Joining A Roller Derby League? What Should You Wear?

Posted on: 6 July 2016

If you've recently joined a roller derby league, you may still be getting your bearings -- learning (or relearning) to skate while enjoying the camaraderie and occasional pressure of a large group of athletic, strong-willed women. While you've likely already invested some money in your skates and protective gear, you may still just be grabbing a random assortment of shorts and exercise T-shirts when it comes time for practice. What clothing can help you look sufficiently intimidating while on the track and also improve your performance? Read on to learn more about the factors you'll need to consider when dressing for roller derby. 

What are your best clothing options for roller derby practice?

During practice, you'll likely be doing more agility and endurance skills than scrimmaging -- which means the ability to move and bend in all directions without restriction is key. You'll also want to keep fabric weight in mind, as the harder you practice, the more you're likely to sweat. Choosing form-fitting but breathable shirts and pants can help keep you comfortable throughout practice while giving you the flexibility you need to master new skills. 

However, many budding derby leagues will practice in abandoned warehouses or other non-climate-controlled buildings. If you find yourself chilly before practice begins, choosing insulated leggings or leg warmers can help you keep your muscles warm and loose, helping prevent potential overuse injuries.

You'll also want to take your elbow and knee pads and wrist guards into account when selecting some derby clothes. If your pads tend to loosen during practice, choosing long-sleeved shirts (or even shirts that cover your wrist with a hole for your thumb) can help prevent your upper and lower arms from becoming scratched by the velcro of your pads. If your knee pads are slightly too big and tend to slip down over the course of skating a few laps, some thicker leggings or removable leg warmers can help keep them put. 

What should you wear during a bout?

Although most of the clothes you'll wear for practice are also appropriate for bouting another league, there are a few additions and substitutions you may want to consider. 

Depending upon your skating ability and the skill of the team you're facing, you may opt for extra safety gear—tailbone protectors, padded shorts, or a device to shield your ribs. This additional safety equipment can take up room, so having some shirts or pants in a size larger than you normally wear should help you accommodate any additional padding. You'll also want to consider the temperature of the building where your bout is taking place and dress accordingly—shorts and pads for un-air-conditioned arenas, insulated leggings or leg warmers for colder arenas. Contact a local boutique for more info.