Difference between Tights and Leggings

Key Difference: Tights are the shapewear that cover both, legs and feet. On the other hand, leggings are also tight wearing garments that are worn from waist to ankle.

Today, Tights and Leggings are the most important clothing for women. Both are very tight and skin fitting that covers the legs of women and gives the exact shape of their legs. Though they are the two types of clothing, there are some differences which are mentioned below:

Tights are the skin-tight garments normally worn by women and girls that covers the body completely from the waist down, including the feet. They are not intended to be worn alone, and it gives a professional look when worn under formal skirts. They are worn under one-piece, gown and frocks too. Leggings are also worn by men at times. Tights are not leggings. These legwears are very tight and made from delicate materials, to reflect the skin from underneath.

A legging is a covering that is usually of leather, worn from waist to ankle. It is also a tight fitting garment. People in the US, sometimes mention leggings as tights which has created confusion for many women around the globe. In South Asian countries, women have started wearing it under kurtis instead of traditional salwars. They feel wearing salwar under a kurti is old fashion. Leggings are METE that is ‘Most Excellent Thing Ever’ produced by designers.

Comparison between Tights and Leggings:






A skin-tight, one-piece garment for the lower part of the body and the legs, now often made of stretch fabric, originally worn by dancers, acrobats, gymnasts, etc., and later made for general wear for adults and children.

A covering for the leg, usually extending from the ankle to the knee but sometimes higher, worn by soldiers, riders, workers, etc.


Thinner material

Thicker material


Tights generally stretch over the feet

Leggings usually end at the ankles


They can’t be worn alone

They may be worn alone


Often worn in winters for warmth

Worn virtually in any season

Made of

Tights are usually made of nylon and cotton, and lycra is also added.

Leggings are usually made of silk, cotton, wool or nylon, typically with a stretchy material such as lycra.

Foot wear

Shoes that cover the whole feet like

  • Boots
  • Ballet flat
  • Sneakers
  • Open-toed shoes
  • Flats
  • Sandals
  • Stilettos

Image Courtesy: theguardian.com, bumpwearproject.com

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Technically tights can be worn on its own too. But it's not supposed be. But then leggings aren't supposed to be worn alone either. Unless you have no morals.

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