What to Wear for Paintball

Paintball is an exhilarating outdoor sport that involves strategy, teamwork and getting shot by paint-filled gelatin capsules. While incredibly fun, it does come with some pain as you’re bound to get hit by paintballs. However, wearing the right protective gear can help minimize the sting and impact. Here’s a guide to choosing the best paintball outfit so you can play hard and minimize pain.

Head and Face Protection

The most important gear is to protect your head and face since these are the most vulnerable parts of your body. Getting hit in the head or face is extremely painful and can cause serious injuries.

Paintball Masks

A paintball mask is essential to protect your eyes, face, ears and head. Masks are made of hard plastic or fiberglass and should have goggles with anti-fog lenses for clear vision. Some masks also have visors to further shield your face. A properly fitted mask will protect you from nearly all head and face shots.

Headwear Underneath

While masks protect the front of your head, you’ll want additional head protection. Wearing a backwards baseball cap, beanie or headband underneath your mask can shield the back and sides of your head from any paintball hits.

Throat Protection

Consider wearing a neck gaiter, scarf or collar to protect your throat and neck. Getting hit in the Adam’s apple is extremely painful and can cause bruising.

Upper Body Protection

Your chest, shoulders and arms are common paintball targets so wearing protective clothing on your upper body is crucial.

Long Sleeve Jersey or Shirt

Wear a long sleeve paintball jersey made of lightweight breathable material, or a long sleeve athletic shirt in a darker color that can hide paint splatters. Layer up for extra padding.

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Paintball Pads

Wear paintball pads over your jersey to protect your chest, ribs, shoulders, biceps and forearms. Padding will absorb impact and provide an extra layer of protection. Standard pads are made of foam or rubberized plastic.

Elbow and Forearm Guards

Extra elbow and forearm protection can minimize pain when hit on the joints or arms. Hard shell paintball elbow pads are best for blocking impact.

Lower Body Protection

Don’t neglect protecting your lower body as it can also get pelted.

Paintball Pants

Wear loose fitting paintball pants or athletic pants made of breathable material that won’t restrict movement. Thicker padded pants provide the most protection. You can also wear slider shorts with extra foam padding underneath for added impact absorption.

Knee and Shink Guards

Hard shell paintball knee pads that strap over your pants will shield your knee joints. Soccer or volleyball shin guards also work well for protecting your shins.

Athletic Supporter

Wear an athletic cup or supporter to protect your groin if you’re male. Getting hit in this sensitive area can drop you to the ground!


Wear cleats or boots with good traction so you can move fast when charging and dodging. Make sure they properly fit your feet so you don’t get blisters.

Layer Up!

The best defense against paintball pain is to layer up clothes and protective gear. Thicker clothes like sweatshirts and jackets allow for more padding. Some other handy protective accessories include gloves to shield your hands and fingers, and a beanie or headband that can be pulled down as added head and ear protection.

Proper high quality protective equipment may cost a bit more up front but will save you from a lot of pain during paintball games. It allows you to dive head first into the action without fear. Focus on strategy and fun – not worrying about bruises!

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Here are some quick tips for choosing the best protective paintball gear so you can play hard with less pain:

  • Invest in a high quality paintball mask to protect the face and head
  • Wear additional head protection like a backwards cap or beanie
  • Use throat protection like a gaiter or collar
  • Layer up clothes for padding – long sleeves and baggy pants help
  • Use paintball specific padding for chest, arms and legs
  • Wear elbow, knee and shin guards for joint protection
  • Use an athletic cup for groin protection
  • Don’t forget gloves and sturdy cleats
  • The more gear the better! Layer up for max protection

My Personal Views on Minimizing Paintball Pain

As both a paintball player and coach, I’ve learned firsthand how to outfit myself so I can play all day with minimal pain. Here are a few of my tips:

  • Spend up on a thermal fog-resistant mask – it’s worth the cost. I use a dye i5 mask with a headstrap and extra visor.
  • I wear a long sleeve cooling shirt as my base layer for breathability. Under Armour, Nike and Valken make great options.
  • My go-to pads are Planet Eclipse Hardline paintball pads – light but offer great mobility and protection.
  • Don’t forget things like neck protection! I use a Buff headwear gaiter which protects my neck and can pull up if needed.
  • Athletic compression shorts with cup pocket are perfect for extra cushion and keeping everything in place when diving.
  • For shoes, paintball cleats offer traction and ankle support. I prefer the HK Army Crash cleats.
  • Finally, bring extra layers! An old hoodie or jacket can provide extra padding if needed.

Following these tips allows me to play all day in comfort, without worrying about pain. Good gear gives you the confidence to give it your all out on the field. Protect yourself and enjoy the game!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important pieces of gear for paintball?

A quality paintball mask, padded jersey, chest protector and athletic cup/supporter if male are the most vital pieces of gear for minimizing paintball pain. Protecting your head, face, chest and groin should be priorities.

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What clothing provides the best padding for paintball?

Layering up baggy long sleeve shirts and pants made of breathable athletic material allows for maximum padding. Items like hoodies, thermal bottoms or old jackets also add extra cushioning.

What does a good paintball mask include?

Look for a mask made of durable plastic or fiberglass that covers the entire face and ears. It should have thermal, anti-fog lenses and vents to prevent condensation buildup inside the goggles. Additional visors, padding and straps help maximize protection.

Should you wear a cup for paintball?

Yes, male players should absolutely wear an athletic supporter with cup pocket. Taking a paintball to the groin can put you out of commission for the rest of the day. Wearing a cup ensures you stay in the game.

How tight should paintball gear fit?

Paintball gear like pants, jerseys and guards should fit snug for protection, but not be so tight that mobility is restricted. Everything should allow free range of movement so you can run, dive and crawl without impediment.


Paintball provides an adrenaline-pumping rush, but also inevitable welts and bruises from paintball hits. While some pain is part of the game, wearing the proper protective equipment can drastically reduce potential injuries. Focus on safeguarding vulnerable areas like your head, face, chest and groin at a minimum. The more padding and armor the better! Proper gear allows you to play hard, dive fearlessly for cover and take more risks, letting you focus on strategy rather than worrying about pain. Suit up appropriately and enjoy this thrilling sport to its fullest!

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