Q. My siblings have had varicose veins. I don’t yet, but my legs used to ache from being on my feet too long at work. In addition, I work in areas with tall weeds and need a way to keep ticks from attaching to my legs.
My lady friend suggested pantyhose. Wearing them solved both problems.
A 100 percent nylon leg (ultra sheer) with a control top actually offers better support than expensive support hose.
They itch if I wear them for hours, so I tried wearing them inside out. That improved comfort to such an extent that I forget I’m wearing them. They’re great for eliminating chafing in the thighs when I ride my bike. With a little care I can get two weeks from one pair.
A. We first heard about men wearing pantyhose for leg support several years ago. Your solution may seem a bit unusual, but you are by no means the only man who finds this helpful.
Here’s one reader’s comment: “There is no reason to buy really expensive support hose if you can find a good pair of women’s pantyhose that give the support you’re looking for. I’m a 6-foot tall male who weighs over 200 pounds. I have found two styles that fit and feel great: firm and medium leg toning support. I wear size F.”
If you appreciate unusual recommendations like this one, you might want to get our free electronic newsletter. Just add your email address in the box provided.

Join Over 75,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Larry T
    Kankakee, IL.

    Here in the Midwest it gets very hot during the summer. If I wear them under my pants, they get very hot and I sweat greatly. So should I wear then under my knee length basketball shorts?

  2. Jerry J.
    New Mexico

    I have been wearing Nylon Pantyhose for several years now and they truly help leg fatigue. I try to wear nylons with some compression, though not medical grade. They also, in the main, feel very good as well. I try, weather permitting, to wear 24/7. My wife is very accepting as well.

  3. robbie r.

    I too wear them and don’t care who knows. I have been wearing them for 5 years at least. I buy no nonsense sheer support for summer and wear the heaver stronger ones during winter or when I’m going to be on concrete longer, as my legs kill me at night if I don’t wear them. and its not muscle pain its nerve and bone, but they work.

    Also, our us military wear them when they come to Ft. Bragg in NC to keep chiggers from latching on- they work well.

  4. robbie r.

    I too wear them and don’t care who knows. I have been wearing them for 5 years at least. I buy no nonsense sheer support for summer and wear the heaver stronger ones during winter or when I’m going to be on concrete longer, as my legs kill me at night if I don’t wear them. and its not muscle pain its nerve and bone, but they work.

  5. Mike H.

    I have been wearing full leg hosiery for about 11 months. This is at the direction of my physician/surgeon following 2 knee replacement surgeries. However I do NOT wear any ultra sheer pantyhose like Legg’s. I have to wear gradient compression hosiery. This has mercury to squeeze the veins for ailments like I have- edema- or chronic venous insufficiency. The blood pools toward the ankle and swells, not going back up to the heart sufficiently. That is what the medical gradient compression hosiery or “support hose” are to do. I have swelling above the knee, requiring me to wear full leg hosiery such as thigh high stockings and pantyhose. I wear everyday, and here in the Upper Midwest, they keep me warm. In the summer I wear only to the office under my trousers, and most of the time wear shorts without the hose. My edema is mild and I do watch the swelling.

    Now regular pantyhose like Legg’s and Hanes can help against muscle fatigue and achiness as the pantyhose massages and energize especially the legs. I wear the compression hose at work when sitting or standing too long. However when going out dancing with my wife (a nurse who approves me wearing hosiery), I slop into Hanes, Legg’s or No Nonsense pantyhose. So I’m all for men wearing pantyhose and stockings even if some don’t have the same medical condition like me. As to wearing shorts with my hose on in public, I’ve only done it once traveling out of town on business., where people don’t know me. Another time was going to get gas in my car when it was dark. Still working on my courage. All in all pantyhose are wonderful.

  6. andrew

    I agree with CINDY that sheer or ultra sheer (ie very thin material) would do nothing other than looks, you have to go for ones that are “support” and my opinion is that more support (ie the tighter they are) is better. The “real” support hose sold by medical companies are real difficult to get on and can be costly and sometimes look unsightly. My compromise is “active support hose”, not that sheer but fairly cheap and do the job for me.

  7. andrew

    Been wearing pantyhose every day for a while now and it does help to eliminate leg fatigue and helps with varicose veins. I stand all day at work in a restaurant. I recommend L’eggs Active Support Leg Nude Queen size; they cost under $5 at Walmart and come in a small blue and white square box.

    I am 5′ 10″ and 200lbs and they fit me perfectly. I get several weeks wear out of each. I wear them under my uniform pants during the day and under shorts at other times. No-one seems to notice much or if they do they don’t mention it. If you wear the nude color it just looks like you have tanned legs, the only other color is suntan which is more noticeable as they are a little too much false looking color.

    My wife, family and doctor all approve

  8. D B

    I have been wearing pantyhose since 2009 after my open heart surgery at the suggest of my Doctor and my Cardiologist to help prevent blood clots and to massage my legs, my VA Doc even supports this as well, my wife has no problem with it and supports me to no end. About a year after I started wearing them, I shaved my legs at my daughters suggestion and started wearing them with shorts, I live in WA State and wear them year round under shorts(even in the snow). I find them very comfortable and a joy to wear, even the ladies in town that know me and my wife tell us my legs should be insured and I tell them they are for $8.00. Not one person in our town of 600 has said a word not made a joke about it, Some of the men have even started wearing them. But not openly yet. I hope that someday they are recognized as men’s clothing as well.

  9. tanklegs

    I love wearing full support pantyhose they fit my legs so nice and very comfortable and they help my bad leg circulation and they totally take care and control my intense back pain.
    I encourage all men to wear them if they need or just want to wear them because they truly work wonders for u and never feel ashamed at all because there is a very high percentage of men wearing them with no problems at all so all men need to do what ever they have to or want to do. No matter what anybody thinks at all.

  10. Scott S

    I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I do know what works well in eliminating the swelling in my lower extremities … and it ain’t pantyhose!
    Due to the diagnosis of damaged valving in my veins, I have worn support hose for the past three years. I doubt that “ultra sheer” pantyhose would provide the same degree of support. I also see no added benefit whatsoever in constraining the thigh when most issues occur below the knee.
    I’m also very “snug” (cheap), and would much rather pay ten bucks or more for a good pair of black support hose that last YEARS, over the endless expense of replacing pantyhose. My wife is envious for this reason alone.

  11. Cindy B.

    I really can’t understand why sheer or, especially, “ultra sheer” pantyhose could possibly provide support for varicose veins. You have to get the “support hose” variety of pantyhose, which is thicker and tougher, and fits more tightly, so as to hold in the varicosities and give the leg the structural support it needs. Would this not be correct?

  12. DJG

    Wish I could find pantyhose that fit well! LOL! If I were smart I should start a business making pantyhose for men.

  13. Rick B.

    I know men that have been using panty hose for years in scuba diving including myself. The panty hose provide a couple of advantages – first of all they allow the wet suit to go on substantially easier and it comes off easier. Secondly they keep a person warmer when diving, especially in cooler waters and in cooler weather. I have also seen men use panty hose when using dry suits in extremely cold waters. They look a little strange but they work so who cares how they look.
    Once I started wearing panty hose when I was diving made me realize how smart females were to wear them when bearing their legs in different outfits such as dresses and skirts.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.