In the early days of archery, most bowstrings were white. That is because the materials bowstrings were made of were also white. Today’s strings come in a lot of different colors. You can choose all kinds of colors and even combine different colors. Therefore, I will answer the question: ‘’what is the best color for a bowstring?’’ No time to read this entire article? Read at least my short answer below:
Red is the most visible color in both bright daylight and in the dark. Therefore, if you use the silhouette of the string to aim, red is overall the best color to use for a string. A light color, like white, is best used if you don’t like to see the silhouette of the string.
Apart from the visibility of the string, there are some other things you might want to consider. For example, how it fits your bow and how to maintain it. Therefore, I will discuss what the pros and cons of these different colors are in more detail. I will also discuss some of my favorite colors and discuss multicolored strings.
Choosing a color
While choosing a color for your bowstring, there are a few things you should consider. Let’s discuss these one by one.
If you don’t use a peep sight but aim with a sight, you will look through the string at your target. When you look through the string, the string will get blurry and you will only see the silhouette. This happens because the string is very close to your eye which causes your eye to focus on the target.
Although a lot of archers don’t consciously use the silhouette to aim, it can be very helpful. When you line up the silhouette with the sight, you can be certain that the string is correctly aligned for the eye.
To use the silhouette of the string you first need to see it. In extreme lighting conditions or darkness that can be rather difficult. Also, some people find it easier to see the silhouette than others.
Certain colors are simply more visible while they get blurry than others. Dark colors work great on a white background and vice versa. Additionally, colors that are not present in the surroundings or the target are easier to see.
Some people don’t use the silhouette at all. In that case, you might want a string that not too visible. Therefore, you might want to use a light string like white, which easily fades while looking at the target.
A lot of archers forget to properly maintain the string. This can cause the string to wear out faster. High-quality strings can last a decade if they are properly waxed and cleaned. Especially the cleaning part is often forgotten by a lot of archers. Which means that the wax is applied over a layer of grime. Read the article below if you want more information on how to maintain the bowstring:
In that article, I mention that you should remove the old wax because it will get dirty. Normally wax is transparent, but dirty wax will get black or dark gray. This is caused by all the filth that gets stuck into the wax.
On a black string, it is very difficult to see when your string is dirty. This may seem like a good thing because your string will always look as new. But it may cause you to keep shooting with a string that should be cleaned and rewaxed.
Bowhunters do everything to camouflage their bows. Some even use complete ghillie suites. Therefore, it makes sense that you also want a string that doesn’t sticks out like a sore thumb. So bright colors or any neon strings will not be a great option.
This is the first thing most people think about. How the string color matches with the bow. Let’s face it, we all care how our bow looks to some degree. I for example would not shoot with a bright pink bow, because you will get a lot of comments about it. I may not care about the look of the bow, but I don’t like all the attention.
If you fit a neon-colored string on a longbow it will look out of place. Especially in traditional archery you want your bow to look like the bows used in the past. In that case, a white string might look much better.
So, there is nothing wrong with wanting a string that fits your bow. To be honest, changing the color of the string will not make a huge difference on your scores.
The pros and cons of different bow string colors
Below I have summarized the pros and cons of the different bowstring colors. The visibility scores are based on my experience. Since we all perceive colors differently, this might be different for you.
|White||Yellow, orange, green, and blue||Red|
|Visibility outdoor – daytime||Decent||Bad||Bad||Decent|
|Visibility outdoor – nighttime||Bad||Decent||Decent||Good|
|How easy it is to spot when the string is dirty||Bad||Good||Good||Decent|
What is the best bowstring color?
Every archer has their preferences and priorities. Therefore, not one color is recommended for everyone. Therefore, below I will discuss my top picks for choosing a bowstring.
Whenever I set up a recurve bow, I like to add a red string. The major advantage of this color is that it’s one of the most visible colors both indoors and outdoors. Especially because red is barely present outside. That’s why I never shoot with a green string.
Even in direct sunlight, a red string is often quite easy to see. It’s also quite easy to see when the string needs to be cleaned and it doesn’t look out of place on most bows.
Black strings are the gold standard within archery. Mainly because a black string will look great on any kind of bow. It will never look dirty and is extremely versatile. That’s why I prefer to run my compound bows with the color black.
The color black also is very visible in well-lit environments. Therefore, it’s a great choice if you often shoot during the daytime or indoors.
This color is rarely used, but it has a few advantages. The first advantage is that this color isn’t present outdoors or on the target face. Therefore, it tends to be very visible in well-lit environments. But due to the slight color, it’s also more visible than black in dim conditions.
The major con of this color is that it will look a bit strange on most bows. That’s why I haven’t used this color yet for any of my bows. Also, it will be more difficult to see when the string is dirty, which you can see as either an advantage or disadvantage.
What about twisted colors?
Thus far, I only discussed strings that have only one color. But a lot of archers like to use two string colors that get twisted; for example: white and black, red, and black. Some archers even use three or more colors, which truly makes the string a piece of art.
Although this makes the string look more interesting, it also makes it more difficult to use the silhouette in your shots. Additionally, when you add twists to change the brace height your silhouette will change as well.
Therefore, most competitive recurve archers go with a string in one color. For them having a consistent string silhouette is more important than the looks.
Compound and instinctive archers often use a string with two colors. Since they don’t use the silhouette of the string to aim, they can adorn their string without sacrificing practicality.
If you are looking for an affordable and high-quality string, I recommend this string from Keshes. This string is made from B-55 strands which is a great material that doesn’t stretch much. The string is available in all sizes and you can choose between 12, 14, or 16 strands. I recommend the following based on your draw weight:
|Draw weight||Amount of strands|
|Less than 25 LBS||12|
|25 – 40 LBS||14|
|More than 40 LBS||16|
If you want a string in any other color than black, I recommend visiting your local archery store or making your own string. Almost all premade strings are made in black. Visit the article below for more tips on how to choose a bowstring:
In this article, I have often mentioned my preferences. Much more than any other articles. That is because the color of the string is more of a personal choice than something you can provide a clear-cut guide for.
Also, the color of the string doesn’t matter that much. Most archers can see most string colors just fine in well-lit environments. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with making this choice mostly on aesthetics. Experimenting with different strings can also help you to get clear preferences on what works for you.
If you don’t care about the looks of your bow, consider one of the colors I recommended. But don’t feel forced to buy one of those.
If you have any questions, comments, or opinions you would like to share, please leave them down below. I will respond to any questions as soon as possible and I will send you an email once I replied.