Most tights will look similar at first glance but, as we’ve seen, there’s more to it than that.
There are also a number of features to key an eye out for.
Look for wide bib straps that spread the load. Narrow straps have a tendency to bunch up and dig into your shoulders.
The straps on Le Col’s Kuro bib tights are among the widest we’ve tried, and while we we were impressed by the RH+ Distance tights as a complete package, the wide, stretchy microfibre braces were a significant contributor to their comfort. Sportful’s Total Comfort bib tights also have impressively wide mesh braces.
We’ll take or leave a front zip, although it does make impromptu toilet stops a little easier. See the Chapeau Thermal bib tights for an example of tights with a zip.
Also look for tights that have a high front and sides as this can provide an additional layer of material around the midriff and kidney area in cold weather.
Ankle zips and foot loops
Ankle zips provide a secure fit and make pulling the tights on easier, while some manufacturers opt for foot loops to provide continuous coverage into the shoe. We prefer the former, as a foot loop can cause irritation between the foot and sock/shoe.
Some tights have neither ankle zips or foot loops and can be just as effective in keeping the draft out and providing a good fit, but make sure they foot opening is lined with a silicone gripper and be careful when pulling the tights on so not to pull the stitching.
On that note, keep an eye out for tights with flat lock stitching, which is considerably more comfortable on the skin.
Finally, many winter rides will be conducted in the dark or gathering gloom so look for reflective detail to boost visibility.
Most tights will have reflective piping at the bottom of either leg, though some of this can often by hidden if wearing overshoes.
Branding and manufacturers’ logos are often reflective and some tights, including the dhb Vaeon Reflex Roubaix, have oversized reflective print which makes them well-suited to evening and early morning rides.