There are many different aspects to archery, each with its own set of gear and equipment. An often overlooked aspect of this sport is the archery clothing that you wear at the range. From best practices to clothing items that you should avoid at all costs, let’s dive deeper into archery clothing and how it can help you to become a better shooter!
Things Not to Wear at the Archery Range
The list of things that you should avoid wearing at the archery range is going to be a lot longer than the items that you should wear. Some archery ranges have strict rules against these things, while others simply frown upon them. Either way, it is a good idea to avoid the following:
Open-toed Shoes (or heels)
With all of the moving parts in archery, it is best to avoid any open-toed shoes such as sandals. There are sharp or pointy arrows that could potentially drop onto your feet and the dirt and grass you may be walking through. Because of this, closed-toe shoes are generally required at an archery range and will do a much better job at protecting your feet. Heels should be avoided at all costs, as they offer no protection and can create a tripping hazard.
Any clothing that you wear at the range should be form-fitting and not too loose. This helps to avoid it getting in the way of the bow or bowstring as you are shooting. Loose clothing that could impede your ability to shoot properly can cause accuracy issues or even potential accidents.
Jewelry, Watches, or Bracelets
It is highly recommended to remove any jewelry or accessories on your fingers, hands, or wrists. All of these items can get snagged or caught while shooting the bow. They can also affect your grip and form negatively while shooting. Earrings and necklaces should also be avoided, as they can also get caught on the bowstring.
Unkept and Long Hair
Longer hair should be tied up and out of the way while you are shooting. Like jewelry or loose clothing, unkept hair can get caught up in the bow while shooting and cause serious problems. Hair can be tied back or up in order to keep it out of the way while shooting.
Shoes at the Archery Range
Because you will mostly be standing while at the archery range, comfortable shoes are a must. Not only should they be close-toed, but your shoes should provide plenty of support and have quality soles. Avoid wearing any shoes that are worn out or do not fit properly. This still gives you plenty of options, depending on where you will be shooting. When shooting at an outdoor range, you may want to wear a comfortable pair of hiking boots for walking through the dirt, rocks, and grass to the targets. In thick brush or terrain, this can help you retain your footing or avoid things like poison ivy, poison oak, or thorns.
At an indoor range, however, a simple pair of tennis shoes can suffice. Just ensure that they have good insoles and are comfortable. No matter what type of shoes you decide to wear, just ensure that they are close-toed and can be worn all day comfortably.
Pants at the Archery Range
The pants that you wear will largely depend on your style and the weather. You can wear pants or shorts depending on the temperature. When wearing shorts, however, take extra caution when shooting at outdoor ranges. Shorts can leave your legs and ankles vulnerable to things such as sharp thorns and brush, poison ivy or oak, and bug bites. If you are shooting at a well-maintained range, however, these things may not be an issue and shorts will help you to stay cool in warm weather.
Some archery ranges include courses of targets that require a lot of hiking and walking. This can factor into your decision to wear shorts or pants. As long as you pair them with the right footwear, either one works great in archery!
Shirts at the Archery Range
The clothing from your waist up requires more thought and consideration when it comes to archery, so your shirt selection is more important than the pants. Again, depending on the temperature, you can mix up what you wear. On warm or sunny days, you can opt for short sleeve shirts or tank tops. On cold or windy days, a long sleeve shirt may be better. Regardless of the type of shirt you are wearing, just ensure that it is form-fitting. A loose or baggy shirt can catch your bowstring or even get tangled in the bow at the shot.
Shirt material can also play a big role in archery. Thick or heavy clothing materials can limit your movement while drawing the bow and be very hot. Thin, athletic materials are a popular choice for both long and short sleeve shirts as they are very breathable, comfortable, and maneuverable. For colder weather, you can pair a good shirt with a vest or thin jacket to still give you plenty of mobility while shooting.
Accessories at the Archery Range
A few simple accessories and clothing items can make a world of difference while at the archery range. No matter where you are shooting, bringing along the following can help provide an extra layer of comfort and precision!
No matter where I am, I am always wearing a hat. Bringing along a ball cap or bucket hat to the range can be incredibly useful if you are outdoors. The sun can easily shine in your eyes, affecting your ability to see and shoot accurately. A hat can shade your eyes and even keep long or loose hair out of your way as well!
Along with a hat, the best defense on a bright and sunny day is a pair of sunglasses. These shades will not only keep the rays of the sun out of your eyes, but they will help to cut down on glares and reflections that may appear. These can be removed if needed when shooting, but they are great to have whenever you are not actively shooting.
A good belt is obviously important to keep your pants where you want them, but it also allows you to mount gear to it such as a hip quiver. Even if you have no plans on using something on the belt, it is always a good idea to have one!
While this is not a clothing item, it is something that should be brought along when shooting outdoors. It only takes a short amount of time in the sun to get burned, so a little bit of sunscreen can go a long way to ensure that you stay comfortable the day of shooting and a few days afterward.
Best Archery Clothing at the Range
So what should you wear on your next trip to the archery range? While this will vary from shooter to shooter, the most common archery outfit for an indoor range is a comfortable pair of pants, a simple short sleeve shirt, and tennis shoes. But what about an outdoor range where there are a lot more external factors?
A simple and comfortable outfit for an outdoor archery range includes the following:
- A comfortable pair of pants or shorts depending on the temperature
- A good pair of tennis shoes or hiking boots depending on the terrain
- A form-fitting short sleeve or long sleeve shirt depending on the weather
- A hat and pair of sunglasses
You can mix and match your combination of footwear, legwear, and shirt. This can correspond to your expected weather conditions and terrain that you will be shooting in. Some outdoor ranges are well maintained and have no difficult terrain or brush, while others require hiking and additional gear to make the experience more enjoyable.
Archery clothing does not get the same kind of attention that other archery gear gets, but it is equally as important. If you wear the wrong type of clothing, you may not even get access to the archery range in order to shoot. Even if you do, the wrong type of clothing can cause damage to your equipment or harm to yourself. So before your next practice session, make sure that you have the right archery clothing to wear to the archery range!