Crystal Palace Bowmen

What to Wear

Shooting in the warm is fairly easy. For most days it's a T-shirt, no dangling ear rings, no nose or other piercings, no broaches or badges that could be caught and ripped out by the string. Closed footwear to protect against injury by walking into the nock of an arrow on the ground.

If it's a record status shoot or mentions rule 307 then you need to avoid contravening the ArcheryGB rules of shooting rule 307.

If it rains the clothing rules a usually relaxed. In the Winter 2017 ArcheryUK magazine, page 56, there was a proposed change to the dress code which did not happen. Check the links page to find and read the latest rules of shooting just incase there has been a change.

If you are going to an away competition ask an experienced archer what the location is like, as some indoor locations can be very cold.

307 Dress Regulations

  1. The recognised dress of Archery GB is plain dark green and/or white.
  2. Footwear that fully encloses the toes and front of the foot must be worn at all times when shooting.
  3. Members of Archery GB shooting and officiating at tournaments granted UK or World Record Status by Archery GB are required to wear clothing that is appropriate, clean, in good condition (ie not frayed or worn, either deliberately or by use) and conventional in style and appearance. In particular:
    1. Tops or shirts must cover the front and back of the body (including the midriff when at full draw), they must not be strapless and, for gentlemen, must include sleeves.
    2. Any colour garments may be worn with the exception of blue denim, olive drab and camouflage pattern.
    3. Badges, Logos and Wording.
      1. Clothing manufacturers’ trademarks are allowed. The wearer’s name is allowed.
      2. Individuals, and members of clubs and other archery organisations that are commercially sponsored may wear sponsors’ logos and names during the sponsorship period only.
      3. Other wording or badges on clothing must represent archery organisations.
    4. Members of Archery GB who are officiating as the Chairman of Judges, Judge or Director of Shooting at a UK or World Record Status tournament shall wear Archery GB recognised Judges official dress.
    5. A member of Archery GB who has represented Great Britain (GBR) as an archer at an international tournament may wear their international shooting uniform for the remainder of that season and the following one.


You need a good solid and stable contact with the ground. Flat soled trainers for hitting and throwing sports work well, tennis, basketball, etc. One international coach recommends shot put shoes, but they are very expensive. A top American archer shoots in Vans skateboard shoes. Soft round running shoes are not ideal as they don't give enough stable support.

For rain, wet or muddy conditions, most trainers are not actually waterproof. Shooting with wet feet is not great, so waterproof hiking boots will be better.

In the cold, thermal or skiing socks will keep your feet warmer. Wearing a thin pair of silk socks under a thicker pair of socks helps to prevent blisters and also helps to retain heat. Perhaps even battery heated socks?


With our south facing shooting line the low winter or evening sun can be a problem. A bucket hat with a soft brim that can be positioned as you need it is advisable. This can keep the rain off or the sun out of your eyes with out interferring with the string. Hoodies don't really work. If it's cold the simple wool beanie hat will keep you head warm.

Glasses are a problem as you will be looking over the bridge of your nose. The frame may be in the way or you may be looking through the edge of the lens which is not as good as the centre. Talk to your optician about the problem, only one eye needs to be corrected for distance to see the target clearly. The other eye may need different correction so you can see the scoresheet or adjust your sight. Contact lenses may work much better for you.

Normal sunglasses have the same problem, and there are wrap around glasses which work better. There are some colours like blue, which are designed to increase the contrast between the red and gold.

With a compound bow the sun may reflect off the inside edge of the peep sight or show up all the dust and dirt on the scope lens making it very difficult to see the target. A couple of inches of gaffer tape can be used as a sunshade on the scope. If it's a separate fibre optic pin then it may be better to just remove the lens. There are covers which clip over the scope to keep the rain off between ends.


Electric hand warmers are popular, as are chemical ones, but you need pockets to keep them in while shooting. A thin silk glove or glove liner can be worn on the bow hand while shooting. Take care as the dye comes off some of the cheap black ones leaving you with a black hand. Fingerless gloves may work on the string hand, especially if shooting compound.


Make sure any T-shirt does not expose your body at full draw. For rain, if it's warm and not too heavy, then just ignore it and get wet. If the rain is heavier then a thin lightweight jacket that folds to pocket size works, with the arm guard keeping it out of the path of the string. Make sure there are no pockets, buttons, zip tags or toggles in the path of the string. It's also possible to wear your club shooting shirt over your waterproof. Top archers wear a chest guard to make sure their clothing does not affect the path of the string.

If the rain is really heavy then over-trousers may be needed. For a competition in those conditions you will also need a living room type of tent, big enough for you, your bow and your bag, that you can stand up in. The Decathlon Quechua Base II Seconds is probably the most popular on the shooting line, unfortunatly no longer sold new, but try It pops up in seconds, but watching someone trying to get in back in the bag can provide hours of fun.

In the cold of winter it is harder to keep warm, the string path needs to be kept clear while keeping the archer warm. Thick padded coats are out, lots of thin layers are best. Start with a good base layer like those sold for skiing, Merino wool is popular but may be expensive. For low price base layers, try Decathlon. Windproof golf jumpers have an inner windproof layer and a wool outer. A close fitting gilet can keep your body warm without the danger of the string hitting your sleeve. There are also battery heated gilets, jackets and trousers.