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What to Wear to Paintball - The Top 8 Things Needed to Protect Yourself

Posted on December 11 2021

What you wear to play paintball for your first time can be an important part to ensuring a good experience.  Getting shot can be a painful experience.  Paintball guns shoot 0.68 caliber paintballs at a velocity from 280-300 FPS (feet per second) which is around 200 MPH (miles per hour).  Most players use clothes and gear that can be found in their closet without needing to purchase additional stuff.  We are here to cover every piece of clothing and additional things to bring to the paintball field. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to leave as little bare skin exposed as possible.  Most of the items mentioned in this article have to do with lessening the level of pain from impact.  Keep in mind that wearing all of these items in the summer can make for a warm unpleasant experience.  It is an individual decision to determine which is worse, withstanding the potential of an impact of a paintball to the bare skin or getting very hot from multiple layers of clothes.

1.) Full Coverage Paintball Goggles

Paintball goggles are the most important piece of gear during paintball play.  Paintball masks protect the entire face but most importantly the eyes.  All lenses meet ASTM standards for eye protection by using a polycarbonate plastic designed to withstand the impact of many paintballs.  It is very important to buy brand name goggles and not discounted goggles from internet sources such as Amazon that are not sold in the United States.  Cheap paintball masks can be prone to lens cracking.  All rental goggles that can be used at a paintball field are brand name and will meet regulation to protect your eyes.

Some paintball goggles offer full coverage over the head.  While normal masks cover the chin and ears, it does not do a great job of protecting the forehead.  Some masks, like the full coverage JT Flex 8, offer a plastic protection over the entire head to avoid any painful shots to the head.  

JT Flex 8 Full Coverage: 

Another mentionable mask is the Carbon OPR goggle system.  Carbon Paintball offers a full coverage option.  Their normal OPR goggle even has a large visor which does a good job of protecting shots to the forehead.  

Carbon OPR Goggle:

Carbon OPR Full Coverage Mask:

2.) Baseball Cap, Headwrap, and/or Beanie

If you're not lucky enough to find a full coverage paintball mask at your field or store, another option to protect your head is a baseball hat, Santana, or a beanie. Most players will wear whatever they have available in their current apparel selection.  Even experienced players will sometimes wear a beanie with a headband as part of their headwear for style and protection.  

3.) Scarf or neck protector

A scarf is a common piece of apparel that offers neck protection.  The neck can be a very sensitive area for paintball hits and isn't protected by paintball jerseys or a paintball mask.  Another option to protecting your neck is a paintball neck protector, such as the HK Army neck protector or Tippmann neck protector, which is a piece of padding that wraps all the way around the neck and is secured by velcro.  

HK Army Neck Protector:

Most paintball fields will offer this in their rental packages or may be available for independent purchase.  We recommend that if you have younger children playing for their first time to purchase a neck protector to enhance the overall experience. 

4.) Long Pants - Blue Jeans, Cargo Pants, or Loose joggers

Baggy blue jeans are probably the most common pair of pants that people wear to their first time playing.  This protects your entire leg as compared to wearing basketball shorts which do not protect from the knee down.  Baggy pants are preferred over tight pants because it allows to diminish the inertia of the traveling paintball before it hits the skin.  

5.) Long Sleeve Shirts or a Hoodie

A hoodie is the most recommended piece of clothing for the upper torso for paintball play.  Hoodies offer full sleeves to protect the forearm as well as a hood which can be put over the head to offer more head protection.  The thicker material of the hoodie also makes for a less painful sting for paintball hits.  

6.) Gloves 

Gloves are also an important part of every paintball outfit.  Gloves protect bare skin on players hands since your hands are very vulnerable to getting hit.  There are full fingered gloves as well as half fingered gloves that only go up halfway on  pointer finger and middle finger for better feeling of the paintball gun and trigger.  Armored gloves, such as the Valken Alpha Gloves, are also a thing which have extra protective plastic on the top of the glove to absorb even more of the impact during play.  These gloves are excellent for protection and inexpensive.  More minimalist gloves are also popular, such as the HK Army Freeline gloves, Carbon SC Gloves, and Infamous Sicario Gloves

7.) Outdoor Hiking Shoes or Cleats

Although paintball is reported to be one of the safest sports out there, according to the 2003 study done by National Injury Information Clearinghouse (U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), one common form on injury while playing paintball is sprained ankles.  It can be very easy to get caught up in a great tame of paintball, especially when the adrenaline is surging through your body.  With this comes a certain level of distraction from tree branches or emerging tree roots which can cause an ankle injury quickly.  One way to protect yourself against this is to wear the proper footwear.  Outdoor hiking shoes will give you great traction in the woods through many different terrains (mud, snow, moss, etc).  We suggest a mid top or high top hiking boot because of it's ability to protect against a sprained ankle.  It's a good idea as well to use a waterproof hiking shoe or boot if possible to protect against small streams or rain that may be encountered during your day of play.  

Cleats are also a great option to gain traction and are often used on the speedball field which is often grass or turf.  Once on a speedball field, you won't encounter tree branches or tree trunks but quick changes of direction required by play can also cause ankle injury.  Cleats not only help players with their speed by gaining traction but a high top cleat can definitely help protect your ankles as well. Rubber cleats 

8.) Layer of clothes 

One traditional pastime with paintball is using layers of clothes to protect yourself against the painful sting from a paintball hit.  In the summer, this may be difficult to manage due to heat and the possibility of heat exhaustion, so use caution.  However, you can use multiple top layers such as a T-shirt, long sleeve sweater, and Carhartt denim coat to protect yourself from being shot by a paintball.  On the bottom, thick pants such as sweatpants and jeans are always great options.  


Any beginner first time player that wears these items during their journey to the paintball field will definitely have a greater experience than someone who is unprepared.  Remember, paintball is a very safe sport that is very dynamic and offers character building qualities such as teamwork, communication, and more.  We hope that this helps you have a great experience.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us via phone, website chat, or any social media platform!


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