CNN  — 

For all the time we spend shopping for winter staples like sweaters, boots and coats, you’d think we’d give the same attention to the real wardrobe heroes of the season: the base layers. The most important among them? Tights. The right pair of warm winter tights can make an outfit go from unwearable to seasonally appropriate in seconds, but finding a pair that’ll block the chill while also looking stylish isn’t easy. Ardith Singh, a fabric expert, knows a thing or two about functional clothing: As the head of design at Bandier, she developed the luxury athleisure’s five in-house brands — and even though leggings aren’t tights, they employ the same science when it comes to staying warm, she says.

“There’s so much technology out there that allows your body to trap its own heat, versus wearing a thicker layer,” Singh says. “This is done by pulling your own body’s moisture away from the skin and into the fiber, which is also known as wicking. It can be converted into heat, which is retained in tiny air pockets in the fibers of the fabric. Companies are utilizing this type of heat technology to get a classic tights look, with the warmth of a super-thick and cozy layer.”

If warmth is your priority, Singh says to look out for one thing: “The denier of the tights, which refers to how coarse or fine the fibers are,” she says, noting that the higher the denier, the more durable and often more opaque the tights are. Ahead, 20 pairs of winter tights that are equal parts stylish and cozy.

H&M Fine-Knit Tights, 2-Pack ($12.99; hm.com)

H&M Fine-Knit Tights, 2-Pack

Whether you go with classic black or fun color combos like orange and pink, these fine-knit tights have dozens of glowing 5-star reviews.

Women’s 120D Blackout Tights ($8; target.com)

Women's 120D Blackout Tights

These 120D tights are almost as dense as it gets for a warm, cozy wear on even the coldest days.

Manzi Run-Resistant Control Top Opaque Tights, 2-Pack (starting at $7.99; amazon.com)

Manzi Run-Resistant Control Top Opaque Tights, 2-Pack

A tights bargain if we’ve ever seen one, reviewers love this two-pack of classic black tights not only for its subtle control top but also for their durability. They come in cool colors like espresso brown and burgundy too.

Spanx Luxe Leg-Shaping Tights ($28; nordstrom.com)

Spanx Luxe Leg-Shaping Tights

These smoothing tights will look just as good with a skirt and boots as they will under a midi dress.

Women Heattech Tights ($5.90, originally $14.90; uniqlo.com)

Women Heattech Tights

Uniqlo’s Heattech is the gold standard for staying warm on truly frigid winter days, and it’s an editor favorite.

Women’s 80D Super-Opaque Tights ($8; target.com)

Women's 80D Super-Opaque Tights

If you’re looking for a pair that’s a little less opaque, these tights are it. Plus, with more than 90% 4- and 5-star reviews, they’re durable too.

Commando Ultimate Opaque Matte Tights ($36; nordstrom.com)

Commando Ultimate Opaque Matte Tights

One reviewer calls these matte tights “super comfortable and warm,” while others rave about their durability. “Have worn them like crazy, no pulls or holes,” another says.

Vero Monte Women’s Opaque Fleece-Lined Tights (starting at $17.99; amazon.com)

Vero Monte Women's Opaque Fleece-Lined Tights

These thermal, fleece-lined winter tights were made to withstand frigid temps — and look great when paired with a dress and longline coat.

Falke Clean Allure Tights ($69; shopbop.com)

Falke Clean Allure Tights

These all-black opaque tights are fabricated from a mix of cotton and cashmere for a high-quality, comfortable option.

Hue Studio Women’s 90D Cover Me Opaque Control Top Tights ($10; target.com)

Hue Studio Women's 90D Cover Me Opaque Control Top Tights

These 90D control-top tights aren’t just “sturdy,” according to reviewers. They also lend a sleek silhouette for any winter outfit. And the espresso hue couldn’t be more on-trend.

Skims Solutionwear Tights ($56; nordstrom.com and skims.com)

Skims Solutionwear Tights

This cult-favorite shapewear frm Skims comes in super-soft opaque footless tights that hit just above the hip. You can see more color options over on Skims.com too.

Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Gingham Plaid Tights ($15; nordstrom.com)

Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Gingham Plaid Tights

Does anything scream winter more than a festive pair of plaid tights? Try wearing them with an all-black wool dress for a pared-down vibe, or mix prints like herringbone for a bolder look.

Essential Opaque Tight ($14; urbanoutfitters.com)

Essential Opaque Tight

A fun take on the classic tight, this tomato-red pair is ultra high-waisted — and ultra stretchy.

Women’s Flat-Knit Fleece-Lined Tights ($12; target.com)

Women's Flat-Knit Fleece-Lined Tights

It doesn’t get any warmer than fleece-lined tights, and these from Target’s in-house line have 5-star reviews that call them cozy, thick and the perfect thing for cold winter days.

CozyWow 80D Soft Solid-Color Semi-Opaque Footed Tights (starting at $6.99; amazon.com)

CozyWow 80D Soft Solid-Color Semi-Opaque Footed Tights

If you’re all about colorful tights, look no further than these from CozyWow, which come in all the bright colors you can think of, from green to blue to yellow and more.

Hanes Premium Women’s Perfect Blackout Tights Black ($12; target.com)

Hanes Premium Women's Perfect Blackout Tights Black

These Hanes premium tights ring in at 100 denier, meaning they’re thick knit enough to keep you warm in the winter. Reviewers love how high quality the thick material feels too.

Asos Design Recycled Mock Over-the-Knee Black Tights ($16; asos.com)

Asos Design Recycled Mock Over-the-Knee Black Tights

If you’re looking for a fun take on the classic tight, this is it. Even better, these are made with recycled yarn from waste material.

Varley Ardmore Thermal Tights ($75; shopbop.com)

Varley Ardmore Thermal Tights

Another athleisure take on the thermal tight, this pair from Varley will look great whether you’re going for a run or running out for a coffee meeting.