leotard rankings

Leotard Rankings: The Best of 2022

Another season finished, another full set of new leos to look back on. With many teams recovering from smaller pandemic budgets and other changing designers, we had an enormous amount of new leos to enjoy in 2022. And with the season now officially over, it’s time for each of our editors to choose their top 10.


10. North Carolina’s blue and white cross-hatch: When I saw this leo, I immediately liked it. The blue and white is great together and the pattern is subtle, making the colors shine.

9. Air Force’s subtle stars and stripes: With every new detail I discovered on this leo, the more I liked it. The various elements are so clever, and it looks great as a whole.

8. SEMO’s black and white ombre: When I first saw this during preseason, there were elements I didn’t care for, but overall it’s a stunning leo that stands up to schools with much bigger budgets.

7. California’s white and blue regionals ombre: There was a lot of talk this year about how a lot of Cal leos look similar. That is not the case here. I saw this leo in person, and it was fantastic. Great to photograph, too.

6. Washington’s black and purple: I think I gave this leo a 10 during the season? Or at least close to it. It’s just fantastic all around and such an upgrade from past Washington leos.

5. Penn’s blue and white ombre: The matte ombre paired with the asymmetrical design that matches the Block P logo works so well.

4. Ball State’s feather ombre: What a way to incorporate school spirit! And it’s not gaudy either. This was a heavy school spirit leo I was happy to give full marks to—sometimes that’s not the case.

3. Minnesota’s white and red geometric: Matte white! Lovely shade of red! Open back! Geometric design! This is basically my cat nip.

2. Florida’s white with blue and orange sparkles: When I saw this at nationals I nearly squealed. Finally a different Florida leo and a good one at that! White + colored sparkles is a huge win.

1. Michigan State’s Big Ten green and white: Michigan State rarely misses when it comes to leo designs. I love everything about this one, from the colors to the matte fabric to the unique back. *chef’s kiss*

Honorable Mentions: Utah State’s Spectrum magic, BYU’s ombre abstract mountains, Illinois’ white, orange and blue ombre, Temple’s red and white ombre, Temple’s leaf-esque neckline, Ball State’s white, Kent State’s galaxy pink, Oklahoma’s championship leo, Eau Claire’s ruched ombre, Arizona’s blue and white ruched, LIU’s shark camo, Florida’s gator skin fabric, UCLA’s rainbow, Eastern Michigan’s green with white


10. Nebraska’s ornaments: I swear another CGN editor said this leo looked like an ornament and I can’t unsee it. Nevertheless, I love how the neckline and cut of the design make this look seem slim. However, if only this design continued a bit further down the back I would love it even more! Not a complaint, just a wish!

9. Arizona State’s dark beauty: I love the maturity of this leo and the dark edge to it. It looks great on all sides of the leo and it just goes together cohesively.

8. UW Whitewater’s gorgeous purple: This one is a real winner. The pop of the sparkles against the gorgeous purple shade combined with the ombre make this leo as close to perfect as you can get.

7. Penn’s poppy blue: I usually feel repulsed by asymmetrical leos, but this one oddly attracts me! I love the back for some reason and how the diagonal cut on the front splits through the P.

6. Washington’s sparkle fury: So gorgeous; this leo just looks expensive! I wish Washington made more leos like this instead of its usual stock designs.

5. Florida’s snakeskin: What a unique take on school spirit! Other than the hidden alligator print in the fabric and the alligator sparkle pattern, I love the style of the arms (similar to my Oregon State pick at #2,) and how well this leo looks in bright lights. What a look!

4. Florida’s Gatorade blue: My top Florida pick was their all-black snakeskin beauty, but when this one debuted with its rich color and beautiful swooshing sparkles at Nationals, I knew it had snakeskin beat.

3. Oklahoma’s sparkly fireworks: Oh man this might be one of my favorite OU leos ever. I love how the crazy random sparkle lines somehow make the look even better than symmetrical lines would? I also love how the focus of the leo is the big “OU” in the center. Lots of school spirit points for this one!

2. Oregon State’s dark orange and black: When I was brainstorming my favorite leos that debuted in 2022, I immediately thought of this one. I love the way they designed the arms and how aesthetically pleasing the front triangles look, as well as the straight sparkly lines on the back.

1. Nebraska’s diamonds leo: Some might say that this was a terrible pick for number one, but I wish we saw more unique leos like this. It photographs beautifully and works SO well. I love every part about it, even the wacky back.

Honorable Mentions: Stanford’s scallops, Illinois’ ombre, Pitt’s hieroglyphics, North Carolina’s baby blue, SEMO’s ombre stunner, Oregon State’s tribal pattern, Georgia’s black and white, Arizona’s faux lace, Florida’s blue explosion, Pitt’s Cathy, Oklahoma’s winner, Winona State’s bra straps not included


10. George Washington’s sparkle wave: I didn’t know this existed until perusing the designs for this article, and I’m so glad I found it. What a fun, over the top use of sparkles. 

9. Michigan State’s Big Ten green and white: Michigan State is at its best when it utilizes the lighter versions of its color scheme, and this is no exception. 

8. UCLA’s rainbow: Earlier in the season, I said Cal’s pride leo was my favorite theme leo ever. This one eclipsed that and more. 

7. Ohio State’s giant logo: School spirit, sparkles, and one of my favorite back elements. Love it. 

6. Penn’s blue and white ombre: Penn rarely disappoints; I say rarely because I didn’t like its other new leo this season, but this more than made up for it. Love the leaning into block P element of Penn’s branding. 

5. Oregon State’s dark orange and black: So many cool elements that work well together here, but the sleeves have to be my favorite. 

4. Auburn’s throwback-ish velvet: Me liking a throwback? One with velvet, no less? It’s true. Auburn debuted a flurry of new leos this season, but this simple design won them all for me. 

3. Utah State’s Spectrum magic: So cool, unique, and fun. There is literally no other leo in college gymnastics that looks anything like this. 

2. Florida’s white with blue and orange sparkles: Another shock for you; this time, it’s me liking a Florida leo. The Gators finally stepped out of the (dark blue and black) box, and it paid off. It’s my new favorite white leo.  

1. Ohio State’s “It’s a BUCKEYE leaf”: Another Buckeye leo rounds out my top, and I know it will be controversial. But it’s got everything: school spirit, a cool back, ombre, and a design that got everyone talking. I also like that it leans into an element typically associated with the football team. 

Honorable Mentions: Oregon State’s tribal pattern, Utah’s nude and red, George Washington’s pink leo, Temple’s red and white ombre, North Carolina’s blue and white cross-hatch


10.  Arizona State’s dark sunset: The original sunset leo was one of my favorites, and this one is just as good, if not better. The sunset ombre paired with the black is great, and it has just the right amount of sparkle. 

9. Michigan State’s halter neckline with cascading rhinestones: The black to dark green ombre is gorgeous! I love the rhinestones coming down from the halter neck, and the bottom sparkle design has grown on me. Plus, the open, strappy back is a great touch. 

8. Pitt’s Cathy: I love the geometric pattern. The blue bodice combined with the white to yellow ombre inside the geometric lines is stunning, and the rhinestones give it a little more pizazz. Not to mention it pays homage to a campus landmark! I don’t even mind the black with the blue on this one. 

7. Denver’s all crimson: The rhinestone pattern on this leo is lovely. I’m also a fan of the open back and sweetheart neckline. It all looked even better in person. The Pioneers wore this one multiple times this season; I don’t blame them! 

6. Ohio State’s giant logo: I’m not always a fan of giant logos across the chest, but I’m willing to accept this one. Somehow it looks better with part of it in black. The red and black ombre is gorgeous, the sparkles are lovely and it has a crossy back. Ohio State nailed this one. 

5. Oklahoma’s red rhinestone top: The balance of color here is immaculate. I love the cascading red sparkles on the whiite top, and the sparkle band separating the white top from the red bottom is also lovely. 

4. Minnesota’s white and red geometric: While it still doesn’t totally scream Minnesota to me, this leo checks nearly all of my leo boxes—ombre is the only thing missing. The geometric front. The open, strappy back. The rhinestone placement. It’s a good one. 

3. Oregon State’s dark orange and black: When I first saw this one, I knew it would be one of my top leos of the season. The dark, shimmery orange works great with this design. I’m a fan of the rhinestone side triangles going into the band on back and how they are incorporated on the arms—the rhinestones definitely make this leo for me.  

2. Florida’s gator skin: I love how simple, yet elegant, this is. The sparkle design on the front pops on the matte black, and I love how the alligator print is subtly incorporated. 

1. Washington’s black and purple: This one is just STUNNING. From the criss-cross sparkles to the purple and black ombre, there’s nothing I don’t love about this. 

Honorable Mentions: Alabama’s nationals open back, Iowa State’s geometric, Florida’s white with blue and orange sparkles, Utah State’s Spectrum magic, West Virginia’s navy with ruched top, UCLA’s geometric, West Virginia’s geometric accents, Michigan’s navy deep V, Illinois’ white, orange and blue ombre, Michigan’s crossy front with rhinestones, Air Force’s blue bodice with white waistband


10. Temple’s cyclops: Despite my inability to unsee an eye center chest, I have yet to stop thinking about this leo since the moment I first laid eyes on it. That’s reason enough to make my top 10. 

9. Auburn’s throwback velvety dream: Leave it to velvet to bring us back to better times. This leo is sporty, yet elegant in all the best ways. The back straps and trickle of sparkle down the sleeves really bring this design home. 

8. Air Force’s America the beautiful: This is the perfect mixture of school spirit and sparkle. The Falcons really thought through every detail down to the American flag back strap. Did I mention it’s even better in meet photos?

7. Auburn’s sunset: I’ve been obsessing over this since we got a sneak peak after a preseason photo shoot. It’s so simple, but the horizon-style ombre just gets me. I even like the jewel pattern on the sleeves. 

6. Utah’s velvet flame: This leo gives me flaming Red Rock vibes, and I will not get over it. I don’t normally like straps on top of other fabric, but it works here. Being velvet is just a bonus. 

5. SEMO’s elegant ombre aka Blingtastic: Explanation

4. Ohio State’s giant logo: The ombre in this leo is just so satisfying, and the criss-cross back really works here. 

3. Washington’s sparkle for days: The way this leo sparkles under the arena lights is next level. This has to be one of my favorite leo backs in college gymnastics. 

2. Florida’s gator skin: The introduction of team spirit through alligator skin fabric rather than school colors was a nice change of pace. This leo is sleek and would make any team ready for battle. 

1. Michigan State’s chandelier and corset: This choice was self-explanatory to me. This leo is elegant and fit for the largest of stages.

Honorable Mentions: Centenary’s Sylvia tribute, Arizona State’s sunset No. 2, Arizona State’s simple and sweet, Arizona’s blue and white ruched, Air Force’s blue bodice with white waistband, West Virginia’s navy with ruched top, Oklahoma’s natty champs, Whitewater’s purple starburst, UCLA’s blue criss-cross, North Carolina’s blue and white cross-hatch, Ohio State’s “It’s a Buckeye Leaf”


10. North Carolina’s blue and white cross-hatch: This is basically a mermaid leo and I am here for it. I really like the color scheme used here.

9. SEMO’s black and white ombre: So simple yet so elegant. I also love the open back and the thin straps, and the use of colored sparkles. 

8. Penn’s blue and white ombre: I am usually not a fan of asymmetrical designs but this one works so well. Plus, the ombré is stunning and I love how well-incorporated the Block P logo is.

7. Pitt’s rainbow: I am obsessed with the back and how the colors are perfectly incorporated into the design. The attention to details is fantastic.

6. Penn State’s all-white modern throwback: I love a throwback leotard re-designed with a little twist, and this one was fabulous. I appreciate the athletic look as well.

5. California’s white and blue regionals ombre: This one took a while to grow on me, but now I am obsessed by the color scheme. Like many other leotards in my rankings, this is so different from any other Cal leo, so it has my vote.

4. Minnesota’s white and red geometric: This one is so different from anything Minnesota has ever worn. I looooooove the low, open back.

3. Florida’s white with blue and orange sparkles: I love this one mostly because it’s so different from any other Florida looks. Bonus points for the use of orange sparkles.

2. Auburn’s sweetheart with a hint of orange: Auburn often has some extravagant looks, but I love how elegant this one is. I love how all school colors are nicely incorporated as well.

1. Washington’s black and purple: I gave this a 10.0 when I rated it, and I won’t budge. One of my favorite leotards ever.

Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma’s championship leo, LIU’s shark camo,  Florida’s gator skin fabric, Centenary’s Sylvia tribute, Utah State’s Spectrum magic, UW-Whitewater’s purple starburst, West Virginia’s navy with ruched top, UCLA’s blue geometric.

READ THIS NEXT: Leotard Rankings: NCAA Nationals

Article by the editors of College Gym News

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