Is your underwear made of milk?
Well, it should be. California-based sock and underwear brand, Stance, boasts a propriety Butter Blend yarn made from casein, a protein byproduct of milk and cheese. The result is super-soft men’s underwear that is thermoregulating, elastic, and so comfortable you can’t tell you’re wearing them.
Yes, Stance’s Butter Blend feels like butter — like someone rubbed butter on your thighs and all you feel is something slightly smooth and luxurious on your legs. It’s precisely how we want our underwear to make us feel.
“Protein just feels great. It has a great hand and balanced PH,” says Taylor Shupe, Stance co-founder and chief product officer. “I’m confident Butter Blend is one of the most comfortable yarns in the world.”
Best-known for creative socks and A-list “Punks and Poets” ambassadors like James Harden and Rihanna, Stance planted its underwear flag in 2015, introducing the new category with this magically soft and surprisingly old-school fabric. Shupe and his team actually discovered the basis of Butter Blend during development for new high-end socks. The team came across old tech developed in the 1930s for a semi-synthetic cashmere. “It was this casein fiber,” Shupe says.
“In WWI, wool manufacturers were in a deficit so they produced this semi-synthetic wool out of milk,” Shupe tells The Manual. “But they didn’t have all the tech at the time to make the fabric strong or robust. But it was soft. Since there wasn’t hair in the yarn, it didn’t cause itching or irritation.”
About 20 years ago, a new process made the material stronger. “But not many companies knew how to produce it,” Shupe adds. “There was one person in Europe and one in China that stumbled upon this forgotten art.”
Stance gained exclusive rights to the fiber realized the attributes of Butter Blend ticked all the boxes for the perfect underwear (fabric that won’t make you hot or cold, no wedgies, etc.). Stance mixed the casein fabric with Modal, a partially synthetic cellulose fiber, to create the final equation for Butter Blend.
Bonus: The casein comes from a waste stream, not a food supply, and is therefore eco-friendly.
In 2015, Stance ran their Butter Blend through the Kawabata evaluation method to test for surface friction and roughness of the fabric. “Ours had the softest hand out of any organic or semi-organic fabric,” Shupe says.
Today, Stance uses Butter Blend for its boxers, boxer briefs, and “Wholester” underwear models, as well as a few pairs of socks and men’s tees. The company is also applying the tech to a new T-shirt, which will be vegan and use amino acids that come from seaweed instead of casein.
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