When playing lacrosse for the first time, everything can seem completely foreign. Even knowing what to wear can be difficult, especially when you consider all the mandatory gear involved.
Most lacrosse players wear a short-sleeved tee shirt and gym shorts underneath their protective padding. Players also wear compression shorts and a jockstrap so that they can wear a protective cup. In cold weather, players typically wear additional clothing layers, such as long sleeves and leggings.
The lacrosse season typically starts in late February to early March and ends in May. For this reason, players see all kinds of weather conditions throughout the season. Ultimately, players need to modulate their outfit so that it’s appropriate for the playing conditions.
Below, we will delve into exactly what players wear in both warm weather and cold weather. Read until the end to get a comprehensive rundown of the safety equipment players need to wear over their clothes.
What to Wear When Playing Lacrosse in Warm Conditions
For the most part, lacrosse is played in relatively warm conditions since it is an outdoor sport. Since players are already bogged down by their protective gear, they do not need to wear additional layers of clothing. In fact, wearing heavy layers of clothing is ill-advised, as it may potentially lead to heat exhaustion (source). Players will generate enough body warmth on their own by running up and down the length of the field.
Lacrosse players typically wear the following ensemble for warm conditions. These clothing suggestions also work for athletes that intend on playing lacrosse within an indoor facility.
- Short-Sleeved Tee Shirt – This is a very popular option among lacrosse players. As far as shirt material goes, players typically opt for breathable fabrics to allow their body warmth to dissipate and their sweat to evaporate. Since the protective padding often causes the shirt to rub up against the skin, players also elect to go for tight-fitting tee shirts—like the Nike Dri-Fit Tee Shirt—to minimize this friction.
- Gym Shorts – Shorts are also very common, since they aren’t restrictive and allow players to run freely. For those of you that do not know, lacrosse players run a considerable amount over the course of a single practice or game. Thus, shorts that are conducive to running are practically essential.
- Compression Shorts – These are a prevalent accessory for lacrosse players, as they apply pressure where it’s needed most. Wearing regular undergarments may result in chafing, which is the last thing you want to deal with when you’re running on a weekly basis!
- Jockstrap – A jockstrap is also needed for players to wear a protective cup. Given that lacrosse is a contact sport, it’s important for players to take precautionary measures to protect their groin area.
- Mid-Calf Socks – Lacrosse players also prefer to wear mid-calf socks. These types of socks complement lacrosse cleats well because they completely cover up the heel and the achilles. With low cut socks, your lacrosse cleats are more likely to dig into your heel and leave blisters.
The player on the field that typically refuses to wear gym shorts is the goalie. Goalies usually wear sweatpants instead to help reduce the blow of shots taken to the shins. Believe it or not, the majority of goalies do not wear any form of shin protection. Instead, the only real layer of shin protection they have is the tiny layer of fabric provided by their sweatpants!
What to Wear When Playing Lacrosse in Cold Conditions
Although lacrosse is meant to be played in fair weather conditions, players still have to deal with adverse weather conditions from time to time. Contrary to popular opinion, lacrosse can be played in the rain and snow. So if your game or practice hasn’t been cancelled, you should dress accordingly.
If you still aren’t entirely convinced that lacrosse can be played in the rain, click over to Can You Play Lacrosse in the Rain (The Do’s and Don’ts) for additional information.
Playing lacrosse in the midwest, I’ve had my fair share of lacrosse practices and games in the cold. Sadly, only wearing a tee shirt and shorts will only leave you shivering in such conditions. You have to layer up if you want to perform your best.
Players still wear compression shorts and a jockstrap, but they do implement some wardrobe changes to stay warm on the field. It’s standard for lacrosse players to wear the following clothing accessories in cold weather conditions.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt – This extra layer of warmth can act as a player’s saving grace during the early portion of the season when the weather is still cold. Much like the short-sleeved tee shirt, players still wear similar tight-fitting material, such as the Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Armour Compression Long Sleeve T-Shirt.
- Sweatshirt – When a long sleeved shirt just isn’t enough to keep you warm, wearing a sweatshirt underneath all your padding is also a viable option. Surprisingly, buckling protective lacrosse padding over a sweatshirt is easier than you would think. Only use this in the most extreme conditions though. As you generate excess body warmth from running around on the field, wearing a sweatshirt can actually make you feel overheated.
- Leggings – When players must go out in chilly conditions, they typically choose to wear warm leggings underneath their gym shorts as opposed to sweatpants. The combination of warm leggings and gym shorts allows players to maintain their mobility on the field. Similar to the long-sleeved dri-fit material, these leggings are much warmer than what the thin fabric suggests.
- Sweatpants – To reiterate, players typically only reserve sweatpants for extreme weather. Although they do a remarkable job at preserving body warmth, it comes at the expense of speed. The heaviness of the material tends to slow players down in spite of their best efforts. In short, only wear sweatpants when it’s absolutely necessary.
- Gloves – As a player, you need to keep your hands warm so that you can react quickly and make plays with your lacrosses stick. If your hands are too cold to move, you will have a hard time doing your job on the field. For this reason, you may want to consider wearing latex gloves or thin winter gloves underneath your protective lacrosse gloves.
- Wool Socks – Just like your hands, your feet can get cold as the temperature drops severely. Wool socks are the most effective way to keep your feet warm. If this is not an option, consider wearing multiple socks instead. In extremely cold conditions, one pair of socks simply won’t do the job.
What Should You Not Wear to Lacrosse?
Now that we have gone over what you should wear to lacrosse, you likely want to know what you should not wear to lacrosse. Certain clothes set a player up for disaster on the field and may even increase the likelihood for injury. It goes without saying, but you should do your best to steer clear of these clothing accessories when you’re out on the field.
- Glasses – With lacrosse being a contact sport, you’re bound to experience some heavy collisions at one point or another. It’s more than likely that your glasses will be knocked off as a result of such contact. Rather than risk damage to your glasses, you should try to wear contacts whenever possible.
- Necklaces or Jewelry – This relates to the reasoning why you shouldn’t wear glasses. The physical nature of lacrosse may damage any necklaces or jewelry you decide to wear. Such damage may also hurt you or other players around you. It’s best to rid yourself of this safety hazard by keeping your necklaces and jewelry at home.
- Jeans – These may be a staple piece of clothing for handyman activities, but it’s not the best for the sport of lacrosse. Not only will these be uncomfortable to wear while running, it will also severely hinder your speed. Put simply, don’t wear jeans to lacrosse functions.
List of Protective Lacrosse Equipment that Players Must Wear
Aside from athletic clothing, a player must also wear safety equipment to protect against injury. Some of this gear is worn directly over a player’s regular clothes. If you’re not too familiar with what equipment is needed for lacrosse, here’s a list of everything you need, along with an illustration of what this gear looks like:
- Helmet – Every lacrosse player needs a NOCSAE certified helmet to participate in live gameplay. Any cracks, defects, or flaws that are on or within the helmet will deem it illegal. This is a universal guideline to safeguard against head injuries.
- Mouthguard – Along with a helmet, players also need to be fitted with a mouthguard. This piece of protective gear protects against mouth, jaw, and other dental-related injuries. Players cannot participate in formal gameplay without a mouthguard.
- Shoulder Pads – Lacrosse shoulder pads are much different from football shoulder pads. Since they are designed for absorbing contact as opposed to delivering contact, they’re much softer to the touch. These specialized lacrosse shoulder pads act as a physical barrier against body checks and stick checks to the torso.
- Jersey or Pinnie – On top of your shoulder pads, you will need a colored jersey or reversible pinnie to indicate which team you’re on. These are typically provided by the team or league you’re participating in. However, there are certain pick-up or intramural leagues that require you to bring your own.
- Arm Pads – Along the crease of your elbow, you will need to wear protective padding. Your elbow region is a location that’s constantly being hit with defensive checks. Without arm pads, you would suffer considerably more bruises around this area.
- Gloves – Similar to the elbow region, the gloves are also under constant defensive pressure. For this reason, it’s necessary for players to cover up their hands with protective layers. Otherwise, ball carriers wouldn’t last too long on the field.
- Cleats – Lacrosse is heavily based on a player’s ability to run and change direction on a whim. The spikes on lacrosse cleats allow players to have better traction on the field. Keep in mind that metal cleats are strictly prohibited. In other words, you cannot use your old baseball cleats for lacrosse!
- Lacrosse Stick – The game of lacrosse is based upon the lacrosse stick. Practically every single maneuver involves its use. Obviously, in order to play lacrosse, this piece of gear is vital.
- Protective Cup – Last but not least, you need to make sure that you’re wearing a protective cup. It only takes one stray defensive check for things to turn dire. It may feel somewhat uncomfortable, but it’s well worth wearing.