Up until now, the only opaque fashion tights that I’ve found to fit me really well have been Donna Karan/DKNY and Gatta. I have sampled several brands of tights from makers in the USA and Europe, and admittedly it is a small fraction at this point. While some were pretty good, they didn’t offer me a satisfying XL fit. That is, until now.
I can confidently say at this point that I finally found some tights in a Tall/XL size that are uniformly superb in quality, fit, comfort, and appearance. Quite frankly, they are the best darned tights that have ever shrouded my body. And so, I give you the Falke Pure Matt 100 tights review:
NOTE – please keep in mind that comments are subjective and isolated to one specific size, worn from the male perspective (fit for a woman will likely be better).
I first saw the Falke brand years ago when I went to buy some Donna Karan tights at Bloomingdale’s. To me, they were just another hosiery brand that focused mostly on sheer pantyhose. I didn’t notice any opaque tights in their displays, so I never gave the brand any thought. That is, up until recently.
While reading the “Hosiery For Men” blog, I discovered a review about the Falke Pure Matt 100 tights. The reviewer had many good things to say about them, and the key comment for me was that the size “L” fit him generously in height without giving too much in width (meaning, not crafted for “plus” size proportions). Falke makes them in an XL size as well, accommodating 6’/183cm and 225lbs/102kg. My only hesitation was that XL comes with a back panel, which I try to avoid. But I heard a positive opinion about them that convinced me I must try them at some point. Finally I found a terrific sale at Figleaves and managed to get them for a very attractive price (3 pairs shipped for the price of what 1 pair costs at Bloomingdale’s).
The Falke brand from Germany is family owned and has been in business since the late 19th century (see their full history, here). They started out making footed knitwear for men and women, then eventually expanded to stockings and pantyhose. In the 1960’s, they began creating additional knitwear. But by 1985, Falke decided to ditch the women’s clothing line and focus exclusively on men, outside of hosiery. This eventually changed as Falke repositioned their focus to include women’s outerwear once again in the late 1990’s. In general, their clothing lines are mid to high end. Most of what they produce is marketed in Europe and Asia, with USA retail stores carrying only hosiery. In fact, searches for Falke on websites like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales will turn up only hosiery.
Compared to the competition, Falke hosiery is priced into the higher tier. And rightly so–the quality is super. You do indeed get what you pay for. I have seen Falke socks for men first hand, felt the material, and could easily see why they cost more. I will definitely keep my eyes out for them when sales come up, which do happen from time to time. In fact, a sale is what made this review possible, only there’s a bit more material above the ankle on these. 😉
Falke provides only a few hosiery styles in an XL size. Thankfully, one of them is a densely opaque matte style called “Pure Matt 100“. The packaging is first rate, made of a high quality semi-firm glossy card stock package with fold-over flap, that is protected by a nice quality clear cellophane wrapper. The tights are folded around a glossy card stock that has a diagram suggesting how to put the tights on.
Back panel wording in detail:
- This elegant fine tights provide your skin with a velvety sensation thanks to the fine, opaque mesh structure and the high-quality material composition.
- Supreme wear comfort and innovative gusset in net structure with hygienic effect in size S-L and from size XL with comfort gusset.
- Comfort waistband and fine soft-seam finishing on toe and panty
NOTE — Photos included below are of extreme magnification, to emphasize the quality of details. The fabric appears smoother to the naked eye.
The material has a very matte look about it and feels rich to the touch. Letting them fall open from my waist, the ends of the legs reached the floor and then some. I could tell right away that there wouldn’t be any length problem. The seams are super flat, and in fact, they are unusually smooth on both sides with nothing to get snagged on–very impressive. Also, the toe seam is not only tightly stitched with a quality black yarn, it is rounded/arched for a better fit (no “seam fins” sticking out on the sides).
I started gathering up one leg, and as the material bunched together it started getting rather thick. I dipped my foot in, pulled them up to the knee, then did the same for the other leg. So far so good. Well, getting on with it, I pulled them up to my waist, then adjusted the material on my legs. Nice! The fit was very comfortable and the length was not strained at all (I could see these fitting someone 6’2″). The waistband came up a few inches above my navel. I lifted up a leg and examined my knee, and was impressed with the mostly opaque appearance. These aren’t control top, and yet the panty area shows about as opaque as the legs. There is a generous amount of material, as I can reach in a hand and distend the fabric about 5″/13cm out. So, these don’t fit quite as snug as I would have expected, yet they stay comfortably in place. The feel of the seams is very smooth–even the ones curving around my groin area and running up to the rear waistband edge felt comfortable. The waistband is made of a different material from the rest of the tights, with a slightly firm feeling and a subtle texture. It holds in place without digging in.
I wore them uncovered over the course of a day indoors, to see how they would hold up. Despite the fit not being as snug as I’m used to, they didn’t slip or bag much at all. I sat down and got up quite a bit doing different tasks and noticed the knees never bagged. The material felt so soft and comfortable, that at times I completely forgot about the fact that I was wearing them. The material is a blend of mostly nylon and some elastane. The description doesn’t say microfiber, yet they have a softness like microfiber while feeling more durable. It breathes quite well, considering how thick it is. The material does seem to attract dust and small particles, so if you sit on a couch with some dust on it you’ll probably have to check your legs (I did a few times and found some specs that brushed off fairly easily). The waistband is not quite as firm as I would like, as it tended to roll over when I would bend over forward. I have just a little extra “flesh” around my mid section (I could stand to lose about 5-10lbs/2-5kg), and this helps push it over. Cinching the waistband up a little higher helps, although it does settle back down a little later. The tights are signed with a very small “FALKE” tag with size on the back, attached to one of the seams on the waistband (you don’t feel it at all).
Without a doubt, these would pass for socks under trousers, but the higher 100 denier and dense weave may be more difficult to remain comfortable if worn mostly indoors with heavy trousers. The glide effect is not that great under jeans, but fine with dress slacks. The only concern I really have is that there’s no reinforcement in the heel. The toe area is not under much stress and the seam there is super quality, fully rounded for the arc of the toes, but the heel is not reinforced and does show up noticeably semi-opaque at the edge (above it looks OK). Because these tights are terrific in many respects, I’m not going to run them through any deliberate durability tests. I would definitely make sure to wear these only with shoes that are mostly smooth inside without any rough or hard edges.
(The fabric in these photos looks dry and cotton like, but in person are more lustrous and velvety to the touch).
Sizing for the Falke Pure Matt 100 can be a little confusing at first, because you will find some on-line retailers showing a subset of available sizes. I found only one retailer offering both types of sizing. You’ll see the usual S/M/L/XL size range, but also S/M and M/L, something I’ve not seen any other brand offer. This certainly provides greater sizing flexibility.
- Fabric – 91% nylon (polyamide) and 9% elastane (Lycra).
- Sizing – Generous. See chart above.
- Opacity (0 – sheer, 10 – total opaque) – 10 when standing, 8.5 when bending (based on black; will probably be more opaque with lighter colors).
- Durability (0 – frail, 10 – like steel) – 8.5
- Waistband – 2.5cm width, medium textured soft material. Slight tendency to roll.
- Support – none, but snug fit.
- Reinforcement – double-stitched seams.
- Features – flat seams, no visible division between leg and panty/brief.
- Colors – The Pure Matt 100 comes in two classes: one with 11 colors (cliff, military, paraffin, blackberry, taupe, platinum, anthracite, violet, brenda, marine, and black), and the other with 5 colors supporting up to XL size (black, anthracite, marine[navy], brenda[brown], and steel) .
These are probably the best fashion tights I’ve owned thus far. They feel extremely comfortable to wear and provide a very uniform opaque appearance. I’d be very interested to hear from others who have owned these for a while how they’d rate them for durability. I would like to see a future offering with a reinforced heel option, and control top. It’s good to know that Falke also has a “family” style of tights in a matte opaque cotton finish that has reinforcement in both the toe and heel. I eventually plan on giving those a try. Meanwhile, I’m very happy with the Pure Matt 100’s. Falke hit a home run with these, without a doubt. I can understand why some retailers warn that you’ll not want to take these off. 😉