The Difference Between Leggings and Tights Update 06/2022

Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that if you don’t wear leggings or tights with a skirt, you’ll freeze to death? There are likely many pairs of leggings and tights in your wardrobe. At times, it might be difficult to decide which one to wear with a particular outfit. What’s the difference between leggings and tights?

Leggings and tights differ primarily in that tights are almost always made of a sheer fabric, whilst leggings are almost always made of a thicker, opaque one. In contrast to leggings, tights normally cover the entire foot. A lot of spandex is used in both clothes in order to give them a slenderizing effect.

Leggings and tights have a lot in common, and you’ll learn more about both in this article. You’ll discover which pieces of clothes go best with which garments. Leggings, tights, and yoga pants are all included in this comparison.

Leggings vs Tights

What Are Leggings?

In the fashion world, leggings are a type of tight-fitting pants that pull up over the feet and cling to the body. They don’t have buttons or zippers, and instead have an elastic waistband for a more comfortable fit. Spandex and cotton blends are the most common materials used in their production, however polyester and spandex blends can also be found in some.

Leggings may have a thick or thin fabric, but they are always opaque, so you can’t see your skin through them. A seam that goes up the inside of the thigh is another identifying feature of this style of leg covering.

Leggings typically terminate at your ankle. However, you can also find knee- or mid-calf-length options, particularly in sportswear.

Leggings are available in a wide range of leg lengths and rises. Low-rise leggings with an elastic waist that finishes at your hips, or high-rise leggings with additional belly control, are two examples of this type of product. There are frequently product descriptions that include this information.

A few pairs of leggings are certainly in your wardrobe, whether you got them as a New Year’s resolution or for a night out on the town! Leggings didn’t exist until the 1960s, and even then, their popularity was limited. Then, in the 1990s, they became more popular than jeans in America.

Leggings go well with a variety of casual clothes, such as baggy tees, sweatshirts, and sweaters. By pairing a pair of leggings with an underlayer such as an athletic shirt, you may quickly build warm layers for cold weather by pairing the leggings with loose, baggy outerwear.

Leggings can now be found with a wide variety of glitzy embellishments. In recent years, for example, cell phone pockets have grown increasingly popular. Leggings can be created from a variety of materials, such as faux leather or the faux-denim used in “jeggings,” such as these examples.

What Are Tights?

What Are Tights

Skin-tight, sheer leg coverings, tights keep your thighs and calves completely hidden from view. Because you can see through them, they’re not a good substitute for pants, even if they’re stylish. Even the thickest of tights may be seen through the knitted fabric because they are stretched so tightly over your body.

Nylon and stretchy fabrics like Spandex or Lycra are commonly used to make tights. Nylon and elastic are looped together into a very light knit fabric that is virtually always used in these garments. This results in a taut, flexible fabric appropriate for a skin-tight garment.

Toes and the gusset, a short panel of fabric linking the legs at the crotch of the garment, are usually the only places where tights have seams that may be seen. This means that there are no zippers, ruffles, or ribbons on these dresses.

There have been tights and other types of hosiery for thousands of years. For example, medieval men and women both wore garments that resembled modern-day tights. Tights are far more comfortable and fashionable today because to advances in current fabric technology like the development of elastic.

Tights and stockings are sometimes lumped together under the umbrella term “hosiery.” Wearing them for the same reasons–to provide a little warmth or draw attention to your legs–makes logical. Some people refer to stockings/pantyhose/nylons as a sub-category since they often include exceptionally lightweight, silky, and sheer fabric and are therefore considered to be separate from regular tights.

Tights and leggings both come in various thicknesses, which adds to the confusion. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, you can opt for opaque tights with a slightly thicker fabric or sweater tights with a colorful cable pattern, which will keep you warm.

These are nevertheless distinct from leggings in that they are not meant to be worn as pants, but rather as an accessory or decoration. Even thicker tights don’t offer the same level of coverage as a pair of leggings!

When worn with a business suit or a dress, tights make a strong fashion statement. You may even dress them up for a sultry date night look. Dresses, skirts, and long shirts that hit mid-thigh or slightly above the knee work well with this style.

Tights have become more popular in recent years, although they are still reserved for more formal occasions. As a result, they go best with dresses and skirts that fall into the more formal attire category.

Leggings vs Tights: Key Points

Leggings and tights have a lot of similarities, but there are some major differences as well. Check out the next area for more information!

DesignThick, stretchy leg coverings ending at the ankle or mid-calfSheer, stretchy leg coverings completely covering the feet.
Type of MaterialPolyester or cotton knit blended with spandexSheer nylon knit blended with elastic fibers
FitSnug but not too tightVery tight and entirely form-fitting
LengthCommon lengths include ankle-length, knee-length, and mid-calfUsually encase legs and feet
WarmthDepends on type of materialDepends on type of material
WeightVaries a lot, but usually thick enough to wear in place of pantsUsually lightweight, but specialty styles also come in sweater or fleece-lined material
Best ForCasual or athletic wearBusiness-casual or formal style

What Is the Difference Between Leggings and Tights?

Leggings and tights differ primarily in that leggings are made of opaque material, whilst tights are made of sheer material. Leggings can be worn alone as a substitute for pants, however tights aren’t allowed.

Leggings and tights have a lot in common, but you’ll also see some overlap in their styles. After all, the fashion industry thrives on breaking the rules and inventing fresh looks. Things like sweater tights that look a lot like very fuzzy leggings or footless thigh-high socks that look a lot more sheer than the regular thigh-high leggings can be found.

Difference Between Leggings and Tights


Despite the fact that leggings and tights both cover your legs and are quite near to your flesh, their basic structure is significantly different. Leggings and tights both cover the feet, however leggings often stop at the ankle. The waistband of leggings may be seen as an elastic band, but the waistband of tights just fades into the fabric at the midsection.

Leggings also come in a variety of styles. In some sports fashions, for example, there are specific features like vents or pockets. The shape of tights is essentially the same across the board, with few exceptions.

Type Of Material

These two garments are often made of different materials. Leggings contain cotton or polyester knit combined with spandex, whereas tights employ thin, sheer nylon knit. Because of this, leggings are made to last longer and can even be worn in place of regular pants if desired.

Spandex and Lycra can be found in athletic leggings, but they can also be produced entirely of spandex or Lycra. These leggings, which have a more plastic-like feel, are ideal for sports like jogging or bicycling because of their elasticity.


In general, tights fit more tightly than leggings, however this is not always the case. However, unlike tights, which provide firm shaping and adhere to your body, leggings just follow the natural contours of your body.

Leggings are quite comfortable and may be worn in a variety of ways, from low-rise to knee-length. As well as padded leggings, you may also find leggings with particular sports characteristics like air vents for increased ventilation.

Most pairs of tights feature an elasticized waistband that sits just below your natural waist. Smoothing out your stomach and avoiding muffin tops around your hips are two of the benefits of this method. The tight, elastic fit of these clothes provides a lot of shaping for those who desire a more streamlined figure!


Tights typically extend all the way to your toes. The modern issue of footless tights is the lone exception to this rule. You wear these like tights, but the bottoms are shorter.

Leggings usually finish at the ankle. This pair of pants has a lot of give and are quite form-fitting. However, shorter lengths, such as knee- or calf-length, are also available, particularly in sporting apparel.


The short answer is yes. There are a variety of materials that can be utilized to achieve this result. High-denier tights may provide better insulation since they are less permeable than leggings, which are usually thicker and heavier. Tights made of extra-warm fabrics, such as merino wool or real silk, are also available.

The weight and thickness of the individual strands that make up a silky fabric are described by its denier. On the basis of the normal thickness of silk, this measurement has been calculated. A greater denier number means that the fabric is thicker in its weave or knitted structure, which results in a slightly heavier feel.

In other words, lower-denier tights have a silky feel, and higher-denier tights have a more substantial feel.


It is common for leggings and tights to be made of thicker and heavier materials. In order to do this, tights are usually made of a transparent material!

Leggings are made of durable textiles like cotton or polyester, which are knitted together with elastic fibers like Spandex to make them more flexible. The amount of spandex in athletic leggings can be increased significantly, resulting in a very elastic fabric.

Leggings are more durable than tights since they are made of a heavier-weight cloth. Tights, on the other hand, should be cleaned either by hand or in a delicates bag in the washing machine to avoid damage.

Best For

Athletic apparel, as well as casual attire, is the greatest place to put leggings. With a pair of sneakers, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt, they look great. A long, thick sweater, a looped scarf, and high-heeled boots are all you need for a dressier appearance!

When it comes to tights, dresses and skirts work best. The sheerness of even thick tights means that they can’t be worn alone as a substitute for pants and must be covered up with anything else. Skirts that stop above the knee and high heels or flats look excellent with tights.

Types of Leggings

Styles and types of leggings include, but are not limited to

  • Elastic bands are attached to the arch of your foot to secure the stirrups to your feet.
  • Shin splints can be prevented and you can appear slimmer with shaper or compression designs. Shape leggings come in a variety of shapes, some of which produce a precise amount of compression to make your butt appear larger. This feature is only available in the tummy control versions.
  • Jeggings, or “false jeans,” appear and feel like denim, but they’re actually leggings with a little more stretch. Even phony pockets and zippers may be found on certain jeggings!
  • Spandex in metallic or disco fashions comes in a variety of shimmering hues. These are wonderful for a more formal look!
  • Leggings in real or synthetic leather will elevate your fall wardrobe.
  • Knee-length styles can be found in both athletic and girly ruching details.
  • Air vents, squat proofing, cellulite compression, and many other features may be found on athletic leggings.

Types of Tights

However, you may still find a wide variety of tights to choose from, including:

  • Compression garments have tummy-tucking and blood-flow-supporting properties.
  • Knitted loops in fishnet styles are bigger. This look goes well with both gothic and sultry attire.
  • Elastic fibers are commonly found in lace designs. Stretchy nylon lace tights are another option.
  • At the ankle, footless tights come to an end. Footless tights differ from leggings in that they are made of semi-transparent material.
  • Merino wool or cotton, rather than nylon, is used to make sweater tights that are more breathable and insulating in cold weather.
  • There are fleece-lined models with a lovely, fuzzy fleece inside. Additionally, on chilly days, these can be used as an additional layer of insulation.
  • Nylon-knitted, semi-transparent tights are known as sheers. They come in a wide range of colors, including black, but you can also get them in simple white or colorful patterns.
  • In terms of thickness, opaque tights have a somewhat greater denier than translucent tights. You can still see a little amount of your skin through opaque tights because they fit so tightly!

Leggings vs Tights vs Yoga Pants

Legging vs Yoga Pants

Leggings, tights, and yoga pants can all be classified according to the type of fabric they are made of.

When it comes to leg covers, tights are usually the lightest and most sheer. Leggings, composed of an elastic and light material, are a close second. Non-skin-tight types of yoga pants often contain slightly thicker cotton knits.

As a result, the distinctions between these two categories of apparel can occasionally get blurred. The difference between running tights and leggings, for example, can be summarized as:

Running Tights vs Leggings

Running Tights vs Leggings

As both running tights and sports leggings have a skin-tight design ending at the ankle, they look very similar. Running tights and workout tights differ in that they are made of a slightly sheer material. In cold weather, you can wear this type of leg covering under your running or bicycling shorts.

Athletic leggings, on the other hand, are made of completely opaque fabric and can be worn without shorts.

Pantyhose vs Leggings

Pantyhose and leggings differ greatly, notably the fact that pantyhose are composed of delicate, translucent fabric whereas leggings are made of heavier, opaque materials.

Nylons, sheers, or stockings may also be referred to as pantyhose. For the most part, pantyhose come in one of three colors: white, black, or nude. There is an almost feather-light aspect to them because they have a very fine denier.

Leggings can be used in place of pants because they are heavier and thicker than a pair of pants.

Leggings vs Stockings

Leggings vs Stockings

To put it simply, leggings can be used as a substitute for pants, whilst stockings are made of a thin, transparent material designed to be worn under a skirt.

Another word for pantyhose or nylons is stockings. From the 1920s until the 1960s, this sort of sheer leg covering was popular. Female libido almost wiped out stockings because of women’s opposition to stockings being required in the office and other formal situations.

Stockings are no longer worn by younger ladies, but they are still popular among the elderly. When it comes to weddings and funerals, even younger women tend to opt for the more traditional form of stockings.

Is It Ok to Wear Tights as Pants?

You should not wear tights instead of pants because they are often made of see-through material. Leggings can be worn in place of pants, if you’re comfortable with it!!

The key difference here is that you need at least opaque fabric covering your upper thighs and your seat. You can wear leggings, but not tights, instead of pants for this reason.

Leggings as pants, on the other hand, can only be worn if you are completely at ease with your own body type. It is possible that you will feel better at ease in leggings paired with a long, flowy hoodie that covers your seat.

Instead of tights, can you wear a pair of leggings? Leggings can easily be substituted for tights in many situations, but remember that sheer tights have a more formal aesthetic than knit leggings. For a more casual look, you can use leggings instead of tights. Both items will keep your legs warm!

Looser yoga pants may be an option for those who don’t enjoy the notion of their legs being on display. In addition to wearing tights, you can wear longer skirts like maxi skirts.

How to Wear Tights and Leggings

Here are a few pointers on how to properly dress in tights and leggings now that you’re familiar with the terminology!

For tights, use

  • When worn with an above-the-knee skirt or dress, sheer tights appear elegant and perhaps a bit sultry.
  • Tights that include a fleece-lined lining, such as sweater tights, might be fashionable if you live in a chilly climate. Because they are made of an opaque material, you may wear them with a long, flowy shirt without fear of it showing through. If you don’t want to look like a complete yarnhead, don’t wear a sweater with tights.
  • In general, tights look best when paired with heeled or embellished shoes. For a more casual look, you can wear them with ankle boots in the fall or winter. If you are going to wear tights or stockings, you don’t want to wear open-toed sandals or boots!
  • The sheer patterned tights trend is another exciting one in tights. Printed kittens or fishnet stockings, the options are endless! Solid-colored clothing, like this black skirt and red pullover, is the best way to wear printed tights. Wool coats and striped tights can also make you look fashionable!

To wear leggings:

  • Leggings have a thicker fabric than pants, allowing you to wear them as a substitute for trousers. However, you may still want to wear them with a low-hanging blouse or top to cover your seat.
  • To get the most out of your leggings, consider the shape of your body when choosing a top. A flounced shirt or a loose sweater may be the best option if you’re wearing leggings because they’ll make your lower half appear much slimmer.
  • Wearing leggings is a great way to dress up your casual attire for the gym or jogging, or to run some errands. Casual shoes like sneakers or basic flats can be paired with these earrings.
  • Faux-leather leggings with a chunky sweater and beautiful flats are a great way to channel the “pumpkin spice latte” look for fall.


Despite their similarity, leggings and tights have a number of major variances, including the materials they are made of. While leggings employ a thicker, more durable fabric consisting of knitted cotton or polyester and elastic, tights are usually constructed of a finely knitted nylon fabric. As a rule, leggings are shorter than tights because they don’t go all the way up to the ankle.

Leggings and tights have distinct visual contrasts. Leggings are commonly used for both casual outings and sports pursuits, depending on the occasion. Tights are typically worn under a skirt or dress to accentuate more elegant or formal attire.

What type of tights are you most fond of? What are your favorite combinations of tops and bottoms for wearing with leggings? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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