What is Spandex?

Spandex, a synthetic fiber that's also called elastane or Lycra, has become a go-to material for activewear, sportswear, and other clothing that requires exceptional elasticity.

Developed by chemist Joseph Shivers at DuPont in the late 1950s, it is a lightweight and durable fiber made from a polymer called polyurethane that can stretch up to five times its original length without breaking. This exceptional stretch property allows spandex to be used in combination with other fibers like cotton, polyester, or nylon to create fabrics that retain their shape even after repeated wear and washing.

Spandex is often used in leggings, athletic wear, swimwear, and other garments that require a high degree of flexibility. Its primary advantage is its ability to improve the fit and comfort of clothing.

Garments made with spandex can move with the body and retain their shape, providing a comfortable fit even during physical activity. Furthermore, spandex can also improve the breathability and moisture-wicking properties of fabrics, making them more comfortable to wear during exercise.

On the downside, spandex is a petroleum-based product, which makes it an environmentally unfriendly material. Additionally, some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to spandex, particularly if they have sensitive skin.

Spandex is a valuable and versatile material in the textile industry, offering exceptional stretch and recovery properties that improve the comfort and performance of clothing.