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OK, here’s the science bit. Hosiery is made by knitting together lengths of very fine yarn, usually a mix of nylon and LYCRA® fibre. These yarns are chosen because, despite being only as thick as a human hair, they are very strong and, in the case of LYCRA® fibre, extremely elastic. As in woollen knitting, the resulting fabric consists of both horizontal rows of loops, known as courses, and vertical rows, known as wales.

Lycra fibers knitted in rows and loops

By controlling the speed and tension of the knitting process, and by altering the concentration of LYCRA® fibre in a fabric, you can achieve many different finishes – you can vary elasticity or softness, for example, INVISTA, owner of the LYCRA® fibre brand, also produces a wide range of speciality LYCRA® fibres of varying densities. All this allows manufacturers to produce a whole range of hosiery of assorted weights and appearances, as well different feels and functions.

The higher the percentage of LYCRA® fibre, the stronger and stretchier the fabric, which is why good quality shapewear will contain at least 10 per cent. Some of the available LYCRA® fibre and LYCRA® fibre fabrics include:

LYCRA® Fusion fibre Lycra Fusion

Using a new INVISTA spinning technology, threads of LYCRA® fibre can be made to fuse to each other during the heat setting operation during which hosiery is shaped. The result is LYCRA® Fusion fibre, an amazing new yarn that makes tights and stockings super-strong and ladder resistant. Plus, LYCRA® Fusion fibre’s thermal memory means that it will revert to its original shape however much you stretch it. If you’re sick of throwing away new tights because you’ve snagged or overstretched them, then LYCRA® Fusion fibre is a name you’ll grow to love.

Find out more about LYCRA® Fusion ladder resist technology.

LYCRA® 3D hosiery Lycra 3D

LYCRA® 3D hosiery contains LYCRA® fibre in every stitch of every row (in standard LYCRA® hosiery, LYCRA® is incorporated into every second row of knitting). This high LYCRA® fibre content gives fabric exceptional elasticity – it will cling to your legs like a second skin, giving you smooth, sleek limbs with no sagging or wrinkling. LYCRA® 3D hosiery is also sensuously soft to touch, so your legs will feel fabulous all day.

LYCRA® 3D hosiery provides tights, stockings and hold ups with a smooth uniform appearance (and uniform stretch in all directions) so that even the thinnest tights look sophisticated, professional and elegant. If a streamlined silhouette and groomed appearance are your priorities, then look for hosiery with LYCRA® 3D construction. Tights must meet technical and quality specifications before they can carry the LYCRA® 3D hosiery label.

LYCRA® Black fibre

LYCRA® Black is a dyed black fibre, so dark garments containing it retain their colour intensity even when stretched, reducing the ‘grin through shiny effect’ that can make black hosiery look patchy and uneven. Used in lighter garments, it provides better pattern definition and a three-dimensional texture. And with its blackness permanently spun in, it won’t fade even after repeated washing. For true-black, stay-black hosiery, look for the LYCRA® Black fibre label.

LYCRA® Satin Sheers hosiery Lycra Satin Sheers

Hosiery bearing the LYCRA® Satin Sheers label has LYCRA®fibre knitted into at least every second course, alternated with a flat polyamide fibre to give a light, fine, yet strong and stretchy finish. Perfect for parties, this fibre gives a gorgeous sheen yet barely there effect to tights and stockings. It makes your legs look smooth and flawless, but won’t distract from the rest of your outfit. Super comfortable and deceptively strong, LYCRA® Satin Sheers hosiery feels great and gives you confidence. If you are usually shy of revealing your legs, this is the fabric to look out for.

LYCRA® Leg Care hosiery Lycra Leg Care

Not so very long ago, heavily elasticated hosiery had great staying power but it came at a price – swollen achy legs. Peeling your tights off at the end of a big night was as much of a relief as chucking off your heels after two hours on the dancefloor. But new developments mean that this is no longer the case. At the forefront of this new technology is LYCRA® Leg Care hosiery, which uses graduated compression to provide light support at the thigh and increasing levels down towards the ankle, thus encouraging better circulation in the ankles and feet and reducing swelling and discomfort. Available for all kinds of hosiery from sheer to opaque, LYCRA® Leg Care hosiery is a real treat for tired legs.

LYCRA® Soft Comfort fibre Lycra Soft Comfort

Our great grandmothers would have wept at the sight – and feel – of the legwear available to us now, and none more so than that made with LYCRA® Soft Comfort fibre. This is a high density exceptionally stretchy fibre designed for use in waistbands, stocking and sock tops, and legging trims. It stretches further and more easily than conventional elastane, and yet has more recovery power, meaning that hosiery stays put without cutting off your circulation or leaving you with red marks on your skin. By offering gentle shaping without uncomfortable constraint, LYCRA® Soft Comfort fibre is more than likely one of the unsung heroes of your wardrobe.

LYCRA® Xceptionelle hosiery Lycra Xceptionelle

Designed exclusively with the fuller figure in mind, LYCRA® Xceptionelle hosiery is made using LYCRA® Soft Comfort fibre to combine the ultimate in comfort and style. Jam packed with comfort features like non-roll waistbands and a lightweight panty area that eliminates uncomfortable compression, LYCRA® Xceptionelle hosiery doesn't dig in and gets rid of chafing, too - clever!

It also helps you to get the perfect fit, as the front and back of the hosier is not knitted symmetrically to accommodate the natural shape of the body. The combination of knitting and finishing techniques also means no unattractive back panels - it's clear to see that LYCRA® Xceptionelle hosiery has been designed for the fuller figured and fashion conscious woman so that she can live her life in complete comfort - without ever compromising on style.

LYCRA® Energy socks Lycra Energy

If you spend a lot of time on your feet and suffer from heavy, tired legs and swollen ankles, you may think that a more comfortable pair of shoes is the answer. But have you thought about changing your socks? LYCRA® Energy fabric is specifically designed for use in knee-high socks, to make them more comfortable and supportive. LYCRA® fibre is present in every course and graduated compression technology is used from ankle (12-18mm Hg) decreasing gradually up the calf to the to knee (8-13mm Hg). This keeps blood circulating, helping to relieve swelling and puffiness by 25%, so you still feel light on your feet at the end of the day.

LYCRA® SPORT socks Lycra Sport

LYCRA® SPORT fabric has amazing stretch and recovery power so it fits perfectly, ensuring no irritation or discomfort during a workout. LYCRA® SPORT socks are engineered for athletes and active people to provide lasting fit and comfort helping you move and perform at your best, whilst feeling comfortable.

If you see the LYCRA® SPORT label on a pair of socks, for instance, you will know that the fabric contains LYCRA® fibre in every course from top to toe, giving a premium level of elastification in the sock body, and that the sock top contains latex-free LYCRA® Soft Comfort fibre (see above), for extra snugness, comfort & stretch in the sock top. LYCRA® SPORT socks must meet INVISTA standards for premium fit, stretch and recovery, and comfort.

More Power - Better Fit - More Comfort

LYCRA® freshFX® socks Lycra Fresh

Let’s admit it – we all get sweaty feet from time to time. At best it’s uncomfortable and at worst it’s downright embarrassing. But the boffins working on the LYCRA®fibre brand have been hard at work to save you from social shame, and they’ve come up with LYCRA® freshFX®, a fabric that features clever moisture management technology. Based on a wicking action that transfers moisture away from the skin and allows it to evaporate quickly, it helps feet and legs stay fresh and dry, cool and comfortable. So that’s another of life’s little niggles sorted!

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