Notes about the USA Archery Dress Code

Dress Code


This post is no longer current.  USA Archery has a new dress code as of October 16th, 2018.  The new dress code can be found here on the USA Archery Policies Page

Nope, they broke that link, too, so I guess just use this link that runs a search on their web site to find wherever they put the dress code PDF each time they move it:
Search for USA Archery Dress Code (usually it’s in “Resources”)

Some relevant changes in the 2018 dress code are that all denim is allowed, as long as it is not ripped, torn, lasered, or holey.  All shirts must have sleeves.  Leggings and yoga pants are allowed as long as they are opaque above the knee.  Shorts and skirts must now be mid-thigh instead of fingertip length.


Here’s my post about the newer dress code:

2019 USA Archery Dress Code update


Again, this write-up is about the old dress code:

A word about a small, but real element of preparing for an archery tournament — what clothes to wear.

There’s a dress code that is enforced at all USA Archery tournaments, and ours are no exception.  I want archers to be aware of this, so that they aren’t hassled or refused from Nationals based on something like their choice of pants.
USA Archery Dress Code
USA Archery Event Rules

The JOAD State Indoor event had a small variety of outfits that ranged from “Not acceptable under the rules” to “Most judges would accept it, but snooty judges might ruin your day”.  There have certainly been snooty judges at national events in the past, and I don’t want anyone’s day getting ruined.  It’s best to leave no question that you’re within the code.  A judge does have full authority to deny you participation based on the dress code.

It’s part of the necessary equipment for competition — like having initials on your arrows.  Coaches, please review these with your club members before the upcoming events.  It might even be good to have a “dress code” day at practice to ensure everyone is 100% fine before it matters at a tournament.

Mostly for Gals:

Leggings and yoga pants count as skin, not as clothes.  You can wear them, but you need to also have on a code-accepted skirt or shorts.

While definitions differ, if it’s got pockets, it’s not leggings.  On the other hand, if it’s skin-tight, consider some other options.

For Everybody:

When choosing your shirt to shoot in, make sure to raise your arms to do some shooting motions.  Belly-buttons are cool, but midriffs need to be covered during the whole event (shooting, spotting arrows, pulling arrows, excitedly jumping around raising your trophy in the air, etc).

Denim is fine, as long as it’s not blue.  White, red, green, black, brown, etc — you’re golden.  Jeans are fine.  Just not blue jeans.  (Blue jeans are fine in all Field Archery events)

Pajama pants are out.  Sweat pants, though, are just fine.

No clothing item should have rips, tears, holes, etc, whether intentional or not.

Camouflage-pattern shirts and pants are out.  Accessories — hats, gloves, belts, can be camo.  Archery equipment can be camo pattern (bow, quiver, arrows, tabs).

Shoes should cover your whole feet (toes, heel, anything that might have a nock or arrow point drop on it).

Some of them are different at international events.  (The denim and camo rules change at the World Archery level).  If you are pursuing international ranking points, please speak with a qualified international judge first to avoid headaches later.

Dress Code Pop Quiz

So, some locals have shown up for an archery event.  Let’s evaluate what they’ve chosen to wear and see whether they’re ready for an ITAA archery tournament.

(Click for Larger version — IMDB for movie)From Left to Right:

  • Scarlet Witch – Ready to shoot — assuming her dress is fingertip length.  She may want to remove her jacket to get better string clearance (as long as she has sleeves or 3″ wide straps), and tie her hair back.
  • Quicksilver – Ready to shoot — assuming his shirt stays tucked in when he raises his bow.
  • Thor – Not ready to shoot.  Males must have sleeves.  He should also tie his hair back.  I would question whether the cape was safe.
  • Iron Man – Not ready to shoot.  I suppose he passes the dress code, but he cannot bring electronics to the shooting line.  Even if it’s classified as a “mechanical release”.
  • Incredible Hulk – Not ready to shoot.  He needs a shirt.  He needs shoes that cover his whole feet.  Unlike in the past, his shorts are fingertip length and (astonishingly) not cutoffs or ripped.
  • Captain America – Ready to Shoot.  Good job, Cap.
  • Black Widow – Not ready to shoot — she needs shorts or a skirt to cover her leggings.  Skin-tight, no pockets (hence, utility belt).  She should probably borrow a skirt from teammate Scarlet Witch.
  • Hawkeye – Not ready to shoot, ironically.  Males must have sleeves.  (His equipment will also fail normal inspection — electronics, aiming aids, causing excessive damage to the target, etc)

So – 3 are ready to hang targets and participate.  5 need to drive to the store and quickly get some T-shirts and khakis.

Is this over-complicated?

Yes, probably.  There’s enough going on while trying to shoot well that it’s silly to get hung up on a quibble about clothing.  I’d suggest wearing a sleeved shirt that tucks in securely, and nearly any non-stretchy khaki-colored pants.  Then grab some sneakers or boots and go enjoy the event.