The Good, The Bad, And The WTF Ways Olympic Skaters Use Panty Hose In Their Costumes

This v-neck situation isn’t unique to the female competitors. There seems to be a grand tradition of male ice dancers/figure skaters who wear deep v-necks with flesh colored connective spandex keeping it all in place.

2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships

While it looks like Max Aaron is wearing a camisole under his unitard, it’s a relatively tame one. Things progressively get worse:

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day -1

Eric Radford

2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Adam Rippon

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day -1

Things really start to get hazy when the flesh panels get embellished, like Evgeny Plyushchenko‘s get up.

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day -1

Yakov Godorozha

Olympics Day 4 - Figure Skating

Min Zhang shows the worst case scenario–things get all bunchy and weird, as if a thick, discolored layer of skin is coming off.

As far as women’s costumes go, the only successful way to use these skin panels is to do some sort of embellishment and keep it very, very sheer. That way, it doesn’t look like a horrifying second skin.

2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships

I’m not wild about Ashley Cain‘s white choker/wrist guards, but at the very least mesh serves and aesthetic purpose.

Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Courtney Hicks‘ outfit has an actual purpose for her mesh skin panel.

2014 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships

Alexandra Paul wins for best outfit in this post. In real life, I’d object to the long sleeves awkwardly ending, but at far as ice skating outfits go, this one is pretty great.

Photos: Getty Images

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    • Guest

      I thought they all wore fishnets

      • shandler

        No. Hardly any skaters wear fishnets.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I guess if you consider most people aren’t getting a close up shot like that, the effect would be less noticeable. From the stands, or the TV while they are moving it wouldn’t be so jarring. I do agree that the flesh colored nylon over skates looks weird.

      • anna

        You were the tights over skates to keep your feet more steady. It’s practicality vs looks, I was an small time skater until my late teens. It helps from slipping around, any small movement in your feet due to tights slipping in a turn or spin can cause you to wipe out.

      • Trish Chasity

        I can understand that completely and I am not even a figure skater

    • Carrie Murphy

      Have you seen the documentary “First Position?” It’s about young ballet dancers and it’s amazing. In it, one of the dancers, (Michaela Prince) is black and her mom has to color in the “flesh” tones of all her super expensive ballet costumes with a brown marker. I wonder how hard it is for skaters of color with darker skin tones to get “power flex” that actually matches their skin tones.

      • Carrie Murphy

        JK it’s Michaela DePrince.

      • shandler

        You can either buy from whatever colors the stores carry, which in many cases would be one or maybe two colors if you’re lucky, and hope they match…which MIGHT happen if you’re medium white, or you can buy whatever is close and try to dye it yourself, and good luck with that because it first has to be nylon so you CAN dye it and then you have to go scientific in order to find and then recreate the right mix of colors to get the skin tone you want, which is going to change on different parts of the same body (arms and necks are rarely the same color) and at different times of the year. Poke abuse as you please, good results are neither easy nor cheap.

    • Crayzcheshire

      I love looking at all their ridiculous in-action faces

    • Fiona

      Pantyhose are meant for legs and that’s the only place they look good on a figure skater’s outfit. The nylons should cover the feet *inside* the skates as opposed to covering the outside of the skate boot, which is just weird and not visually aesthetic. As well, hard core figure skaters are bound to have foot odor issues with the perspiration and tight-fitting skates, which might be mitigated to a slight extent if the feet are covered in hose rather than completely bare.

      • shandler

        Skaters don’t usually wear pantyhose. They wear tights, which are much heavier weight and come in a very limited range of colors so if you’re either lighter or darker than whatever the manufacturers think is average you’re pretty much screwed. Very few skaters look outside the usual rink offerings to ballet catalogs which have a few more colors.

    • Tamara

      The over the boot tights are worn for various reasons, not just for the leg extension look. They’re a great way of covering up ugly beaten up boots which judges hate (its not always easy to use leather paint to patch them up without looking like a 5yr old with a marker). The microfiber & lycra tights are actually fairly comfortable & warm.

    • Rosario

      Woman’s skate dresses are so skimpy that wearing pantyhose gave me some security from going onto the ice with no bra, a see through dress with a thin attached pantie. Plus the pantyhose kept my legs warm and they look better then bare legs.

    • Sam

      Are the pantyhose that the figure skaters wear footless or are they the regular pantyhose that cover the feet as well?

    • anonskater

      I agree that up close, the “flesh” coloured tights and material looks odd. However, as a figure skater, I can tell you that first and foremost, we skate for the judges and the audience, not for the close-up camera shots. To the naked eye from the stands, the full boot tights do lengthen the legs (even though you feel like you’re looking down at hooves for feet) and the mesh usually appears to match the skin. In addition to not having to polish & cover scuffs on skates as one commenter mentioned, you will also notice (see the pictures in this article with bare boots) that skaters tape their skates to keep laces, eyelets, etc in place and to avoid disaster if one breaks during competition. Many skaters use quite a bit of tape, so the full boot tights cover it up and add another level of security.

    • Fiebie

      The red dress worn by Alexandra Paul is a copy of a dress worn by Rita Ora.