Specialist equipment is required to fence safely. Following is a look at what kit you need to begin with, and what kit is required long term.
Please also check the British Fencing website for further details about the current minimum fencing kit safety requirements.
It is expected that fencers will acquire their own full kit in due course; in the interim the club offers a deposit scheme for the use of club kit.
If you have any questions about kit and what you need specific to your experience and level of fencing, please speak to your coach or the club armourer.
Fencing Kit explained
When we talk about kit we often refer to the fencing whites, safety equipment and electric equipment.
Due to the difference in target areas, different weapons have different requirements for electric equipment.
Where do I start?
How do I know what kit I should buy first? After having acquired compulsory basic kit, as a general rule of thumb if it touches your skin you will probably want to own it!
EFC are very fortunate to have a good relationship with Allstar Uhlmann Scotland. A 10% discount and free shipping is offered on orders placed directly with our club armourer Martin Buckley (firstname.lastname@example.org). Free shipping is also offered on Blades/Absolute equipment upon placing an order through Martin.
There are of course several other very reputable kit providers online, and you are encouraged to shop around and check clearance lines to find the best deal for you.
There is also a strong second hand market on Facebook, Ebay and Gumtree. But we strongly advise before committing to purchase, that you check the current minimum safety standards are being met.
To keep your kit in good condition, regular washing and basic maintenance of your kit is always recommended. Our armourer can advise you on weapon care and also offers a competition ready weapon check service for a small fee, please catch him at the club for further information.
The compulsory basic kit comprises of a well fitting glove (specific to your weapon), breeches and mask.
A single thick protective well fitting fencing glove is important to ensure your hand is protected and your grip of the weapon is secure. A loose glove can rub and irritate the hand causing blisters. Those fencing sabre will require an 800n glove with an electric lame cuff, otherwise a basic 350n non-electric glove is suitable for most beginner foilists. But if you are unsure what glove is right for you, please check with a coach or our armourer before you purchase.
Breeches are a thick protective half leg pant finishing below the knee, with suspenders to ensure they stay in place during movement. 350n breeches are suitable for most fencers and are available in child, men and women’s sizes, for a left or right handed fencer. It may be a requirement for some competitive fencers to wear 800n breeches, please check the safety standard required for your needs before purchase.
Masks are designed to protect the head and neck, it is important that they fit snugly and don’t move around when you fence. Mask requirements are different depending on your weapon, please check what mask type is suitable for your needs before you purchase.
For anyone regularly attending one of our Open Sessions, the compulsory basic kit requirements also extends to include your own electric weapon(s) and wires.
Our Armourer very often has reconditioned weapons available at a significantly reduced rate, if you are interested please speak with him directly to discuss your requirements.
It is compulsory for all fencers to have their own basic kit extending to full kit in due course. Full kit comprises of the basic kit detailed above plus a plastron, optional chest-protector and jacket. This can also be described as fencing whites plus safety equipment.
Anyone fencing at our Open Sessions or those who have been competing for more than one year will also be required to acquire electric equipment as part of their full kit, this comprises of lame specific to your weapon, wire requirements specific to your weapon and weapon(s).
A plastron protects the underarm and chest, and looks like a half jacket worn over the optional chest-protector, or your base-layer clothing. It comes in either 350n, 800n, and left or right handed, or is often reversible. Please check the safety standard required for your needs before purchase.
The chest-protector is a requirement for all female fencers from age 10, and is optional for males. It is a moulded plastic guard for the chest area, worn under the plastron.
The jacket is often a heavy thick protective garment available with a side or back zip. It protects the upper body and neck. They are available in 350n, 800n, child, unisex, left or right handed, and more expensive lightweight options. Please check the safety standard required for your needs before purchase.
The lame is a conductive jacket indicating the on-target area for electric fencing. It is only required in foil and sabre.
Electric wires are specific to your weapon. A bodywire attaches the fencers weapon to the reel, and for foil and sabre also to the lame. A headwire attaches the fencers mask to the lame but is only required for sabre or where a foilist is using a mask with a lame-bib.
Electric weapons are specific to your discipline. An épée has a triangular blade for thrusting and scoring with the tip, and a large guard to protect the hand. A foil is modern version of the court sword, with a flexible blade for thrusting and scoring with the tip. A sabre is a flexible triangular blade with a blunt point for thrusting and slashing, scoring with the tip and blade edges.
Our Armourer very often has reconditioned electric weapons available at a significantly reduced rate, if you are interested please speak with him directly to discuss your requirements.
What else might I need?
Long socks are compulsory for all competitive fencers, and fencing socks are designed to give extra support, and padding in the shin area. However you don’t need to have specialist fencing socks, a long pair of football or hockey socks will do the job. Just make sure they stay up, and are long enough to go under your breeches so no skin is visible as you fence and move around.
Specialist fencing shoes are expensive, and generally it is only committed competitive fencers who will stretch to buying them. A court shoe for sports like handball or badminton are a very good option, are readily available and very reasonably priced. Please be aware that running trainers and Converse High Tops are not suitable for long term fencing use, due to a lack in heel cushioning.
Kit bags come in many shapes and sizes. When you’re starting out and only have basic kit to carry about, a standard rucksack is more than adequate. Once you have acquired full kit you may want to consider purchasing a specialised kit bag, or supplement your rucksack with a weapon bag or scabbard, using a length of plastic plumbing tube will also help to further protect your blade while in transit.
Priority for use of club kit is given to those joining us for one of our coach lead Beginner Courses. For anyone else there is a limited amount of club kit, unfortunately it is not possible for the club to guarantee that we can meet the specific needs of every fencer. Therefore it should not be assumed that your personal kit requirements will always be accommodated. Any use of club kit is done with the knowledge that it is communal and has been used by an unrestricted number of fencers, and is therefore entirely at your own risk.