Earlier in my blog, I wrote a short piece about the hosiery retailer We Love Colors. They have a section for men that includes tights, gloves, socks, and shoe laces (tights are listed first). You can buy full nylon tights (regular or plus sizes) or performance tights for men, with or without feet. This review is about their men’s performance footed tights.
The website title is “Men’s Performance Tights“, and the description says “Our high performance dance tights for men are built to last performance after performance, without running or snagging. These thick and comfy performance spandex tights for men are available in all of our 55 distinct colors. With no fly opening. 77% nylon 23% Lycra.” These are available in four styles: footed or footless, and solid or splash colors.
When I first looked at these tights on the We Love Colors website, I noticed the foot/ankle seam design looks remarkably like MStevens dance tights. Low and behold, when I finally got a pair, the tag on the back indeed reads “MStevens”. There’s also a little “We Love Colors” tag sewn in with it. That’s because We Love Colors outsources their tights from very selective vendors, then performs their own special dyeing process on them. As far as I know, nobody else offers such a range of colors and color patterns.
For reference, I am 6’0″, 210lbs, with a 38″ waist and 32″ inseam. I got the solid color footed performance tights, in maroon and size large (L). I already own a pair of black MStevens dance tights, but these ones sold by We Love Colors seems to be just a little different. The listed sizing dimensions are different, but I found the large to fit very well. The material, called Milliskin, feels a little more velvety to the touch. It’s possible the fabric maker (Milliken & Co) has updated it, or this may just be a side effect of the post dyeing process by We Love Colors. The stitching of the seams is comparable and the waistband design is the same. The waistband stays in place and is very roll resistant.
From what I’ve seen on a few forums, MStevens dance tights are popular among male ballet dancers. Part of it is due to the Milliskin spandex fabric, which has a wonderful lustrous and slick feel to it. If you’re moving about, your legs glide quickly against each other, with no fabric friction to slow them down. The same is true of these tights, which are also constructed to withstand the rigors of dance. I’m not a dancer, but I did decide to take a jog with these on, treating them like running tights. They seem to work well for running in slightly cool weather, providing a little insulation without interfering with your movement. The fit is snug and provides some compression too, which is good for active legs.
(Note: what looks like blotching on my right leg is just due to reflections of the light)
These tights are certainly crafted to last. Milliskin feels like microfiber but performs like a firmer nylon. It’s very durable. My other MStevens dance tights are over 15 years old and they’re still serviceable, so I’d expect these will last just as long if well cared for. The seams are strong, thin and a bit rounded. Comfortable, but they will leave a slight impression behind on your skin after wearing (which goes away after a little while, no effect on comfort). I put them on under some jeans and took a walk outside in the crisp cold air. Going from the warm to cool air, I could feel this nice evaporation effect happening over my legs as moisture passed through the fabric. They also insulated a bit too, as my legs felt warmer with them than without.
Last but not least, one other advantage these have over typical dance tights is color. Well of course, they’re from We Love Colors! There are currently 55 to choose from, which is tremendous (I won’t list them here–best to visit the website for a color guide). MStevens says Milliskin is an excellent Lycra based material for dyeing and is very resistant to fading. We Love Colors identifies some colors that are light sensitive (just a few), and provide care instructions on their website. The color I got is maroon, which could also be called burgundy, and I’m very happy with it. As you can see in my photos, it’s a really lush looking color and goes well with the rich feeling of the fabric. These tights are so comfortable, you really could wear them instead of pants for relaxing around the house. 😉
Seam detail at the heel
- Small: weight (120 – 150lbs), height (5’4″ – 5’9″)
- Medium: weight (145 – 175lbs), height (5’8″ – 6’0″)
- Large: weight (180 – 210lbs), height (5’11” – 6’4″)
- Fabric – Milliskin, made of 77% nylon and 23% Lycra. Shiny appearance.
- Sizing – In small, medium, and large. Size L may be too tight for 6’2″+.
- Opacity (0 – sheer, 10 – total opaque) – 10 (white tends to be less opaque).
- Durability (0 – frail, 10 – like steel) – 9.5
- Waistband – 3/4″ (2cm) width, firm by stretchy core material. Roll resistant.
- Support – low to moderate compression, with a snug fit.
- Reinforcement – Double lock over-stitch seams.
- Features – darted ankle seam and in-step seam design to accommodate the heel for a better fit.
- Colors – 55, as of this writing, ranging from black and dark tones to eye blinding bright colors and tie-dye combinations. They periodically add more colors, so this number will soon be out of date!
Price wise, these cost just a little more than the XL sized dance tights purchased from dance retailers. But is it worth it? Definitely, as you’re provided a much greater range of colors (not just black, white, gray, and tan) and We Love Colors is an excellent, customer friendly business. I have a feeling in time I’m going to add a few more of these to my collection.
Special thanks to Emem at We Love Colors for making this review possible!
UPDATE: I hand washed these tights in a sink with a light detergent. I was very impressed to see very little dye leeching. In the past, I had bought an MStevens Milliskin unitard in red from a retailer specializing in dance wear, to use for a costume. Quite a lot of dye leeched out in the few times I washed them and the color began to fade a bit. So, We Love Colors appears to have a superior dyeing process that really holds.