What Is Denier And What Does It Mean?

what is denier - DENIER EXPLAINED

When we talk about hosiery, denier is a word you can hear a lot! However, many people don’t know what is denier and why is important when buying hosiery. So, we’re going to explain all of it in this post, hoping that you can now understand more about how the denier scale works, where denier comes from and what the denier numbers mean in legwear. Denier is the weight of the fabric in your tights, stockings and hosiery. Usually, the heavier and thicker the material, the higher the denier.

High Denier Tights, Stockings & Fishnet Tights Explained

High Denier hosiery is usually made of heavier fabrics, has more thickness and is over 40 Denier. High deniers are perfect for cold winter weather as they feel so warm and comforting. Many of our very high denier tights, fishnet tights and stockings are over 80+ denier, which makes them ideal to wear when it’s cold out there and some winter tights are over 200+ denier, so they truly are one of the best ways to keep your legs warm in winter. We have a lovely selection of fishnet tights too, with several fishnet pairs within the 80+ denier range, take a peek at our fishnet tights range by following the link. Fishnet tight lovers needn’t have to suffer during the colder months. If you are after tights, hold ups and stockings for autumn-winter, make sure you filter by high denier.

Thick winter tights with thermo energy technology to keep your legs warm in the coldest days

Key concepts about high denier hosiery:

  • High Deniers are stronger
  • High Deniers are thicker
  • High Deniers are more opaque
  • High Denier are more durable 

Low Denier Tights & Stockings Explained

Low Denier hosiery is lighter, less thick and around 5 to 30 denier. Sheer tights and stockings often have lower deniers. The lightest hosiery sheer styles, of under 10 denier, are called ultra sheer and they are especially light, almost invisible. They often feel like a second skin or a short of makeup for your legs, but low denier ultra sheer tights are delicate and easier to run. Many people prefer going for a little safer option and wearing 15 to 20 deniers, especially if you wear sheer hosiery to work. See our sheer tights range and sheer stockings range to browse our lower denier legwear.


Key concepts about low denier hosiery:

  • Low Denier tights and stockings have lighter fabrics
  • Low Deniers range from 5 to 30 denier 
  • Low Deniers are more delicate
  • Low Denier hosiery is see-through

Mid Denier Tights & Stockings

There are some hosiery items that fall somewhere between high and low denier. These styles are 30-40 Denier and are considered Semi Sheer or Semi-Opaque. These styles are ideal for mid-season, this is, at the beginning of autumn and spring.

fogal-opaque-30-denier-tightsWhen Quality Beats Opacity

Quite often you ask if your 100 denier tights or leggings will see through and it’s something difficult for us to answer. Denier isn’t everything to account for when buying hosiery. Indeed, the quality of yarns is extremely important, too. If you have ever invested in a high-quality pair of tights, you’ll know what we mean. You can even notice in the product picture. The Fogal Opaque 30 Tights are an example of semi-opaque tights looking like opaque tights. Being only 30 denier, they feel like 50 or 60 denier, because Fogal only uses the best quality nylon to manufacture their hosiery. We hope this guide about the meaning of denier has helped you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment and we’ll do our best to answer them.


What does hosiery denier refer to? What is denier in tights?  To what denier do tights go up to? What denier is thicker?


  • Susan crouton

    Hi. This may seem like a silly question but what’s the best type of tight to wear if, like me your a crossdresser who has hairy legs to hide. Or is there a special sort I can get. Thanks

    • UK Tights

      Hi Susan, not a silly question. It depends on your skin and hair colour. Eg. if you are quite pale and your hair is black, you will probably need something quite thick to cover any longer hairs. Something around 50 denier should work. If your hair is not very dark, over over 30 should be enough. You can start with 40 denier maybe and move from there depending on the results? For better results you could retouch your legs with a clipper, which is quick and a last-minute saving!
      We hope this helps.
      UK Tights team

  • Jayne Crean

    Note that, as the ‘denier’ goes up, so does the thickness of Lycra/Elastane so, if you have high-denier stockings, you are going to need a decent sussy-belt(garter-belt for you Americans) – over 6, or 8, straps; also, use a reputable brand as the less good, so-called ‘elastic’, fabrics loose their tension after a few washes 🙁
    Better still, for the vendors, buy a few! 🙂

  • Barry taylor

    As a man it’s sad the summer is coming to and end and the woman go back to wearing their black opaque tights,i love the shiney 10 denier tights/stockings,i am pleased that us men can wear stockings or tights without the comment he must be a crossdresser etc! I see some of the outfits ladies wear and wish us men could wear them!it’s good places like uk tights have sizes ex tall in stockings and tights and not just for long legged models! So hopefully tights and stockings will soon be unisex! The problem with the new ladderproof hosiery if they are that good people won’t need to replace their hosiery so often and sales will drop! So let’s have ladder 10 denier stockings/tights..

    • UK Tights

      Ladder tights are definitely good for business, hehe! Jokes apart, you can also find ladder proof sheer tights out there, which are a really good investment. You still can put a hole on them and ruining them, but the hole won’t run. We never make any gender distinctions. Hopefully, in a future, no more people will care about what others wear.
      Have a lovely weekend Barry
      UK Tights team

  • Heather Juell

    Fantastic and informative blog post! However, could we have one for the feel and texture of hosiery next? Their ‘stroky value’

    I am a massive fan of the Wolford Individual and Perfect 10 range, they are so soft, sheer and silky on my legs but I struggle to find the same feel in other ranges without a mammoth task trying pair after pair out!

    To date I have not found a range comparable to these Wolford ones.

    • UK Tights

      Hi Heather,
      Feel and texture are very personal and yes, we agree, it’s so difficult to move forward from your favourite style without making comparisons! Even more if your favourite item is the Wolford Individual 10, which happens to be an outstanding product. It’s not only their fantastic feel, but also its amazing waistband! Have you tried the Wolford Individual 10 denier Tights? They have a very nice matt finish, which happens to be on trend this season. If you are after any opaques, we just love these two by Wolford: The Wolford Velvet Deluxe 50 denier tights (extremely soft and cosy) and the Wolford Satin Opaque 50 denier tights (which have a lovely satin finish).
      Thanks for your comment.
      UK Tights team

    • UK Tights

      Hi Alan,
      The knotting process is the same, but what happens is the fabrics in opaque tights is much heavier, so it’s more difficult to see the actual knitting. I hope this helps.
      UK Tights team

  • Shelley Batten

    Thank you so much for explaining this in such a simple and sort of friendly way!!
    I’d never heard of denier before today and your very handy article has explained it so well in such an easy way ?. I’m just so very grateful for your article. I hope my email at least lets you know that people out there reading this have learnt a great deal in about 5minutes. And I’m sorry that very few people respond but hey, I LOVED❤️?? IT‼️
    Best wishes,

    • UK Tights

      Oh, that’s so nice of you to say, Shelley! We’re happy to know it helped you. We’re publishing a long post with everything there’s to know about tights very soon, may you wish to know more. You can subscribe to our blog to receive all posts and keep learning 🙂
      Thanks again. Best,
      UK Tights team

  • mk

    What about smoothness/softness of the hosiery? Some stockings are quite rough to the touch despite looking wonderful, while others look amazing AND feel wonderfully smooth and soft. How does denier play into this, if at all?

    • UK Tights

      That’s a good question! We find that good-quality fibres make hosiery smoother, but also the fine these fibres are. While most of the opaque tights are microfibre tights, some manufacturers have started to use nanofibres, which are even tinier. It doesn’t make them look any different, but they are so smooth and you can feel them being super soft, too. Other examples are wool. Cashmere wool is much smoother than other kinds of wool, but, of course, they are quite an expensive material. Budget-friendly cashmere tights will have 1% or 2% actual cashmere, while the amount grows in the good quality wool tights. Hence the difference. Finally, we have noticed sometimes the same product has different finishes depending on the colour, especially in cheaper pairs of sheer tights. In this case, we believe the dye is the one to blame for this. That shouldn’t happen in high-quality products. Hoping this has helped you!

  • Laura

    I am mostly wearing tights at the office. As the pictures on the packaging of the tights (and also the pictures on this site) suggest that no underwear has to be worn with them, I decided to try it. I find them more comfortable without underwear, but I am not sure that it is the intended way to wear them. Is there any recommendation for it?

    • UK Tights

      Hi Laura, Thanks for your comment.
      To be fair, some of the brands we stock decide to shoot the models with underwear and some others without. As we are obliged to use the pictures they shoot, we don’t have much to say about it, I’m afraid. However, we know of many customers who prefer wear tights without underwear. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, although we’d suggest you go for cotton gusset, rather than nylon gusset, as natural fibres are always advisable. When shopping at UK Tights, you can use a filter on the left (under style) to select any hosiery with cotton gusset. Most good brands choose cotton gusset, but, if you aren’t sure about a particular product, our Customer Service is always happy to double check it for you.
      We hope this helps!
      UK Tights team

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the information we are on holiday at the moment and I usually wear shere tights or hold ups and there are quite a variety here.Wouid 10 denier have a sexy stroky feel the figure Ive seen here is mostly 20 what do you think
    Thanks Jennifer

    • UK Tights

      While 10 denier feels better for hot weather, low denier hosiery is quite delicate, so 15 and 20 is also a very good choice. Do keep enjoying your holidays!
      UK Tights team

  • Helen

    Hello. Can you advise me as to what tights would have the following properties:

    20 denier

    Matt with slight shine

    Look most natural to skin and therefore look as if you’re not wearing tights

    Medium support

    Ladder proof

    Do you sell or know of tights with these properties? If not what composition of material would most likely give these qualities?

    Also are nylon tights breathable?

    Thank you for your very helpful post.

  • Steve

    Hi, I wear 60 Denier opaques to cover my leg hair. What I’d like to know is a if I shave my legs will I feel the cold a lot more when I am not wearing tights.
    I’d love to be able to wear tights with less denier to see how my legs look in them without horrible leg hair.
    As you will have gathered I am a man so unfortunately we get judged on what we wear and do, even in this day and age. So any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • James

    Like comments from men.
    I do roadside surveys and in winter used ” long john’s”.for years.
    They are ok .
    Recently a friend said to try some heavy denier tights which I did and what a difference.!
    Warm ,comfortable and light and much better.

    • UK Tights

      Many people wear cosy tights and leggings to work and some of our customers say they like wearing tights when they train outside in cold weather, too. They surely feel more comfortable than long johns. Thanks for sharing your experience, James.
      UK Tights

  • Anonymous

    Hi, i would like to buy one colour pantyhose but in very large quantity.
    Please how do i go back it.

    • UK Tights

      It depends on the scar itself as well as your skin tone, the colour you choose and the quality of the tights themselves (as we say, denier isn’t everything. High quality often means less opacity). We’d say around 30 denier, though, but you’ll have to try different styles and compare. Trial and error it is.
      We hope that helps.
      UK Tights team

  • Niall

    I have a somewhat technical question, and would like to request your expertise, please.

    I need to attach some epiphytic orchids and other species to cork bark substrate. I have learned that the orchid experts at Kew use fabric cut from tights in order to do this, because these fabrics are soft and flexible, and don’t damage the exposed roots. Obviously, what’s good enough for the horticulturalists at Kew is good enough for me.

    It’s clear to me, however, that a low opacity, low denier fabric, while better camouflaged among roots and mosses, is prone to laddering when used for their intended purpose, and thus be more likely to tear when used for mine. Conversely a more opaque, higher denier fabric, while less liable to tear, will be more unsightly in my artificial habitat. Some degree of laddering might actually be desirable as roots grow.

    Presumably there is a suitable compromise here. What sort of denier should I be looking for when purchasing?

    Do natural fibres such as cotton and wool have the same or similar stretching properties as the synthetic ones?

    Thank you

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