Do ladder resistant tights REALLY work?


There is nothing more irritating than heading out to work and snagging your black tights. Quite frankly, it can ruin your whole day and make you feel like a child in an adults’ world.
Our delicate hosiery can be ruined by the inside of our boots, a heel on the other foot as we nudge off a shoe, the zip on a coat, a long necklace and more often than not a broken finger nail.
Many companies promise to solve our woes with 'ladder resistant' tights. But can any item so delicate as hosiery really be immune to the dreaded ladder?
Blogger Megan Taylor and writer Siofra Brennan put seven brands to the test to find out. Each pair was torn at with fingernails; snagged with jewellery; rubbed with Velcro; poked with the heel of a shoe and cut with scissors and all underwent the same process. 

Boots Ladder Resist
80 denier: £8
My initial thoughts are that they are a lot more expensive than the other pairs and being a higher denier I am expecting them to resist any laddering whatsoever.
They are wonderfully soft on the body but with a little stretch and a tug they seem to have a weird tiger print woven in. 

Is this something to do with their ladder resistant technology?
I tried to make a hole or a ladder with the heel of my shoes and some jewellery but could not break through the yarn. 

Megan put Boots £8 Ladder Resist Tights to the test and found them wonderfully soft. Due to the 80 denier she wasn't expecting them to ladder, but initially thought they were a bit pricey 

I decided to attack them with a pair of scissors, then give the fabric a tug, still nothing. I then cut a hole on a thinner bit of the fabric and still nothing. 
All I was left with were holes that I myself had created with a pair of scissors. 
These tights really do what they say on the packet and possibly more.
Marks & Spencer Autograph - Ladder Resist
10 denier: £4
I know I'm not supposed to be judging the colour here but these are labelled as 'nearly black' yet they were positively pale grey.
These tights were lovely and soft and my broken nail didn't snag the tights at all whilst pulling them on. 

With a lot of scratching with the bottom of my shoes the tights only snagged a little. Even when I stuck my star shaped necklace into them there were still no laddering or holes created. 
Whilst taking photographs my dog wanted to help me test the tights and her claws didn’t snag these tights at all.
I snipped a little hole with my scissors and it unfortunately immediately laddered very easily. 
This being said, it was very difficult to create a hole in the first place therefore I would still give them a good rating. 
Verdict: 7/10

Charnos Run resist
10 denier: £4.99
I really struggled to break through the fabric of these tights, so I got my scissors and sliced a couple of holes. Neither hole laddered. 
The hole did get a bit bigger with a pull but there was no laddering at all.

Overall my favourite pair of tights for comfort, quality and resistance to laddering were definitely the pair of tights from Boots. 
This being said I was actually really impressed by all of the tights. 
They were all very difficult to actually try and break. With all my trying through doggy claws, necklaces and Velcro none of them laddered until I had opened the fabric with a pair of scissors.
Verdict: 8/10

Pretty Polly Legs On The Go Ladder Resist Tights
10 Denier £6.00
These light compression tights are designed to reduce swelling in the ankles and claim to be ideal for long periods of standing or sitting, as well as being tough wearing.
When I open the pack to reveal a pair of flimsy barely blacks, I feel certain these won’t stand up to the test. I make sure to stick my toes out and pull them on really roughly, put they don’t appear to sustain any damage.
So far, so good – but the colour is less appealing. They’re supposed to be barely black, but they give my legs a greyish brown hue.

They sail through a day of wearing, but they look exactly like the kind of tights that would easily snag on a ring or a bracelet.
So I load up with three rings and a heavy embossed silver bangle with a fastening chain that dangles from the side. I run my hand up and down inside the leg of the tights several times, but there’s not one spot of damage to be seen.
The Velcro test leaves a light impression on the nylon, but nothing noticeable. Even cutting them doesn’t create a ladder. Considering the reasonable price and the fact they’re only 10 denier, I’m really impressed. 
Unfortunately the colour really lets them down, but they come in 60 denier, which I’d definitely be keen to try.
Verdict: 7/10 

George at Asda Ultimate Ladder Resistant Tights
15 Denier £4.00
With two in a pack, these tights are a real bargain, but my past experience of cheap tights is that they never last beyond two or three wears, especially when they’re this sheer.

These newly launched tights contain LYCRA® Xtra Life to prevent ladders and have the added bonus of a sandal toe. 
I’m pleasantly surprised when I put them on to find that they don’t look in any way cheap and shiny, and the colour is much more appealing than Asda's offering.
An attack with the heel of my shoe does nothing, and they survive an onslaught of jewellery and Velcro. And even when I snip a hole and pull on the material I still can’t ladder them.
Taking into account the price, quality and durability these were definitely my favourite.
Verdict: 10/10

Heist Tights Low Waistband
30 denier £19
Made from Italian double covered yarn with five times the spirals of regular tights, they’re completely seam free and claim to be ladder resistant. The toe seams tuck under so they’re invisible and they’re hand sewn for a better fit.
Crucially they come with both a high and low waistband – a godsend for us short folk who are used to hosiery that covers most of the rib cage.

But when I try mine on I find that I strangely miss the support of something covering my tummy and it feels a bit odd. On the second day of wearing though, I’m more used to it.
The instructions say that they should be handwashed, but I put them through the machine several times and don’t notice any difference.
They pass all the other tests with flying colours. I’d happily wear these again, but they do come with quite a high price tag – and they’re £21 for the high waistband version. 
Verdict: 8/10 

Spanx Luxe Leg Blackout tights
These ultra-opaque tights and have a built-in shaper which flattens stomach and firms your bottom and thighs, and the combination of nylon and spandex promises to render them virtually ladder-resistant.
When I take these out of the packet they’re so sturdy I wonder if I’ve accidentally been sent a pair of leggings. The waistband looks so tiny that I wonder how they’ll ever go on.

A lot of pulling and tugging certainly puts the ladder resistance claims to the test, but once they’re on they’re actually quite comfortable.
Not surprisingly these sail through the day without sustaining and holes, ladders or pulls and they pass the Velcro, jewellery and nails tests easily.
When I cut a hole in them and give a good pull a small ladder forms. But you’d really have to be dragged through a thorn bush to rip these in real life, and even then they would probably still come out unscathed.
I can’t fault their resilience, but they’re just too heavy and feel more like leggings than tights you’d pair with a nice dress.

Verdict: 6/10

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