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Spanx Tight-End Tights are extremely soft and durable
Is it just me, or do you also find shopping for black tights a tedious task? As much as I adore shopping (I did kind of make it my job), finding a pair of durable black tights always feels like a chore. Knowing that they would probably either cut off my circulation or rip at the faintest touch of a nail, it was never worth my investment. That being said, I couldn’t deny their ability to elevate any outfit. “Tights are an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe,” says stylist Michaela Leitz, and I couldn’t agree more. So to make shopping for black tights even easier, we identified 28 top-rated styles and put them to the test in our lab.
We didn’t just test them based on style, though — these tights had to endure being dragged over velcro, poked around with jewelry, and being pulled, tugged, and twisted in all kinds of ways. We even took a tiny knife in an attempt to cut a hole in those that passed everything else. In putting them through the ringer (figuratively and literally) we analyzed the stretch, comfort, and opaqueness of each to find the best of the best. Out of the 28 we originally selected, only 11 came out as winners.
Spanx Tight-End Tights earned the best overall spot after delivering quality across the board. Beyond their durability, they also feel like silk on the skin and the waistband stretches comfortably with your movements. But we also have 10 other top-tier black tights that are worth the money.
Whether you want a casual pair to keep you warm or need a primer pair of shaping tights, keep reading for the 11 best black tights of 2022.
Spanx Tight-End Tights
What we love: The waistband feels exceptionally comfortable.
What we don’t love: It pilled slightly when pulled against some rough velcro.
What made the Spanx Tight-End Tights land our Best Overall spot lies majorly in their comfort and durability. Right as we pulled these on, we were impressed with how soft and stretchy they felt, and how smoothly they glided over legs. The waistband lands slightly above the waistline with an exceptionally comfortable stretch. “These definitely feel like a luxe pair of tights,” our tester says.
The tights do a great job at elongating legs by hugging curves in all the right places. They’re fairly opaque, but hints of skin still peek through (check out the option below from Calzedonia if you want fully opaque tights). When tested against both soft and rough velcro, we did notice that the fabric was completely unbothered by the former, but it lightly pilled against the latter. However, no breakage or runs occurred. Regardless, we were extremely pleased with the overall look and durability — and we’re not the only ones. For many professional stylists, including Michaela Leitz, Spanx tights are a go-to. “The quality is good, and Spanx even produces tights without mid-thigh shaper to wear [with] short hemlines,” she says.
Price at time of publish: $28
Size: A-E | Material: Cotton-lined gusset, nylon, elastane | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Medium | Rise: High
H&M Tights 200 Denier
What we love: These tights feel surprisingly warm, making them a great option for frigid winter temperatures.
What we don’t love: Their resistance to rough velcro was not very strong.
For $13, these tights left quite an impression on us. To begin, they are extremely stretchy: “I felt like they could stretch almost across [and entire] room and still maintain the original length,” our tester says. For our long legged ladies, you won’t find yourself forcefully pulling every bit of stretch over your legs. Not only that, but they are also surprisingly warm.
Some of our reviewers are very familiar with these tights — with a few of them saying they’ve owned this pair for over three years, which speaks volumes to their durability. When we put them to the test, we found that the rough velcro did cause some pilling on the fabric. That said, we didn’t spot any rips or runs, not even when we poked around with a handful of rings. While they are opaque, they don’t have that same luxe feel as the option above, but if you’re looking for sturdy, stretchy, warm tights, then these are it.
Price at time of publish: $13
Size: XS-XL | Material: Polyester, spandex | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: Mid
Wolford Merino Tights
What we love: These tights are fleece-lined, so they provide extra warmth.
What we don’t love: They’re not as durable as other options on this list.
Just by looking at these tights, you can immediately tell each aspect was created with intention and craftsmanship. First off, they’re made with 50 percent wool, making them extra soft and warm. (The other 50 percent is nylon, which gives them their stretch.) They also have a high opacity — only a tiny bit of skin shows when stretched out. Another stand out feature of the tights is how they conform to your body: The waistband self-adjusts to snuggly fit around your midsection without its shape when nicely stored away.
In the tear test, the tights performed relatively well against velcro and jewelry, only showing a few minor runs. They did, however, finally rip when we pulled a finger nimble over it. To be fair, that is a literal knife cutting a hole into tights, so as long as you avoid sharp objects, the tights should last a long time.
Even though they’re higher-priced than other tights on this list, our tester says she would purchase them because the value is impeccable. “Not only are these easy to put on and feel really comfortable on the skin (not itchy at all), but they’re also very durable.”
Price at time of publish: $75
Size: S-L | Material: Wool, nylon, elastane | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: High
Commando Sheer Tights
What we love: on top of looking aesthetically pleasing, the stretch and comfort are exceptional.
What we don’t love: They tear easily.
For our fashionably forward friends, these are the tights to turn to for an evening out. They stretch well over the leg, providing comfort from top to bottom. Even the waistband — despite its lacy texture — feels comfortable around the stomach. As the cheeky name suggests, these tights add a sexy edge to any outfit. That said, though the look is trendy, the sheerness doesn’t do much in terms of warmth.
Compared to more opaque options, sheer tights don’t put up as big of a fight against wear and tear. Our velcro and jewelry didn’t have any trouble ripping these tights. “I'd recommend this for my friend who enjoys the sheer tight look, and can afford multiple pairs,” suggests our tester. If you are very careful with your garments, then these are a beautiful and comfortable addition to your tights wardrobe.
Price at time of publish: $38
Size: S-XL | Material: Nylon, elastane | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Sheer | Rise: High
SKIMS Full Control Tights
What we love: These tights feature a control top to smooth and sculpt your thighs and midsection.
What we don’t love: The different tiers of opaqueness around the thigh might peep under short hemmed clothes, limiting what you can pair these with.
We had high expectations for these tights, and we’re happy to report that they did not disappoint. “These definitely exceeded my expectations,” says our tester. “I was pleasantly surprised that the hype around the brand wasn’t all talk.” In true Skims fashion, these tights mesh style with functionality: The thick waistband provides great support around the midsection and upper thighs thanks to the built in control top that smooths and sculpts the body. We love that they come in such a wide range of sizes, with a detailed size guide to help you find the right fit.
So long as you avoid velcro, these tights will last you a long time. It put up a strong fight against sharp nails and finger claws, but a light tug against velcro and it started to show a few tears. All in all, we think these are some of the most versatile tights on our list as they can be worn with casual outfits and double as unassuming shapewear on special occasions.
Price at time of publish: $48
Size: XXS-4XL | Material: Polyamide, elastane | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Semi-sheer | Rise: High
Spanx Tummy Shaping Tights
What we love: They're extremely durable and can weather any object that tries to break it.
What we don’t love: While the waist portion stretches well, the leg portion lacks the same level of elasticity.
If you’re looking for a little extra support, Spanx Tummy Shaping Tights are one of the best options available. While they’re not high-waisted, they sit right above the belly button and smooth out your tummy without feeling uncomfortable. Because of the shaping abilities, they’re also extremely durable. As a matter of fact, they're probably the second most durable option on this list, next to our best rip-resistant tights (below). No velcro, jewelry, or nails were able to create visible harm to the fabric.
In order to provide such support, however, it does mean that they’re not as stretchy as other tights. Our tester says that for tummy control tights, the stretch across the midsection was perfect, but she wishes the “legs would stretch a little bit more on the length side.” These may not be the best option for our tall friends, but they are ideal for anyone who wants a long lasting shaping piece.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: A-F | Material: Nylon, spandex, elastane, cotton | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: Mid
Calzedonia 100 Denier Total Comfort Soft Touch Tights
What we love: They provide both comfort and support at an affordable price.
What we don’t love: They aren’t very stretchy.
This option from Calzedonia is as close as you can get to blackout tights. When stretched against a light in our lab, we noticed some shine come through (they are tights, after all) but they were the most full-coverage pair we tested. The waistband is wide and comfortable, and snugly fits around your midsection. For less than $20, these tights are an affordable, no-frills option that provides adequate leg coverage.
Despite the low price tag, they do withstand velcro and other sharp objects quite well. “Surprisingly, the tights didn't tear at all after I ran it with the finger nimble,” our tester syas. We recommend turning to this option when you just need a little leg coverage but aren’t necessarily wearing tights day in and day out.
Price at time of publish: $18
Size: XS-XL | Material: Polyamide, elastane, cotton | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: Mid
Wolford Satin Touch 20 Denier Comfort Sheer Pantyhose
What we love: The stretch of these tights is quite impressive — they retained their silhouette no matter how far we pulled them.
What we don’t love: They don’t provide any warmth
Have you ever thought about stretching your tights to their max limits? While we don’t recommend doing that at home (you don’t want to ruin them after all), this is one pair you could actually stretch from wall to wall. We did, and were pleasantly surprised to see them spring right back to their original silhouette. The stretch and elasticity are clearly next level, which means they’re also super comfortable. The elasticity is also an indicator that one size will probably fit a wide range of body types, but Wolford nevertheless a size range of XS-2XL, which we’re very grateful of.
Our tester recommends these for those who “appreciate” fabric quality. “The Wolford brand has proven itself as luxurious and you can really tell the brand has a legacy for a reason,” she says. Plus, they’re a great pick for those looking for an elevated black tight as they faintly shimmer in the light. That said, because they’re sheer they don’t provide much warmth.
Price at time of publish: $35
Size: XS-2XL | Material: Polyamide, elastane | Finish: Glossy | Opacity: Sheer | Rise: Mid
Sheertex Classic Sheer Rip-Resist Tights
What we love: Even with sharp objects being dragged down the material, the tights remained intact.
What we don’t love: It’s a bit difficult to pull these up over your legs.
According to Sheertex, these tights are created with fibers that are “typically used in ballistics and climbing equipment.” In lay-person’s terms, they’re extremely rip-resistant, but we still wanted to put them to the test — and they passed with flying colors. Even after dragging rings, velcro, and sharp blades over them, there was not a rip or run in sight. “I would feel comfortable wearing these around my dog and doing multiple activities where my jewelry or bag could impact the fabric,” says our tester. Though they’re near bullet-proof, they’re still stretchy, though they require an extra tug to pull them over your legs.
One thing to note, however, is that these are pretty opaque rather than being sheer. Our tester specifically mentions that the name is a bit misleading, and she describes them more as “semi-sheer.”
Price at time of publish: $35 (originally $59)
Size: XS-3XL | Material: Nylon, polyethylene, spandex | Finish: matte | Opacity: Semi-sheer | Rise: Mid
J Crew Control-Top Opaque Tights
Best Control Top
What we love: They have an incredible stretch to them.
What we don’t love: They run a little small, so size up if you are uncertain.
Smooth out your silhouette with these amazing control top tights from J.Crew. On top of providing great support, they seem to stretch endlessly without ever losing their original shape. On top of maintaining their silhouette, they also remain opaque, even when stretched to extremes. “These bad boys are stretchy!” says our tester. “I was able to stretch them two arms length, which I was not expecting for a size XS.” Despite being uber stretchy, we did notice that they run a little small — so for the most comfortable fit size up. While elastic and pretty durable, we did notice that a strong nail could poke a hole in this fabric. They did, however, put up a strong fight against the soft and hard velcro. Only mild markings were left by the latter, but nothing noticeable enough to throw them out.
Price at time of publish: $23
Size: XS-L | Material: Nylon, spandex | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: High
A New Day Women's 120D Blackout Tights
What we love: They look and feel much more expensive than they are.
What we don’t love: The waistband is not as stretchy as the leg portion.
If you’re tall, you might feel like it’s impossible to find a pair of tights that have you covered — but it’s not. Let us introduce you to A New Day Women's 120D Blackout Tights. Similar to the last option, these tights can stretch for days along the leg without much resistance, but at a fraction of the cost — though you’d never expect it. “I had no idea how much these tights would cost, and assumed they were more expensive than they were,” says our tester. They’re durable, too: The hard velcro and nail left some markings during our rip test, but not enough to write them off.
While the legs went on for days, the waistband did not come with as much of a stretch. If you’re working with a little more in the middle, then these can feel a bit tight around your waist.
Price at time of publish: $9
Size: S-2XL | Material: Nylon, spandex | Finish: Matte | Opacity: Opaque | Rise: High
Other Options Tested
These tights put up quite a fight against sharp objects. We really had to go above and beyond to get them to rip, which is quite impressive for tights that are only $12. The stretch-appeal is hit or miss, though. While they have good elasticity along the leg, the waistline is not as stretchy as the other options listed above. Our tester recommends these for people who wish to smooth out their stomach, or simply don’t have much of one to begin with. “These tights deliver crazy value,” she says. “They will last the test of time for people who want a control top.” No elasticity around the waist naturally makes them less comfortable, but considering how good they look for how little they cost, they’re a great go-to piece when you need something last minute for an event.
In terms of rip-resistance, these tights are quite impressive. It took several passes with the finger nimble to even make a hole appear. As advertised, they also provide a nice control top — they wrap snugly around the waist and smooth out the midsection. However, this does mean that there is very little stretch in the waistband. On the other hand, it stretches almost too much around the legs. When pulled apart, the length of the tights never returned to its original starting point. Therefore, it is likely that they will get worn out relatively quickly.
What to Keep in Mind
The most important thing to look for in tights is the material. Scrolling through this list, you’ll see that the majority of our picks are made of either nylon, spandex, polyethylene, elastane, cotton, wool, or a combination of a few. Ultimately, the material can determine a few things: Durability, rip-resistance, and comfort.
If you are looking for rip-resistance, then opt for pieces that include nylon and polyethylene, such as the Sheertex Classic Sheer Rip-Resist Tights. Both of these materials are incredibly stretchy, strong, and abrasion resistant, and have the ability to maintain their shape regardless of exterior force. If you are looking for stretch and durability, then spandex and elastane are the fabrics to go for. The Spanx Tummy Shaping Tights and the Commando Sexy Sheer Tights are great examples. Each has an impressive elasticity that not only molds around your body, but has notable longevity. If you are looking for comfort, look for pieces that include cotton or wool like the Wolford Merino Tights.
Opacity refers to how see-through a fabric is, and when it comes to tights, they’re usually categorized as opaque, semi-sheer, or sheer. For this test, we measured the opacity both on the body and while stretched against a light. In order to truly be considered opaque, each pair needed to pass both tests (Calzedonia 100 Denier Total Comfort Soft Touch Tights are as opaque as they get). Opaque tights are typically thicker and provide a little more warmth. They are great options for the winter, and for occasions that call for a formal dress code. Sheer and semi-sheer fabrics have a smaller fabric count, and allow a hint of your skin to show from underneath. Naturally, they are more prone to wear and tear. But options like the Skims Full Control Tights are impressively durable despite being a semi-sheer option.
Your Questions Answered
What shoes go best with black tights?
My personal favorite shoe to pair black tights with? Loafers. The semi-formal shoe matches the sleek aesthetic that comes with tights. Though, black tights go with a variety of shoes. Stylist and founder of the Nines, Lisa Sanchez, recommends adding a pair of black sneakers. “I saw this look on Bella Hadid’s bestie Devon Lee Carlson, and have been obsessed ever since,” she says. “For maximum impact, try them with a pair of cleats”. Stylist Michaela Leitz seconds the sneaker opinion. “Tights can be dressed for any occasion — from casual with sneakers or flats, to chic with heels or boots,” she says.
How do I style black tights?
Tights are not a replacement for pants in the same way leggings are. You will definitely need something to cover your bottoms with, whether that’s a dress or a skirt. You can wear a long, oversized sweater or shirt, but we still recommend wearing some type of shorts underneath, just in case the wind comes to betray you. “When paired with the right amount of skirt/shirt coverage, black tights can create the elongating effect that petite gals like myself want!” says professional fashion stylist, Kara Fabella. Sheer tights, such as the Commando Sheer Tights, look great paired with a mini dress and some heels. A blazer, skirt, tights, and loafer combo, on the other hand, look best with semi-sheer tights or more opaque styles.
What Do I Do with Ripped Tights?
Don’t immediately give up on your ripped tights! Sanchez has a way to give them a second life: By distressing them even further. “The 2023 runways were all about that torn up look, so go ahead and ravage your oldest pair with a few carefully placed rips and tears.” Some combat boots, a dress with frills, or a plaid skirt make excellent companions to distressed tights.
What Does Denier Mean for tights?
You’ve probably seen this term thrown around when reading up on tights. Denier is a measurement of thickness on individual yarns used in fabrics. The higher the number, the thicker, and therefore, warmer the material. “I normally choose denier level 30 to 100 during spring and autumn, and in winter I go up to 200 denier (almost as thick as a yoga pant),” explains Leitz. In tights, it also speaks to the opacity of the material. The less thread count there is, the more sheer the tights and vice versa.
Why Shop With Us
Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer for InStyle with two years of experience covering fashion and lifestyle products. Her style can be described as elevated classics, and loves to find pieces that combine comfort with elegance. In order to write this article, she consulted celebrity stylists (Michaela Leitz, Lisa Sanchez, and Kara Fabella ), to get an insider scoop on what to consider and how to style black tights. A group of women have also individually worn all of the tights in this list, and placed them into harsh environments to test their durability.
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