My love of spandex goes back as far as I can remember. I loved comic books and superhero cartoons as a kid; I was obsessed with Batman ’66 and Christopher Reeves in the old Superman movies. Later, when my sexuality began to assert itself, it was clear that spandex gear on guys turned me on instantly. There was a guy named Derek in my junior high gym class who loved to wear spandex shorts, and I was obsessed with how they looked on him. I wanted spandex shorts for myself as badly as I wanted him.
How did you get the name Capitan Spandex?
It goes back to a joke that my friends and I had in university about a superhero whose only actual “superpower” was that he wore spandex – as much spandex as humanly possible. I secretly took it to heart, because I feel like a superhero when I’m wearing spandex gear… and the name has stuck.
You wear all spandex to the gym, in the pics you post on Instagram. Do you have any reactions at the gym either positive or negative?
It may be a function of where I live (in Western Canada, where everyone has opinions, but nobody shares them), but most of the reactions I get are positive. The hardest part about wearing tights openly in the gym was doing it the first time – and it took a while to work up to it for fear of what people might think. The first time I did it — terrified — I wore plain black tights and tried to look confident. It was almost shocking to me that nobody seemed to care.
Over time, I’ve gotten more and more brave about spandex gear in the gym and public (I also wear tights regularly, as everyday wear, when the weather’s good in the summer) and plain black tights now almost absent from my collection. I pick some designs because I like them, and some because I wonder if they’ll finally hit the “limit” of accessibility at the gym and attract different attention. More often than not, I get a thumbs-up from people. At worst, people tell me I’m brave or that I pull off the look well. At the end of the day, though: what matters is what makes me feel good when I work out.
May guys want to go full on spandex at the gym (no shorts over), what advice would you give them?
I can promise, based on personal experience, that it’s only terrifying the first time, and just up until the moment you start your first lift.
I feel like it took months for me to get to the point where I was confident enough to walk onto the gym floor in full tights, with no shorts. On the day that I finally forced myself to do it, I packed tights in my gym bag with no shorts and no other option: if I wanted to work out, there was going to be only one thing to wear. I dressed in the locker room, walked out to fill my water bottle, and expected there to be a line of people pointing and laughing. But nobody cared. Nobody noticed. Nobody said a word. I did my workout, felt amazing, and have worn tights every day since.
Most people in the gym are there to get their workout done. They don’t care what you wear nearly as much as they care about whether or not you put your weights away or wipe down your bench.
Wearing shorts over your tights is more conspicuous. It looks like you’re confident in your body but afraid of your genitalia. Take off the shorts.
I keep a couple of retorts in my back pocket, in case I need them to respond to a heckler in the gym. I’ve never had to use them. If someone were to mock my attire, I’d say “you wish you could make tights look this good.” If someone were to call me a faggot, I’d say “you’re darn right. Why – you want some?”
Who are your favorite brands for gym gear?What are the must-have pairs in your collection you think all guys would have in their gym bag?
For workouts – especially if you’re into things that take a toll on the legs, like spin class or powerlifting – I am a big fan of high-end compression gear from brands like 2XU, Skins, and Virus International. These tights are expensive – I can’t lie – but they’re built to support your workout, and the fit is unparalleled.
If you’re looking for more basic gym wear, leggings from Under Armour, Tesla Gears or SUB Compression are easy to find, and they look good. These don’t offer the same kind of support as high-end tights but they are very comfortable, and designs are excellent.
For middle-of-the-road spandex wear for inside and outside the gym, I like supporting Jeffery Scott (tightsguy.net) and LED Queens. Both are independent businesses run by men who know how to design tights for men. Jeffrey’s range of patterns and colors goes from badass gym gear to formal wear, and he has a bunch of different fabrics you can try (from cotton jersey tights to high-compression nylon). LED Queens gear has a wide range of striking prints that all come on a lovely, soft, comfortable lycra blend.
Are you a DC or Marvel fan in your superhero gear?
I am mostly a Marvel fan. I like the grittiness and flawed nature of their characters better. But I have always had a soft spot for the mainstay DC characters (think of the original Justice League). Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern are all in my collection alongside many Spider-Men and others.
How many super spandex suits do you own? Do you have a favorite superhero to wear?
I have 12 superhero costumes at the moment if you include a wild Wolverine suit made of spandex, suede, and leather that has seen rough times and needs some repair work. My favorites are always shifting, but right now my Infinity-War-style Spidey and my Batman bodysuit (I still need to get the cape, cowl, boots, and gauntlets) are very exciting to wear.
What superhero suit is high on your list to get next?
Because I’m Canadian I have a soft spot for Captain Canuck and hope to get a suit made based on the design in his recent Chapterhouse Comics reboot. If the stars align, I may have that put together by the end of the summer.
I have looked for suits before; they aren’t always easy to find. Where do you get most of your suits?
My go-to site for mid-priced suits is herostime.com. They’ve always been good to me. They have a vast catalog of costume designs, will customize an outfit to match your measurements and preferences for zippers, and have a decent turnaround time and fast shipping. You have tons of options for things like zippers, which can make the difference in a suit that’s practical and one that’s a pain in the butt to wear. For the record, I like forearm zippers (to help get gloves off and free up hands without having separate pieces), crotch zippers (get the male version for essential practical use and the female version if you also like to bottom), and a U-shaped zipper in the back (which is less noticeable/visible than a straight back zipper).
Follow Captain Spandex on Instagram!