What to Wear for Archery? Everything You Need to Know
Archers have been using traditional archery clothing for centuries to protect their bodies and improve their accuracy. Clothing can make a big difference in your shooting, so it’s important to choose the right gear. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best traditional archery clothing options out there. Stay comfortable and accurate while you shoot!
- Richelle Taczanowski
What to Wear for Archery?
Clothing and equipment for archery will vary due to what type of archery you’re practicing – are you in an Olympic archery tournament or headed out to a casual 3D archery shoot? Are you training to one day become a pro archer, or just trying to improve on your personal skill and accuracy?
We’ll cover what you’ll want to wear and bring with you for any type of shoot you might be planning to attend, and we’ll be throwing in some pro tips along the way. So if you’re ready, let’s get started…
General Clothing for Practice and Backyard Shooting
If you’re just starting out in archery, or shooting recreationally in your backyard, the clothing you choose is less important than comfort and fit. Wear something that you feel comfortable moving around in – loose fitting clothes are ideal. Many people like to shoot in shorts and a t-shirt, but if it gets cold where you live you can always wear long pants and a jacket.
Make sure your clothing is not too baggy, as this could get in the way while you’re shooting. Also avoid anything with excessive pockets or zippers that might snag on your bowstring. And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring a hat – it’s important to keep your head and ears covered while shooting, as they are both susceptible to the cold.
Olympic Archery Clothing
If you’re competing in an Olympic archery tournament, there are a few additional things you need to consider when it comes to clothing. First of all, most tournaments have a dress code that must be followed – you can usually find this information on the tournament website.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing clothing for an Olympic archery tournament:
- Avoid bright colors and busy patterns.
- Clothing should be fitted and sleek, without any extra fluff or frills.
- Shirts and blouses should have a high collar to protect your neck from the bowstring.
- Trousers and skirts should be hemmed below the knee.
Pro Tip: Many archers choose to wear all black clothing when competing, as it is a neutral color that won’t distract from their aim.
National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Clothing
The NFAA is the largest field archery association in the US. A non-profit club, the NFAA was first founded back in 1939 with a chapter in all of the states but one. The organization is part of the larger International Field Archery Association and are a sister organization to USA Archery (covered below). NFAA archery supports bare bow shooting, traditional archery, recurve, several freestyle disciplines and even crossbow.
In NFAA rules as with most other tournaments, there are no t-shirts, jeans, or open toe footwear of any kind. Shorts are allowed, but they must be within two inches of the knee and no shorter – this also applies to skirts as well. All shirts worn must have some type of collar, and competitors are allowed to wear shirts with sponsor logos and promotional material provided that they meet the other requirements.
If you’re competing in a NFAA sanctioned tournament, the clothing requirements are a little less strict. However, there are still some guidelines to follow when it comes to what to wear.
- T-shirts and other tops should be short sleeved
- Shirts and blouses must have sleeves that cover the biceps
- Bottoms must be hemmed at or below the knee
- Clothing should not have any pockets, zippers, or other adornments that could get in the way of your shot
Again, many archers choose to wear all black clothing when competing or khaki style pants in the typical plain flat colors, with no stripes or patterns. This is not required, but it is a good option as it is a neutral color that will not distract from your aim.
U.S. Archery Association (USA Archery) Clothing
The USA Archery is the national governing body for archery in the United States. They are responsible for organizing and overseeing all aspects of the sport, from developing the rules and regulations to training coaches and athletes. The organization also oversees the Olympic archery team.
When it comes to clothing for competition, USA Archery has a little more relaxed rules than the NFAA. While USA Archery does not allow jeans, no t-shirts, tank tops, or sandals. They do permit t-shirts as long as they are within the guidelines listed below. Only collared shirts are allowed, with mock turtleneck shirts being acceptable as well. Shorts are allowed in tournaments, but may be no shorter than two inches to the knee.
USA Archery also allows athletes to wear hats and sunglasses during competition. While not required, many archers choose to do so as it can help protect them from the sun and keep their eyes shaded.
In general, when competing in an USA Archery sanctioned tournament you should avoid bright colors and busy patterns. Clothing should be fitted and sleek, without any extra fluff or material that could get in the way of your shot. Khaki style pants and all black clothing are popular choices, but you can wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. Just make sure to follow the guidelines listed above so that you’re within the rules.
Archery Shooters Association
The Archery Shooters Association, or ASA, is a professional tournament organization which holds many different archery tournaments every year.
The ASA (Archery Shooters Association), in their 2019 rules of competition have an article on dress code for their tournaments:
Dress Code: Out of respect for other competitors all shooters are required to maintain a presentable appearance.
- Shorts and skirts must be longer than fingertip length while standing normally.
- Men and women are required to wear upper garments fully covering the front and back of the body, including the midriff, when at full draw.
- Shirts with collars are required, but sponsored staff shooters may wear factory issued competition clothing which may include Henley-style collars, mock turtle necks or group issued jerseys. Tee shirts are not acceptable unless they are issued for a Youth group when attending as a group. i.e. S3DA
- Men’s shirts must have short or long sleeves. T-shirts and tank tops are not allowed.
- Due to safety considerations, it is recommended that all shooters wear shoes that fully cover the entire foot. Bare feet, open-toed sandals or flip-flops are not allowed while competing on the ranges.
- At no time will shooters, guests or spectators wear any article bearing an image or language to be considered vulgar or offensive. If they do not have a shirt to change into they will be required to turn the offensive shirt inside out if they wish to remain on the premises or they will be required to leave.
If you want to get more information about their tournament rules, please visit their site.
Traditional Archery Clothing
When shooting in traditional archery tournaments or at a practice session, you’ll want to wear clothing that is specifically designed for archery. This type of clothing typically features a lot of padding and protection, as well as tight-fitting sleeves and legs to reduce noise and the chances of getting an arrow stuck.
Here are some things to look for when choosing traditional archery clothing:
- A long-sleeved shirt and pants, made of heavy material to protect your skin from arrows.
- Padding on the shoulders, chest, and knees for extra protection.
- A belt or waistband to keep the clothing in place.
- Tighter sleeves and legs to reduce noise and arrow flight interference.
Pro Tip: Traditional archery clothing can be a bit pricey, but it will last you for many years if properly cared for.
No matter what type of archery you’re shooting, it’s important to wear clothing that is comfortable and fits well. Stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer by dressing appropriately for the weather and your activity. And don’t forget to bring a hat!