Monday 8 October 2012

Spotlight on Shapings: Part 2

Shapings, an online hosiery business based in Ontario, Canada, stock an extensive range of tights and pantyhose for men.

I recently published the first part of my interview with Robert Safko, the director of Shapings.

In Part 2, Robert discusses if tights for men are becoming more acceptable, the demise of the Gerbe men's tights range and the Levee Woman unisex tights, and plans for the future at Shapings.

Do you feel that tights are becoming more acceptable for men, both for practical reasons as well as for style and fashion? 

For practical reasons for sure. Support pantyhose is very important and should not be offered to women only. Men have venous issues and for a full waist garment to help with the pain should be available for both sexes.

For fashion, I don’t think so, unless you are within a city that is fashion forward. A man in tights, especially fashion tights with shorts will always draw attention from passers by. The same outfit on a woman will not. If a man was to wear a sheer, they would most likely be seen as weird and most people would not ask if they were a man’s pantyhose, they would just see nylons on him. Hopefully, men’s fashion will be advanced to include over the knee hosiery and we are seeing some designers showing this on the runway but again, the outfit would have to be fashion forward as well to make it work.

Some of the brands of men's tights you stock are no longer easily available, such as Levee Woman and Gerbe. It appears that they have both been discontinued which is a disappointment as in my experience they were both excellent products. Can you comment on these developments?

The male market is smaller than we think. Men wearing pantyhose may be large but it is hard to tell as we search for support groups about this subject so we think it is large just by monitoring an already sourced out group. A site like E-Mancipate is about one man’s vision on men’s fashion options with tights. It has grown to be source for a fashion that may not even be real, but news writers see this site and think it is a trend.

So companies like Gerbe, who in my opinion is one of the best manufacturers of hose, to make a man’s product was huge for the fashion. A full line from product development to marketing and packaging was a great boost for this market. It was I who suggested to them to make the Sun Satin 8 for men, and they did. They asked me what man would wear such a sheer. I talked them into it and it became their most popular style.

The price was their demise. Yet, we expect women to wear good hose to be happy in them and to look good so it seems that this company still survives on women spending the money on this brand. It is very disappointing that men did not step up and support this brand. We still have stock of the Gerbe for men and once they are gone, they are gone and every pair will be a collector’s item never to be seen again and will mark a segment in time when a quality hose maker stepped out for a market that in society’s view as just not proper. It is a shame.

As for Levee, it was a a matter of them going out of business and another company taking over. The Levee brand is no longer.

Are you planning to stock any new brands of men's tights in the future? What can Shapings customers look forward to?

We are in negotiations with Knittex of Poland. If their quality and design are up to our standards we will carry them. Samples are on their way and we will see what makes them a man’s product. Having a man posing on the package will not suffice unless it is truly made for the male anatomy.

Knittex Men's Active Tights

Many thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men. I hope readers will agree that it has been a very interesting and informative feature. I hope readers will check out Shapings if they have not done so already. Mainstream hosiery retailers that show a commitment to stocking men's hosiery deserve our support.


  1. It is very disappointing that men did not step up and support this brand.

    set the proper price but not 20-30 quid for a pair,im not an idiot to buy the nylons for that money.

  2. Very interesting interview, but it is almost the same as tights for men made earlier. I found the link to your interview at fantasy stocking. It is sad that the market for male pantyhoses is not that strong, but it is not strange when male pantyhoses are much more expensive than female pantyhoses. If I was a man I would buy female pantyhoses because of the price.
    In my opinion pantyhoses are unisex.

  3. I agree that the price range kept me from buying pantyhose specifically made for men. When I can get several pairs of womens pantyhose for the same price as one pair for men then it's easy to do the math. Besides, womens pantyhose fit fine and are comfortable to wear for the price.

  4. Curious how the Knittex testing went. Can't find any reviews of their hosiery online. Are Shapings going to sell Knittex or they failed testing? Any updates? Thanks.

  5. Yes the price difference for men's pantyhose was too much. I'm a male who wears pantyhose everyday so the cost does add up over time. Women's nylons fit me just fine and there is a much wider selection of brands and styles to choose from. Stores everywhere stock women's hosiery where as I had to mail order pantyhose made specifically for men.