How To

What to Wear for Paintball

When heading out for your first paintballing adventure, you don’t need to invest in expensive gear. Simply opt for heavy and paint-friendly clothing that you don’t mind getting a little messy. Helmets and masks can typically be rented at paintball venues, as safety is a top priority for the sport.

Paintballs travel at speeds of approximately 300 feet per second and are coated with a thin layer of paint. While they may cause welts or minor discomfort upon impact, they are generally not a cause for serious concern.

To ensure your safety during a game of paintball, it’s essential to wear the appropriate protective gear. This includes padding to reduce the risk of injury, especially in scenarios involving slips or getting caught in the course’s obstacles.

For those who plan to get more deeply involved in the sport and engage in competitive matches, investing in dedicated paintball clothing is advisable. Playing against equally serious opponents can raise the game’s intensity, making proper attire an important consideration.

Here’s a breakdown of the recommended attire for a safe and enjoyable paintball experience.

Paintball Mask

A paintball mask is easily one of the most recognizable pieces of equipment in the sport, second only to the paintball marker itself. Its crucial role lies in providing essential protection for your face, particularly since paintballs can travel at high speeds, posing a risk of injury.

The primary area of concern that a paintball mask safeguards is your eyes, requiring it to be exceptionally sturdy. Additionally, it should offer easy maintenance, especially for cleaning the lens in case it gets hit during gameplay.

Most paintball masks are equipped with scratch-resistant lenses. Manufacturers typically employ glass that is both easy to clean and equipped with a protective layer to prevent accidental scratches, ensuring the longevity of the mask.

Furthermore, these masks often incorporate features to prevent fogging. Given the physically demanding nature of paintball, constantly fogging lenses can severely hinder your field of vision, reducing your overall performance and enjoyment of the game.

Paintball masks come in various profiles, including small and large options. The profile refers to the overall size of the mask, with smaller masks being ideal for fast-paced speedball, requiring agility and flexibility. However, the choice of profile is largely subjective, with comfort and protection being paramount to reduce the risk of accidents.

Paintball masks consist of several components. The “bottoms” refer to the lower part of the mask, providing protection from the eyes downward. Some models extend additional coverage towards the neck, ensuring comprehensive safeguarding. It’s crucial that these bottoms adequately cover your jawline.

Mask lenses are vital for eye protection and maintaining a clear field of vision. In some cases, lenses may not be pre-installed, necessitating the use of separate goggles or sunglasses.

Additionally, paintball masks feature straps to keep them securely in place while allowing for individual style expression during gameplay. These masks also serve to protect your ears while offering sufficient space for effective auditory awareness of your surroundings.

Our Recommendation: NINAT Paintball Mask


Taking a hit on the forehead during a paintball game can be a painful experience, and for those who prefer to protect their heads, there are various options available.

One choice is the headband, a cloth accessory typically made from materials like polyester or cotton. Headbands are often padded to offer some level of impact resistance against direct paintball hits. They also feature terry cloth for sweat absorption.

Headwraps have gained popularity among paintball players in recent years. These resemble headbands but are secured with Velcro instead of being tied at the back of the head. Like headbands, headwraps are crafted from materials like cotton or polyester and incorporate terry cloth for sweat management. They are distinguishable by the mesh cloth on top, which not only protects your hair but also prevents it from obstructing your vision.

Beanies are another option favored by paintball enthusiasts. While not specifically designed for paintball, beanies are appreciated for the padding they provide, offering protection to the player’s head. They are also valued for their warmth in colder weather. However, beanies are commonly worn regardless of the temperature.

For those seeking a hybrid of head protection and style, skull caps offer a solution. Combining features of head wraps and beanies, these caps provide robust support to keep hair in check and typically feature a padded headband to protect the forehead.

For players looking to elevate their head protection, paintball helmets are available. These helmets bear a resemblance to tactical helmets and provide substantial protection for both the head and hair. They consist of a hard plastic outer shell and interior padding for shock absorption. Additionally, paintball helmets incorporate air vents to keep your head cool during gameplay.

Ultimately, the choice of head protection is subjective. Opt for the option that offers the best balance of protection and comfort, aligning with your preferred style of play.

Our Recommendation: HK Army Head Wrap


Pants are an essential component of a paintball player’s gear, and opting for the right pair can significantly enhance your experience on the field. While you don’t necessarily need to invest in specialized paintball pants right away, wearing the appropriate lower body attire is crucial. Yes, we’re talking about wearing shorts – not going pantsless!

For beginners who may not have the budget for padded paintball pants, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of old denim jeans that you don’t mind getting a bit messy. Denim jeans, besides being stylish, offer excellent protection against scrapes and scratches while allowing comfortable movement on the field. They also provide decent protection from paintball impacts. So, consider using your old jeans until you’re ready to upgrade to dedicated paintball pants.

Paintball pants typically resemble cargo pants but come equipped with strategic padding in key areas. These pants are constructed from flexible and durable materials to withstand potential snags on trees or obstacles on the course without tearing easily. They prioritize freedom of movement, especially in the crotch and hip areas.

Breathability is another key feature of paintball pants. They are crafted from materials that allow air circulation to keep players cool during intense gameplay. Some pants even incorporate mesh panels and ventilation details for added comfort.

When it comes to style, paintball pants offer various designs. For players who prefer outdoor and woodsball scenarios, camouflage patterns are practical choices. In contrast, those playing speedball may opt for pants with bright neon colors or tactical camo designs.

Fit is a critical consideration when selecting paintball pants. Ensuring a secure fit prevents the need to constantly pull up your pants during play, which can be distracting and frustrating. Look for pants with secure fasteners and accessories to make the wearing experience more convenient. Ultimately, choosing the right pair of paintball pants will enhance your comfort, protection, and overall performance on the paintball field.

Our Recommendation: Exalt Paintball Pants

Paintball Jersey

Paintball is undeniably one of the messiest sports out there, making it essential to wear a jersey or uniform that can handle some stains. Especially in woodsball, where players might find themselves crawling through mud to reach stealthy positions, a durable jersey is a must-have.

Jerseys also add an element of formality and organization to paintball games. Teams often choose specific colors to represent themselves or distinguish themselves from their opponents.

For beginners, an old long-sleeve t-shirt can suffice as a basic paintball jersey. The long sleeves provide protection against paint splatter, which can be challenging to remove once it dries. Any clothing you don’t mind getting paint on will work, as long as it covers your arms adequately.

However, for those looking to take paintball more seriously, investing in a dedicated paintball jersey is a wise choice. High-quality paintball jerseys are designed to be lightweight and offer excellent ventilation, which helps players stay cool during intense matches. These jerseys may incorporate features like mesh panels or slits to enhance airflow. They also provide the freedom of movement and flexibility that speedball players often prefer.

Some paintball jerseys include padding to protect against paintball impacts and potential injuries from falls or environmental hazards. These jerseys may feature cuffs for added protection, making them particularly suitable for woodsball players who need extra shielding from the elements.

In certain situations, woodsball players opt to wear vests over their jerseys. These vests provide additional protection and offer convenient storage for essential equipment such as radios, maps, water bottles, and other necessities. Ultimately, selecting the right paintball jersey or uniform can enhance your comfort, protection, and performance during the game.

Our Recommendation: Valken Paintball Agility V17 Jersey


When it comes to choosing the right footwear for paintball, simply relying on your running shoes may not always cut it, especially if you’re planning to take the sport more seriously and engage in it regularly. Paintball involves a variety of movements and terrains, so carefully considering your footwear options is crucial.

While running shoes can be a suitable choice for some situations, they may not always be the best option. Paintball scenarios often require traversing different types of terrain, and various footwear options cater to specific needs.

Selecting the appropriate footwear is relatively straightforward; it primarily depends on the terrain where you’ll be playing. Here’s a breakdown of some footwear options for different paintball scenarios:

  1. Lightweight Running Shoes: If you’re playing speedball or on paved surfaces, lightweight running shoes can be an excellent choice. They provide comfort and are ideal for running and making quick sprints to gain an advantage or evade opponents.
  2. Combat Boots: For woodsball enthusiasts, combat boots offer durability and are designed to tackle challenging terrain. They are versatile and can handle various conditions. Some models even come with waterproof features, making them suitable for unpredictable outdoor environments. Their high-cut design provides essential ankle support.
  3. Paintball Cleats: Serious paintball players often opt for paintball-specific cleats. These cleats feature spikes on the soles, enhancing traction, especially on muddy or slippery surfaces. Paintball cleats also provide agility and stability for quick maneuvers, such as dodging shots or repositioning during a match. Additionally, they typically have high-top designs, offering ankle support and protection.

When choosing your paintball footwear, consider the specific demands of your chosen scenario and the type of terrain you’ll encounter. Investing in the right pair of shoes or boots can enhance your performance, mobility, and safety on the paintball field.

Our Recommendation: Free Soldier Tactical Boots


Paintball gloves often tend to be underestimated, particularly among beginners. This is primarily because paintball players don’t typically target each other’s hands. However, a closer look reveals that paintball gloves offer valuable support and protection for players across all experience levels.

Paintball gloves serve a dual purpose. Not only do they safeguard your hands, but they also provide essential support for handling your paintball marker by improving your grip.

These gloves are constructed from durable materials, and you can select a pair based on the specific scenario you’ll be participating in. Here’s a breakdown of how the choice of gloves can impact your game:

  1. Speedball Gloves: For speedball enthusiasts, lightweight gloves are ideal. Speed and flexibility are crucial in this scenario, so you’ll want gloves that offer protection without compromising your dexterity.
  2. Tactical Gloves: When playing in wooded or tactical environments, opt for gloves with a tactical design. These gloves are suitable for situations where you may need to crawl, dive, or protect your hands from rough terrain. Tactical gloves often come with padding for enhanced protection.

Paintball gloves come in various styles, with fingerless gloves being the most common. Fingerless gloves are favored for their ease of use when handling a paintball marker. However, regular gloves with full finger coverage also have their merits, offering ample finger mobility. Many players find that fingerless gloves provide increased dexterity and speed.

Ultimately, the choice of gloves comes down to personal preference. Each type of glove has its pros and cons. The key is to select the most comfortable option that enhances your gameplay, ensuring both safety and enjoyment on the paintball field.

Our Recommendation: Ironclad Tactical Impact Fingerless Gloves

Paintball Harness

The most crucial items to wear in a paintball match is the harness, often referred to as a paintball pack, ball hauler, or pod pack. Paintball harnesses play a fundamental role in enhancing the excitement and enjoyment of a paintball game. They are specifically designed to carry paintball pods and air tanks, essential equipment for any paintball player.

Paintball harnesses come in various capacities, and the choice can significantly influence the dynamics of the game. A standard harness typically holds 700 to 800 rounds, while some models can accommodate double that amount. Serious players often opt for higher-capacity harnesses, giving them a tactical advantage over their opponents.

These harnesses are constructed from durable, heavy-duty materials to withstand the rigors of rugged terrain, preventing rips and tears. They feature adjustable fittings and Velcro straps, allowing for a secure and comfortable fit around your waist.

Our Recommendation: MadDog Paintball Harness

Frequently Asked Questions

What paintball gear should I get to start playing paintball?

For a paintball match, the essential attire includes a pair of long denim pants, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, comfortable running shoes, and a protective mask. It is crucial to select clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or splattered with paint during the game. These basic items ensure you have the necessary protection and comfort for an enjoyable paintball experience.

Do paintball places give you gear?

Certainly! Many paintball venues offer gear rental services, including markers, pods, harnesses, knee pads, elbow pads, and masks. This convenient option allows newcomers to the sport to access the necessary equipment without the need for immediate personal investments.

What should I wear to paintball in hot weather?

In hot weather, wearing tactical clothing can pose a challenge. However, there are lightweight jerseys with excellent ventilation options that can help keep you cool on the field. Nevertheless, dedicated and experienced players often prioritize victory over weather discomfort, focusing on securing essential items for success in the game.

How many layers should I wear for paintball?

For frequent paintball players, a single layer of clothing is typically sufficient, as paintball ammunition tends to be less painful with increased gameplay experience.

Does paintball wash off clothes?

Paintball paint is water-based, making it easy to wash off clothing by simply placing them in the washer. It also washes off the skin and hair with ease. Additionally, paintball pods are hypoallergenic, reducing the risk of allergic reactions when hit.


When considering your paintball attire, it’s essential to tailor your clothing choice to the type of game you’ll be playing. In fast-paced games like speedball, prioritize lightweight and agile gear. However, for more tactical scenarios, opt for heavy-duty clothing to match the role you want to portray. Regardless of your choice, the paramount concern should always be safety, ensuring you have a blast while staying protected.

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