Figure skating tights are an essential part of an ice skater’s outfit, regardless of whether you’re at a practice session or in competition.
Choosing the right ice skating tights can be a big decision, so we’ve broken down everything you need to know to make the right decision for you — from deciding on the right style to looking after your tights.
Why Do Figure Skaters Wear Tights?
Ice skating tights are specifically designed to protect the skater from not only bruises and ice burns from falls, but also blisters caused by the skates rubbing on shins and feet. They’re also stretchy enough to allow you to perform all of your elements unrestricted.
Tights also help to regulate a skater’s temperature. When you’re standing around at the rink during a practice session, wearing thicker ice skating tights helps to insulate your legs from the cold, keeping your muscles warmed up for optimal performance. They also help you to stay cool, with breathable fabric technology designed for high-intensity workouts like a competitive figure skating program.
Figure skating tights also play a part in the overall aesthetic and artistry of a competitor. They even out your skin tone, and can help to create the illusion of longer, leaner legs when worn over the boots and paired with a short dress; which is a standard outfit for women's figure skating competitions.
What Kind Of Tights Do Figure Skaters Wear?
Figure skating tights aren’t your regular tights that you can pick up at the supermarket. They are usually made from a combination of nylon, lycra and elastane, which are incredibly durable and flexible, supporting you through even the most demanding elements.
Figure skating tights are usually opaque or semi-opaque, and come in a range of colours.
How Thick Are Figure Skating Tights?
Figure skating tights come in different thicknesses, usually starting from around 40 denier. You can get up to 100 denier figure skating tights, which are perfect for practice sessions. When you’re attempting new jumps or spins for the first time, you’re going to fall on the ice often!
Practising in tights means that you can experience the unrestricted ease of movement needed in competition, but with the added protection that thicker tights deliver.
Are Figure Skating Tights Warm?
Thanks to a generally higher denier than regular tights, figure skating tights tend to keep skaters warm during long sessions on the ice.
Some tights aremade from cotton to add extra insulation, while still having a nylon outer layer for flexibility and strength.
Types Of Figure Skating Tights
There are three main categories of figure skating tights; the type of tights you choose will generally come down to personal preference, or recommendations from your coach.
Footed Figure Skating Tights
By far the most common type of ice skating tights available,footed ice skating tights fit like regular pantyhose, extending into the boot, removing the need for socks and giving your foot a closer fit to your skates.
Footed figure skating tights are different to regular footed hosiery as they have a softer seam (or no seam at all) across the toes, unlike what you generally see in fashion tights. This removes any extra pressure caused by the boot on the toes, which would eventually cause blisters.
Over-The-Boot Figure Skating Tights
Another popular choice isover-the-boot ice skating tights. These are used as an outermost layer of tights and fit over the entire boot with velcro or eye hooks underneath the sole. These types of tights are the most prone to holes as inevitably, you will eventually catch them on your blades, so it’s always a good idea to keep a spare pair or two with you at competitions!
Over-the-boot tights give the impression of longer, leaner legs while protecting your skates from scuffs and nicks. Plus, they hold your skate laces in place so you don’t end up hooking your skates together while performing on the ice.
Footless Figure Skating Tights
As the name suggests, these ice skating tights cut off at the ankle. Some skaters prefer to either go barefoot in their skates or wear a thin pair of socks in their skates instead. It’s also becoming increasingly common to wear a layer offootless tights on the outside of the boot, covering the laces and/or the heel. This again elongates the leg, while also protecting the skater from hooking their laces.
If you feel the cold, some figure skaters wear two pairs of tights; one pair of footed tights to cover the feet, and then a second, footless pair for an extra layer of warmth.
The Best Figure Skating Tights For Practice And Competition
There is a range of hosiery brands that cater to figure skaters specifically; but one brand dominates the market in terms of popularity amongst skaters: Mondor. Their range of figure skating tights is the largest in terms of styles, colours and thicknesses, so you can always find exactly what you’re looking for.
Mondor figure skating tights also come in different materials including cotton, bamboo and nylon. Their extensive sizing options also mean that you can get the perfect fit, without having to compromise on comfort.
Depending on how often you skate, even the most reasonable figure skating tights can start to rack up a hefty bill, so looking after your tights is key to their longevity (and your wallet!).
Protect Them In Transit
Instead of throwing your figure skating tights in your bag along with everything else, put them in a protective bag or even a tote before putting them in your skate bag. This stops them from getting caught on anything and tearing.
Wash Them Properly
When it’s time to wash your ice skating tights, always read the manufacturer’s instructions. A good rule to follow is to hand wash your tights in lukewarm water to prevent shrinking.
Don’t Leave Them In Your Bag
Even if washing your tights every single time isn’t for you, you should still make sure they’re dry after every session. Take them out of your bag and hang them up to air dry naturally.
Be Prepared For Emergencies
Sometimes, emergencies happen right before you’re about to go on the ice. Pack some clear nail varnish to use around any holes or ladders to prevent them from getting bigger before your session.
It’s also a good idea to carry safety pins with you if you wear over-the-boot tights. This means you’re prepared if your clips fail and you need to secure your tights over your boot.
Pro tip: Always keep a spare pair of tights in your bag at competitions. There’s nothing worse than getting a hole in your tights, and not having a backup!