Nonelectric apparel

Nonelectric gear mainly consists of padding used to protect fencers from their opponent's weapon. It covers the entire body--starting at the feet and working up to the head.

Feet

On their feet, fencers need to wear a light sneaker with a strong grip. Competitions are often held in venues with wooden floors, and fencers need the grip so they don't slip and twist their ankles. Lighter shoes allow fencers to move more quickly on the strip.

Knee-high socks are also important. They protect the shins from below-the-waist attacks. Traditional socks are white, but lately fencers have been wearing colorful socks to represent their team or add some flair.

Waist

Fencers wear knickers to protect their thighs and lower stomach. Knickers are worn like pants and have suspenders that slide over the fencer's shoulders. This adds padding to protect fencers from receiving bruises on their thighs. Like the socks, knickers are traditionally white but now come with strips of colors running down the sides.

Torso

The plastron, breast protector and jacket are worn on the torso. The plastron is a short-sleeve jacket that uses a thin padding to cover the chest and weapon arm, which is the arm you hold the foil with.

Women must wear a breast protector. Essentially, this is a plastic bra that is worn over the chest.

The jacket is worn over the plastron and breast protector. It covers the arms and torso and is the thickest padding a fencer wears. To match the socks and knickers, the traditional white jacket can now have strips of color running down the sides.

Hand

A glove must be worn on the hand used to hold the foil. The glove is important because it protects your fingers from blisters and protects the top of your hand from bruising when it's accidently hit.

Head

The ensemble is completed with the mask. The mask covers the front and sides of a fencer's head. It has a metal weave in the front that fencers see through and a strap on the back that secures the mask to the fencer's head.

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