What to Wear for Rowing


Nowadays, rowing seems to be one of the nation’s favorite sports. People really love it and since the Rio Olympics interest has just increased.

Rowing zootie Rowing zootie

Trouble is – most folks have never tried rowing. If you think you might love rowing, make sure that your clothing is suitable. But what to wear for rowing? It’s absolutely essential to be comfortable with what you are wearing for effective training.

You will need fabrics that are soft, breathable, stretchy and close-fitting. When it comes to rowing, it’s worth spending money on high-quality technical clothes which you wear in layers so they can serve both purposes – keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.

So, what is the perfect kit for a rower?

Read on….

Tracksuit Trousers

When it comes to basic clothing for rowing activities, you should certainly include tracksuit trousers. but not for rowing on the water – these are useful for arriving at the boathouse and when you are in the gym. You will look inexperienced if you wear these in the boat. They are extremely good to keep your legs warm.

Leggings and shorts

Leggings are better than tracksuits as they are usually close-fitting lycra and so won’t get stuck in the boat slides or on rigger bolts accidentally. During winter, long leggings help keep you warm and when it’s summer, just use them for pre-race wear to stay warm before you get on the water.

Shorts are a favorite of the North American rowers. They choose specialist rowing shorts with a high back so you won’t have a “gap” between your shirt and shorts when you sit down. Few folks in Europe use them – but that’s just a matter of choice.

A row suit

Called many different things around the rowing world from “zootie” in Australia to a “uni suit” in America or an “all in one” in the UK, this is the short and singlet combo which most young people prefer. Fat old men in these aren’t nice to look at – but if you’re fit – fill your boots. Every lightweight looks good in a row suit.

A perfect hat

You might be rowing in scorching summer temperatures or spine-chilling winters and so a hat is always essential for rowing. You can go for a synthetic based athletic cap that can keep your sweat off your face while letting your head stay dry. Or a winter beanie made from wool or lycra is also absorbent and wicking fabrics keep your head at the best temperature. 

Moreover, make sure that the cap that you are wearing is adjustable so that it can sit tightly on your head. Ladies – you can push a pony-tail through the back but for guys that may not be an option! Remember if you are sculling with both hands on the oars, you can’t reach for your cap if it falls off into the water!


T-shirts are comfortable in every weather. Layering your clothes for winter or spring, wearing a t-shirt or short-sleeved layer is ideal. For winter rowing you might opt for multiple layers of long and short-sleeved t-shirts rather than only one. 

Splash top

Wet weather rowing happens. And it’s a water sport so you should certainly include a waterproof top layer in your kit bag. Splash tops are used specifically to keep light rain off your torso – but you won’t expect to stay completely dry because you’ll sweat inside a waterproof. Some people like to wear the splash top under a row suit, others put it on top. You can buy premium quality splash tops at an affordable price while grabbing exciting deals from Dealslands.


Because the shoes are provided in the boat, socks are essential. You don’t want to let your skin get next to someone else’s rotten toe cheese, do you?

When you are rowing, you should certainly wear socks. Keep your feet clean and wear your own socks – ankle or knee-high it’s your choice. Some folks prefer long socks to prevent slide bites on the calves. They will keep your legs warm allow you to enjoy rowing without physical discomfort from hitting the end of the slide runners.

So, now you know what to wear for rowing and which are the essential clothes that you need to have in your wardrobe if you are a rower. If you think that you are running short of any of them, look out for kit stands at regattas – and remember if you train twice a day you will need several sets – one on, one off, and one in the wash!


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Anno Dryseagacker

    Fat old men of the world unite. Bulge proudly in your lycra. You have nothing to lose but a British Masters Rowing Champs medal!

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      I sense a need for you to write a graphic illustrated novel on this topic, Anno…. or alternatively a caustic blog post!

  2. James Sharron

    Thanks for sharing Rebecca!

  3. Nicholas Walker

    What’s with being ageist and fatist? I see plenty of older men wearing an all in one and they look just fine!! This ain’t a fashion show it’s a sport!

  4. Jamie Higgins

    UK June – do I wear a T-Shirt under my AIO?

    1. Tom Wall

      Thats personal choice, on a cool day yes.

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