Getting a ladder in your tights is almost a certainty as a dancer, however, there are ways to avoid this inevitability for as long as possible.

Tips to prevent ladders in your tights

  • The first tip is to make sure you aren’t wearing any jewellery like bracelets, watches or rings that could catch on your tights and create a ladder – the same goes for long toenails and fingernails! This is especially important when putting the tights on.


  • Get the right size and denier. The higher the denier, the thicker your tights, making them less vulnerable to snagging! If you don’t like the tight feel of higher denier tights or feel they’re too hot in the summer, try getting a bigger size. This way the fabric does not stretch as much making it less susceptible to rips and tears.


  • How you wash and store your tights can also affect their longevity. Wash your tights by hand or in their own laundry bag so they don’t catch on buttons, zips or hooks. Then always air dry them – keep them out of the dryer. Whether or not you roll or fold your tights, the best way to store them is separately from any bras or other clothing items they could catch on. A seperate storage box is a good option – especially if you have wooden draws or shelves that might have fibres your tights could catch on. 


  • A quirky top tip if you have time, is to freeze your new tights before your first wear. Wet them, place them in a sandwich bag and chuck them in the freezer overnight. This is a form of cryogenic treatment in which the sub-zero temperatures make the molecules in the fabric stronger as they rearrange when defrosted, making the material more uniform and reducing weak spots in the nylon that are more susceptible to snagging.

What to do if your tights start laddering

If you do catch your tights in the middle of class or during a performance and you don’t have a spare pair, here are ways to prevent a small hole or catch from turning into a full leg ladder.

  • Keep clear polish on you at all times so that at the first sign of a run, you can brush some on around the edge of the hole to prevent it from getting bigger.  It is best not to wear your tights while applying polish or at least pinch around the hole and pull it away from your leg before applying the nail polish so that your tights don’t get stuck to you!


  • If you don’t have clear nail polish on hand, hair spray is a good temporary alternative. Its stickiness keeps the hole from laddering too far as it temporarily stiffens the fibres of your tights. This is a great method to use if you are in a rush, since hairspray dries almost instantly, however, it is undone once washed.