These pantyhose claim to be 'indestructible'—do they work?
My tests with Sheertex, supposedly the world’s most indestructible hose
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If you are a person who wears the occasional—or frequent—skirt or dress, you don’t need me to spell out why having some tights or pantyhose around as the weather gets colder is important.
But something that could have a seismic impact in the world of hosiery? A pair of pantyhose with the ability to resist the inevitable: snags and tears. Due to the thin, sheer nature of pantyhose, I never even imagined the existence of such a pair. That is, until I came across an Instagram ad for Sheertex, a Kickstarter-founded pantyhose brand that claims to produce a nearly indestructible pair... for the price of $59.
I first saw the ad in June—which I thought a bizarre time to deploy a targeted ad for hosiery, as any skintight leg garment was the last thing I’d consider forcing onto my then-consistently sweat-slick body. Still, I was intrigued.
What is Sheertex?
A quick click over the Sheertex website revealed a claim that the pantyhose, made of a mysterious, supposedly bulletproof fabric, is "10 times stronger than steel" and "unbreakable in human hands." I reached out to the brand to find out what this sheer yet bulletproof (really?) fabric is made of.
“Our sheers are made of a proprietary knit consisting of stretch yarn and a miniaturized version of the world’s strongest polymer,” Natalie Cantania, Sheertex’s category manager, says. “It took us 18 months of R&D to get the product to where it is today.”
I asked for more information on the exact type of polymer—was it Kevlar, which, according to the Polymer Database, is used for bulletproof vests? Or Vectran, used for NASA space suits?—and was told that Sheertex can't disclose the exact fabric. (Hmmm.)
As someone who reviews products for a living, I took Sheertex's claims as a personal challenge and ordered a pair to see just how indestructible they really are.
How I tried to break Sheertex hose
When September rolled around and the temperatures dropped, I pulled the Sheertex on. I was pleased—they looked and felt just like any other pair of sheer hose. Then I did what anyone sent a package of supposedly indestructible-by-human-hands hose might do: I pulled on them as hard as I could with my own human hands. They did not break, and, after some time, caused a large red welt to arise on my palms.
I tried to emulate a few things that have caused snags in my tights in the past, like a jagged toenail snagging them—for which I dragged a safety pin up and down the legs—or getting them caught on a corner as I pull them out of my dresser, for which I used my actual dresser. They survived that, too.
I also did what Sheertex calls a “stomp test,” in which you step into the hose with one foot, grab onto the upper portion, and slam your foot down as hard as you can while pulling upward. Unsurprisingly (considering that this is the test that the brand itself recommends), this had no effect on them.
How our scientists tried to break the Sheertex hose
Undeterred, I leveled up with the help of two of Reviewed’s scientists and writers, Jonathan Chan and Kyle Hamilton. They usually do important things like figure out how often one should clean couch cushions or gauge the power of space heaters, but when I asked them to help me destroy a pair of pantyhose (for work and for science), they were game.
Kyle and Jon started off, as I had, by pulling as hard as they could on the pantyhose themselves. Not only did this not do anything, Kyle actually cut his hand in the process. For the rest of the experiment, they wore gloves.
There was a brief trial test in which Kyle and Jon held the Sheertex up, not unlike a slack line that you might see on a liberal arts college campus in New England, and I sat down on them and sort of swung around on it. This was not the best test in terms of emulating real-life use cases for hosiery or for Kyle and Jon, who were left just as responsible as the Sheertex for holding up my entire body weight. Still, they didn’t rip—and it made for some excellent photos for me to post to my Instagram story and get some of my favorite responses, which are: “???????” and “Sara.”
Next, we used a crane scale—an industrial scale most often used to weigh heavy, unwieldy objects by suspending them from a hook—and tied the Sheertex to them. Kyle, Jon, and our photographer, Jax used the scale to measure the effects of what can only be described as a three-way game of tug-of-war, which resulted in a combined weight of 172 pounds. The hose, again, did not tear.
What finally broke the Sheertex hose
Finally, we tied each foot of the Sheertex to a metal pole, so that the crotch was facing heavenward, and I sat on it, the same way I did when Kyle and Jon held it. This time, it gave into the pressure—but just a small rip along the seam reaching down through the thigh. Because it was by the seam, and because tying up the hose already put some pressure on them, and because I had put the full brunt of my 130ish pounds upon them, we didn’t hold this against them too much.
When I got home, I threw them in the washing machine. Sheertex says to wash them by hand, but if they can survive a pressurized rig, I reasoned that surely they can survive a spin cycle. I let them air dry, and once they finished—looking less stretched out than they had right after the tests, if a little more wrinkly than before, and the hole from the hammock experiment a tiny bit bigger. I stared at them for a bit, and, in a brief fit of madness, grabbed some kitchen scissors on the counter and starting hacking at them.
This worked. But it was hard to cut through the material. I had to stretch out the Sheertex to their full capacity, then saw away several times until the blade broke through. As soon as I finished, I broke out of my fugue state and saw myself, as if through the eyes of another, standing over the kitchen table, hacking at some sheer hosiery, just to create a tiny tear. So, yes, I broke the Sheertex—but who’s to say they didn’t break me first?
What it’s like to wear Sheertex
I should mention that Sheertex have another use beyond causing minor injuries to your coworkers and yourself, which is wearing them on your legs to complete an outfit.
How they fared in that regard is pretty boring—looks and feel-wise, they’re just like regular pantyhose. I wore them for a few days (before the experiments, for obvious reasons, though they were still surprisingly intact and wearable even after I used the scissors on them). The first thing I noticed is the control-top—there is none. (You can opt for a pair of “shaping” sheers also for $59, but because I didn’t get that pair, I can’t really speak to it.) I usually wear Spanx tights, so I’m used to a feeling of ironclad, organ-crushing constriction when I wear stockings. So the Sheertex felt a little strange, but once I grew accustomed to not having my belly strapped in, I found them comfortable.
Throughout the days I wore them, I also noticed that the hose seemed slightly scratchier than what I am used to, no doubt a side effect of the un-tearable polymers. On the plus side, they don’t feel especially thick, especially considering how hardy they are. They are made with 30 denier fabric (“denier” is the term for the thickness of the yarn used to make a pair of pantyhose, which can range from 5 to 100), which means that the hose are pretty translucent. If you like the sheer-hose look, you’ll like the way Sheertex look, too.
Are they worth it?
In my mind, $59 is quite a lot of money to spend on pantyhose, though it’s certainly not the most money you can spend on them. You can get a pair at a drugstore for about $5, and a pair of basic-but-fancy Wolford pantyhose goes for $49. Wolford also sells a silk and cashmere pantyhose blend for $285—a pretty penny, if you so choose. Sheertex also makes the argument that there is an ecological benefit to selling a hard-to-rip pair of hose in that, as a virtue of being unsnaggable, they are a lot less likely to eventually end up in a dumpster—or at least take much longer to get there.
And, all told? They hold up to the claims. No, they (probably) aren't bulletproof, but they sure fulfill the initial claim of being indestructible by human hands—and, to be fair to Sheertex, we were liberal on our definition of "human hands." Playing tug-of-war, rigging up as a DIY hammock, and attacking with kitchen scissors is a terrible way to treat a $60 garment, and I have to assume that most people who buy Sheertex won’t do the same thing. As such, I feel good saying that, if you are a person who wears pantyhose and don’t mind spending a little more money for the privilege to stomp on them as much as you want (and maybe a little more), Sheertex are a solid investment.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.