Recommendation for durable pantyhose
October 11, 2010 2:28 AM   Subscribe

I am sick of only getting one or two wears out of a pair of pantyhose before they snag and run. Can anyone recommend a brand or style they've found particularly durable?

I'm less concerned about the smoothness of the nylon than durability. I find mine usually run where they meet my shoes - at the heel if I'm wearing pumps, or near the zip of boots - so it's not just about me being careless in putting them on.

I've seen this thread but am hoping there might be something more recent out there.

I'm interested in sheers rather than opaque tights (I have plenty of those already!). I'm in Australia, but happy to buy online from elsewhere in the world, and to pay a bit more if I get multiple wears from them.
posted by une_heure_pleine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I found Nordstrom's own brand to be fairly durable. I also used to wear Hane's Silk Reflections line a lot, but I didn't find them to be especially durable (I liked them because they're very soft).
posted by neushoorn at 2:49 AM on October 11, 2010

I have seen Nordstrom's recommended before, but their shipping rates to Australia are exorbitant - $50 on a $10 pair of hose.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 4:16 AM on October 11, 2010

I am in Australia too, and have tried just about every brand there is. I have not found a huge amount of difference in the amount of time it takes an expensive brand to ladder vs a cheap brand. So I now only buy the 50c pairs you can get from supermarkets and treat them as a disposable item. In winter I wear opaque thick woolen tights whenever possible, which don't ladder; and in summer I try to go bare-legged. So I only go through a few pantihose a year, even though they only last one wearing.
posted by lollusc at 4:56 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Even the best pairs won't last more than half a dozen washes. I just use clear nail polish to patch up what I can, and I preemptively paint over the toe seams to prevent runs. I make sure to have soft feet so they won't snag on the stockings while I put them on. Maddening, really. I am so glad it's time for boots again.
posted by lovelylucy at 5:12 AM on October 11, 2010

When I was a girl rumor had it that if you froze your hose before you wore them the first time, they would be more durable and last longer. A google search confirms that I'm not the only person who ever heard this, but I have no idea if or why it would be true.
posted by JanetLand at 5:12 AM on October 11, 2010

How are you washing them? If you're not hand-washing pantyhose they are much more liable to fall apart. Wash them in the sink; just swish them around with some Woolite or other gentle detergent, let them sit for a few minutes, rinse, and hang up to dry. Never put them in the dryer - that really stresses out the material in lots of different ways depending on its quality.

I've had good luck in the US with HUE brand pantyhose, which I've gotten at Macy's.
posted by Mizu at 5:25 AM on October 11, 2010

Many years ago there was a USA product called Hosiery Mate. You washed the hose in it, but did not rinse. Maybe there's something you could look into? People used to use beer for this, but of course the odor is a problem.

Many years ago my elderly like-a-mother and I were housesitting for one of her friends years, and we opened the freezer while making dinner. I was surprised to find pantyhose stored there, but my friend said "when they first came out" that people did freeze them to make them last longer.
posted by jgirl at 5:33 AM on October 11, 2010

Dancers' tights are designed to be much more durable than regular hose. A large dance-supply shop should have a selection that includes something sheer enough for your taste.
posted by corey flood at 6:15 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Back when I wore pantyhose everyday, I found that L'Eggs Sheer Elegance were much less prone to snagging and running. At the time, I attributed it to how close-fitting and smooth they were, so they were much less likely to catch on things.
posted by DrGail at 6:28 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I switched to wearing stockings so if one ran, I would pair up the mate with another stray.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:45 AM on October 11, 2010

I'm in Australia and also a careless pantyhose wearer. If I have to wear sneers, I buy levante brand.. Levante is definitely my top choice for durability - and I buy in bulk when Myer or DJ's goes on 30% off hosiery sales. If you me mail me I may be able to find out the exact ones i use.

I'm not sure why levante brand are so durable, but i think their weave seems tighter, the finish smoother and "tighter" against my skin (hence no snagging), and they're slightly thicker but no less sheer than others. They're expensive but so well worth it for the some added durability and massive added look and feel factor.

fWIW I stay away in particular from voodoo and Kayser brands (also popular in Australia).
posted by shazzam! at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2010

Seconding corey flood - you would probably like nude-hued tights made for dancers like these. Bonus: shipping within Australia looks like $5.00-$7.00 (AUS$, I'm assuming?) for that site. NB: If you're looking for a basic pantyhose analog, be careful not to order anything with "shimmer" or "gloss" in the description as dance tights frequently come with those amendments.
posted by shortskirtlongjacket at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2010

If international shipping is possible / not ridiculously expensive, you might try the Spanx brand, or the cheaper sub-brand, Assets.

They're quite durable (I had a pair that lasted almost a year of fairly regular use), and available in various levels of "shaping." Even the more powerful versions are pretty comfortable.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:13 AM on October 11, 2010

As a former dancer and current pantyhose wearer, dancers tights aren't close enough to pantyhose for most situations. I would really not recommend that option unless sheerness and color are not important to you.

My main recommendation is to buy at the department store. The drugstore ones are too flimsy. I've had good luck with Hanes Silk Reflections, but others in this thread have not. Usually, at the department store, you can feel the samples and see how snaggy they are.
posted by elpea at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2010

Thanks folks. Spanx/Assets also have crazy shipping rates, so I think they're out.

Will check out some dance shops in person, but otherwise might have to resign myself to the Levantes suggested by shazzam! - these are what I buy now as I find them better than other brands, but still not nearly good enough.

Will try the freezer trick too - nothing to lose except some body heat!
posted by une_heure_pleine at 4:00 AM on October 12, 2010

I usually wear fine-gauge flesh-toned fishnets instead of sheer hose. They are much more durable, and if they snag, you can repair them many times with a needle and thread before they have to be thrown out. You can wear them with open-toed shoes too.

I wear hold-ups because a) crudely put, you don't have to pull them up and down to go to the bathroom, so less strain and b) if one fails, you have the other.

For occasions where fishnets are absolutely unsuitable - funerals, weddings, job interviews - and only sheer hose will do, I use Marks and Spencers special range of in-d-structo tights (can't remember what they're called). They last at least one full day without a run, and I can sometimes even get two or three wearings out of them.

Apart from that, it's in the nature of sheer tights to be fragile (though I will test out the Levantes if they're really that good). You can try not having snaggy nails or rough soles, you can wash them in a bag, you can even freeze them if that's what turns you on, but they're never really going to last.
posted by tel3path at 5:53 AM on October 12, 2010

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