Difference Between Lycra and Spandex

Lycra vs Spandex

There are some garments in our wardrobe that stretch and give us a lot of comfort while we wear them. There are certain fabrics with an inbuilt stretch. This is because of the material called spandex that is used while making these fabrics. There is another word Lycra that is in vogue and used by many people as if it is a synonym for Spandex. This article attempts to remove all confusion from the minds of the readers between the two terms Lycra and Spandex.


Lycra is the name of a special fiber manufactured by Dupont. Dupont is a multinational company and a leader in making many types of paints and chemicals. Lycra is an elastic fiber that is mixed with other fibers, to make garments that are stretchable. The name Lycra has become so popular that people talk in terms of this brand name whenever they want to refer to a material or fabric that is stretchable.


Spandex is the generic name of material that is stretchable and retains its shape when left free. This property of the material makes it very useful in the manufacture of undergarments and lowers that have to be worn without a belt or any hook. Spandex is not a natural substance like latex but has great elasticity. This polymer was invented in 1959 and given the name spandex as an anagram that is made up with the same letters that make up expands. The invention of spandex revolutionized the manufacturing of undergarments as it could be used in them to fit the waist of the person wearing them because of its elasticity. In the entire North American subcontinent, people know this fabric as Lycra while, in Europe, the term elastane is used to refer to the fiber called spandex.

Lycra vs Spandex

• Lycra is to spandex as Levis is to denim.

• Lycra is only the trade name whereas spandex is the generic name of the material.

• Spandex is a fiber or polymer that was invented in 1959 and had great elasticity.

• Lycra is the spandex manufactured by Dupont Company.

• People use the word Lycra when what they want to refer to is spandex.

• Spandex is mixed with other fibers to make garments that are stretchable.

• Spandex is not natural latex and is made in laboratories.

• All Lycra is spandex, but not all spandex is Lycra.

• Spandex is called elastane in entire Europe while, in North America, it remains Lycra for the people.

• The use of Lycra for spandex is like calling all cars Ford.

• Garments made for sportspersons specially contains Lycra to make it stretchable for comfort while making bodily movements.