Your Cart is Currently Empty
Paintball Protection - What You Need To Know
Paintball isn’t an excessively painful sport, but there’s no denying that you’ll feel the impact of a hit! Any sting can be lessened with the correct protective clothing.
Here’s what you should look for.
Your head is the area that needs the most protection. Although you can afford to be more selective with cleats and coveralls, it doesn’t pay to skimp in this department. A direct hit to the eye can be extremely painful and even dangerous, so a solid, well-made paintball mask is the most important piece of equipment. There’s a huge range to choose from, and masks keep improving - some of them even come with futuristic HUDs!
Most masks, like the popular JT Proflex, have interchangeable goggles. This means that you can swap out lenses depending on where you’re playing. Paintball can be exhausting, but these masks also come with a ventilation system to keep you cool. Look for air vents to avoid overheating, especially during summer. Fully wraparound masks are a good choice, too. They offer the most protection, allowing you to compete with peace of mind.
Fogging can be a big issue with a paintball mask, especially if you wear glasses. Fortunately, there are plenty of masks like the V Force that come with anti-fog technology. These masks use special vents to stop moist air from building up inside, allowing you to breathe easy without having to worry about your visor becoming fogged.
Your torso is the biggest target, so you’ll want to protect it well! There’s an enormous amount of body protection available, from simple coveralls to fully fledged padded vests like the HK Army Chest Protector. The latter are useful because they give high levels of protection to the parts of your body that are most likely to be hit, but some players prefer the comfort and flexibility of coveralls.
Paintball jerseys are another option. These represent a compromise between highly padded chest protectors and lighter coveralls. Jerseys are undeniably stylish, too. They come in a range of colors and patterns, and many teams choose to customize their jerseys with logos and unique designs. If you’re lucky enough to one day turn professional, your jersey will also bear the names of your sponsors.
One final point about torso protection: camouflage won’t always be appropriate (for example, during a speedball match in broad daylight) but it is worth thinking about if you play woodsball often. Most chest protectors and jerseys come in camouflage colors, but coveralls are usually your best bet.
As you advance through the field of play with your gun held out in front, your hands are exposed. Hands aren’t protected by the same layers of fat as other parts of the body, so a hit can sting slightly more. A good pair of gloves will be padded enough to cushion your hands while remaining flexible. Striking that balance is mostly down to personal preference, but there are a few things to bear in mind.
Your choice mostly comes down to full-finger or half-finger gloves like the Zephyr Tactical. The former offers the most protection at the expense of a little maneuverability, while the latter makes aiming and firing easier. Full-finger gloves might be best if you plan to play a lot during the winter months (it’s hard to fire with cold fingers!) but both options will see you safely through a match.
Paintball gloves have evolved a great deal over the years. Padding has become lighter while remaining protective, so the compromise between the two isn’t as stark as it once was.
Paintball shoes are the only bits of kit on the list designed to protect you from something other than paintballs. It’s unlikely that you’ll get struck on the feet, but there are plenty of other hazards along the ground. If you’re competing in a woodsball match, for example, everything from fallen branches to tree roots and even rocks can get in your way. These lead to trips, stubbed toes and other injuries. Woodsball requires a pair of sturdy boots. Look for steel toe caps for additional protection.
Speedball matches pose a different set of challenges. They demand quick movements, rapid changes of direction and general dexterity. Paintball cleats like the Exalt TRX are your best option here. They offer stability with their spikes while remaining flexible and highly maneuverable. Without the correct footwear, you risk twisted ankles and even sprains, so think carefully about the type of match you intend to play.