Nylon Lycra Spandex
Consider the Wolford Velvet de Luxe 66 tights a legwear investment that will last for years. With silky, even coverage and a waistband that’s comfortable for a variety of different bodies, they're a class act.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.
All the raves are true: Wolford’s Velvet de Luxe 66 tights can’t be beat in terms of fit and feel. Though they’re pricier than most opaque tights on the market, the money you spend is well worth it when you consider how long you’ll be able to enjoy them. The material feels silky and luxurious, with an even opacity and a smooth finish that resists snags and pulls. The Wolfords are worth the extra money over a pair like our runner-up because of their staying power—their high-quality construction means these will be a fixture in your closet for years to come. When it comes to cost-per-wear, these may actually be a better deal than our runner-ups, even considering the initial price difference.
Also GreatGap Opaque Tights
An unexpected standout, Gap’s Opaque Tights were beloved by our testers, who loved the fit, feel, and all-day comfort. Their construction may not be flawless, but there’s still plenty of reasons to recommend them.
Gap’s Opaque Tights may seem mundane at first glance, but they held their own against much more expensive models and were the standouts in our testing. The waistband is comfortable and snug without digging into the stomach, and it doesn’t roll down (no small feat for most tights). But they’re not as good of a buy as the Wolfords when it comes to durability—one of our testers noticed that they started coming apart at the crotch seams on her first day of wearing, a sentiment that was echoed by many reviewers on the Gap site. Still, if you’re not able to spend money on the Wolfords, this reasonably priced option may become your new hosiery BFFs.Hanes 24/7 Blackout Tights
These Hanes are surprisingly durable and attractive, especially considering their price. Our testers found that they resisted snags, rips, and pills, and provided even, opaque coverage.
Considering how low their price is, we were pleasantly surprised by how well the Hanes 24/7 Blackout Tights performed. Testers loved the length of the legs and the fact that these didn’t sag during the day, leaving the dreaded Baggy Ankles. The waistband is snug without being constricting and the material isn’t excessively shiny, as some pairs with lots of spandex seem to be. You can enjoy these for several wearings without having to worry about them snagging beyond recognition. If you’re on a tight budget or in a tight situation in and need a pair of tights from a drugstore, stat, these are the ones to grab.
*At the time of publishing, the price was .
On days when you need a little extra warmth—standing in Times Square for the ball drop or selling jam at a farmer’s market, perhaps—you’d do well to reach for Plush’s Fleece-Lined Tights. They’re too thick for layering, and some reviewers complain of them making your legs look a little girthier than they actually are. But the fact that they’re so soft and cozy makes up for this. Some testers complained that the waistband rode a little low, but if you’re able to find the right size and eliminate any fit issues, you’ll enjoy these in colder climates.
Why you should trust us
I worked as senior editor of Bust Magazine for three years, running the fashion and style section. During that time, I personally tested dozens of brands of tights, in an effort to find which worked best for me personally and which we could recommend to our readers. I currently work as an editor at O Magazine. On a personal level I’m also a voracious and finicky hosiery buyer—a friend once told me that I “keep the black opaque tights industry in business.”
In order to determine which tights hold up best under pressure, which materials are most important to look for, and how to choose an ideal pair, I interviewed Brittany Pollack, a soloist with the New York City Ballet, and whose work uniform includes tights. For the original 2015 guide, writer Jamie Wiebe spoke with Sasha Wilkins, a former Wall Street Journal style editor and blogger at Liberty London Girl.
Who should get these?
The right pair of tights will be comfortable while keeping your legs reasonably warm and providing a bit of retro style.
Those of us who like to wear dresses—and live in climates that feature sub-60-degree temperatures—will need a pair of tights. They’re also indispensable for anyone performing in a Shakespeare play or dressing as a superhero from time to time. The right pair of tights will be comfortable while keeping your legs reasonably warm and providing a bit of retro style. Since tights are made of flimsier material than, say, denim, they aren’t heirloom items of clothing: They need to be replaced fairly regularly. Even the highest-quality pairs won’t last longer than a few years with frequent wear. If you live in a chilly climate and have never owned tights, they can complement a huge variety of outfits and are worth picking up; if you own some and they’re wearing out, our pick is a solid, long-lasting replacement.
How we picked and tested
The quality of tights on the market varies greatly—you can buy pairs for a few dollars, or spend up to $80 for an ultra-high-end pair. They offer protection for bare legs in chilly weather, and for those looking for a little extra support, control-top options also provide compression. But a great pair of tights has more than just those two features.