When scientists discovered that polyurethanes could be made into fine threads, they were combined with nylon to make more lightweight, stretchable garments. Over the years, polyurethanes have been improved and developed into spandex fibers, polyurethane coatings for fabrics, and thermoplastic elastomers.
Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers can be molded and shaped into different parts. When these elastomers are spun into fibers they produce a flexible material called spandex, which is used to make sock tops, brassieres, support hose, swimsuits, and other athletic apparel.
Polyurethane coated fabrics are durable and abrasion-resistant, yet soft, light and breathable. As such, they are used to create more comfortable and sophisticated weatherproof clothing such as sports anoraks and light rain clothes. Polyurethane coatings are also used for leather-like materials, such as imitation suede and as man-made leather for garments that not only look like leather, but also have similar stretch, stiffness and permeability properties.
Because of today’s advances in polyurethane techniques, manufacturers can make a broad range of polyurethane apparel from man-made skins and leathers used for garments to sports clothes and a variety of accessories.