Recently I started to update a set of clothes that I could wear as an archer for an outdoor competition. It’s hard to define a set standard for archery wear as an athlete because there is too few choices of clothing items that make it distinct from the other sports. Tennis players are famous for their polyester jerseys, tank tops and shorts, as well as their bouncy shoes. Football soccer players have their shirts, shorts and long socks as well as their boots. Both of these sports are of a physically demanding type where the athletes need to run about and work up a sweat. Some forms of archery like target archery and field archery don’t require much moving around, especially as they need to be careful not to hurt anyone with their bows and arrows in a sport. So what would you be expected to wear in a sport that requires so little physical movements yet needs to be adequate for performing that routine?
Let’s take a look at some of the similarities of a sport that requires relatively little movement and physical actions compared to football and tennis. Rowing for example requires clothing where it needs to be comfortable but not too baggy. Governing bodies like British Rowing suggest all in ones like you see in championships, but you can also wear tracksuits, trainers, sports vests and shirts, shorts and trousers. Depending on the conditions of the race you need to wear something so that you won’t be too cold or too warm. Fleeces and jackets can be added when it’s cold and vests and shirts can work well in a hot summer’s day.
Archers need clothing that can allow their upper bodies to stretch out their arms and pull back on the bow without the string catching their clothes. The attire for archers to avoid are baggy shirts, baggy sleeves and shirts with chest pockets with buttons. It’s a good idea if you get a skin tight shirt which can wrap to your body so it’s not able to catch onto your string. It’s also got to be lightweight. Also make sure your shirt doesn’t have any buttons on it neither. Bowstrings can get caught on the buttons as you draw. If you are going to accessorise your look then avoid wearing necklaces, dangling jewellery like earrings and pins. If you have long hair then be sure to tie it back so it doesn’t get caught in the bowstring. And don’t hang any sunglasses from the neck of a shirt neither, if you have any loose accessories to wear then put them in your quiver or your kit bag. As we wear armguard to prevent abrasions and bruises from the bow string don’t wear anything else on your bow arm like a wrist band or a watch. If those things catch the bowstring they can damage the bowstring upon impact. A metal watch can snag a bowstring when it recoils upon release.
The outfits of an archer there have no formal identity for a uniform of any kind whether you are playing for fun or shooting for practice. But there is some idea of what you can wear from the attire worn by archers at competitions.
Most of them wear ordinary sportswear like polo shirts, track pants, jerseys, shirts, shorts, trainers and in some cases cargo trousers and sleeves. You could easily find something like these in a high street sports store. There are also some archery stores which sell clothing made by archery brands like Hoyt and Easton. As with the conditions of your field of play the items that you choose to wear must be comfortable to wear for the weather in mind. If it’s a nice warm sunny day you can slip on a shirt and shorts but be sure to put on some sunblock if it’s too hot and bright. My first tournament experienced such a heatwave I caught sunburn! If you are shooting on a cold chilly day when the weather is chilly it would be best to wrap up warm. However don’t wear too many thick layers otherwise you won’t be able to pull stretch and draw your bow. Ideally you should wear a long sleeve shirt or a pair of sleeves to keep your arms warm. It’s also handy if you wear a gilet or a fleece to keep yourself warm.
However when it comes to competitions you should check with the governing archery body of your country by checking what is allowed and what is not. The Archery GB Rule Dress Regulation code 307 states that denim jeans and camouflage are not allowed, but any colour of clothing is allowed. Your clothing must also be absolutely well presented with no wear and tear. Club names are allowed on the clothing that you wear and the brand name of the clothing is also permitted. Footwear must be decent and cover the whole of the archer’s feet, so don’t turn up in slippers or sandals however hot the weather may be. Commercially sponsored archers are allowed to wear their sponsor’s logos and names.
Hats are a very stylish way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Most people can only think of a felt corner hat with a feather like Robin Hood’s famous attire. While that may be a bit silly for a modern day archer there are alternatives. The types of hats worn by archers today range from baseball hats, workforce hats, bucket hats, beanies, etc. There are a lot of fantastic options out there to complement the look of your outfit.
One thing that I would say is that when you create your own archer outfit you must create a character, style and identity that reflects you and your personality. I start by brainstorming some ideas for colours that I like and I mix them together to create a distinct identity for my outfit. Sometimes I take the design of something that is already out there and turn it into my own thing. One idea that I have taken is that of adapting the design of my Glasgow 2014 Clyde-Sider and turning it into an archer’s outfit with it’s red, grey and white colours. For me it seems like a good way to show the adventure of a volunteer who became a champion. Perhaps with your ambitions and talent you could find an identity that would make you quite an amazing sight at a match. They say that archery isn’t a very photogenic sport, well with the colours and apparel that you can create for yourself you could look like a very striking, vivid picturesque athlete.