man in a chair wearing neutral colored pantyhose for leg pain or fatigue

Q. My husband is a waiter and is on his feet all day long. When he comes home he has to prop his feet up for hours because they ache so badly.

He read in the paper that some men are wearing pantyhose to relieve varicose veins and now he wants me to buy him some. I’m having a hard time imagining him in women’s pantyhose. Does someone make an equivalent for men that would have a fly?

A. We located a men’s support leotard that has a fly. According to the manufacturer, Ames Walker, it provides the same medically approved graduated compression found in support hosiery. It is called AW Style 234, Firm Support Men’s Fly Front Leotard.

Operating room nurses, surgeons, bank tellers, cashiers and other people who must spend hours on their feet find compression hosiery helpful in combating circulatory problems and leg fatigue. Support stockings are also valuable on long airplane flights to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the veins of legs.

Here are some stories from others who have benefitted from support hose:

“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 baring their legs in different outfits such as dresses and skirts.”

“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 valves 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.”

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  1. Gino
    N. C.

    you would be amazed in 2006 ,once I discovered they made mens pantyhose.
    I started wearing good quality sheer hose with my business suits formal wear and dress clothes.
    they are perfect for sore legs and feet.
    in the fall and winter if you have any type or form of arthritis nylons help big time!
    just adapt pose to your personal style few people notice or mention

  2. Frank

    I wear them to help with tired legs. I do a lot of outside work and they also help keep the bug bites down like ants when I weed wack their nest. My wife is ok with it to, not for sex but keeping my legs healthy.
    Medium support has really helped my legs and toned them as well. only gone out in public twice in shorts in late evening, only one lady asked if I was wearing pantyhose. I said yes and told her why. Her reply was nice legs.

    • andrew

      well done, go out wearing them more, after a while it will become second nature, I go out all the time now, no-one really bothers.

  3. andrew

    I am male, 54, 5ft 10″, 200lbs. I wear L’eggs Sheer Energy Active Support Hose every day, you can get them at walmart for $4+, choose the ones with red flash saying Active Support. I choose the nude color rather than the suntan. The suntan is a bit dark, the nude is almost clear, you still can tell if you really look closely.
    I wear them all day at work under my pants and then on an evening with shorts, can’t live without them, in fact I can’t wait to get them back on again in the morning, my legs feels so much better when I have them on. Don’t worry about the “funny looks”, no-one really cares what you looks like, they are too bothered about themselves. I had one girl once asked me, are you wearing pantyhose, I just said yes, I have varicose veins. She was very understanding. My wife and mother both support me. And hey your legs look FAR better than bare legged anyway.

  4. Roger D.

    my leg pain is gone after taking a herb for a few weeks

  5. mike

    I have worn medical grade compression pantyhose 30-40 for over 5 years. I started with knee highs 15 years ago and then went to thigh highs for two years. The pantyhose are much more comfortable for me. If I don’t wear them, my legs and feet ache and I get very light headed when I bend over and then stand up. I have been diagnosed with venous issues. I also fly almost weekly and half the time internationally. I could not ever be comfortable without them. I wear them golfing, working, flying, lounging. I wish I did not have to wear them because I cannot wear shorts anymore in the summer. However, they are not as hot as expected once you remove the hair.
    I wear opaque black/brown to work with suits and a more sheer product with jeans and when I fly because is is much cooler and it also allows the jeans to slide over the fabric instead of catching on same.
    If you have not tried them, you should. Buy the best brand you can afford because I think the better brands fit better. I forget I have them on.

  6. GFS

    Nice replies by both MSR and Lindsay/Eric.
    Due to the advice I got from a female doctor while being treated for another issue I have also worn support hose for years to help relieve the fatigue in my legs from standing for the majority of a ten hour shift for my job. It did indeed make a tremendous change in the way my lower half felt at the end of the day. However, in my experience, it is just about impossible to get the majority of people who read this to believe what a difference this can make. I had a hard time convincing my own wife!
    Several questions need to be asked to the original poster that I have not seen here before saying that wearing support hose will help her husband or not.
    1) How is his weight? Even as little as ten pounds on my own six foot frame is a huge difference in how I feel at the end of the day. (175 works great for me. Right now I am at 185 and I feel sluggish and ‘heavy’)
    2) How are his shoes? Your feet have more nerve centers that connect to other areas of your body than you can imagine. Good shoes are worth their weight in gold.
    3) Is he in good shape? I can handle the load much better (so to speak) if I am in decent shape. Even at the plus side of fifty I try to put in about 15-20 miles per week of running. I noticed a huge difference when recuperating from a car accident that hindered my exercise routine for quite a while. Felt like I had the Dead Leg syndrome a lot more often.
    My advice: Try it! What can it hurt? But remember, it may take several attempts to find a type or brand that works best for you fit and comfort wise. (See Lindsay’s post above). Also, stick with each style for at least a week before making any conclusions about the effectiveness. Don’t go drugstore cheap as it will be a waste of time and money. You need to find Good graduated support hose. Does not need to be medical grade because you are not trying to treat DVT or other medical conditions.
    Good Luck.

  7. MSR

    I have worn compression pantyhose on long distance flights to Australia many times and they are very effective. Helen M is right in saying that they are difficult to get on. They are. Especially getting them over the foot area when initially donning them. I have quite a struggle I must say. As a male I am not used to putting on full length hosiery although it is second nature to most women – but – like anything else that is worth doing – there is a price to pay.
    Long flights used to be difficult as I get very fidgety legs to the point where it would drive me nuts sitting in one place even for a short period of time. On a 15 hour flight from LA to Sydney it is purgatory. My wife of course never had this problem so (at her suggestion) I ordered a pair of full length (waist high/pantyhose whatever you want to call them) hosiery. What a difference. Just amazing. Yes I did have problems putting them on and yes I did feel a bit self conscious wearing a garment designed for a woman – but what a difference.
    I had tried the socks before but the full length garment (pantyhose) are much much more effective. So much more support over the entire leg. I never ever go on any flight without my support pantyhose and I wear them just about every day. They are invigorating and the best thing for both male and female legs. I simply do not understand why these are marketed only to women.
    They fit me perfectly well and are very comfortable although I was careful to ensure that I got the right size. Do not have a problem using the men’s room with them on and overall they are comfortable to wear. At the end of a long day or a long flight I really thank the guy or gal that invented them. The support is well worth the effort in getting them on whether you are a man or a woman.

  8. Lindsay & erik

    Hello there.
    It is sad that this page’s original answer ‘said’ that they only came up with “we found a Men’s leotard…” – – There are well over 25 companies that make Pantyhose specifically for Men. Including;
    Smart Hold
    Black Horse
    Shivers USA
    & many more big companies
    As so many, most, comments on such articles/questions/blogs around the web are from the same “complainers-without-thinking” types, we shall try to remind those people of some simple facts. Men have obviously worn Pantyhose/Tights FAR longer throughout history than Woman. Think of Robin Hood, British scholars, George Washington, Italian guards, European nobles, Winter-kilted Scotsmen, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Oscar Wilde, etc… Men would proudly show their calf muscles in sheer Hosiery long before Women would dare show even a glimpse of her ankle. [Charles Dickens wrote about “Tights/Stockings/Hosiery” many times and even specifically about this: One excerpt is: “He had a good leg on him. His brown stockings fitted sleek and close, and were of a fine texture.” (‘Tale of two cities’)].
    Also, we are talking about a garment (clothing). It is sad that so most people are so simple-minded that they would think this changes a Man’s sex or his/others outlook, etc. Whether they know history or not.
    – Support Pantyhose especially will do wonders for most anyone that feels they need better blood circulation, more muscle assistance against fatigue, more spring in their step, better knee support, more warmth, the slight massage happening whilst walking, etc.
    Also, “Helen” wrote-
    – “They take forever (difficult) to get on.”
    They are smooth, soft and sleek. If you find them that difficult to simply smooth-on, then you are buying many sizes too small.
    – “Expensive.”
    We have the internet and many stores to choose from. On ‘ebay’ alone you can easily find your favorites for usually 1/4 the price.
    – “Opaque are difficult to find”.
    What country do you live in? Super-markets, drug stores, discount stores, Macy’s, J.C. Penney’s, Sears, Wal-mart, K-mart, dollar stores, thrift stores, Clothing stores, accessory stores, High Fashion stores, Pantyhose stores & ebay all have them.
    – “we are told, by various manufacturers, that the hose need to be replaced every three to six months…”
    We have studied Hosiery for decades now and have never really heard that, though we did hear 1 or 2 companies say that very sheer Pantyhose (2 dollar pair) should last between 2 months and 8 months (Given the complaints they were tallying). But again, this was from a very cheap pair, and from people complaining, etc. Also, to point out the obvious here; a company wants you to buy more, not less. So they shant tell you to hold on to them forever. ($) When you have a pair of high quality luxury Pantyhose, as long as you treat them well (file those nails!) they should last a long time. Of course they are far more delicate than a burlap bag, but we don’t want to feel that against our sensitive skin. We have and also know friends that have certain pairs of Pantyhose that are over 10 Years old.
    (if you only tried a beat-up old smelly, ripped seats “Yugo” car, would you base your idea of all cars on that 1?).

  9. Helen M

    I wear compression stockings for medical reasons, also have a drawer full of discarded and/or never used compression pantyhose. Firstly, they take forever to get on, and then every time I walk into the bathroom, I have almost the same problem again. Secondly they are expensive, and the opaque, which last longer, cost more and are more difficult to find. Thirdly, we are told, by various manufacturers, that the hose need to be replaced every three to six months, depending on how many you have. How does the above get his to last years?
    I use the thigh highs that have the silicone band, even tho the silicone loses its ability to hold the stocking up over time, and I usually buy the better brand names. The knee highs are too constricting, just below the knee, and really hurt by the end of the day. Garter belts were OK when I was a kid, but old legs don’t work well with them. I have idiopathic edema, (which is much better since I had lymphedema massage) and tissue degeneration because of the up and down of the fluid, day to night to day. Must wear the stockings to slow down, considerably, this problem, called chronic stasis. I was diagnosed and prescribed the stockings in March 2003.

  10. Cindy B.

    I certainly agree with Scott. Ordinary pantyhose aren’t at all effective for relieving leg pain and combating vein problems. You’d have to get “support” pantyhose or, better yet, medical compression hosiery. And yes, the hose are mainly effective from the knee down.

  11. mb

    I had a standing job for years and always wore knee high (good quality) support stockings. (as they say “don’t leave home without them”)

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