22/10/2018 06:00 BST | Updated 23/10/2018 08:38 BST

How To Choose The Perfect Pair Of Black Tights: We Put Them To The Test

Seven women went head-to-head with seven tights.

Whether you’ve already caved or are holding on to bare-legged bliss for as long as you can, there’s no denying tights season is here.

Inevitably, you head for the tights drawer and find last year’s pairs have ladders, holes or are otherwise no longer fit for purpose – and realisation sets in that you’ll soon need to buy some new ones. But there’s nothing worse than forking out for a pair and finding the fit isn’t right or they are poor quality, so we tested a selection of mid-denier black tights to save you time and money.

We paired seven reporters with seven pairs of tights from Primark, Boots, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and M&S, alongside relative hosiery newcomers Snag and Heist. We asked them to wear their tights at least twice, once before and once after washing, rating them on fit, comfort, quality, snagability (not a word, but we’ll go with it) and value for money.

This is for everyone who’s ever spent the day hoisting up their hosiery to prevent a saggy crotch, noticed a ladder on their way into work or taken their shoes off at someone’s house only to find their toe is poking out of their goddamn tights. You’re welcome.

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Fit And Sizing

Truth be told, you can spend a hell of a long time frowning at the back of a packet of tights trying to work out which size you need. The complex formula of hip width divided by leg length can be baffling – a woman who is 6ft and a size 8 might end up buying the same size as a 5ft 2 size 16 woman. Go figure. Why is there no uniform sizing among retailers? Grrr.

The last thing you want is to spend the day hoisting up your hosiery or dealing with baggy bits when you really want a snug fit.

M&S tights came out top in terms of fit. “I feel a satisfying snap as the tights –ordered in a medium to accommodate curvy hips and 5ft 8 height – hug my narrower waist and hold everything in just a bit,” our reviewer remarks. She adds that she’s used to having her “pointy” toes poke holes through the foot of her tights (to the delight of her friends), but miraculously her M&S tights hold fast – even after a few wears. “There are few fates worse than toe strangulation,” she adds. Indeed.

Heist and Primark came up rather small, with both reviewers having to go up a size to find a more comfortable fit. That said, Heist did pass the ultimate “saggy crotch test” with our reviewer typically spending the day yanking up other pairs of tights on account of her long legs.

The Boots tights were in constant need of a fiddle to stay where our reviewer wanted them, she blames the “one-size-fits-all for women between a size 8 and 12, which does not fill me with confidence”. Meanwhile, the Tesco tights stayed snug around the waist but they were baggy around the ankle area – “I felt I needed to keep hoisting them up for a snug fit around my legs.”

Sainsbury’s offering is great for tall tights wearers, with “generous sizing” that fit our 5ft 10 reviewer like a glove: “I was the higher end of the sizing scale and felt very comfortable in them, which isn’t always the way so that felt nice.”

But when it comes to size inclusivity, Snag really takes the biscuit with an excellent range from petite to plus size. I have yet to meet a woman the right shape for most plus-size tights. Almost to a man (and surely they must be men), tights manufacturers seem to imagine women get taller as they get fatter,” says our reviewer, adding that unlike other brands Snag actually bears relation to her body: “No ankle wrinkles. No roll down. If, like any right-thinking person, you wear your tights pulled up to almost under your bra band, you’ll be thrilled by the generous rise.” Praise be.

Quality

There is something rather lovely about the feel of a great pair of tights on your legs. Snug and silky, they’re almost like having a hug from morning till night. 

But how did our tights fare after being washed? We’re all in agreement that life’s too short to hand wash tights, no matter what the care instructions say – so chucking them in with the rest of our wares seemed like a decent enough test (knickers may still have been attached, soz).

In terms of quality, some tights surpassed expectations – Boots in terms of quality of denier and Primark in terms of softness. The latter however, failed on the wash test: “After I washed them with the rest of my dark washing, I did notice a few snags on the tights.” 

Tesco’s tights were deemed good for an emergency tights purchase, but not for a good investment. “I don’t think they’d last forever. I noticed a couple of small snags before the end of day one and by day two, after a wash, tiny bobbles were forming where my shoes had rubbed them,” she says. As for quality: “The material wasn’t as soft as other tights I’ve worn and I felt they weren’t very breathable – if breathable tights are even a thing.” 

While the Snag tights survived their first few wears and a wash unscathed, the quality was “somewhat lacking”. 

M&S tights were “comfy enough”, although our reviewer says the Supersoft claim in the product name might be an oversell. As for Sainsbury’s: “They were super comfy and didn’t give me any lumpy bumpy bits, which is always the fear with tights.”

Heist, by far the most expensive tights we reviewed, have no gusset and no seams, which is kind of point of difference in the market. “The result is a luxuriously smooth feel around your toes without any clinging elsewhere, but the waistband does look frumpy,” our reviewer said. “Let’s just say, I wouldn’t wear them to a hot date – and if that makes me a bad feminist, so be it.” 

Winners

M&S was the best all-rounder, scoring high for fit, quality and value for money.

Sainsbury’s for fit, comfort and a reasonable price.

Snag for size inclusivity. Side note: there are a great selection of coloured plus-size tights on offer, which our reviewer has since purchased.

Runners-Up

Heist, while eye-wateringly expensive in comparison to others, offers luxurious finish and good quality (but then we’d expect nothing less).

Primark, the cheapest, with a lovely, soft feel, although prone to snagging.

We reviewed:

Heist, ‘The Fifty’ tights, £22 per pair

M&S, Supersoft Opaque, 60 Denier, £5 (three pack, £1.66 per pair)

Snag, 50 Denier, £6.99 (or cheaper if you buy three pairs or more)

Boots, Opaque Tights, 60 Denier, £7 (three pack, £2.33 per pair)

Sainsbury’s, Silky Opaque Lycra Tights, 60 Denier, £8 (two pack, £4 per pair)

Tesco, 60 Denier tights, £5 (two pack, £2.50 per pair)

Primark, Weather Sensor Opaque Tights, 60 Denier, £3.50 (three pack, £1.16 per pair)

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