What to wear while practicing archery

When you are going to practice archery for the first time, you should think carefully about what you wear. Certain clothing can make it hard to shoot your bow or can even be dangerous. Therefore, in this article, I will explain what you should and shouldn’t wear to archery practice. If you don’t have time to read the entire article, read at least the paragraph below.

To dress appropriately for archery, you need tight-fitting clothing without loose ropes, pockets, or buttons. It’s also not safe to wear most jewelry or have loose hair because it can get tangled up in the string. Wear comfortable shoes since you will be standing most of the time during practice.

Although the previous paragraph gives you the gist of what you should know, there is much more to talk about. In this article, I will first explain some things that you can and can’t wear. I will also give some tips for outdoor archery and explain how warm you should dress. At the end of this article, I will explain how competitions and some clubs have additional rules you must follow.

What to wear

Alright, let’s discuss some things you can and can’t wear to an archery practice session.


With archery, you don’t have to worry about what pants you are going to wear. Apart from how warm they keep you of course. Everything above your pants requires more consideration because these pieces of clothing are near the string.

Therefore, you should wear tight-fitting clothing. Large sweaters or flowy dresses might get caught on the string. Also, think of the ropes of your hoodie and pockets on your chest.


Generally, we recommend archers to remove all jewelry. But especially facial piercings, scarfs, and earrings can be an issue. If you tuck a necklace under your shirt it shouldn’t be an issue in most cases, but you can better be safe than sorry, especially if you shoot for the first time. The same is true for rings. If you use finger protection your rings shouldn’t cause an issue, but you don’t want to take risks.

Bracelets are not an issue in most cases if it can’t come close to the string.


If you have long hair (at shoulders length or longer) you want to tie it up or keep it under a hat. If your hair can get in your face it can also get tangled up in the string. As you might imagine this is bad, really bad! So, make sure to secure your hair before you start shooting.


While you are practicing archery, you will be standing for a long time. That can easily tire out your feet, so you want to wear comfortable shoes. So, don’t wear high heels, shoes without a decent sole, or worn-out shoes.

Also, don’t wear flipflops or sandals. You should wear closed shoes to make sure that your toes are protected in case an arrow or bow drops.

Most archers wear hiking shoes, especially while shooting outdoors. But tennis or running shoes can also work. Even comfortable sneakers can get the job done. If they are comfortable and closed, you can wear your shoes to archery practice.


Archers often wear hats, but it requires some consideration. If you wear a baseball cap (forwards) or a cowboy hat, the brim will interfere with the string. Therefore, you can’t wear a cowboy hat to archery practice. If you want to wear a baseball cap, you will need to turn it backward.

Professional archers often wear a bucket hat. Although it’s not a fashionable hat, it is practical for archery purposes. Due to the small brim, it won’t get caught in the string, but it does protect from the sun.

A beanie can also be worn to archery practice since it will not interfere with the string.

Tips for outdoor archery

Shooting outdoors is a lot of fun. I have a few tips that can make your day of shooting a lot more comfortable:

  • Bring sunglasses: if it’s a sunny day you want to bring some sunglasses. Most archers don’t shoot with sunglasses. But between sessions and while retrieving the arrows you might want to wear them. You use your eyes intensively during archery, so you don’t want your eyes to get tired.
  • Wear high hiking shoes: when I practice archery outdoors, I always wear high hiking shoes. Since you shoot on a field you need shoes that provide sufficient grip. The grass can also get wet; therefore, your shoes should be watertight.
  • Bring sunscreen: if it’s sunny, don’t forget to bring some sunscreen. Since you will be shooting on a large field, there will probably be no shade at all. Therefore, you need to protect yourself from the sun on hot days.

How warm to dress

Archery is not a cardio sport; therefore, archers don’t wear typical sports clothing. You should be wary that you don’t dress too warm, however. When you start shooting your muscles will start to create body heat, especially in your arms and shoulders.

Archery is comparable to hiking in terms of intensity and how much body heat is generated. Therefore, if you dress like you go hiking you will be comfortable. Read this article, for more information and tips on how warm you should dress.

Club rules

All archery clubs have rules on what you can and can’t wear. In most cases, that is just for safety. So, if you follow my recommendations you are probably fine.

Some clubs have additional rules which have nothing to do with safety. These rules partially or fully follow the rules of archery competitions. So, check what you are allowed to wear. I will discuss the rules of archery competitions in more detail in the next section.


When I first took part in competitions, I was told that I couldn’t wear jeans. I was quite surprised by that rule because almost all archers wear jeans while practicing. Therefore, be warned that archery competitions tend to have strict rules.

These rules differ per competition. Some competitions are more laid back and let you wear anything safe. Others will have strict rules and don’t allow you to participate if you don’t wear something that almost resembles a uniform. Below I have visually summarized the rules:

Most often no

  • Tank tops
  • Shorts or short skirts
  • Denim pants

Sometimes okay:

  • T-shirts (long sleeves are most often okay, short are more restricted)
  • Hoodies
  • Jogging/ sport pants

Always okay:

  • Collared shirts/ polos
  • White pants/ khaki pants

Final words

You might wonder why these rules are so strict for competitions. To be honest I am wondering the same thing. I heard that these rules were imposed because competitions found it important that their archers look presentable. If you ask me, just wearing normal clothing shouldn’t be an issue. I think wearing some kind of uniform is a bit old school and unnecessary, but that is just my two cents.

I hope you found this article helpful in deciding what you are going to wear to archery practice. If you have any questions, please let me know. I will respond as soon as possible and send you an email with my reply.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

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