Happy National Nylon Stockings Day – May 15th
Written by Denise Iatarola, Dr. Comfort Product Manager
It’s 2022 and nylon stockings don’t exactly scream excitement, but that was not always the case. You may be surprised to learn nylon stockings have a long and documented history in America.
Prior to the 1930’s, women’s stockings were a wardrobe staple, made of expensive silk, wool, rayon, cotton, or a combination of these materials with limited stretch and sheerness.
In 1934, Nylon was invented by a team of DuPont researchers led by Wallace Carothers and Julian Hill and touted as synthetic silk, “as strong as steel and as fine as a spider’s web.” Nylon and nylon stockings were introduced to the public in 1939 at the World’s Fair in New York. DuPont unveiled the first 100% synthetic fiber not to a scientific crowd but instead to thousands of women’s club members who were at the fair attending a forum on various topics. They were sold! Commercial production began and by 1940 nylon stockings were available throughout the United States. Within one year, DuPont sold 64 million pairs of nylon stockings. The company decided not to register nylon as a trademark, but to instead allow the word to settle into the American language and soon “nylons” was synonymous with women’s stockings.
Then just as quick as they appeared, nylon stockings were no longer available. In 1941, the U.S. entered World War II and the supply of nylon and silk was taken over by the War Production Board. The material was used to make many different military supplies including parachutes, tents, ropes and even tires. Women across the country donated their used stockings to help the war effort. Nylon stockings previously selling for $1.25 per pair were now a luxury, selling for over $10.00 on the black market.
After the war was over, nylon stockings made a resurgence. Thousands of women stood in line to buy them. In New York, Macy’s sold their entire stock of 50,000 pairs in just 6 hours and in San Francisco, a store was forced to shut down when it was mobbed by 10,000 frenzied shoppers. It would be three years before the supply was able to catch up with the demand.
Today, nylon stockings include many different types of garments capable of providing both fashion and technical function. The addition of spandex in garments beginning in 1958, gave nylon even more stretch and recovery benefits and set the stage for the modern compression stockings.
At Dr. Comfort®, we use nylon and spandex to make compression legwear for men and women, offering knee, thigh, and pantyhose options. Quality compression garments are made with graduated amounts of pressure, tightest at the ankle and lessening going up the leg. Graduated compression helps with circulation and aids blood flow back to the heart, relieving symptoms of vein disorders including pain, swelling and varicose veins.
To learn more about Dr. Comfort® compression stockings visit:
The contents of this blog were independently prepared, and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.
Bellis, Mary. "The History of Nylon Stockings." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/history-of-nylon-stockings-1992195.
Unknown. “The History of Nylon”. LEAFtv. https://www.leaf.tv/articles/the-history-of-nylon/