Should Men Wear Leggings? A Fashion History


The first male tights were worn by medieval kings as a sign of their status, as they were made of silk and silk was super expensive – only royalty could afford it! Fashionable monarchs paired them with clocks embroidered with gold thread, purple tunics (purple being the color of royalty), or capes lined with squirrel fur. Soon it became popular for landowners to wear tights – known as “stockings” or “hose” in those days – to make horse riding easier. 

From there it was game on, and men’s leggings became the fashion du jour for everyone from explorers to nobles. If you lived in or near a castle, chances were you were getting around in breeches. 

Shakespeare wore tights. Would he have become the greatest playwright known to human history if he didn’t? There’s no way to tell, but it’s a fairly sure bet. Plus they looked great paired with flowing white shirts, huge ruffled collars and elaborately tailored jackets.

You know who else rocked men’s leggings? Everyone’s favourite outlaw, Robin Hood and his band of merry men. It helped them rob from the rich and give to the poor in style and comfort, because even vigilantes need to look good. 


Fast forward to the twentieth century. Leggings are worn by modern day heroes and archetypes to evoke speed, power and supreme confidence. Superman, Batman and The Flash wear brightly colored skin-tight spandex, while moody anti-heroes the X-men rock tight leather and wet-look costumes to fight both crime and stereotypes. 

Real life heroes like Spanish bullfighters picked up the trend, kitting themselves out in brightly colored pantaloons and gold trim when they bravely take centre stage in the arena with thousands of spectators cheering them on.


Cut to today. Meggings have well and truly hit the mainstream. Some of the best sportsmen in the world wear leggings to enhance their performance. Football star and record breaker Cristiano Ronaldo wears tights, as does NBA champion Steph Curry. American Football superstar and the man widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, wears male leggings. So do yoga instructors and pilates practitioners all over the world. 

Rock’n’roll stars – no stranger to killer outfits and wild style – have been on the leggings train for decades, like rockers Lenny Kravitz, Axl Rose and David Bowie. Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers wore a pair of Jeffrey Scott meggings to perform at the Superbowl. 

Hollywood has embraced the trend as well. Russell Brand, Sha Lebouef and everyone’s favourite action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson regularly wear men’s tights and look great doing it. 

So there you have it folks! Men’s leggings aren’t just a flash in the pan – they’ve been a men’s staple for centuries. 

Flush the Fashion

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically, everything this site is about.