What to Wear Rowing

  • Ensure that you clothing is bright, preferably high visibility, so that other people on the river can see you. ESSENTIAL FOR BOW
  • Avoid cotton material, instead opt for technical fabric. This is light weight and dries quickly.
  • It is better to have lots of thin layers on than one thick one.
  • Avoid heavy sweatshirts and tracksuit bottoms when in the boat. Save them for after training to warm up in.
  • Avoid loose material, this can impede your rowing stroke.


Hat You lose a third of your heat through your head so in the colder months you need to keep it warm with a woolly hat. In warmer conditions a baseball cap can protect you from the sun.
All-in-one An all-in-one is a lycra suit generally used for racing, but could become part of your regular training kit as they are made from good wicking fabric and allow you to move easily. In summer this might be all that you wear and in winter it can make a good base layer.
Tracksuit trousers Tracksuit trousers over leggings are good in the winter to keep your legs warm when you’re off the water, rigging boats or at a regatta.
Leggings and shorts Leggings are good for rowing because they won’t catch on the boat. Long leggings are great in cold weather whereas close fitting shorts work well in the summer months.
T-shirt T-shirts are great for all weather, but avoid baggy, loose cotton, instead use lightweight technical fabrics.
Technical top/base layers A technical top (or tech top) is rather like a tight t-shirt. Often you will see rowers using this combination with an all in one. Long and short sleeved are available.
Body warmer Body warmers or gilets are a good option for cold weather as they keep your trunk warm whilst not impeding your arms.
Splash Top In wet weather it’s a great idea to wear a waterproof top layer. A normal waterproof will suffice but a splash top is designed specifically for rowing.
Gloves/pogies Gloves are not ideal for rowing in as they do not allow you to feel and hold the blade handle correctly. Rowing or cycling styles can be used if you are suffering from blisters. However “Pogies” are specifically designed to keep hands warm when rowing. Gloves are essential if you’re coxing in cold weather.
Socks It’s a good idea to wear socks when you’re rowing as chances are you’ll be putting your feet into the shoes in the boat. Football style socks are particularly good as you can pull them up to your knees and keep your legs warm if it’s cold.
Footwear Footwear must be non-slip e.g. trainers as you will be carrying the boat to and from the water. When the river level is above the landing stage, wellies will keep your feet dry.