[[quoteright:226:[[Film/TronLegacy http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spacespandex_6057.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:226: High-tech, low-friction!]]
%% This is how the quote formatting is suppose to look: One indent, then dialog, then two indents, then the source. Don't mess with it.
->''"They showed me the costume and I said, 'You've got to be kidding me. Where are the pants? '''Where are the PANTS'''?"''
-->-- '''Bruce Boxleitner''', on the costumes used in ''Film/{{TRON}}''

You want to instantly show a setting to be futuristic, or show that a character in present day has access to technology magnitudes more advanced than the norm, what do you do? Why, outfit characters in ''spandex'' costumes, of course!

Nothing says "future" like a character wearing a [[FormFittingWardrobe skin-tight]] outfit made of stretchable synthetic fibers, especially if you add some cool accessories or TronLines for added effect! While the ''material'' may not be identified as such (in-universe, it can be anything from high-tech polymers to even a coating of liquid nanomachines), the visual effect is pretty much the same. [[SensualSpandex It's also a good way to provide a little fanservice.]]

This is a sort of TruthInTelevision: Spandex, Lycra and similar stretchable, form-fitting clothing material are a pretty recent innovation when compared to other fabrics, and its many distinctive properties (sheer fit, aero- or hydrodynamics, light weight, body support) have made it a favorite as a technological solution to solve problems that can be caused by less form-fitting clothes in a variety of physical activities.

While there's often overlap, this is not the same as SuperHero [[SuperheroesWearTights tights]]. While superhero tights are used to emphasize the physicality of the hero, Future Spandex is used to emphasize his technological superiority.

This trope tends to go along with WeWillHavePerfectHealthInTheFuture (no love-handles interfering with the lines of those sleek little outfits!) but it is equally compatible with BigFatFuture (used to great effect in ''WesternAnimation/{{Wall-E}}'', where the human characters looked infantile and helpless in enormous, stretchy jumpsuits).

LatexSpacesuit and SpyCatsuit are both [=SubTropes=]. A SisterTrope to (and often overlaps with) SpaceClothes and SuperheroesWearTights. See also SpandexLatexOrLeather. Compare CrystalSpiresAndTogas.

Contrast SensualSpandex, for when spandex is used for a whole other purpose entirely.


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* This has been a trope associated with both the RealRobotGenre and the SuperRobotGenre since the genre's inception. It is EXCEEDINGLY rare to show a pilot in an robot show that wears anything bulkier than form-fitting lycra.
** Played with in CodeGeass. The Black Knight pilots get to wear some form-fitting spandex-like suits, but many Britannians wear their [[BlingOfWar dress uniforms]] when inside Knightmare Frames.
** ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' is an exception until ''Anime/MacrossFrontier''. Pilots wore space suits that, while less bulky than modern suits, were still not quite "form-fitting."
* ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis''. The Knight Sabers, underneath their power suits, wear form-fitting outfits. It's also [[JustifiedTrope justified]], as it's explained that the outfits serve as a neural interface between the user and the suit.
* The heroines of ''LightNovel/DirtyPair''.
* ''{{Claymore}}'' outfits are this plus light armor, even the new ones after the time skip don't stray far from the original concept.
* The combat gear used by Section 9 from ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' is this plus tactical vests. Especially noticeable on The Major.
* Nena Trinity's season one outfit in ''{{Gundam 00}}''. Not to forget her brother Johann, who wears a midriff-baring top and short shorts.
** Also Tieria's in some shots.
* From ''Manga/InuYasha'', Sango's fighting outfit include this under her body armor.
* ''GGundam '': All of the pilots wear skin-tight body suits as part of the interface for their [[HumongousMecha mobile suits]]. The substance is sort of like spandex, but they actually have transformation sequences (not always shown) that make it look like plastic wrap. Nearly all of the pilots are male, but there is one point where [[WrenchWench Rain]] goes through the process.
* Female plugsuits from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. Remember, [[ClothesMakeTheSuperman Clothes Make]] '''[[MemeticSexGod Teh Rei]]'''. Especially Asuka's TEST suit (80% of the torso is '''transparent''') from ''Rebuild 2.0''.
* And in ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Numbers']] skintight jumpsuits, in a blatant ShoutOut to ''MuvLuvAlternativeTotalEclipse''.
* Ryoko's skintight battlesuit from ''TenchiMuyo''
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'''s Puru Two, although not too noticeable since [[TokenMiniMoe she doesn't have a figure]] to begin with. If she did, it would likely be similar to a Plugsuit.

* In more recent years, Tony Stark usually wears something along the lines of this under his regular civilian attire. {{Justified|trope}} in that it's meant to interface with his IronMan [[PoweredArmor suit]].
** Part of his Extremis upgrade meant that this "inner suit" was kept within his bones and he could manifest it at any time. This inner suit is also present in his ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' incarnation.
* ''ComicBook/DCOneMillion'' has [[SuperheroesWearTights Superhero Spandex]] that is ''also'' Future Spandex -- the present day heroes note that their future counterparts' costumes are shiny, seamless and ''even more formfitting'', and wonder what they're made from.
* Worn by [[StarFox Fara Phoenix]] in 1993's ''Magazine/NintendoPower'' comics. It's a rather [[FormFittingWardrobe tight]] [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar fit]].
* N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s uniforms, and the ComicBook/{{New 52}} version of ''ComicBook/{{Superboy}}'''s "Containment Suit".

* ''Film/{{Tron}}'' is a particularly noteworthy example, as is the sequel, ''Film/TronLegacy''.
* ''Film/FlashGordon'' (1980). Both General Kala and Princess Aura wear lycra/spandex costumes.
* In the ''Film/JudgeDredd'' film, Judges wear a lycra/spandex bodysuit undergarment under their body armor.
* ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' has this in spades. The main cast threatened to quit if they didn't get rid of them seeing how not everyone looked good in them. Plus, the spandex costumes were hard to get into and out of, requiring the help of assistants every time the actors needed to use the bathroom, hence the uniform change in the rest of the Star Trek movies.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' features this in its 2015 scenes. Of note: a woman leaving the Cafe 80s, making Marty do a DoubleTake, and Griff's female gang member Spike.

* The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' series have a few examples.
** ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration The Next Generation]]'' uses this in the first season before phasing them out to looser uniforms.
*** The real world explanation for this is that the early uniforms caused discomfort to the actors wearing them, causing back problems as well as being hot under studio lights.
** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' used this with Seven of Nine. For [[BestKnownForTheFanservice obvious reasons]]. Ron D. Moore, in his brief stint writing for the show, commented that it was like having a nudist seated at the briefing table and handing out tactical instructions. The outfit had to be glued on with individual pieces ("That woman knows me ''way'' too intimately", Jeri Ryan spoke of her stalwart wardrobe assistant), and caused the actress to pass out a few times from lack of blood flow/oxygen. Makes those TOS miniskirts look like an Amish community, doesn't it?
--->'''[[http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/voyager-season-five.html Doc Oho]]:''' Whilst I am sure it appeals to the horny geeks out there who watch this show for kicks, Seven’s outfit here is so tight it ridiculously leaves very little to the imagination. Speaking as somebody who [[SorryImGay doesn’t unusually bother to notice such things]] about women, I could clearly see a precise representation of her genitalia which is demeaning for both the character and Jeri Ryan. She may as well walk around the ship completely naked since she is pretty much doing that anyway.
** Children in the Next Generation era always seem to be wearing colorblocked spandex outfits. Jake Sisko on [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]] modeled them until his teenage years, when he switched to more normal-looking things.
* ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'' First season. Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) and Buck Rogers sometimes wore spandex jumpsuits.
* Zoe Heriot from ''Series/DoctorWho''.
* The Disney Channel's ''Film/{{Zenon}}'', a sci-fi movie set in 2049 AD, has many of its characters wearing spandex and other form-fitting materials.
* ''PowerRangers'': They embody this trope. In every season, beginning to end, the rangers always wear skintight spandex suits. These suits are so tight, in fact, some of the male ([[ShesAManInJapan and female]], at least until Disney took the rights from Saban) rangers have bulges, and the female rangers wouldn't even need to wear a bra due to the tightness
** In ''Series/MiraiSentaiTimeranger,'' the Rangers' unmorphed uniforms are, perhaps because the aesthetics of a full ''thousand years'' in the future probably would be quite alien to us, are random-colors-on-gray skin-tight outfits, more {{Fanservice}}y than the Ranger suits (thinner material, perhaps?) The ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'' versions are a more down-to-earth futurish uniform, and are perhaps something you'd expect a police force in ''Franchise/StarWars'' to wear. (Fanservice duty goes to [[DaddysLittleVillain Nadira]].)
* On ''Series/{{Automan}}'', it's easy to see that [[ProjectedMan Automan]] is something different because he's dressed up in sparkly Future Spandex.

* Referenced in "I.G.Y." by Donald Fagen.

* Worn by Quorra and Gem from ''Pinball/TronLegacy''.
* The characters in ''Pinball/SpaceRiders'' wear full-body jumpsuits that show off their perfectly sculpted bodies. Whether that makes them this trope or SpaceClothes depends on the viewer's tastes.
* In ''Pinball/LaserWar'', everyone wears identical sleeveless spandex jumpsuits, differentiated only by their Army's color.
* The joggers of ''Pinball/FutureSpa'' wear '''very''' tight, form-fitting jumpsuits cut to their navels.

* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', Imperial Assassins (of all schools, but especially the majority-female Callidus), wear uniforms that are quite literally sprayed on -- the substance (called [=SynSkin=]) comes in large aerosol cans and provides whole-body protection from various airborne toxins and temperature variation whilst allowing the skin to breathe properly, but only if applied ''directly'' to naked flesh.
** In the more recent ''Dark Heresy'' series of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' {{RPG}}s by Fantasy Flight Games, Synskin has been changed to 'a bio-reactive bodyglove with an inert non-reflective surface that molds itself to the wearer's form'. In other words, it isn't literally sprayed on anymore, though it's still FutureSpandex.
** More generally, form-fitting outfits are referred to as "body gloves" in the setting, and typically fit tightly enough that they could be worn under cloths. Some characters make a point to wear armoured body gloves to add some protection to their freedom of movement.

* Most of the truly [[http://deadspace.wikia.com/wiki/Advanced_Suit advanced RIG suits]] in ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'' look quite tight fitting.
* Common in the ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' series.
* ''VideoGame/{{F-Zero}}'' plays with this a bit. While a large percentage of the cast is decked out in skin-tight spandex and latex, more than a handful of characters are instead shown wearing sleek armor ([[UnderwearOfPower if not both]]). Others, in fact, [[NoNewFashionsInTheFuture sport attire not too different]] [[FashionsNeverChange from present day fashion trends]].
* Many of the uniforms and outfits in the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series.
* The sneaking suits in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series.
* Samus Aran's Zero Suit from ''{{Metroid}}''. Similar to Tony Stark's outfit, it's to interface with her [[PoweredArmour Power Suit]].
* Sam Fisher wears a similar (albeit completely black) sneaking suit in ''SplinterCell'', at least until the later games when he wears more conventional clothing.
* Fortified Suits in MuvLuvUnlimited and MuvLuvAlternative, though the role sort of crosses over with LatexSpacesuit.
* In ''PlanetSide 2'', the [[MachineWorship Vanu Sovereignty]] infantry all wear form-fitting spandex. Most classes have varying amounts of metal armor over vulnerable spots, such as the Engineer carrying an armored backpack, and an armored right wrist. Additionally, all the [[InvisibilityCloak Infiltrators armors]] from both games have form-fitting spandex regardless of empire, though the Composite Armor cosmetic item in ''Planetside 2'' adds armor to make them look like some sort of cyber-samurai.
* Terran Ghosts in ''{{Starcraft}}'' and its sequel are elite commando agents who wear this sort of outfit, albeit liberally embellished with spy gewgaws. This is in contrast with run-of-the-mill troopers, who wear incredibly blocky PowerArmor with ShouldersOfDoom instead.

* ''Webcomic/FarOutThere'' has Stilez spend most of her time running around in a [[http://faroutthere.smackjeeves.com/comics/2049438/page-693-explosive-cliffhanger/ very tight-fitting]] pink plugsuit.
** Alphonse's [[http://faroutthere.smackjeeves.com/comics/1701261/page-523-new-costume-time/ interface gear]] and Layla's [[http://faroutthere.smackjeeves.com/comics/1719409/page-531-and-were-finally-off/ containment suit]] could qualify as well. Both are very form-fitting and futuristic, but they also have very... bulky extremities which disrupt the sleekness.

* Played straight in ''TotallySpies''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' Season 4, the new {{Digital Avatar}}s of the heroes -- boys and girls alike -- have a serious Future Spandex look. Being virtual costumes, they don't have to be realistic... but still, they're supposedly designed by Jérémie, a 13-year-old TeenGenius (except for William up there, who got his custom-made by ''XANA''). You have to wonder what was going through their minds... (though on the other hand, maybe that makes it a JustifiedTrope).
* Subverted in a ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'' episode in which Bender steals lots of stuff from a public swimming pool in an attempt to gain notoriety; he also stole a banana hammock of sorts, which he wears.
-->'''Amy:''' "They don't leave much to the imagination."
-->'''Hermes:''' "Actually, on a robot they sort of do."
* In ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', where time-travelling shenanigans result in Kim and Ron having to save the world from [[spoiler: Shego]] who has become a dictator, everybody not in LaResistance is forced to wear skintight suits in her signature colour.
** Kim's [[ClothesMakeTheSuperman battle suit]] could count, as it's a visual ShoutOut to the original {{Tron}} suits.

* In RealLife, form-fitting material is used in a wide range of applications. Extreme sports, the space program, the military, and many other activities and organizations require form-fitting outfits for optimum performance.
** In military applications, however, this would be averted in combat situations and where there is a high risk of fire, as many form-fitting materials tend to ''melt'' when exposed to extreme heat, sticking to the skin and making burn injuries much worse.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeggings "Jeggings"]], a portmanteu of "jeans" and "leggings", have become a popular fashion choice of the late '00s and early 2010s. They're considered more practical than jeans in many ways, including the ability to be worn under a skirt or dress, being thin enough to tuck into high boots, and of course, retaining a sexy snugness while still functioning similarly to jeans.
** Ditto for other forms of skinny jeans in the '00s.
* Also, the largely popular yoga pants. Somewhere, a rich man is bragging to his buddies that he convinced women to wear skin-tight pants that are see-through when they bend over.
* Ironically, while the above examples prove that this trope is somewhat TruthInTelevision now, the height of spandex and lycra fashion is generally regarded as being in ''the past'' -- specifically, the '80s and early '90s.