What do you wear when rowing?

Rowing is an intense sport that requires a specific set of clothing for optimal performance and comfort. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, wearing the right gear is crucial to ensure that you can row efficiently and stay protected from the elements. Here’s everything you need to know about what to wear when rowing.

Rowing Clothing Basics

First and foremost, it’s important to wear clothing that is form-fitting and comfortable. Loose clothing can get caught in the oars, which can be both dangerous and detrimental to performance. Most rowers wear a one-piece unitard or a two-piece compression top and shorts.

Unitard vs. Compression Top and Shorts

The choice between a unitard and a compression top and shorts usually comes down to personal preference. Some rowers prefer the streamlined look and feel of a unitard, while others like the flexibility of wearing two separate pieces. Compression tops and shorts can also be more budget-friendly, as they can be mixed and matched with other workout gear.


When it comes to material, look for clothing that is breathable and moisture-wicking. Rowing can be a sweaty sport, so it’s important to wear clothing that will keep you cool and dry. Popular materials include spandex, polyester, and nylon.

Outer Layers

In cooler weather, it’s important to wear layers to stay warm. Popular outer layers for rowers include windbreakers, fleece jackets, and waterproof shells. Look for jackets that are designed for outdoor sports, with features like zippered pockets and reflective material for safety.


When it comes to footwear, rowers need shoes with good grip and support. Cross-training shoes are a popular choice, as they provide both stability and flexibility. Some rowers prefer to row barefoot, but this is generally discouraged for safety reasons.


In addition to clothing and footwear, there are a few other accessories that can enhance your rowing experience. Sunglasses with UV protection can help to reduce glare from the water, while hats or visors can provide shade and keep sweat out of your eyes. Finally, a good pair of gloves can protect your hands from blisters and calluses.


When it comes to rowing, wearing the right gear can make all the difference. Whether you’re a casual rower or a competitive athlete, investing in high-quality clothing and footwear can help to improve your performance and keep you comfortable on the water. So, grab your unitard or compression top and shorts, slip on your cross-training shoes, and hit the water!