Couple Get Pantyhose Repair Idea and Run With It


Suzanne Nesbit knows pantyhose problems.

Snags, runs, rips and tears--always at the most inconvenient times--are always followed by the traditional quick fix with smelly nail polish. “And when you do use nail polish . . . it sticks to your leg and you end up tearing off layers of skin when you try to take the hose off,” Nesbit said.

But Nesbit, a 36-year-old pharmacist who says she snags her hose on desk corners and other equipment at Akron General Hospital, has found a new product.

RunFree Instant Hosiery Repair is an odor-free, colorless liquid that comes in a small tube and is applied with a brush like nail polish.

It was created by Robert Horning and Deborah Vollmer, who are betting that women are looking for better ways to patch their stockings and cut down on their hosiery costs.

Horning and Vollmer, both of Akron, were on a date at a restaurant when she discovered she had a run in her stocking. She borrowed some nail polish in the ladies room.


Horning said he couldn’t believe there wasn’t a product to repair runs in women’s hosiery: “I guess, being a guy, I just never had thought about it.”

They began brainstorming and decided they would give it a try. After consulting with chemists and physicists and testing more than 400 compounds, RunFree was developed in 1994. The next few years were spent working on packaging and marketing, and in November 1997, RunFree went on the market, retailing for $4.95 a bottle.

The clear liquid has only a slight scent for a second or two when first applied, then is odor-free. It can’t be seen on hose the way nail polish can, and doesn’t become hard. It also seems to withstand washings.

Susan Stromberg, manager of the Capezio Dance Theater Shop in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst, says her customers like RunFree because it can be used before runs even start.

“RunFree will outlive your pantyhose,” she said. “The threads will eventually wear thin in other parts of the stockings before the area with the run or snag treated with RunFree gives out.”

Sid Smith, president and chief executive officer of the National Assn. of Hosiery Manufacturers, said women have tried a wide range of techniques to extend the life of their stockings--even putting hosiery in the freezer.

“Women would like pantyhose that don’t run, but they also want sheerness,” Smith said. “The strength of hosiery is directly related to the size of the yarn, and the heavier yarn you use, the less sheerness you are going to have.”