they looked identical. And the price point was much more realistic to my budget at the time. I ordered them right away. When they arrived, I was giddy when I put them on. They were so comfortable! The inside fabric was so soft, the outer faux leather finish made me just want to keep touching it. I loved them! They were a big hit with others as well. No sooner were they released, they would often sell out too. As time passed, Aerie even added a matching sports bra and bike shorts (which I snagged just as quick) and offered other color offerings like navy and olive.
Even though I am very happy with my Aerie crackle leggings, I always wondered how they really matched up to the OG Spanx version. And it was hard to find the answer to that online. The bloggers and influencers all shared both items but they all wore the Spanx version. I wondered if they really tried the Aerie ones or just were sharing their commissioned links to everything. It remained a question, floating around in my obsessive brain. But this year, I actually bought a pair of the Spanx leggings during the N-sale I got to shop early at! I pulled the trigger since they were on sale and I knew that Nordstrom has an amazing return policy. I figured I would find them so similar that I would just end up returning them anyway. But first, I would document properly my analysis for others! So here’s goes:
From the front, the main difference are the seams. The Spanx leggings have a flat, seamless design front while the Aerie leggings have a seam that runs from the waistband down to the crotch. One may say, the Spanx design is less likely to cause the dreaded CT.
From the back, there are a couple notable differences. The Spanx pair has a dip in the waistband in the back; it does not go straight across. Also, the seam on the bottom of the waistband goes straight across. On the Aerie pair, it is rather the opposite: the waistband material goes straight across while the seaming has more of a rounded, dipped shape to it.
Up close, this photo shows the look and texture of both pair. The Spanx pair has a finer texture, which, if you look at the material from a distance, gives it a more solid, flat finish. The Aerie pair, true to its name, has a more ‘crackled’ texture. From a distance, this lends toward a slightly shinier faux leather finish. In paint terms, it is almost like a matte vs satin finish.
On the inside, the Spanx material is silky, almost cold to the touch. The Aerie material folds over and continues in the inner waistband but then the leg portion, the material is a soft, almost fleecelike material. While both are very different in this regard, they both maintain a very luxurious, comfortable feel.
Here you have another front view, slightly further back, where you can see some differences in the way the material plays with the lighting. You can see the Spanx pair reflects a more matte finish. This mimics the more rubbery feel of the material. The Aerie pair has a little less compression vs the Spanx.
From the back, it almost appears the Spanx photo has a soft filter on compared to the Aerie photo but I assure you, it does not. Both photos are in focus. You can just see the differences in material and how they are reflecting the light. The differences in the back seaming also appear to lend to different results in the shaping of the tush. To me, the Spanx pair looks to be more forgiving to any lumps or bumps or banana roll but has a slight flattening effect while the Aerie pair, with the shaped, rounded seaming and reflectiveness of the material lends to a bit of a lifted, rounded, pop. Oh, I almost forgot the lengths and sizing! Spanx offers sizing in XS-XL in regular and petite. Aerie offers sizes XXS-XXL, with XS-XL coming in short, regular, and long length (XXS and XXL regular only). I am wearing both in size small, regular. I am 5’5” and have some slight bunching at the bottoms of both.
In conclusion, I am absolutely keeping my new Spanx leggings. While the two pair are extremely similar in appearance, I find the differences are worth having both. The Spanx retails for $98 and the Aerie $54.95 (at time of publishing) and I have seen them both go on sale. The Aerie website currently shows them priced 60% off at $21.98 for example. Nordstrom’s pricing is back to regular but have seen them price match when Spanx website has put them on sale throughout the year. I do think the N-Sale has been the lowest pricing but Spanx sales come pretty close.
UPDATE: Aerie has restyled their crackle leggings to a crossover waist. I have updated the link to the new style as they discontinued the original waist style pictured in my photos. I think the crossover waist looks super flattering. If anyone has them, be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think of them. xoxox
So, there you have it, an uncommissioned, unsponsored, unbiased, analysis of both pair. What did you think? Do you own either pair? Did I miss any notable features? Leave your comments and/or questions below! I would love to hear what y’all think!