Socks, underwear and activewear are the main types of men’s clothing that often contain spandex. Additionally, casual sportswear for men such as jeans, pants and shirts often contain spandex to some extent. Socks, underwear, unitards or singlets worn by wrestlers and other athletes, and clothing with elastic waistbands have contained spandex since its introduction in the 1960s. Nearly 80 percent of all clothing contains some amount of spandex, as of 2015.
Spandex is superior to rubber in terms of durability and strength, dries quickly and is easy to care for. It also retains its shape and elasticity after repeated washings. Men with circulatory problems and diabetes often wear socks containing spandex that extend above the knee. Support garments for those with back problems frequently contain spandex.
The use of spandex in swimwear extends beyond the bikini-style Speedo suit and thongs. Spandex swimsuits include square-cut trunks that resemble boxer-briefs and full-length trunks that extend to above the knee. Spandex is also the primary material used for wetsuits worn for surfing and water skiing. Moisture-wicking fabrics for running, cycling and other forms of exercise often contain spandex.
Jeans, pants, T-shirts and jerseys may also have some amount of spandex that allows them to hug the body while providing stretch to the fabric. These garments remain comfortable while fitting snugly and flatter many body types. Body-shaping undergarments for men, including T-shirts, tank tops and pants designed to have a slimming effect are increasingly popular with men to further enhance their physiques.