Lycra vs Spandex: Find the Key Differences

Last updated on November 29th, 2023 at 03:16 pm


When you buy your favorite t-shirt, shorts or underwear, the first thing you look at is the garment fibre label. Again, when you give preference to comfort, then you want to choose an elastic type of fabric. Then, you look on the clothing label or hang tags for lycra or spandex fibre. Sometimes you find spandex, sometimes lycra. And here comes the confusion, both the two fibres are the same or have any difference.

Difference between Lycra and Spandex.

First, it is fair to say that both lycra and spandex are the same; only the name or brand name is different. However, through this article, we will learn about the history, chemical composition, properties, applications, durability, comfort, availability, costs, technical points and labelling guide of the fibre.


Lycra, or spandex, is a manufactured fibre also called elastane is famous for its excellent elasticity. It is often blended with other fibres like cotton to provide expanse and flexibility. It is used in various clothing items (may be knitted or woven), including sportswear, swimwear, leggings, panties, and even bras.

Its specialty is it can stretch several times (7 times) its original length and can return to its original shape when released. The stretchability makes it a constrained choice for clothing items that serve comfort and tight-fitting shape. It was first developed by the chemical company DuPont. It is now widely used in the textile and fashion industry to enhance the stretch and comfort of clothing.

Difference between Lycra and Spandex

Points of ViewLycraSpandex
HistoryIn 1962, lycra was developed by an American multinational chemical company named DuPont de Nemours, Inc. in short DuPont.In 1959, the same company DuPont first invented spandex, as the prototype of lycra.  
NameLycra® is a trademark and brand name of DuPont Company.It is the generic name of elastane fibre.
Chemical Composition  The primary composition of lycra is polyurethane.The primary composition of spandex is also polyurethane, but the production processes and quality control measures are different.
PropertiesIt is popular for its stretchability.It is popular for its flexibility.
ApplicationsIt is used to make activewear, medical equipment, upholstery, and even automotive textiles.It is primarily used in the textile industry but also used in the production of bungee cords and disposable diapers.
Durability and PerformanceIt is popular for its durability and is commonly used in high-performance sportswear.It may vary in quality, with some types offering good durability while others may be less resilient. It is used to make activewear.
Comfort and FeelIt is often favored for its soft and comfortable texture, making it suitable for close-fitting and comfortable garments.As different manufacturers produce spandex, it cannot offer the same comfort and feel like lycra.
Availability and Cost  As it is a premium material, it costs higher. It is not available in all countries.It costs less and is available in any country.


In conclusion, although lycra and spandex are different in term, they are the same fibre. Understanding the history, chemical composition, properties, applications, durability, comfort, availability, and cost of lycra and spandex provides valuable insights into their distinctions. Whether you prefer the superior durability and soft texture of lycra or the wider availability and varying price points of spandex, both materials offer unique advantages suitable for various applications.

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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