What to Wear Under Hockey Gear
When you think of hockey equipment, your mind likely goes to the equipment you can readily see out on the ice. While it's true that the hulking padding, sleek stick and solid helmet make for a safe experience, the items of clothing you wear under your equipment are equally important when it comes to comfort and ease of movement on the ice. By suiting up properly from top to bottom, you ensure that your equipment stays in place and you're able to stay comfortable during game play.
While the clothing you wear under your hockey equipment is ultimately a personal preference, compression garments work especially well on the ice. Compression garments fit snugly, but allow sweat to wick away from your body. The slippery surface of the fabric allows your equipment to move when you do for maximum maneuverability. Compression tops also often have a mock turtleneck, which protects your neck from the cold of the rink. In general, a long-sleeved compression top and spandex compression bottoms work well.
While your hockey pants provide padding along the waist, hips and thighs, you'll still need to wear a jock under your clothes. Hockey straps are made differently from those for other sports: They are made as part of a boxer-like garment rather than a standalone cup, and they are cut differently for male and female players. The jock shorts are worn over top of the compression garments for added support and protection. You may also purchase a stand-alone cup to wear underneath your compression pants if boxers aren't comfortable for you.
You need to wear socks under your hockey skates. Although it may be tempting to wear several pairs of socks to protect against the cold, avoid this practice since it can affect your skating ability and precision. Hockey socks fit snugly on the foot, but have a wide leg opening to fit over leg padding. You may find it most comfortable to put on your socks and then fasten your pads before sliding the tops of the socks over the pads. Hockey socks may feel thin, but when you're skating your body temperature will rise and warm up your cold feet.
Care and Techniques
Avoid wrinkles in your undergarments, since you'll be placing snug equipment over top and folds and wrinkles can become irritating. Wash your undergarments after each game to rid them of sweat. It may be helpful to purchase two of each type of undergarment so you can wash one set and wear the other. Always hang up all your hockey gear to completely dry out between games.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.