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History of the Jockstrap

Written by Stephen Hunt

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In the 21st century, men have more underwear styles to choose from than ever before. But most people don’t realize that many of the underwear styles we currently love and enjoy wearing were designed over a century ago. This includes jockstraps. From their humble beginnings in the 1800s to jockstrap fetishes, this article will discuss the definition of jockstraps, what they look like, why they were created, and the types of jockstraps available in today’s market.

WHAT IS A JOCKSTRAP?

Before we start discussing the history of men’s jockstraps, it’s important to define exactly what we’re talking about. Jockstraps are a style of undergarment with a pouch designed to secure and protect a male’s genitalia during vigorous physical activity. A jockstrap typically has an elastic waistband, a fabric support pouch covering a man’s genitals, and then two elastic leg straps that are attached from the base of the pouch (i.e. between the legs) to the sides of the waistband. 

Basically, a jockstrap is male underwear with a pouch in the front and an exposed butt in the rear.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INVENTION OF JOCKSTRAPS

The first jockstrap was invented in 1874 by C. F. Bennett when he was working from a well known department store based in Chicago, IL called Sharp & Smith. However in 1897 he left to start his own company, Bike Web Company, which patented and mass produced what they called the “Bike Jockey Strap”. Eventually this company would become the Bike Company, which held onto the patents for over a hundred years. In 2003, a company called Russell Athletic purchased Bike and continued production under the Bike brand until 2017. They are now a subsidiary of Fruit-of-the-Loom and have relaunched their original jockstrap design. However, throughout this entire time period, other companies also manufactured their own styles of jockstraps, which is why they are so popular today. 

C. F. Bennett’s original jockstrap was designed to help bicycle jockeys (i.e. deliverymen) feel more comfortable and supported zipping around on a bike all day, bouncing along cobblestone streets when making their deliveries. Because jockstraps were designed to provide support by strapping down a bicycle jockey’s penis while also granting uninhibited movement of the legs, the name jockey strap seemed fitting. This would eventually get shortened to jockstrap. 

In the early 1900s, some doctors also touted that certain jockstraps were an effective form of medicine. The Heidelberg Electric Belt was an electric jockstrap that pumped a low-voltage into it in order to “cure” ailments such as kidney diseases, insomnia, and erectile dysfunction. Although this unusual medical use is no longer practiced, a man may be encouraged to wear a jockstrap when recovering from specific surgeries that require easy access to the rear and/or support of the genitals.

Fun fact: calling an athlete a “jock” comes from the fact that a lot of athletes wore jockstraps.

PROTECTIVE CUP

Regardless of support, how exactly would a jockstrap protect a man’s genitals during sports? In order to offer protection, jockstraps designed for sports often have a “pocket” where one can insert a “cup” to protect the groin. The cup is typically a contoured plastic piece that is hard/rigid enough to protect a man’s genitals against impact. This plastic is perforated to allow for ventilation. Occasionally steel is also used and some cups have a soft inner lining to help increase comfort when worn.

ALTERNATIVE NAMES

Jockstraps are typically just called jockstraps or jocks, but they also have several other nicknames. The most popular names for a jockstrap are: a jock, athletic supporter, cup, and strap.

TYPES OF JOCKSTRAPS AVAILABLE IN TODAY’S MARKETPLACE

The world of jockstraps has expanded since their humble beginnings of solely protecting and supporting a man’s genitals. Not just for sports anymore, many men wear them on a regular basis. Today, men wear jockstraps for fashion, sports, weight lifting, recovery from certain surgeries, and for sexual purposes.

Fashion Jockstraps typically offer little support other than a snug pouch. These types of jockstraps are often brightly colored and come in a variety styles with varying placement of the elastic leg bands. They are more about expression of personal style and sex appeal rather than support/protection. 

Sport Jockstraps are worn to protect a man’s genitals during physical sports such as football, hockey, baseball. These types of jockstraps usually have a cup to help prevent injury. The predominant color for sport jockstraps is white. 

Swim Jockstraps are worn by swimmers to help give them a little more coverage under clingy, wet swimsuits. 

Medical Jockstraps are occasionally recommended when a man is recovering from an injury or surgery and needs support and an exposed rear. Some conditions may include recovery from hematocele, hernia, or spermatocele.

Fetish Jockstraps are similar to fashion jockstraps but with the sole purpose of sexualization. There is an entire culture that fetishizes jockstraps due to the confidence and/or vulnerability one has when wearing one, their exposure of the male body, association with masculine norms (sports), and scent after being worn. Fetish jockstraps may also include specialized materials that fit within a specific fetish; examples include leather, rubber, latex, and neoprene jockstraps.

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So there you have it! A brief history of men’s jockstraps, what they are, how they were created and evolved, and common styles available on the market today. If you would like to try out jockstraps for yourself (or give one as a gift), feel free to check out our selection of super soft and comfortable jockstraps.