Activewear Tights: what to look out for

NEW ARRIVAL: The Puffer Jacket. Perfect for working out in!
NEW ARRIVAL: The Puffer Jacket. Perfect for working out in!

These days activewear is hardly just a “workout outfit” – it’s an all day essential! From bootcamp to school pick-ups and everything in between, you want to feel secure in the knowledge that your everyday wardrobe has your back.

When Michelle Bridges started her MB Active range she had two things in mind – quality and affordability. Sick of paying upwards of $90 for a pair of tights Michelle and her team packed each pair of activewear tights with as much possible value to ensure that customers looked and FELT fabulous without the crazy price tag.

With a wave of activewear hitting the market, there are several things to be mindful of when choosing tights. Here are Team MB’s top tips:

1. Fabric Quality
Fabric Quality is one thing Team MB is not prepared to compromise on. The unwanted attention that comes with sheer fabrics and underwear exposure is not something they want their customers to experience. The result? High-density fabrics with minimal transparency for premium modesty and support. Michelle even implemented the ‘squat test’ for all prototypes to keep sheerness and underwear visibility to a minimum. While the retail price may be slightly higher than some lightweight alternatives there is greater potential for longevity through better wash and wear and advanced stretch and recovery.

Don’t be fooled by ‘lightweight fabric’ callouts. Lightweight is a great if it keeps you cool but NOT if the fabric has the weight and sheerness of a tissue!

2. Pilling
All MB Active performance tights use elastane, nylon and/or polyester. These fibres are great for mitigating pilling, however be weary of viscose or cotton, as they’re more likely to pill.

3. Moisture Wicking
Moisture wicking is essential for MB Active tights as it helps to draw moisture away from the body, keeping you cool and dry. Moisture wicking fabric must be in close contact with the body to be effective. If tights are ill fitting or stretched, the fabric’s ability to wick away moisture will be compromised. Moisture wicking claims are widespread but you can test for yourself. Simply flick some water onto the fabric and observe the reaction. It should sink in fairly quickly if it’s effective – if water beads on the surface you could be in for a sweaty session!

4. Stretch and Recovery
Stretch is important for tights given all the movement they endure. However, it is equally important for the tights to be able to ‘recover’ aka return to their original shape after use. They should stretch enough that you can get them on, fit firmly and still fit consistently after washing and wearing. In a 2015 review by consumer advocacy group, Choice, MB Active tights were praised for stretch and recovery, coming in third behind Adidas and Nike.

To test stretch and recovery simply stretch some of the fabric over your fingertips sideways. Observe whether it’s able to return to its original state. Bubbling or severe stretching is not a good sign!

5. Seam Strength and Stitching
Cracking sounds generally indicate poor seam strength and poor stitch tension. Activewear tights need particularly good reinforcement because the fabric is always being stretched. The seams on MB Active tights are either flat locked or overlocked – both offering greater strength than a standard straight stitch. You can test for yourself when buying tights – pull the seam longways and watch for easy pulling or cracking.

Avoid tights with straight stitched seams, as they’re not likely to be secure enough.

Look carefully at the stitch quality – it shouldn’t be too tight or bubbly and there shouldn’t be any loose pieces of thread.

6. Comfort
Put simply, tights must be comfortable! If you can, try them on and move around. Make sure that they feel good, don’t fall down, don’t itch or irritate and make sure they aren’t sheer! Do your own squat test if you can! In the Choice review, MB Active tights were named as the best value compared to the other tested brands based on construction and detailing. You can rest assured that they have your back.

Read the full Choice Report over here

At the end of the day, you must be savvy with your activewear to get value for money. Be discerning about the quality of the tights you’re buying as they could turn out to be more trouble than what they’re worth.