Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Can Pantyhose Be Cool & Also Keep You Warm?

I've been asked on several occasions how sheer pantyhose can both keep you warm, yet still be cool enough to keep you from overheating, too. A good question, and one that seems to point out a contradiction in some of the claims made about the benefits of men's pantyhose and tights.

Basically, sheer pantyhose work best when worn under other clothing, such as for hunting or camping in below-freezing temperatures. Opaque tights are a little warmer, and so can more easily keep you warm when worn with shorts. The knitted nylon fabric will trap a thin layer of dead air within the matrix of the material. Because of it's body-hugging characteristic, this insulating layer of air is held securely against the skin, providing an insulating layer. The pink fiberglass insulation in the walls of your house work on the same principal, except on a larger and thicker scale. The outer layer(s) of clothing keep wind from blowing through the nylon and replacing the dead air--which would lower the insulating value considerably and chill the skin.

For runners or cyclists on chillly mornings, when temperatures are above 40 to 45 degrees (F)and not very windy, the pantyhose fabric still provides that same layer of dead air and slightly insulates the skin. In this situation, not much insulation is necessary--just enough to keep the sharp chill off the legs long enough for exercise to elevate body heat. Avoiding that chill on leg muscles can reduce the incidence of cramps.

Shortly after exercise begins, body heat quickly builds up. At that point, the athlete can begin to feel overheated under thicker Under Armor tights or sweatpants. This is why sheer legwear is well-suited to wear with running or cycling shorts on chilly mornings. You know you'll soon be perspiring and the sun will be rising higher in the sky. At that point, perspiration can easily wick away from the skin and evaporate. If you took physics in high school, you'll recall that evaporation of liquids causes a cooling effect.

I've heard anecdotal tales of soldiers in Iraq taking advantage of this scientific fact by wetting their Army socks and tying them to truck mirrors while driving. Even the 130+ degree air moving past the socks causes evaporation, which then cools the socks. Afterwards, they pull on a pair of cool socks and say, "ahhhh..."

To summarize: If you're engaged in athletic activity on Spring or Fall mornings, sheer legwear with shorts is a good bet. As the temperatures drop later in the season (or if you're more sensitive to the cold) you're well advised to switch to opaque tights with shorts, or maybe even under sweatpants.

If you're hunting, it's likely during a cold time of year. You should be wearing either sheer pantyhose or opaque tights under your hunting clothes--not with shorts. Sometimes readers have misunderstood, and failed to realize we are not recommending going hunting out in the dense brush and brambles with short pants and tights/hosiery. They wouldn't last two minutes before being shredded by thorns and branches. For hiking, you can go with shorts if the weather's not too cold, but only if you're not hiking in dense brush. For camping, tights or sheer pantyhose are great as a base layer, and can be worn alone when you get into your sleeping bag at night, depending on the expected low temperature. An added benefit here--and any time you're hunting, hiking or camping--is that ticks can't get beneath the tight-fitting legwear.


  1. Pantyhose for men in more need of these.
    Why women selfish?

  2. I don't quite follow on this comment. I don't see where women are being selfish in this. I've not seen where women are trying to keep all the pantyhose to themselves. Actually, if anything I've heard the sentiment more along the lines of, "you men can have ALL the pantyhose," because so many don't actually appreciate some of the practical benefits of good quality support hosiery.

    In any case, I don't think we've got a legitimate beef with all women in general.

  3. I wear pantyhose few months & feel good. But my wife angry. How can I do. I afraid she will divorce me. :(

  4. Everybody must wear pantyhose men and women...

  5. Is this the transaltion of the comment posted on another thread, where I wrote, "translation, please?"

  6. To anonymous, the whole men's legwear thing can sometimes be difficult for wives to get acclimated to. If they've not been aware of the rise in the men's legwear trend, and that there are indeed legitimate reasons why men are wearing hose these day, it can raise concerns over whether their husband might secretly be a cross dresser or something like it. We, of course, know that's not the case, nor is it a stepping stone to skirts and heels, etc. But, keep in mind that your wife's not necessarily arrived at that knowledge yet. Or, even so, she may be afraid of what her friends may think about it. Despite the fact that she may be informed on the practical reasons men are now wearing nylon support hose, she assumes that many of her friends are not, and they will jump to more unfavorable conclusions. She probably feels uncomfortable at the prospect of explaining this to them, too.

    Believe me, I speak from experience. Mrs. Nylon Gene had all these same feelings at one time or another. However, when I stepped into a much more public arena with marketing of men's tights and pantyhose, she came to the realization that people weren't going to think all those things she feared, especially her friends. Without exception, they were supportive of what I'm now doing for a living, and basically told her to not worry so much about it, because they didn't see anything weird or perverse about it. Granted, we were thrust into our situation much more forcefully because of economic circumstances. However, those who make that public step more voluntarily can still learn from our experiences.

    Most people do, in fact, react similarly to my wife's friends, after they've had a chance to have the reason behind it explained rationally. A few may chuckle or laugh at first, but then they tend to come around to something like, "well, if it works for you..." They may never become fans of it themselves, but they don't denigrate you for wearing them.

    And that's what your wife needs to hear. That people are becoming more and more aware of the practical, legitimate reasons behind men's legwear, and they're very unlikely to jump first to negative stereotypical conclusions that may have once held sway in the public mindset.

    Have her read this blog. I would direct her especially to ones like, "What IS the nylon gene?" (Mar 25), or "Men's Legwear, A Little Background" (Mar 26). Have her visit other advocacy forums, like "Legwear As Unisex Fashion," which tends to be populated by regular guys like myself who share ideas and comments about a variety of issues, such as the one you're describing.

    Listen to your wife's concerns and try to recognize that she fears loss of security and social status, and is afraid that people's negative reaction to the knowledge that you wear hosiery may lead to those things. But, inform her of the reality that growth in public awareness of this emerging trend makes that prospect very unlikely. Be a good listener, and then trust that she too will listen well to you.

    I would certainly hope that something as serious as divorce would not be casually considered over something as small as this. I believe marriage is for life, and I think if both parties listen to each other's concerns and desires, a way can be found to reconcile any differences.


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