What To Wear To Paintball — Head To Toe Essentials

One of the expected questions people ask about playing paintball is about what to wear. Once they go past figuring how hard it hurts to play paintball, particularly, get shot at, the question of safety is paramount, perhaps next, and that is tied to the costume question.

Maybe you know already the other equipment you need to have on board to be able to play; equipment like your paintball guns or markers, the paintballs themselves, the hopper, the paintball mask, amongst others; your clothing is right up there as an important equipment acquisition to have before heading to the paintball field.

Paintball wears isn’t all about going full military-mode, although it might look that serious. But at the end of the day, your motivation is to play a game you have thoroughly enjoyed without recourse to regrets because of injuries from exposed play. 

What To Wear To Paintball
Image by Marko Balukcic from Pixabay

What Is Paintball?

Paintball is simply an intense, combat-like sport where players of two opposing teams, through strategic planning and shoot-to-hit techniques, eliminate their opponents by hitting them with paintballs.

The player that is hit is expected to surrender, and with that, the last player or team standing is declared the winner.

It is both an individual and team sport. The paintball players can be individual players of two opposing players or two opposing teams of a collection of players.

It is an enriching fun game and the motivation is about strategy, defense, and survival. It is a sport that is also built on team efforts, especially if you play within a team where careful, meticulous planning often combines with communication and effective teamwork.

It has become a useful sport with recent popularity targeted towards building soft skills and lots more. That notwithstanding, it is also about fun and excitement and other things you would want in a sport in terms of satisfaction, laughter, and fulfilment. 

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What To Wear To Play Paintball

Paintball is a game that hits hard, and so, prioritizing safety is a core motivation for the kinds of clothing things you wear.

You can call them paintball wears and gears but having a costume plan should be from your head way down to the toe. 

1. Head Protection

Your protection should start from the top down and there are a couple of materials to consider for your head’s safety.

Some of them are an either/or option and not that you have to have all on your head at the same time. These items include:

  1. Paintball mask
  2. Baseball cap
  3. Sweatband
  4. Beanie
  5. Bandana
  6. Paintball goggles

The most important item is probably the paintball mask. It is expected to be the saving face of the face. It is a mask that comes in different brands and styles. There are masks that are made as overall covers. 

In other words, they do not only offer the expected protection that your face needs, it also covers your head. That is called complete, overall head protection.

Paintball masks are important, as they do not just constitute a showy addition to the uniform, but they actually protect the eyes from getting hurt.

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There are times that fired paintballs could make their way to a player’s eyes. The velocity at which they travel, or the force of release, could impact players in the most painful ways. There are paintball players who have simply gone blind because they felt a freer space with no head gear can be more important than the potential damage (or injury) they can get from a ball shot from the paintball gun.

It is important to note here that the paintballs are just flayed, liquid product that are from non-toxic elements. However, the gelatin-shaped balls are released at a speed that can be as harmless and as ferocious depending on the distance between the players involved.

For paintball masks that do not have overall coverings, especially those strapped across the head, through your ear clips, you can protect your head by putting on baseball caps. It is advisable to wear the front end of your baseball cap backwards, so your vision is not disrupted during play.

If a hat or cap doesn’t cut it for you, then maybe you won’t mind getting a headband or beanie, and get your forehead strapped with a sweatband.

Another good use of the bandanna is the extra protection it can give your neck. People tend to leave it exposed but that could be the covering hack for that.

The good thing about all these is that cost is not the biggest problem and they can be gotten as cost friendly as you want. However, cost should not be the primary motivation for your safety. Consider the paintball goggles, for example. 

They are lenses that help you clear up the moist or fog that shapes up around your eye. There are two lenses type: the thermal and single lenses.

This thermal-styled type helps you keep game focus and the sweaty fogginess is not a challenge. This should be complimented with the google fan which mostly helps the lens when you feel moist gathering up around the eye.

For many, the cost could scare but your safety deserves much more for the love of the sport.

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2. Hand Protection

The hand gloves are often discountenanced, but they are also essential here. It is like two sides to this coin.

One, you must make sure that you are using gloves that not too heavy on the hand. It is not winter (probably), and you are playing paintball, not ice hockey.

Remember you have a trigger to pull, and to do that correctly, you would need the freedom between your fingers. A thick pair of hand gloves (like winter gloves) won’t allow that firm, easy hold to play your game.

On the other hand, not using the gloves exposes your hands to hurt. You can be hit by the paintball on your hands and that can hurt or give a reddish coloration quite quickly.

This might not be a higher risk like the eyes, as your hands won’t go blind, but the tenderness of that part of your body signifies that you would most likely feel the hurt deeper than others.

Many times, fingerless gloves can do the trick, too. They come lightweight, giving your fingers the freedom to move, switch, pull, and recoil, while at the same time, protecting the more exposed parts of your hands. 

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3. Foot Protection

Perhaps protection isn’t what we think about when we choose the shoes or boots we wear. But choosing the right shoes is partly about the right kind of support you need to play your game.

You must invest in quality sneakers that support all your on-field movements. Remember, it is a combat scenario. There will be a lot of turning, twisting, jumping, running, pacing, diving, and other quick, swift lateral movements that could impact the ankles badly.

There are people who choose all kinds of shoes, as long as they support their game and their foot type.

It is important to mention here that paintball is largely not a pretty game, so, you can understand those who go for military boots or the like. They don’t mind getting dirty or muddy as they have a shoe covered for that.

That’s not a problem. Just make sure that as a beginner, you ought to feel your way into boots as they carry a lot of weight and slow down your movement.

So, your hiking boots, your running shoes, or soccer shoes will do the trick just fine, if they are not too new to make you uncomfortable.

More importantly, protect your feet completely by not going for shoes that expose the toes. There are people who get too familiar with the game and opt for such footwear like sandals and the like. You can fracture your toe over an otherwise very avoidable injury. 

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4. Clothing

The capping part of the costume for paintballs is the overall paintball clothing. In this case, you have to pay attention to:

i. Your choice of cloth.

Your best choice of top clothes are the long sleeve shirts. Putting on t-shirts or hoodies that are armless should not be encouraged, except you are using them as an added clothing or extra padding, possibly because of weather or preference.

Shooting light is not the same as risking yourself for what should simply be about fun. Playing light simply means not wearing too many clothes that it becomes too hard for you to breath or move.

There are brands who make padded clothes for the sport. There are also clothing styles specifically designed for the sport. The clothes can absorb impacts, compress easily, and still be capable of bouncing.

If you can’t afford that, just know the ideal clothing is about total covering, and that also includes your baggy sweatpants – long, cargo pants.

Don’t settle for shorts. They could make it difficult to prevent the force of the shot welts spiraling through your exposed skin.

The Ghillie suit is also an option for many, it allows you to hide between the grass, giving you a good camouflage. This is up to individual players if so be.

Another choice of clothing is the vest which are often about those who play paintball in woodsball. They are army-like and they provide better absolvent power for impact and shocks.

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ii. The color of the cloth

This is not just about the paint, which are apparently washable as they are made of water-soluble dye. It is about your time on the ground, time spent on the dust, grass, etc. They could leave a permanent stain on your cloth.

Using a black or easily washable color choice cloth is a safe bet. You could consider your cloth’s time lag. This simply means that your clothing choice should probably be your pick from your closet of old wears.

You can estimate by now the impact of the crawls, dives, rolls, kneeling and how your cloth could be susceptible to dirt and tear. Using old clothes means you can easily toss them away if they can no longer serve you.

Another reason for choice of color is for camouflage, helping players to blend into their environments and they are not easily noticed. 

Getting fully clothed should also not just be about the mechanics, there are also other important factors to consider.

People who wear clothes must make their selections based on factors like the weather condition. Naturally, the change of weather condition impacts how we daily dress and that’s not in anyway different or more difficult than the reality on paintball fields.

Thick clothes are preferred costume choice when it is a cold weather, making you add more layers of clothes and thicker gloves and socks. That said, beginners are often encouraged to dress this way, too, to cushion the effect of hits, but it might be impracticable if it were summer and the weather is hot.

So, there must be flexibility in choice to reflect current environment realities. 


You can do a whole lot more that refining your search to basic clothing. The good thing is that many of these clothing items are often available in parks or paintball fields. You just rent them on as you pay to play there.

However, if you are thinking of bringing the game to your backyard or home or your outdoor camp/makeshift paintball fields, you can’t afford to skip a box of ticked wares you need to be buying.

There are clothing and protective gears for the game for a reason. Combat exposes you to the line of fire, and you are in such literal heat when you play paintball.

You must not expose your body parts and you should add several layers of clothing items to draw the impact of the paintballs on your body, although this must be done in view of the weather conditions.

Protect your groin and neck, too, and other vulnerable parts of the body. Being adequately suited or clothed is not just a good thing to do, it is the best thing to do to keep yourself safe and protected from potential injuries and deep-cutting accidents. 

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