The Very Best Tights to Get You Through Winter Travel

Here’s a scenario you might recognize: You’re packing for a cold-weather destination and all your tights have holes, runs, pills, or bald spots where they’ve rubbed. We’ve been there. When it comes to tights, it pays to stock up on quality. Tights are essentially outerwear for your legs, so packing a few pairs is a must for places with wintery weather. The word to know when shopping for them is denier (pronounced: “den-eee-er”), which refers to the thickness and durability of individual fibers. Tights that are 40 denier appear opaque, so you’ll want to look for a pair with that number—at minimum—to stay comfortable and completely covered. Check out our favorites below and stay leggy and toasty wherever you travel.

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Best All-Around Tights: Hue

All hail Hue! When it comes to durability at a reasonable price, they can’t be beat. Founded by two New York artists, Hue came on the scene in the late ‘70s, right when rainbow-bright neons and candy-hued shades were all the rage, hence the company’s name and its kaleidoscope of colors. (Emperor Purple, anyone?) Although purists say current pairs aren’t as sturdy as they were back in the day, we dare anyone to find a more reliable choice. Basic and super-opaque tights are around $15; read: cheap enough to buy in bulk.

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Best Tights for Cold Weather Days: Uniqlo

Our protest chant for cold-weather days would be: “What do we want? Warmth! What do we not want? Bulk!” Uniqlo’s Heattech tights answer the call as an inexpensive base layer adding warmth without girth. For super chilly days or trips to icy destinations, we opt for their “extra-warm” collection, touted as 1.5 times warmer than the regular Heattech line. Bonus points for the pile-lining in these tights, giving supreme coziness, plus their anti-odor and anti-microbial fabric. (No sweaty, stinky feet here!) Note, fans insist that ordering up a size is the way to go.  

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Best Tights With Serious Control-Top: Spanx

Hunting for those magic tights that keep everything pulled in and smoothed over? Spanx, the reigning queen of the shapewear kingdom, is your answer. Count on these control-top tights to streamline curves all across your lower body, with support extending from your butt down to mid-thigh. Even better, they come in a high-waisted version, ideal for rocking that bodycon dress that’s been hiding in the back of your closet. We consider these tights a must-pack for weddings, events, and business trips.  

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Most Opaque Tights: Calzedonia

If 40 denier is the magic number for opaque tights, imagine what 100 denier tights will do for keeping legs warm and covered. These ultra-opaque tights from Italian brand Calzedonia deliver mega opaqueness, even at the knees and ankles (the ultimate weak-points for coverage). They’re made from soft microfiber, with a cotton gusset and a wide, comfortable waistband. For quality like this, they’re an absolute steal at $12, making it easy to stock up on a full set of go-with-everything neutrals: black, blue, dark gray, and maroon.

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Best Patterned Tights: Emilio Cavallini

Looking for tights with stunning patterns? There’s one name to know: Emilio Cavallini. No one can match this renowned Italian brand for its intricate designs. Styles range from tame (diamonds, dots) to statement-making (checkerboards, spiderwebs). Whichever you choose, they’re an excellent and easy way to level up a little black dress, and a fun addition to your suitcase on a romantic getaway. They’re available at multiple retailers—Saks Off 5th, Century 21—but we’re fans of the surprisingly excellent selection at Free People.

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Best Navy Tights: DKNY

Navy is one tricky color. Too dark, it reads as black; too light, it may as well be royal blue. That’s why we turn to DKNY, a brand always brilliant at nailing neutral shades. These are true, dark navy, and they have a comfortable control top to boot. Oh, and don’t be afraid of wearing navy and black together. We say bring it on. In fact, Parisians are all about this color combo, as we touched on in our packing guide. And you can never go wrong dressing like the chic locals of the City of Lights.

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Best Plus-Size Tights: ASOS

Psst! Want to know the secret to plus-size dressing? Having a short-list of tried-and-true brands for every staple. For the “tights” category, ASOS 120-denier tights are an absolute godsend. As the name implies, their 100-plus denier provides total coverage, and their healthy amount of spandex means they’re not too constricting. The waist hits above the belly button, too, for maximum comfort. If black feels boring, there are plenty of plus-size patterned ones, like this charming polka-dot pair.

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Best Dress-Up Tights: Loft

It’s tough getting dressed up when you’d rather be bundled up. Thankfully, these multitasking tights by Loft do both. Shimmery and opaque, they add instant sparkle to a winter wardrobe. With the ideal amount of metallic glitz, they’re the perfect party legwear. Pair them with a simple cocktail dress (go for something that doesn’t have too much bling to balance things out) or add them to a miniskirt and over-the-knee boots for a stress-free holiday party outfit.

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Best Sexy Tights: Emilio Cavallini

Another Emilio Cavallini pick? We can’t help giving this Italian brand another shout-out in this category. Few do sexy legwear better. With an 80/20 denier mix, these tights are both sexy and warm. The trompe l’oeil effect of bows down the backs of legs are like back-seamed stocking on steroids. Toss these in your carry-on for added va-va-va-voom on any couple’s getaway. (Hand-washing is highly recommended.) 

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Best Stay-Put Tights: Heist

No question, the hike-them-up dance is the worst part of wearing tights—those moments when you have to grab hold of the top and give a discreet shimmy to get them back in place. Heist solved for that with stay-put waistbands that don’t creep down. Their design also skips the center seam and gusset, making them more durable and less likely to give you a bunchy butt. And we have to salute the fact that they offer two different heights—one that hits at the bellybutton and another at the ribcage—to appease both camps of tights devotees.

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