Elastane, Lycra, and Spandex. Three different types of human-made fibers, three very different experiences when you wear shorts made from each.
Or are they?
Spandex, Lycra, and elastane are actually all words for the same fiber, created by a scientist working for the DuPont corporation in 1958. The fiber’s central quality is its ability to stretch and then go back to its original size; it was originally given the name Spandex as a variation on “expands.”
Elastane is simply what people in much of Europe call Spandex. Elastane is, arguably, the more correct term since Spandex is made of elastic material.
In Spain, the UK, Portugal, Australia, and parts of South America, Spandex is called Lycra. This is after the brand name used in that part of the world.
We point all this out because, as always, we want you to make an educated decision, having all the knowledge you need at hand. If you see a pair of shorts being advertised as “contains Spandex and Lycra,” you may want to pass by.