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Leggings vs. Tights? Is a Difference? If So, What Is It?

Take a close look into the differences between Leggings and Tights to showcase the best pick for your fashion, style, comfort and health so you can have an informed decision.

These are women wearing colorful tights.

Leggings and tights are both clothing pieces that are specially designed to be flattering to the buyer’s legs while still offering comfortability. There are several occasions to choose either type of legwear, and sometimes we can get a bit confused about the difference between leggings and tights.

Leggings and tights are extremely similar, as they are skin-tight fabrics that cover the legs and sometimes the waist. Leggings are much thicker than tights, are footless, and can be worn as pants. Tights are sheer, cover the foot, and have to be worn under another garment. From a distance, tights and leggings can look identical!

If you are having a difficult time understanding the difference between leggings and tights, don’t stress! It’s really not as hard as you would think, and you will know the differences in no time with the correct explanation!

What are Tights?

Hue Women's Super Opaque Tights with Control Top, Black, 2

Common tights are readily available on the market and are usually made from polyester, nylon, or a blend of cotton and lycra. They generally cover the foot and stretch from your leg to your upper waistline.

Leggings are a timeless fashion statement, and you can find them in countless patterns and colors. This makes it much easier when building a matching outfit.

Sheer tights are the most common type of tights. Their name means that they are made from an elasticated material and almost translucent appearance when stretched over your legs.

You can wear tights in so many ways, such as over a skirt or dress, or even a pair of shorts, with a pair of boots in the winter, or even in warmer months, matching your skin color. They have been around for decades and will be around for a lot more!

Tights are ultimately seen as a garment to add a finishing look to your existing outfit, as they are often translucent and can be very revealing. Tights are designed to draw attention to your legs and add a splash of sophistication to an otherwise casual outfit. They can make you feel professional and confident when worn correctly!

What are Leggings?

3 Pack Womens Leggings-No See-Through High Waisted Tummy Control Yoga Pants Workout Running Legging-Reg&Plus Size (3 Pack Black,Black,Black, Large-X-Large)

Where tights are designed to give your legs a longer and smoother appearance, leggings’ goal is to make you look and feel more comfortable. They are not only comfortable but super versatile, too!

Leggings have the appearance of a pair of tight-fitting pants from a distance. Leggings can be worn as a standalone garment. Leggings are always worn during a more casual occasion, such as yoga sessions or working out sessions.

You can also pair leggings with a longer t-shirt or sweatshirt, or pair them with a sports bra. As great as this all sounds, you have to keep in mind that leggings should not be worn for formal occasions, such as going to work.

If you buy yourself a decent quality pair of leggings, they are very durable and can last you for a long period! Leggings are produced using a thicker blend of fabrics from materials like polyester, spandex, and cotton. This means that they do offer you more warmth.

When you consider buying tights, quality is definitely the main thing you should keep in mind. Not all tights are produced the same. The cheaper leggings tend to stretch and tear, especially after only a few turns in the washing machine!

To ensure that your pair of favorite leggings are appropriate to wear outside the house, put one hand inside part of the legging and run it through the fabric. If you can see a bit more than just the outlines of your hand, they are not suitable to wear out in public.

Generally, almost all leggings will run from your waist to your ankle. However, some tights only extend from the waist to the mid-calf. Unlike tights, leggings will never cover your feet. Leggings also come in a variety of different patterns and colors, so you will have little to no trouble when you are looking for a comfy pair of leggings to match your personal flair!

Leggings vs. Tights: An Informative Table

Leggings are a skin-tight garment that will cover your legs and may be worn by women, as well as men.Tights are a kind of cloth garment, more often than not shielding your body from your waist to the tips of your toes, with a very tight fit, hence its name!
TypesLeggings can either be solid colors, patterned, and they can either be a thin or thicker material.Leggings can be either absolute opaque, opaque, sheer, or styles of fishnet and even a combination of them all.
TransparentDepends on the brand and quality of the garment.Sometimes.
Type of materialThick and elasticated material. It can also be made from spandex or cotton.Elasticated cotton or blends of polyester.
Length of garmentMid-calf to ankle.Covers your higher waist and feet.
Level of comfortVery comfortable.Very similar to nylon fabrics.
Type of fitTight.Extremely tight, similar to a second skin.
Laundry careNo special precautions when laundering.Launder with extra care, preferable in a laundry bag.
How to wear these garmentsWith a long shirt, sweatshirt, or hoodie.Under skirts, dresses, skorts, or shorts.
StyleCasual wear.Casual to professional, and semi-formal to formal.
Color rangesReadily available in a wide range of colors and patterns.Readily available in a wide range of colors, from matching your skin colors to more unnatural colors. Also available in several patterns.

The Benefits of Wearing Leggings

NexiEpoch Buttery Soft Leggings for Women - High Waisted Tummy Control Yoga Pants for Workout, Running - Reg & Plus Size

  1. If you love wearing short skirts and short shorts, but you don’t feel comfortable showing off too much leg, leggings might just be your new best friend (and accessory!).

Leggings will cover your skin but still provide you with the freedom of wearing your favorite skirt or shorts.

  • Leggings are probably one of the most versatile garments in the world. If you have a pair of leggings in your closet, you will be pretty much able to wear them with any outfit you have. Leggings go well with both short and long skirts.

They are also perfect underneath a dress or a dance outfit. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to make a statement or simply want to be comfortable; leggings can give you all!

  • Maybe the biggest benefit leggings will provide you with is the fact that they are so comfortable and easy to put on. The elasticness of the waist area makes them easy just to pull up.

There are no zippers, buttons, or claps, making them a perfect quick option when you are in a hurry. You will not have wads of fabric that make it uncomfortable to sit, and you won’t get irritated by them rubbing against your legs.

The Benefits of Wearing Tights

No Nonsense Women's Super Opaque Control-Top Tights, Black/Navy, Large

  1. They provide you with warmth. Tights will give you a solid layer of warmth, especially on those colder mornings! Tights keep out the cold air and wick excess sweat away from your skin.

Some tights even have mesh panels in high swear areas, such as behind the knees, to maximize the airflow while still keeping other parts of your legs warm.

  • Tights protect your skin. The design and fabric of tights provide your legs with layers of protection. Baggier clothing, such as normal pants and denim, can rub against your waist and thighs, causing irritation.

Tights hug your body with a few seams and comfortable and soft waistbands, keeping the chance of irritation and rashes to a minimum.


When it comes to choosing the better legwear, your decision will ultimately depend on your needs, as well as the specific occasion. Leggings make for both reliable and comfortable wear, while tights can help to make your more formal outfits pop and tasteful!

Though leggings and tights can be similar in appearance, these two garments are not the same. Those spandex heroes we call tights might be what we wear on weekends to spice up our outfits, but they do not belong beneath socks. Leggings are essential in anyone’s wardrobe and can give us a casual and comfortable look!

Related: Is it okay for men to wear leggings? | Types of leggings


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