Best Pantyhose Reviewed for Comfort and Durability
Pantyhose have been in vogue since the 1940s and 50s when they were predominantly used in show business by actresses and dancers who needed a way to cover up their legs during performances. While the rest of the population wore hosiery that was to be held up by garters, with the popularization of the mini skirt in the 1970s, pantyhose became irreplaceable. Today, due to considerable improvements in the production process, women and men who wear this style of hosiery have the possibility of choosing between different styles, functionalities and materials. The type of hose you choose to wear every day will not only determine whether your outfit is appropriate for a certain occasion, but, even more, will have a big impact on the way you feel throughout the day.
The styles of hose you can choose from today offer great variety, as the days of sheer nylon hose are long gone. Makers will use different materials and blends, so it is up to you to find the ones the work best. Nylon will provide more sheer, but is known to stretch and rip easily while also being scratchy for the wearer. Spandex or lycra will provide for more stretch, but this means that your hose will be more tight in fit. You can also go for more opaque styles, often referred to as tights, or even fishnet hose that have largely gained in popularity in the past couple of years.
10 Best Pantyhose
1. L'eggs Leggswear Silky
The color of these tights is black, and they are a great choice for the more casual workplace when you want to wear a skirt or dress, but bare legs are inappropriate. They go with almost anything, and look great both with flats, high heels, and boots.
No Visible Panty Section
The great thing about the L’eggs Silky Tights is that they don’t have any visible panty lines, which means that you can wear them with a bodysuit, mini skirt, or any other garment that would show your upper thighs.
Cost and Value
These tights come at a relatively cheap price and will last you for a couple of wears at least. The material is silky and comfortable, and the color is opaque even with bent knees, so if that’s the look you are looking for, these tights are an excellent choice.
- Won’t Slide Off
- Silky to the Touch
- Aren’t Itchy
- Durable Toe Area
- Lack in Elasticity
- Will Leave Pigment When Washed
2. Akiido High Waist
If you are looking for a pair of fishnet tights to wear with a skirt, dress, or under a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans, the value pack with five different styles is an excellent choice as it offers a variety of tights that can be worn on all types of occasions.
Universal Fit With a High Stretch Design
These fishnets will fit most women without having to decipher complicated sizing charts, then finding out the tights you ordered are too large or too small. They have a high level of elasticity with a comfortable waistband, and will conform to your body after just two minutes of wear.
Cost and Value
These are probably the cheapest tights you will find that offer this level of quality and style choice. Although fishnet hose are much easier to rip than regular tights, you are still getting a good deal out of purchasing these.
- Excellent Value
- One Size Fits All
- Rhinestone Designs Available
- Comfortable Elastic Waist
- Unsuitable for Tall Women
- Rip Easily
3. Hanes Silk Reflections Non-Control Top
The downside of nylons made out of synthetic materials is that they often cause the wearer to excessively sweat, then lock that moisture in. This can be problematic, and can lead to a variety of issues, including fungal infections. Luckily, the Hanes Silk Reflections Non-Control Top has been made with moisture wicking elements in the panty and legs to keep you cool and dry, no matter what.
If you’ve ever tried silk hosiery, it’s rather possible that you absolutely loved how it felt against your skin. These hose feel just like that, with the added benefit of costing considerably less, and coming in a pack of three so that you can feel fancy without shelling out a huge amount.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, these Hanes Non-Control Top nylons will set you back more than the average pair. Nonetheless, they offer excellent value for your money thanks to their high quality make, reinforced toe, moisture wicking properties and generous color selection.
- For All Skin Tones
- 15 Denier Count
- Silky Sheer Look
- Moisture Wicking
- Reinforced Toe
- Possible Imperfections
- High Price
4. Vero Monte Fishnet
A great thing about these hosiery products is that they will stay securely in place without making you feel constricted in any way. They may need a minute or two of wear until they feel completely comfortable, but you will love wearing them all day long.
Will Fit Plus Sizes
The Vero Monte Fishnets come in a variety of sizes that can accommodate any body shape, regardless of height or weight. Furthermore, due to being highly elastic you will feel no difficulty when moving about, even if you choose to wear this to a night of dancing.
Cost and Value
These tights come at an excellent price, and the pack of four will give you different styles to choose from for various occasions. They are excellent for everyday wear, and will keep you from getting cold in the spring and autumn when it’s too chilly to wear skirts and dresses without tights.
- Sixteen Different Designs
- Come in a Premium Gift Box
- Highly Elastic
- Reinforced Toe Area
- Comfortable Waistband
- Require Extra Care When Putting On
- Rip Easily
5. Manzi Opaque Control-Top
The best thing about these opaque tights is that they not only come in colors, but also a nude and coffee variation which is excellent if you need a pair of soft and warm tights to wear to a formal event or to your corporate job. While they won’t look as if they aren’t there, they still provide an adequate alternative to the thin nylons you probably wear on a daily basis.
These tights are made with a reinforced panty section called control-top which is designed to give you a slimmer figure with a clean leg line with a single seam closure that won’t show through tight skirts and dresses.
Cost and Value
These tights are just a tad more expensive than other pairs, but are an excellent choice if you need a good pair of opaque tights or a thicker nude alternative to sheer nylon leggings. They are durable and comfortable, so you can wear them throughout the day without them slipping from your waist.
- Nude and Coffee Colors Available
- 87% Polyamide, 13% Elastane
- Control Top Design
- Pack of Two
- Variety of Color Options
- Nude Color is Yellowish
- Run Large
6. L'eggs Everyday Regular
These nylons are an excellent choice if there are slight imperfections on your legs that may be preventing you from going bare, or that you prefer to cover up. If you go with the suntan color, they will look like you are wearing nothing, provided that you have a light skin tone.
Stretchy Upper for Maximum Comfort
If you aren’t looking for a pair of tights with a control top, these are perfect as they provide plenty of stretch in the panty area with a fully elastic waistband that will keep them safely on throughout the day.
Cost and Value
Depending on the size and color you choose, these leggings can be quite a deal or an expensive pair of hosiery. They are definitely one of the best choices if you are looking for sheerness, but do not expect them to last too long - one to two wears is what you will usually be getting out of one pair.
- High Level of Sheer
- Excellent for Formal Occasions
- Clear Toes
- Quite Thin
- Suitable for Tall Women
- Not for Darker Skin Shades
- Lack Durability
7. No Nonsense Sheer To Waist
These nylons feature a sheer toe which means that you can wear them with a wider variety of footwear, be your chosen shoes flats or high heels. Although snags and runs can occur more often, you can prevent them from getting bad with a little bit of clear nail polish.
Pack of Six
Our favourite part about these nylons is that they come in a pack of six, which means that with just one purchase you are set for a longer period of time. This also means that you can always keep a spare pair in your purse or at work.
Cost and Value
These are the most affordable leggings on this list, with a price of almost half of the next least expensive pair. They are sheer and thin, and you will get about one to two wears out of each pair.
- Sheer Toe
- Three Colors Available
- Budget Friendly
- Comfortable Waist
- Perfect for Work
- Not Sheer to Waist
8. Sofsy Opaque
These hose are made according to the highest standards in Italy, using a soft but durable 40 denier nylon that has a silky matte texture and is resistant to runs. In fact, the manufacturer is so certain about the quality of their product that they give a 100% money back guarantee.
Reinforced Elastic Fit
These nylons are an excellent choice as they will retain their elasticity even after several wears and washes. The panty and crotch are reinforced, and so are the toes. The waistband has non-irritating features which make sure you get a soft and comfortable fit that won’t stretch out with wear.
Cost and Value
These are the most expensive item on this list, but if you value quality over quantity and want a pair of hose that will last you a considerable time, then they are the perfect choice for you. The added upside is the numerous fun colors they come in, such as avocado, lavender, indigo, and others.
- High Elasticity
- Made in Italy
- Twelve Colors Available
- Non-Irritating Waistband
- Silky to the Touch
- Difficult to Size
- Not Completely Sheer
9. SPANX Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights
Visible panty lines are the downfall of many a great outfit. These tights will eliminate them through a gusseted design that lets you wear them without underwear. Being made out of cotton, the provide maximum hygiene and breathability.
Shaping Level 2
If you’ve ever worn SPANX, you’ll know that their products come in 3 different shaping levels. These tights are at level 2, which means that they’re made out of a lightweight fabric, but will still sculpt your body, hiding any lumps, slimming your waist and making your clothes fit better.
Cost and Value
These tights are the most expensive item on this list, which comes as no surprise seeing that they are not just a pair of hosiery, but also serve to smooth out your silhouette and improve the fit of your favorite clothes. If you want to look absolutely perfect, then these are definitely the way to go.
- Shaping Level 2
- No Visible Panty Lines
- 70 Denier Count
- Cotton Gusset
- Plus Sizes Available
- High Price
- Discoloration With Wear
8. Hanes Alive Full Support
If you suffer from a medical condition that requires you to wear support tights, but also need to look good at your job, you will definitely love this product by Hanes. Unless you look really closely, you won’t even notice they are support tights, and they will help you get through your day without experiencing the usual fatigue in your legs.
Colors for All Skin Tones
These tights come in eight different colors ranging from white to black, with various shades of nude in between. This means that you can find the best match for your skin tone and wear them with a skirt or dress for a barely-there look.
Cost and Value
These hose range medium in price compared to the other items on this list. With the pack of three, you get a prolonged wear time out of each purchase, and you can expect these control tights to last up to a couple of months with the proper care.
- Silky Sheer
- Available for All Skin Tones
- Excellent Compression and Support
- Control Top
- Won’t Get Runs
- Waistband Will Stretch
That’s it – our top ten choices of hose, tights and fishnets. With detailed descriptions and pros and cons, you are sure to find the pair of nylons that will suit you most, whether it’s for casual or fancy occasions, whether you want more support or prefer a looser, stretchier fit. If taken care of correctly, tights can last you more than just one wear, so ensure that you always hand wash them, are careful when you put them on, and have some hairspray or clear nail polish on hand just in case of a snag, as these will prevent runs.
For more information on the different types of hosiery available, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of all of these, you can read the Criteria for Evaluation and Frequently Asked Questions sections of this article where we will go a little bit more in-depth in explaining the differences between materials used, models, and how they will affect you in your day-to-day wear. Otherwise, you can choose one of the top 10 hose listed above, and you will surely have found a good product that will fit to your specific needs.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Pantyhose
Women’s hosiery had been very much the same throughout history, and it wasn’t until the 1920s and their introduction of shorter hemlines that the need arose to cover women’s legs for warmth and decorum purposes. Stockings were mainly made out of silk or rayon, an artificial silk material, and it was only after the invention of nylon by a group of DuPont scientists that this material became a popular option for hosiery. Pantyhose, as we know them today, were first used in show business by actresses and dancers, and it wasn’t until the late 50s and early 60s that they saw a wider commercial use.
The invention of spandex (elastane) made hosiery much more comfortable and durable than they had been up to then, and with the expansion of the mini skirt, hose suddenly became a necessity for every woman. Nowadays, nylons are not as popular as they were in the 70s and 80s of the last century, however, they are more comfortable, durable and versatile than they have ever been.
Materials Used for Construction
Today, the composition of hose is pretty uniform, with few variations. At the top is an elastic band which has the function of securing them to the wearer’s waist. The upper, panty part of the garment is made out of a thicker material, usually a mixture of nylon and a larger percentage of spandex that ensures a sung but elastic fit. The gusset or crotch area is often covered in a porous cotton material to provide breathability, while the legs are made out of thinner materials with a smaller percentage of spandex, or even out of 100% nylon.
As nylon is more susceptible to tears and runs than other materials, makers will usually use some percentage of other materials, usually spandex, silk, cotton or wool in order to provide their users with more durability and better elasticity, warmth or breathability.
The thing that will determine the look of a pair of nylons is the denier count which represents a measure for the linear mass density of fibers and counts the mass in grams per 9000 meters of material. Pantyhose can be found in a wide variety of denier nowadays, ranging from three to one hundred, and what the denier count actually determines in this type of garment is the opacity.
- Any hose under 10 denier are considered to be ultra sheer and have a barely-there appearance
- Those with 10 to 30 denier are considered sheer, a standard in this type of hosiery
- A denier count between 30 and 40 will make pantyhose or tights which are semi-opaque
- Opaque tights will have a denier count between 40 and 70
- All hosiery above 70 denier is considered to be thick opaque
Styles and Types
There is a wide variety of nylons and tights available today, all of which have different uses and are made through slightly differing processes.
Control Tops are made using a larger percentage of spandex in the panty part of the hose, covering the hips and waist with a stronger material. They are used to achieve a slimming effect on the wearer by smoothing out the lines of the figure. The upside of this type of hosiery is that they will look better under slim dresses and skirts, and can even be worn under pants. However, they will be visible under short skirts or shorts as the reinforced section is visibly different from the legs, and may start at mid thigh.
Sheer to Waist Nylons are made out of a single material from top to toe in order to achieve a uniform look throughout the hose. These are usually worn with mini skirts, short shorts, dresses with high slits or under leotards and high leg bodysuits. When purchasing sheer to waist hose it is best to make the selection carefully as some will have a reinforced section around the upper thigh which is visibly different than the rest of the hose.
Fishnet Tights are made with an open, diamond shaped knit which can vary in size, ranging from small grid to large panels. Fishnet hosiery is usually worn by the punk and goth subculture, but also in mainstream fashion as they are considered to be a statement piece. Although usually made in matte black, fishnet tights are also available in different colors, as well as with rhinestone embellishments. They are considered a sexy garment as the grid of the tights will accentuate the curves and muscles on the wearer’s body.
Compression or Support Tights are a type of specialised hose with a larger percentage of elastane that are tighter around the ankles and calves, and serve to compress the wearer’s limbs. They are used to prevent and treat different venous disease such as chronic venous deficiency, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis lymphedema, and have been proven to help with tired aching legs, as well as edema. They can also be used on long flights where they will help with minimizing swelling and cramping.
Men’s Hosiery has been on the market since the late 1990s and can be used both as an everyday garment as well as for medical and specific purposes. Also known as mantyhose, these garments can serve to offer compression to men who work jobs that require them to sit or walk a lot on a day-to-day basis. Divers and fishermen also often use mens tights, as they help with insulation against cold water, will make it easier to put wetsuits on and off, and can provide protection from poisonous jellyfish for fishermen. Many men also wear mantyhose as a fashion accessory in different colors and patterns, either under trousers or with shorts.
Other types of pantyhose include open crotch nylons which are used for hygienic reasons as well as sexual fetishism, single or double gusset hose which provide varying comfort and appearance benefits, sheer toe and open toe tights which are designed so as to be worn with various footwear, etc.
Concerns About Prolonged Use
Although nylons can be used for medical and protective reasons, it is important to note that they can also lead to some unwanted conditions with prolonged wear. As nylon is a synthetic material that isn’t breathable, perspiration will remain in contact with the skin of the feet, legs and genital area. This may lead to bacteria growth that can result in odor or fungal infections. Some hose will use different methods to prevent these, such as silver in the composition of tights. Otherwise, these can be avoided by using hosiery made out of natural fibers such as silk which is more breathable and won’t lock moisture to the skin.
Another of the cons of wearing hose are calluses which are formed when parts of the feet are exposed to too much friction. Tights that are too large or bunch in certain areas can contribute to the formation of calluses on your feet, so make sure they are always sized correctly.
Furthermore, the nylon composition in hosiery can contribute to the development of rashes, especially on dry and sensitive skin, as well as in the summer months when you sweat more than usual. Some people are allergic to the latex found in many tights, and in that case, you can opt for 100% cotton hosiery to avoid developing rashes and eczema.
It is also important that due to being made out of non-biodegradable synthetic materials, tights won’t be accepted as a recyclable item, which means that they often end up in landfills, adding to the pollution of the environment. Burning them is not an option as nylon can release toxins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I make sure my pair of tights is truly opaque?
A: In order to get a truly opaque look, make sure to choose your hose with the highest possible denier count – ideally of 100. In addition, you may want to consider purchasing your tights in a size larger than you normally wear, to make sure they do not stretch out on your knees and thighs.
Q: How often do I have to wash my nylons and tights?
A: For hygienic reasons, it is important to wash your hosiery after each wear. As they contain a large percentage of nylon and aren’t breathable, tights will collect moisture, bacteria and bodily oils which can all lead to fungal infections and odors so it’s very important to keep them clean.
Q: How do I wash my leggings?
A: You can wash them either by hand or in a washing machine. If you decide to do it by hand, use warm water and some mild soap, and hang them to dry. If you want to wash them in the washing machine, make sure to put it on a gentle cycle, and that your delicates are secured in a laundry bag to avoid rips and snags that will lead to runs. Again, it is safer to let your tights air dry, however, thicker models will be a bit more resilient to tears, so you can put them in the dryer.
Q: How do I prevent runs in my hose?
A: To prevent runs in your tights, first of all, you need to take care when you put them on, as you don’t want to damage them with nails or jewelry you are wearing. If, however, you do get a snag in them, make sure to cover it with some clear nail polish or hairspray, and these will prevent further tearing and runs that will ruin your look.
Q: I have sensitive skin. Can I still wear tights?
A: Sure you can, but you need to take extra care of what kind of hosiery you choose. Staying away from nylon and spandex is your best bet, and you can go with 100% cotton tights, or invest in a nice pair of silk stockings which are breathable and more gentle on the skin.
Q: Can men wear pantyhose?
A: Sure they can! There are special styles for men, ranging from compression tights which are used for medical reasons, to colorful fashionable ones you can wear as a fashion statement. Plus, you may find that wearing mantyhose can make activities such as fishing, diving and horse riding much more comfortable as they are insulating and can help prevent chafing.
Q: What is a control top?
A: A control top is the upper part on specially made hose that has as its function to smooth out the line of the body, and to provide the wearer with a slimming effect. It will usually be more tight than a regular pair of tights as it will contain a larger percentage of elastane.