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Hosiery For Men: Active Skin, or Pantyhose By Any Other Name?

Updated on December 2, 2008

One of my super readers recently shared a link to this site which sells ActivSkin which sells hosiery for men. I took some time to browse around it and it is an interesting site indeed. The premise is that hosiery is for men as much as it is for women, and the designers of activeskin are simply making men's hosiery.

Pictures of men casually wearing what appears to be pantyhose (but is really activskin) to the supermarket and out at the park are scattered about the site, painting an interesting picture of what the world could look like if men wore hosiery as a matter of course.

Are these products tailored for the specific needs of men? Most definitely. There are even hosiery products which include a fly, which would probably make the wearing of hosiery much more convenient for men who wish to use a urinal. (Though it has always been beyond me why men like to do that publicly – that would never fly with women, but that's an unrelated topic alltogether.)

I suppose the only slightly irksome facet of the site is the constant denial that there might be anything remotely femine about wearing hosiery. It would seem to me (and feel free to correct me here), that many men who wear hosiery do it to feel 'softer' – perhaps even more feminine. Whilst there are undoubtedly men who wear hosiery solely for the pleasure of the sensation, but from the comments hereabouts, those guys would seem to be in the minority. There's nothing wrong with being in a minority of course, but there's no need to pretend that it is actually a majority.

I enjoyed the disclaimer 'this is not a pantyhose f3t1sh site' (they didn't use the crafty numbers to avoid the contextual black hole that word will plunge you into) which adorns the bottom of each page. That probably doesn't help with search engines who simply see the term 'pantyhose f3t1sh' and classify it as such a site, and it is too small and far down the page to be noticeable to the average reader, so whilst the point is well made, the implementation might need a little work.

Niot picking niggly points aside, this side represents the manifestation of a real change in men's fashions. The ability to purchase high quality mens hosiery indicates the beginnings of a clothing revoplution for men. If we can just quit clinging to the 'don't worry you guys, its totally masculine' line being trotted out, there may be greater freedom for men who enjoy embracing the feminine.


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    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I love to wear thigh hi's or gartered stockings. My wife allows but make snide


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I started wearing hose because of a leg injury a few months ago. I enjoy the feel and will continue to wear. If it feels good, it's helping with a medical condition and I enjoy it, I'll keep doing it.

    • CAG profile image


      9 years ago from New jersey usa

      Those just for men hose are way to expensive. I just go to the store and buy some hose made by JUST MY SIZE. They fit well and last a long time. I am a rather tall burly man and I have no problem wearing them. and as for the varicose veins I suffer from them too. Not fun by any means but they did introduce me to hosiery so something good came out of it.

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      9 years ago

      Keith, you very much misunderstood my meaning regarding varicose veins, etc, I have replied on the original article.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Why should tights/pantyhose considered feminine? Just because the recent fashion trend has been for women to wear them? I say this because in history men wore them first! Ha, another example of how a mans garment has been pinched, feminized and declared off limits to men!

      Also the issue is not about reassuring the male wearer but changing the judgmental minds of those who stereotype the male wearer as being gay or perverted.

      BTW Support pantyhose do help guys with leg problems such as varicose veins, they work for me!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think Hope raises a very interesting point about sites for so-called revolutionary approaches to clothing, trumpeting the "see, it' really is masculine" approach. Quite honestly, I agree with Hope's assertion that most of us (well, at least I) wear hosiery or whatever to feel more feminine. Rather than trying to justify it to the bejesusbelt, I'm a little more comfortable with the metrosexual concept than trying to wage a fight that we're destined to lose. I prefer to go for a new construct, where I use admittedly baby steps to create a look that's making me more feminine but still clearly shows I'm a man. For example, I used to shave my legs and wear short ladies' casual nylon shorts in public. From the waist up I'd just wear an ordinary tee shirt. I loved the way it made me look and feel and I never sensed strange looks or disapproval.

      By the way, concerning GoneNylons' great post above, back in the old Regis and Kathie Lee days, they had a show where hunky men were modeling short skirts by some European designer. Regis didn't say much but looked decidedly uncomfortable, but the vacuous bimbo tried to humiliate the guys by saying things like, "Now twirl, honey" (that kind of humiliation might be welcome in certain bedroom contexts, but on that show it appeared mean and condescending).

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      9 years ago

      Wow! Thanks for the in depth review, Gone Nylon! That's really going to be very useful for a lot of men.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Some observations on ActivSkin (, as promised:

      Caveat 1: I have a past history with hosiery, having been involved in theatre in the past and thereby having had my fair share of exposure to Shakespeare in the contemporary clothing of the era. Tights. Big deal. I also chose later to try women's dancewear tights in lieu of long underwear much as Comfilon notes on their website.

      ActivSkins are pretty good, and obviously different from what we guys are used to when we have to wander into the Hosiery department and get lost in all those charts and letters and various regal titles in the Ladies section (i.e. A, B, C, D; 1x, 2x, 3x; Queen, Duchess, Marquessa, etc.; height, weight, zodiac sign, political party, favorite Beatle) Comfilon's sizing is straight-forward and not difficult to comprehend.

      Women and men do, indeed, have different shapes and the knitting process bears that out. Comfilon's ActivSkin is definitely made for guys, with an obvious frontward accomodation even in the styles without a fly-front, so as not to squish us, and a backside that acknowledges that we don't have as much in that area.

      The waists are also cut lower, and are hindered not by any design flaw, but, again, by what we males don't have, i.e. a natural skeletal structure that contributes to holding up the garment. I mgiht, in the future, want to try their longer sizes to see if I can get the "control top" effect Comfilon mentions. Got Beerbelly? You might want to check these out.

      The construction itself demonstrates a commitment to quality; the pricing, shipping and customer service are all quite personal and very competent.

      The hose themselves were extremely comfortable on my legs and were, in fact, invigorating over the course of long relatively cold days of standing, walking and sitting. With typical long underwear, I'd have been entirely too warm during most of the time. As it was, I remained perfectly comfortable in each circumstance.

      I tried them both with and without other underwear underneath. While wearing them "commando" isn't overtly unpleasant, I did find I prefered some sort of underwear underneath them, as the close knit was prone to become annoying in areas where more voluminous hair could get pulled into the weave (sorry, Hope, trying not to be graphic here, but facts is facts). Ultimately, I opted for a nylon/lycra panty under the ActivSkins. Guys who are put off by the idea of "panties" do have some options, ranging from mens nylon/microfiber bikinis to their old reliable tighty whities. I just can't see trying to wrestle these over boxers. Square pegs and round holes and all that.

      A note on leg hair: I tried the ActivSkins first with my normal thatch of leg hair. Since I don't have a closet full of 8-yard scottish kilts, the aesthetics of leg hair under pantyhose wasn't an issue. I wore them for an entire, ordinary day, and took them off at bedtime as I undressed. I must confess to doing some considerable scratching and rubbing of my legs, much as is the case when I remove a pair of overtight above-the-calf socks. For the second round, I shaved my legs, moisturized after just as I do my face, and found the ActivSkins an absolute delight. I won't say it was "sensual," or bore any resemblance to sexuality, but was more like an all-day massage (previously mentioned issues notwithstanding).

      As between styles of clothing, the ActivSkins were utilitarian under a pair of jeans, but magnificent under a thinner pair of suit trousers.

      Being guys, we deal with some ordinary human functions differently from females. Let's just say that was no more hassle than any guy who's ever played baseball, footballl, worn swim trunks or wrestled has had to contend with.

      Overall, I hope Comfilon can stay in business in the U.S. They also carry a French brand and it appears this notion has caught on more there than here in the Land of the Tee (Shirt) and the Home of the Brief. If their testimonials are any indication, they will. The next step, of course, is for men to actually admit wearing them.

      These are uncertain economic times and I'm sure Comfilon isn't insulated (ha!) against the ups and downs of the market. Nonetheless, I'd like to see them expand their ranges and have told them so. We guys like more than plain black, tan and blue socks under our jeans, chinos and suit pants. More colors and more patterns would afford more men the opportunity to try them and coordinate them with elements of inspired menswear choices.

      EDITORIAL MOMENT: Here in the U.S., Comfilon's ActivSkin pantyhose for men were recently featured on NBC's "Today" show. I watched the segment online. It was, of course, appalling. The segment opened with a reference to American footballer Joe Namath's 1973 television commercial in which he donned a pair of pantyhose in exchange for no small amount of money. Kathy Lee Gifford and her co-host hee-hawed like the braying asses they are at the idea of "men wearing pantyhose," stretched them and tugged them for the camera like five-year-old girls who'd made their first disovery of Mommy's panty drawer and made some "Ewwwww" noises and expressions at the idea of men wearing them. I'm sure Comfilon's senior partner was watching and I could almost feel him rubbing his temples, saying "No, no, no . . . NO!" as the gaggle unfolded.

      It appeared that Kathy Lee and co-host were quite threatened by the concept. They couldn't imagine the earth continuing to rotate on its axis or the sun rising on a world of (Reverb effect, please) Men . . . in . . . pantyhose (hose . . . hose. . . hose).

      It was juvenile and awkward and sad and heterosexist and bigoted. Comfilon's website features testimonials from, among others, firefighters who wear these "pantyhose for men" in the course and scope of their duties. One wonders if Kathy Lee, in mid-scream, would tell a rescuing fireman "Put me DOWN you big sissy! I'll burn before I'll be rescued by the likes of YOU!" if she found he had some of those Pantyhose o' Doom encasing his manly firefighter loins.

      While I was thus pontificating, my wife simply looked at the two simpering simpletons and said "What a pair of twits." She's like a Haiku master, my wife. She cuts with a scalpel, where I bludgeon with a vebal cudgel.

      Caveat 2: I've thusfar only tried the pantyhose. I hope to try the tights soon, and even the garter stockings with the panty girdle as my budget permits. I'll report back on those, as well. I've tried both the 100% nylon and the nylon/lycra blends. There's no comparison there. Get the lycra blends, guys. The nylon just doesn't have the staying power to get through a guy's kind of day.

      At this stage, I can highly recommend these pantyhose. Comfilon's on to something and I hope men will support the company's uniquely liberating efforts. And, hey! They're made in the U.S.! No little slave children are making them for two cents a day in some sweatshop. That's a good thing. Think I'll mention that to some of my union buddies. They're all about "Buy American" these days. Well, fellas, time to put the pantyhose where your wallet goes!

      Thanks for the chance to share, Hope. I hope I've helped in some small regard.

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      9 years ago

      Sweet! Please do report back, GoneNylon..

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Just ordered some today. I'll report back on them once they arrive.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Hope once again another great subject to debate. I personally love the feel of stockings on freshly shaved legs, its simply the best feeling when you wear them under long pants and walk for miles what with the support they give your legs.I prefer stay ups as you don't have to battle to go to the necessarium its just the panties you have to get down not the whole the hubs keep up the good work maybe one day we will have equality of the sexes as far as our clothes are concerned anyway.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think the number of men wearing pantyhose is increasing. The problem is that many men still hide their wearing. If one would see a man wearing a pantyhose more often, many would join to wear in public. So far a lot of men fear that it is not socially accepted.

      If special pantyhose for men are nessessary is another issue. So far I think pantyhose are unisex clothes and can be worn by men and women.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      G'Day Hope

      With the cool weather now returning to the northern hemosphere, many a man will be able to once again enjoy the silky feel of pantyhose.

      Steve at Comfilon /Aktivskin, has been making and selling mens pantyhose for some time for a market who didn't like wandering down the hosery aisles. Feel aside, pantyhose make a great weighted layer in winter and worn with shorts, gives a new dimention to what can only be described as "Boring', mens wear. is another site worth a visit to see some great photos of men in a variety of specialy designed pantyhose.

      Still, the push for a change in our wardrobes are being stalled and their minds are not easily swayed. Untill alternative mens wear is given serious runway time and not trotted out as a novelty item, we will be still fighting to gain some fashion freedom for a very long time to come.

      Time to slip into some sexy waist sox. Why would anyone wear pantyhose. :)).


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