Tights vs Leggings. What’s The Difference Between Them Explained

Tights vs Leggings the really short summarized answer is as follows: Tights are what you wear under a skirt when it’s too cold to go without anything on your legs, leggings is what you wear to go to the gym, or just when going to the supermarket and you can wear it as pants.

Please note though, you can’t wear tights to the gym or the shop, you will probably get arrested for public nudity as tights are really thin and see through and leggings are much more ” like pants “. So, to recap, here are the differences between tights and leggings in a summerized bullet list: 

  • Tights are worn on your legs when you want to keep them warm, like when wearing a skirt and it’s freezing cold outside.
  • Leggings are what you wear to go for a run, the gym, and on a daily basis just running some errands or what not.
  • Tights are usually very see though and delicate while leggings are much more flexible and durable.
  • Tights usually come in lace fabrics to give the impression you are not wearing anything, while leggings are usually from cotton or similar fabrics that are more flexible and durable.
  • Pantyhose and tights are very similar in nature, but not similar to leggings. Remember that. It’s important.
  • Leggings reach all the way to your waist and you wear them like pants, while tights might reach the end of your inner thigh ( some tights are worn like pants too, don’t hold us on that )
  • Leggings come with pockets, and other cool features to help the person wearing them be active and act similar to pants while tights are only there to look good and give you a very thin but sometimes enough warmth.

Tights vs Leggings – The full article

You see people wear them all the time, they cover your legs, they keep you warm and they keep you healthy and active, but do you really know how to tell apart tights from leggings? Not many people can, especially guys. But the differences are quite there you can be sure of that.

Usually when a guy needs to describe what a woman was wearing, if she had any of the two, he will just say ” she had leggings on ” because he doesn’t know any better, the tights vs leggings question is a fierce one for men, and we are here to finally help you out. So keep reading.

In this article, you will learn what are the differences between tights and leggings and you will know from now on when looking at one, to point to the right item, and be a normal person. Sounds good? Let’s begin.

So what are leggings?

We wrote a long and deep article about what is leggings, feel free to read about it and learn, so we will just give you a short summery of what it is, and what it’s not.

Back in the old days, before fashion was a thing, leggings were just a piece of thick fabric you would take and wrap it around your legs to keep you warm. Actually, it was worn more by men than women because when they go out hunting or for long trips they needed to keep their body warm, and this was a great solution.

Obviously, today we use them just like any other pants, and some would argue a little bit too much like pants, but that’s a different article and question all together and we don’t want to get into it now. Just for reference, here is a picture of your everyday leggings so you will know how it looks like:

What are tights?

Tights are a thin fabric that you wear on your legs, from your waist to your toes to protect you from the cold. It has a very tight fit, that’s why it’s called Tights. Usually tights will come in a fishnet or or sheer fabric or a combination of the two, Wearing of tights dates back a few centuries and similar to leggings, men were the ones who used to wear tights more often, it is only in more recent times that women adopted the clothing item and gave it a fashionable taste.

In America, the difference between tights and pantyhose is actually the weight of the yarn and the density or tightness of the weaving when creating the tight.

There are many different sub-categories of tights, but the most common ones are usually made from nylon or cotton. Today, most people who wear tights are women or girls who wear them under a skirt or dress to keep their legs warm or for fashion sake. Men also wear tights today usually under some sort of athletic pants to keep their legs warm as well.

tights vs leggings

via: target

Why are tights called tights?

The simple answer is simply because tights have a very tight fit on your body, because of the thin and delicate fabrics used to make the item, it was just named after the tightness of the feel, hence – TIGHTS.

What are the most popular types of tights

As we mentioned briefly above, there are many sub-categories of tights, that we will list below and try and provide a few words on each one:

  1. Seamless tights – Similar to seamless leggings, the seamless tights are constructed with the legs and panty area as a single piece, hence not showing the inner seam most tights and leggings have.
  2. Sheer tights – These are just thicker tights to keep your legs warmer during the colder months of the year.
  3. Control top tights – At first glance, these look like any other tights you know and love. But they are in fact have a magical way of removing your bumps and give you a nice smooth figure. It’s not really that noticeable, but it does tighten things up a bit, and that’s why it’s called the control tight.
  4. Support tights – These are your everyday compression tights, similar to compression leggings, they are made of special fabric combinations to give you that extra support you need around the waist and in your thighs
  5. Opaque tights – Similar to the sheer tights, but this one is categorized by a thicker fabric.
  6. Fishnet tights – The fishnet tights or knits are known to be from a really thin fabric and expose much of your screen. Fishnets are see through and are not meant to be worn unless it’s under a skirt or dress.
  7. Footless tights – These are perfect for dancers and dance moves. They are usually made from high quality durable fabrics and come in a variety of cool colors
  8. Running tights – Running tights are a great alternative to the shorts and old t shirt combination. They provide better protection during these cold winter days when you want to go for a run. Most running tights are made from lycra fabric giving them a warm yet comfortable feel.
  9. Ballet tights – These are the traditional tights worn by either male or female ballet dancers. They come in vary different colors and fabric types to give dancers a good range to choose from.
  10. Cycling tights – These come in different lengths and colors and offer a more flexible fabric combination that can endure the damage or cycling for long hours.

Leggings vs tights video explanation