Elastane was invented in 1959 by the company DuPont after 10 years of intensive research. It is a synthetic fiber derived from polyurethane which is much more resistant than traditional latex and revolutionized the underwear and socks industry as well as other areas of the clothing industry.
In anglo-saxon countries, elastane is also called Spandex which is a synonym. Lycra is a registered trade-mark under which elastane is sold.
Elastane was used by the textile industry because of its elasticity. It allows the fabrication of underwear and socks with a higher level of comfort. It also allows more audacious shapes and creation. It's typically because of elastane that the textile industry has been able to create clothes which are more and more tight.
Underwear having a small quantity of elastane are more adjustables than underwear made of 100% cotton. Elastane is often used in unique size socks as it allows less model variations and less inventory costs for the producers.
Advantages of elastane can be summarized as follows:
Contrary to latex which can be a source of allergy, elastane itself doesn't seem to provoque allergic reactions. But, during the fabrication process of the fiber, some components like the toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and the diphenylmethylene diisocyanate (MDI) can bring to an allergy to clothes containing elastane if there is any residual presence of these components. Conscious producers verify that the final product doesn't contain any TDI or MDI so that the final product is not allergenic (contrary to latex).
For sensitive people, we recommend to buy 100% natural fiber products, (example: 100% cotton socks) and to avoid any synthetic fibers like microfibers. Choose products without elastic. It's the best way to avoid allergies. We indicate the exact composition on all of our products, so it's easy to verify before purchasing.
You will also find the Eco-Tex Standard 100 mention on the descriptions of all products which are certified by this quality certification authority. For more information on the label Eco-Tex Standard 100, it's here.
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