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File:Iceskatespandex 3834.jpg

For some reason, sports in both Real Life and in fiction tend to feature quite an expanse of revealed flesh -- or flesh not revealed, but in artful ways. This trope is where Stripperific meets the sporting arena, where audiences are equally likely to tune in for the Fan Service and the actual sport.

Can be justified in some situations, where an outfit providing more covering would be impractical in other ways. Sports such as gymnastics fall into this category, as less tight-fitting and skimpy clothes would be potentially restrictive or get caught in the equipment. One of the few fanservice tropes that is often applied equally to both sexes.

Compare Form-Fitting Wardrobe, Leotard of Power, Walking Swimsuit Scene, Superheroes Wear Tights.

Examples of Sensual Spandex include:

Anime & Manga

  • Gunbuster seems to have these, though they're not that different from gym uniforms in other anime.
  • The artist of He Is My Master decided instead of the typical bloomers that are seen in 99% of anime, she would do spatz -- essentially skintight shorts. In one omake (author's comment at the end of a book) she points out that she did it because with the screentone in manga, she can essentially draw the girls bottomless and get away with it.
  • Subverted in Naruto: the only two characters that wear spandex are not very fanservicey at all.
    • Their fangirls would probably disagree with that statement.
  • Female!Ranma and Kodachi wear tight, bottom (and bosom)-hugging leotards in Ranma ½'s Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics tournament. Akane also wore one during training, but didn't get to compete.
  • Most of the characters in Hikari No Densetsu, which is totally justified since this is a manga/anime about rhythmic gymnastics.
  • A part of the standard performance costumes in Kaleido Star.
  • This is regularly played up for gymnast Makie in Mahou Sensei Negima
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu. So much.
  • When a Witchblade doesn't render you near-naked, it's this instead.
  • Similar to the Numbers, pretty much every female in Solty Rei aside from the Elegant Lolita.
  • Mostly the females in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon.


  • Nearly every single superhero/heroine that isn't wearing full body armor or normal street clothes dresses in this. It's also somewhat of a case of a justified trope, especially those who are brawlers (hard to grab hold of, if not wearing a cape) or rely on flexibility and agility (there's a reason that gymnasts wear it.) That's not to say that functionality is the only reason though..

Live-Action TV

  • Gladiators. And on that note, American Gladiators. Especially the revival (Hello, Crush!).
  • Early morning workout shows. Back in the 90s there were a whole slew of them on ESPN, and they featured girls (and sometimes a few guys) doing exercises. While wearing spandex.

Music Videos

  • Eric Prydz, "Call on Me".


  • It seems that Real Life female athletes competition outfits are getting progressively skimpier.
  • Gymnastics itself, as noted above, is one of the more explicit examples of this trope for both men and women.
  • Beach volleyball.
    • To a lesser extent, volleyball in general.
  • Professional (American) football players wear tight-fitting trousers and usually tight jerseys as well. This is because a player can be legally tackled by someone grabbing their clothes.
    • Though really only their rear-ends and parts of the leg are truly skintight. Most of the rest of the body is padded.
  • In the world of tennis, Wimbledon has limits on just how "unrestrictively" the ladies can dress.
  • Swimwear, of most sorts for women. And for men too, except men's trunks, but there are the jammers, and if you leave the U.S., "Speedo" briefs become popular.
    • It's worth pointing out that in the U.S., "Speedo" has become a catch-all term for a particular style of briefs, which is not entirely accurate, since similar briefs are manufactured by Nike, truWest, Turbo, Tyr, Dolfin, Arena, Kiefer, and Adidas, to name a few. In Australia, however, where Speedo's headquarters are, the style is called a budgie smuggler because it looks like you're trying to smuggle a small bird in your briefs.
  • Speed Skating and Short Track.
  • Averted with fencing, in which the outfits are there to provide protection from the impact of the full weight of the other person flying down the strip at you concentrated into an area of less than a square centimeter.
  • Bikram yoga or any derivation thereof. When the room's 115 degrees and 100% humidity, you want as little clothing as possible and what there is should be skintight to wick it away from your skin.


  • Mimi Marquez in Rent. Any rendition of the play. Particularly for the song "Out Tonight".
  • One Los Angeles production of Twelfth Night set in the modern day had an... unusual interpretation of Malvolio's "Cross-gartered yellow stockings." Yellow spandex. Fortunately he was a fairly good-looking fella, otherwise...
  • One word: Cats. Naturally, the female characters combine this with being Catgirls... sort of.

Video Games

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, it is the stock 'beginner' super-suit at Super-Hero School Whateley Academy. The school provides a variety of basic colors, including white and gray and black.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Full-body swimsuits. While they don't expose as much skin, they still do tend to be form-fitting--form-compressing, in some cases.
  • "Leggings as pants". Are there laws against this in certain areas? There's a whole facebook page as well as a site dedicated to hating that look.
  • And of course the trope image - speed skating outfits. Although technically not spandex (they're made of different material), they have the same effect. Somewhat unique in this trope as this applies to both male and female athletes.
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