What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (2023)

What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (1)

Before you go and play paintball for the first time you need to decide on what you’re going to wear.

While some players tend to opt for the normal attire of a long sleeve t-shirt and blue jeans, others like to go all out and wear cool camouflage clothing such as BDU’s. Now whatever you decide to wear when you go paintballing is really up to you, but there are definitely some guidelines you’ll want to follow in order to ensure you have the best time possible.

To make it quick and simple, here’s a brief overview of what kind of attire you’ll want to wear when playing paintball for the very first time.

  • Long sleeve t-shirt and loose fitted pants
  • Running shoes, hiking boots, trail runners or cleats
  • Baseball hat, headwrap, headband, beanie, etc.
  • Baggy clothing that promotes bounces and allows you to stay nimble
  • Non bulky gloves that offer protection

What to Wear for Paintball

Table of Contents

I’ve went ahead and listed all of the clothing options below that you may want to consider wearing next time you go play paintball.

Do you need to wear everything on this list?


Just dress the best you can with what you have and you’ll be good to go.


What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (2)

Although it’s far from necessary, many players do prefer to wear something to cover up their head as it can be a bit of a sensitive area. While a simple option would be to wear a fitted baseball cap backwards, you can also choose to wear a headwrap, beanie, etc.

Wearing a headband is another good option as well as it does a great job at both protecting your forehead and soaking up the sweat. Not only does keeping your foam dry make your paintball mask more comfortable to wear, but it also greatly reduces the chance of your lens fogging up from condensation.


What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (3)

Now before I tell you the best types of clothes to wear when playing paintball, let me start off by telling you what types of clothes to avoid. To begin with, try not wear anything that leaves too much of your skin overly exposed (shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, etc.). Even if you’re one of the rare few who isn’t afraid of being shot by a paintball, you have to remember that you’re going to be doing a lot of crawling, kneeling and possibly even sliding around.

Of course, you’ll also want to avoid the beginner mistake of wearing too many layers of clothes as you could easily get overheated from all the running around. Instead, you’re better off wearing a layer or two of light loose fitted clothing that doesn’t prohibit your ability to move around and stay nimble.

No need to go out and buy any super fancy paintball gear either. All you need is a baggy long sleeve t-shirt and some relaxed fit jeans, joggers, or cargo pants and you’ll be good to go. If you do want to get fancy though and you plan on playing woodsball (or maybe preparing for a scenario) then you can always take a trip down to your local Army Surplus store and buy you some ACU/BDU’s.


Now before you decide on what type of shoes to wear when playing paintball you first need to decide on whether you’re going to play woodsball or speedball. If you’re going to play woodsball (or scenario paintball) then the best type of shoes to wear are those that have a decent amount of tread and preferably some form of ankle support. Running shoes, hiking boots and trail runners will all work perfectly fine.

Many players even choose to wear combat boots to enhance the realism of playing paintball, but let me be the first to tell you that unless you’re trained to wear them (or you’re a really big guy or girl) then it’s probably not a good idea. Even though combat boots may prove to be somewhat useful in a woodsball environment, that usefulness is usually outweighed by the extra weight you’re forced to carry around.

Cleats are another great option to wear when playing paintball as well, but they’re typically better suited for speedball than woodsball. While the rubber spikes may work great when you’re running around on grass and turf, they don’t tend to fare too well when walking on wood, concrete, rocks, tree stumps, etc.

Now, as far as what type cleats are best for paintball, I would have to recommend either football or soccer cleats, but you can also wear baseball cleats as well. Just make sure to avoid wearing cleats with metal spikes as they’ve been known to pop inflatable bunkers and injure other players.

You should also avoid wearing any open toed shoes such as sandals as it will greatly increase your chances of injuring your feet. Wearing brand new shoes is also not a good idea either as they can be hard to run and move around in. Instead, it’s best for you wear shoes that are comfortable and broken in.


What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (4)

While it may not be necessary to wear gloves when playing paintball, there’s no denying that they definitely do a great job at protecting your hands. Besides simply cushioning the blow of being shot by a paintball, gloves also help to protect your hands and fingers from other common injuries such as cuts, scrapes, thorns, splinters, and rub burns.

Not all gloves are made the same though so you need to make sure you’re wearing the proper kind if you don’t want to hinder your performance. This mainly means to avoid wearing any type of gloves that are overly large (such as bulky garden and winter gloves) as they tend to get in the way of the trigger guard when you’re shooting.

A better option would be to instead wear gloves that offer some form of protection while simultaneously allowing the proper movement of your fingers. And while paintball gloves and specialty work gloves from Mechanix are typically your best bet, you can also wear golf gloves, weightlifting gloves and many other types of gloves as well. Many players even choose to wear fingerless gloves (or cut off the index and middle finger on a pair of gloves you already own) in order to be able walk the trigger as fast as possible.

Clothing Tips to Consider for Playing Paintball

Now that you know the basics of what to wear when you go paintballing, let’s discuss a few more helpful tips that will ensure you come dressed in the best paintball attire possible.

Dress for the Weather

One of the most important tips to remember is to always keep the weather in mind when you’re going to play paintball. While many beginners will choose to wear thick clothing such as a sweatshirt in order to reduce the pain of being shot, this may not be a good idea if it’s during the middle of the summer and the weather is hot outside.

That’s why we recommend for you wear a layer or two of light loose-fitting clothing that you can easily strip away if you begin to get overheated. On the other hand, if the weather is extremely cold outside then you need to make sure to wear warm clothing such as gloves, thick socks, a beanie, and a sweatshirt.

Wear Old Clothing if Possible

Since you’re going to be doing a lot of kneeling, crawling, and possibly even diving around, you need to make sure to wear old clothing that you don’t care about getting torn or dirty. And while most paintballs on the market are filled with a water-soluble dye that easily comes off after being washed, some of the cheaper brands of paintballs can definitely be a little more prone to staining.

Now if you’re really worried about your clothes being stained then you can always bring along a stain remover of some kind, but as long as you wash your clothes soon after getting home and don’t let them sit in the sun for too long then you should have nothing to worry about.

Stick to Dark Colors or Camouflage

Not only is light-colored clothing easier to stain, but it also causes you to stick out like a sore thumb when playing in a woodsball environment. If you plan on playing speedball however then this may not be that big of an issue, but if not then you definitely want to wear either dark color clothing or camouflage to further reduce your chances of being seen by enemy players.

Extra Protection Can Be Used

What to Wear For Paintball: Clothing Tips for Beginners (5)

Getting shot by a paintball can certainly hurt a little (and leave bruises) so you may want to wear extra protection in order to reduce or eliminate the pain of being shot. The best type of protection to wear in paintball are chest protectors, neck protectors (learn how to protect your neck), elbow/forearm pads, knee/shin pads, and a cup or slide shorts. You can also wear a headwrap or headband to help protect your head from being directly hit by an incoming paintball, but a simple baseball cap will always suffice.

Bring Spare Clothes or a Towel for the Ride Home

You’re more than likely going to leave the paintball field (top 7 best paintball fields) covered in dirt and splatters of paint so it’s probably a good idea to bring along a set of spare clothes or a towel for the ride home. I’ve even seen other players or parents cover their backseat with a bedsheet just to keep their vehicle from getting dirty.


What should I wear to paintball first time? ›

We recommend wearing casual clothing that's easy to manoeuvre in. Hoodies and thick clothing is ideal to take away the sting of the paintballs. We suggest tracksuit bottoms, joggers and jeans, again thick attire that's easy to move in.

Are jeans or sweatpants better for paintball? ›

Lower Body protection: Long, loose pants are the best type to wear. Either jeans, Cargo, Military issue BDU, or paintball specific. Use undergarments like thermals or Sweats if the temperature is colder. This not only protects you from the sting of a paintball hit, but the environment.

Should I wear shorts or pants to paintball? ›

You can wear shorts and a t-shirt! But, if you're nervous about getting shot. We recommend wearing clothes that cover the skin. Jeans, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies, etc.

What not to wear to paintball? ›

The main rule of thumb for paintballing is to leave as little skin exposed as possible – those paintballs can really sting – so avoid vests and anything with short sleeves and instead wear a jumper, hoody or a long-sleeved t-shirt.

Should you wear tight or loose clothes for paintball? ›

Wear Loose Fitting Clothes

If your clothes fit loosely they will have the same effect on paintballs, so it is better to wear loose fitting clothing when playing paintball.

Will my clothes get ruined at paintball? ›

Paintballs are nonstaining, nontoxic, and biodegradable. As such, the paintball fill will not permanently stain your clothes. Your clothes can be laundered as normal to remove any paint residue.

How messy is paintball? ›

Paintball is a messy sport.

The markers are made of metal with a heavy air tank attached to the back of it. You will be playing on dirt fields with natural terrain. The paint inside the paintballs is oily and doesn't have the most pleasant odor.

Are sweatpants enough for paintball? ›

Dress in Layers

If it's relatively cool out, layer up with sweatshirts and sweatpants to further reduce the impact of paintballs on your body. If you're a paintball enthusiast and enjoy playing during crazy weather, we recommend bringing rain gear and mud gear.

What shoes for paintball? ›

Most players wear hiking boots or trainers. They should be shoes you don't mind getting both dirty and wet. You want to ensure the footwear you choose is closed toe for both safety and comfort. Bringing clean footwear is suggested for the ride home.

What age is best for paintball? ›

Paintballing is a great activity to get the blood pumping and is suitable for ages 8+, as well as being the perfect place for birthday parties or weekend outings.

How painful is paintball? ›

Most people state that paintball doesn't hurt too much; it usually feels like a firm flick. But this will depend on how fast the ball is going, the distance it travels and where on the body it hits you. Paintball injuries won't be too extensive, but you should expect a few minor bruises and bumps after paintballing.

How bad is a paintball bare skin? ›

The answer is not as bad as you might think, so don't allow fear of potential pain prevent you from trying paintball for the first time. Yes, getting hit with a paintball on the bare skin of a sensitive body part at a high speed, close range, and direct angle would certainly hurt quite a bit.

What are the worst injuries in paintball? ›

The most serious injuries include eye injuries, ear injuries, and even death. Paintball's most common minor injuries include cuts, welts, and bruising.

Should you wear leggings to paintball? ›

No, you don't need special clothes to play paintball. You can wear whatever you're comfortable in as long as it's not too loose and doesn't have anything that could get caught on the equipment. I've seen people play in jeans and a t-shirt with no problems.

How long is a game of paintball? ›

Paintball games usually last ten minutes each half but games can go on for hours, or even days depending on the paintball operator. Since Paintball began in the early eighties, it has since been considered by some to be a dangerous sport but this is far from the case.

Why am I so afraid of paintball? ›

Paintball pains

One of the big fears of beginners is that paintballing is going to hurt. Given the fact that the sport involves being hit with projectiles fired from a gun at speeds of around 200 miles per hour, this is perfectly understandable.

How many layers of clothes should you wear for paintball? ›

Layers give you extra padding and keep you comfortable outdoors. Getting hit by a paintball can hurt and even cause light bruising. To protect yourself, dress in 2-3 layers of clothing to reduce the impact of paintballs.

Does paintball require skill? ›

Paintball requires skills of target observation and detection, tactical movement, use of cover, and functioning as a member of a fire team. These skills are easier learned in a live action field than at a firing range.

What happens if paintballs get wet? ›

Moisture on paintballs, can expand the outer shell and jam up in the barrel. Most paintballs have a water-based fill. Consequently, if paintballs are left in a lot of water for a period, they will take on the appearance of little water balloons.

How cold is too cold for paintball? ›

When paintballs are left in temperatures under 70 degrees, the gelatin fill hardens and makes the outer shell become brittle. When the shell becomes brittle, it can easily break inside the barrel of the paintball gun before coming out.

Is paintball a lot of running? ›

Paintball is an active sport that involves a lot of sprinting, dodging, crawling, and diving all while holding up your marker.

How should I dress for paintball in the summer? ›

Though we often recommend sweat pants, long sleeves, and layers, 90 degree weather is an exception. Choose lightweight, single layer clothing and supplement with knee and elbow pads for protection. Lighten up your pack as well by ditching any excess gear for a reduced weight. Use a goggle visor to block out sun.

Do paintball guns jam? ›

If there are any broken balls, they will clog up in the barrel causing your gun to jam when you pull the trigger. You can use a soft cloth to clean the inside of your hopper. Never pick up paintballs from the ground or any other surface that may contain dirt and grit.

Do you run in paintball? ›

Being a runner is an important job in any AC Paintball game. You are basically in charge of leading your team into your opponents' territory. If you are playing a game like capture-the-flag or center-flag-push, you also have to sneak into a heavily guarded territory.

Do you get bruises from paintball? ›

Believe it or not, paintball is a sport, and, just like rugby, lacrosse or even football, you may end up with a bruise or two. But bruises from paintball are completely normal and often feel like a light sting when being shot.

Does paintball hurt for a 14 year old? ›

It's a close contest and it's heavily debated online, but the general consensus is they're quite similar. Does it hurt more for children? Paintball is a great activity for all age groups, offering high-adrenaline fun, in a safe and controlled setting, and it's as much for the kids as it is for the adults.

Is paintball a good first date? ›

Paintball gives you a chance to spend some quality time together without the pressure of having to come up with a million things to talk about over a candlelit dinner. This makes it an excellent option as a first date, especially if all you know about the person is that they enjoy sports or games.

How do you not get hurt by paintballs? ›

How to prevent paintball bruises and welts
  1. Don't expose your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and boots.
  2. Wear padding or dress in multiple layers of clothes. This reduces the force of a paintball against your skin.
  3. Wear a helmet. ...
  4. Don't forget your goggles. ...
  5. Change your body stance.
May 30, 2018

Do your clothes get dirty in paintball? ›

Go Dark and Wear Camo

Paintball paint is washable, but you may find yourself crawling through mud or grass, which can ruin light-colored clothing.

How bad do paintballs hurt? ›

Most people state that paintball doesn't hurt too much; it usually feels like a firm flick. But this will depend on how fast the ball is going, the distance it travels and where on the body it hits you. Paintball injuries won't be too extensive, but you should expect a few minor bruises and bumps after paintballing.

What hurts more paintball? ›

Since paintball tends to leave more of a bruising pain and airsoft is more of stinging pain, it is hard to say which one “hurts more”, but let's see what difference it makes. You might be surprised, but according to some experienced players, paintball hurts more.

What kind of shoes do you wear for paintball? ›

Most players wear hiking boots or trainers. They should be shoes you don't mind getting both dirty and wet. You want to ensure the footwear you choose is closed toe for both safety and comfort. Bringing clean footwear is suggested for the ride home.

What to do with your clothes after paintball? ›

Throwing your paintball clothes in the washer with some laundry detergent will surely get them clean and good as new. Removing paint from shoes and gear. The best way to remove paint from shoes, boots and all footwear is to use a scrub brush with dish detergent and warm water.

Are sweats good for paintball? ›

Sweatshirts and sweatpants are excellent choices if it is chilly enough outside. Another good reason to wear thick layers of clothing is strategy. Soft materials will actually cause paintballs to break less often because it absorbs much of the impact of the shot.


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