Monday, July 13, 2009

Smithsonian Magazine: 50 Years of Pantyhose

The online version of Smithsonian published an interesting article on the 50 year history of pantyhose. Unfortunately, it wasn't complete because it doesn't include the most current trend in nylon/spandex legwear--men's hosiery, which is what we're all about here at The Nylon Gene.

Of course, that is to be expected. We're not yet firmly established to the point where we would expect the Smithsonian to take notice of this still nascent trend. However, I did provide a comment on the article. It appears that the comments are moderated, as mine did not appear yet. I presume it will be published when the website moderator appproves it. In the meantime, you can read it here:

"As Paul Harvey always says, there's "the rest of the story..." and that is, that men are taking up where women have been leaving off--with the wearing of pantyhose. I'd like to call the Smithsonian's attention to the existence of ActivSkin (, the first company to sell pantyhose made exclusively for men. We have been in business for 10 years now, and the demand has grown consistently during that time. The trend appears to be poised on the verge of a 'tipping point' that will see it move more definitively into the mainstream.

A large number of newspaper and magazine articles have documented this emerging trend, beginning most notably with the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 19, 2002 (Kingsize, Not Queen: More Men Are Taking to Wearing Pantyhose). This trend is fueled by the recognition the men can benefit from the benefits provided by support style hosiery, for poor leg circulation, added warmth without bulk in outdoor pursuits, as well as improved stamina in athletic activities involving running or cycling.

Formerly, men were inhibited from openly wearing nylon hosiery because of its most recent association with women's wear (not originally so, of course, but it's been a couple hundred years since hosiery was initially considered a man's garment). Recent years have seen a small but growing number of men who openly wear nylon hosiery even with shorts, and consider it to be a truly unisex garment.

For more background on this, please visit my blog, called The Nylon Gene at"

I hope we'll one day see the Smithsonian covering the vast contributions of ACTIVSKIN to the hosiery industry. Until then, we'll just have to take care of it here...


  1. Excellently written! The only detail I don't agree with you is your statement Activskin being the first company to sell pantyhose exclusively made for men, as before Activskin started, there were a couple of European brands like Ergee, Falke and Wolford who produced men's pantyhose already.
    This argument might actually serve "our case" as it points to the fact the mens' legwear has been around for decades.

  2. Before acknowledging the accuracy of your statement, I would have to go back and look at the date that Wolford first offered their 'waistsocks' as they called them. ActivSkin was organized in 1998 and began selling in 1999. I'm nearly positive that Ergee and Falke did not begin selling men's pantyhose quite that long ago.

    The other subtle point here is that those other firms also sell women's pantyhose and tights. ActivSkin was certainly the first one to sell only men's pantyhose and tights. By that, I mean that we were organized specifically for that purpose, not in addition to an existing women's product line.

    And, in fact, we have been around for quite some time.

  3. Yeah that is strange since men used to wear nylon and sheer nylon over the calf socks or w/ garters for many years. In the 50s is when I realized I had the nylon gene--. Love the photo of the sheer nylon stockinged feet. Jack

  4. 50s & sheer nylon knee gartered sock for men


    present time

  5. Pantyhose production process, very complicated plant from discovery channel how it`s made you must see

  6. Thanks for the video link on the pantyhose production process. I've seen it before and think it's very interesting. In fact, I'm going to post this as a new posting for the benefit of all of the readers.

  7. Hi Steve,

    I'm surprised that your comment didn't make it but mine did and I included this site so hopefully more people will see this site and witness the growing trends in male pantyhose wear.

  8. Thanks, Ranjit. I saw your post. I don't understand why mine was not posted. I sent it twice, so I'm fairly certain it was received. I don't think I included anything that should've caused any concern by the moderator.

  9. The history of pantyhose, shaved legs and antidepressant facts.
    Why do women in America shave their legs and under arms?

    Pantyhose, Shaved Legs & Antidepressants Psychology w/ Sandy


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