What to Wear Under Hockey Gear?

As the adage goes, never judge a book by its cover. This saying was not meant for ice hockey players, but it’s without a doubt applicable in this case. What’s more important is not the outer clothing that we all see, rather what is worn underneath.

Comfort and safety start from within. What to wear under hockey gear is what determines individual success in the game. Let’s have a breakdown of the ideal clothing to wear under hockey equipment while going onto the ice.

What to Wear Under Hockey Gear

What you should wear under hockey gear falls in several categories that we’ll breakdown here. Remember, appropriate underneath equipment is essential as it eases movability.


This is what you wear under your hockey equipment to increase your comfort. It is divided into two sections, one for the lower body and the other one for the upper body.

  • Base layer shirt

This shirt is worn under your shoulder pads. It has several advantages when compared to a regular t-shirt. Firstly, it is more comfortable since it is explicitly made for athletics and thus makes movement easy. Secondly, due to its design, it does not bunch up in either the armpits or the neck.

The base layer t-shirt come in two options: long and short sleeve. In such a case, it’s about personal preference and taste.

Furthermore, a base layer shirt comes with a built-in neck protector. Though it’s not compulsory for adults over 18 years to wear a neck protector, it is considered a good idea for safety. In case you choose to buy a stand-alone neck protector, it’s not very comfortable and will cost you extra money. Despite this inbuilt neck protector not offering a high degree of protection, it can significantly reduce the risks of getting a cut, thanks to the Kevlar in it.

  • Base layer pants

Similarly to the base layer shirt, the base layer pants come in two varieties: shorts and pants that extend to the ankles. Depending on the manufacturer, either of the two types may come with or without front pockets.

Once again, it’s about personal choice when it comes to the type of pants to purchase. However, the long base layer pants are ideal due to the cover-up it offers when putting on shin guards. Some people develop itches when their shin guards come into direct contact with their skin.

Some types of the base layer pants have Velcro tabs on both the front and back which holds the hockey socks. This feature eliminates the need to purchase a separate garter belt to hold up your socks.

Compression garments

Compression garments appear as base layers for many people. Though they are from the same family, there is a difference between the two of them. Compression garments aid in removing sweat from the body and increasing blood flow to the muscles.

The main advantages of compression garments are reducing sports-related injuries, moisture-wicking, regulating body temperatures and improving muscle endurance. Compression is offered in two ways: constant and gradient compression.

Jock Strap

This is an undergarment for protecting the pelvic area, especially in men, including the testes and penis. It is designed to be worn on top of the compression layer and made from a boxer-like garment. The jockstrap increases support and the level of protection.

There are different designs for both genders. In some cases, you may opt to buy an independent cup to wear underneath the compression pants so as not to gamble with very delicate body parts.

Nowadays, many pants come with a built-in cup. Even so, it’s always advisable to invest in a standalone cup that is more comfortable. Fitting the cup inside the pants is quite easy. In fact, most pants come with a sleeve to fit it.

When purchasing a cup, always ensure it does not have too much silicone or tacky rubber. Instead, you can choose to buy a pant with an inbuilt cup which is easily removable in case you need to replace it.

Hockey Socks

This is almost obvious. Nonetheless, it’s essential to have a pair of socks under your hockey skates. The socks are designed to fit comfortably in the feet and feel warm. They are wide enough to fit over leg padding.

When putting on the socks, you can choose to start with the socks, and then fasten your pads. In as much as the hockey socks feel thin, they get warm with the rise in the body temperatures when you start skating on the ice.

When putting on hockey socks, you have to pay close attention to every detail. It’s so hectic to be on the ice in an intense game, and there’s nothing worse than having your socks drop unexpectedly to the ankles. Ensure you fit in your shin guards and clip the socks properly using the clips available on the hockey garter belt. Alternatively, your base layer pants may contain Velcro tabs which aid in holding the socks firmly to your body.


  • After every hockey game or training session, ensure you wash all the undergarments to do away with sweat. To make the washing process seamless, it’s advisable to have two pairs of all undergarments. This way, you get to wear one set while you wash the other one.
  • Ensure your hockey undergarments dry completely after washing them. This action saves you the inconvenience of playing with wet clothes as it feels uncomfortable.
  • At all costs, store your undergarments appropriately to prevent them from developing wrinkles. Since they are to be worn on the inside, wrinkles can become irritating and thus make you feel uncomfortable during a match.
  • To prevent socks from regularly falling during the game, using tape is very helpful. Wrapping the tape around the top of the socks and shin guards at least two times secures the socks from falling at all costs.

Final verdict

To know what to wear under hockey gear, it’s best to try different brands to get the most comfortable equipment. Similar equipment from different manufacturers may give a different feeling, and with that, you get to choose the best. For example, it’s possible to find a hockey player using a Bauer base layer shirt, an Under Armor Cup, a Reebok base layer pants, and maybe a Drymax or Kevlar socks.

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