5 min read

Ice Skating Style Guide: Dress to Impress on the Rink!

Strap on your skates and let's slide into style—discovering the perfect ice attire whether you're gliding indoors or braving the outdoor chill!

Tobi Miles
October 6, 2022

Ice skating is a popular activity all over the world. Whether you are trying it out as a recreational activity or pursuing a professional career in the sport, there are many reasons you might seek advice on what to wear.

When going ice skating, it is best to wear athletic pants and a comfortable top that allows free movement. Skating indoors will require less clothing, while you should be bundled up in jackets, a scarf, and gloves for outdoor ice skating rinks. Those participating in figure skating as a sport may wear performance leotards. Additional safety gear is optional.

Whether you plan to go skating outdoors or at an indoor skating rink, you will find great wardrobe advice below. Also, you should learn how to practice ice skating before you go to indoor or outdoor place.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about what to wear when you go ice skating. 

What To Wear Ice Skating Indoors

While indoor skating rinks still have to be cold to keep the ice frozen, they are generally not nearly as cold as an outdoor venue that is subject to wind and snow. Without being subject to outdoor elements, you can skate freely without the need for additional gear like gloves and hats. 


When going skating indoors, you will want to wear stretchy pants or leggings and a light sweatshirt to stay warm on the ice. Activewear is most ideal for ice skating anywhere, as it will give you a free range of motion. Be sure your legs are fully covered to protect against scrapes. 


For indoor ice skating, it is a good idea to dress in lightweight, removable layers. A t-shirt is an ideal base for your outfit, and can be worn with or without something warmer on top. 

Light Sweatshirt

A light sweatshirt will be the perfect layer on top of your t-shirt and leggings for indoor ice skating. For easy removal in case you get hot, go for a jacket with a zipper in the front. 

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What To Wear Ice Skating Outdoors

When going ice skating outdoors in the winter, it is important to bundle up to stay warm. Unlike an indoor skating rink, temperatures can be below freezing with real snow falling around you. 

Athletic Pants

Your outdoor skating outfit should start with a pair of athletic pants. This can be anything from leggings for women to jogger sweatpants for men. Just be sure to choose a material that will keep you warm. 

Long Sleeve Shirt

A long sleeve t-shirt will be necessary for an outdoor ice skating base layer. When it is cold outside, you can pile a warm jacket and winter gear on top to avoid freezing. Choose a warm material such as wool or thermals. 


Your outdoor ice skating outfit should consist of stretchy pants or leggings at the bottom and a pair of skating socks to prevent sliding inside your skates. On the top, layer a long sleeve t-shirt with a thick jacket. 

Winter Gear

Additional layers including a scarf, hat, gloves, and earmuffs will be necessary to avoid freezing. It is a good idea to dress in many layers. You will be able to remove a few of them if necessary as you go. 

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What To Wear Ice Skating For Sport 

In addition to the indoor and outdoor weather conditions, the occasion for which you are ice skating will determine what you should wear. Below are some tips for how to dress for each type of skating outing. Figure skating as a sport will have a different set of dressing requirements.


Thermals are a necessary base layer for ice skating as a sport. Professional figure skaters start with these to stay insulated and warm on the ice. 

Safety Gear

Since ice is an extremely hard surface that can cause injuries, figure skaters typically wear safety gear such as knee and elbow pads or wrist guards. There is a higher risk of falling and getting hurt when you are attempting to perform tricks on the ice. 


A leotard is a staple piece for figure skating. You will often see professional skaters wearing sequined one-pieces with a skirt attachment at the bottom. Tights pair well with an outfit like this. 

Warm Up Jacket

Some professional figure skaters elect to practice or perform in a leotard with an attached skirt and tights. A warm up jacket can also be worn prior to practicing or performing to avoid freezing, and taken off once body heat is established.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit New Hampshire

Outfit Ideas For Ice Skating 

Now that you’ve learned the basics of what to wear to go ice skating, you may still be struggling to come up with the right outfit. Below you will find some ideas for both men and women when going ice skating. 


Handsome young man ice skating outdoors on a pond on a cloudy winter day (color toned image; shallow DOF)

For an indoor ice skating adventure, men can wear a comfortable pair of joggers or sweatpants paired with a hoodie or sweatshirt. In colder environments, a puffer jacket can be layered on top for style and warmth. 


Women can wear a comfortable pair of leggings paired with a sweater and overcoat for ice skating. A wool beanie with a fashionable scarf and matching gloves can be worn as layers for skating outdoors. For a more special occasion, female ice skaters can wear a dress with leggings underneath and a thick cardigan on top. 

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What To Wear Ice Skating For The First Time 

When planning to go ice skating for the first time, picking the right outfit can seem like a daunting task. While the exact pieces of clothing you wear will depend on the location and weather conditions, there are some accessories you can bring with you as a beginner. 

Helmet and Pads

For your first time, you may want to bring safety gear such as a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads or wrist guards. Ice is a hard surface, and you will want to do what you can to avoid injuries until you gain more experience. 

What Not To Wear Ice Skating 

While the above clothing items are necessary to go ice skating, there are certain pieces and accessories that should be left at home. The following items are not suitable for this activity and should not be worn on your ice skating trip. 


Shorts should not be worn ice skating under any circumstance. In addition to the weather being cold, your legs need to be covered and protected from scrapes. 

Tight pants 

Tight pants are not ideal for ice skating, because they can restrict your movement and cause injury. Loose fitting sweatpants or activewear leggings are recommended. 

Thick socks 

While socks are required for ice skating, they should be thin and form-fitting to minimize slippage. Skating socks are recommended when available. 

Should I Wear Jeans Or Leggings For Ice Skating? 

When ice skating, it is important to have a free range of movement in your legs for optimal safety. This can be achieved by wearing stretchy pants such as leggings, as opposed to denim jeans that can be restrictive. If you happen to fall while ice skating, the leggings will protect your skin from any scratches or scrapes. 

What Pants Are Best For Ice Skating? 

The best pants to wear while ice skating fit the profile of being comfortable, stretchy, and warm. The most ideal types include leggings and yoga pants. 

Should Ice Skates Be Tight Or Loose?

The correct answer to this question is neither. While ice skates should fit snugly for safety, they should not be overly tight or loose. The most comfortable fit will be somewhere in the middle, tight enough to stay on the foot but loose enough for some wiggle room.

Can You Wear Two Pairs of Socks With Ice Skates? 

Wearing more than one pair of socks with ice skates is not recommended, as the fabric can slide together. This can result in uncomfortable blisters and potential injury. One pair of socks with medium thickness is ideal for ice skating.

Can I Wear A Dress For Ice Skating? 

When going ice skating, it is generally acceptable to wear a dress, as long as there is a pair of leggings underneath. As a safety precaution, your legs should always be covered with a stretchy material that gives you good range of motion

Should You Wear A Helmet While Ice Skating? 

A helmet is not necessary or required, but this optional step can greatly improve safety on the ice. This is especially true for first-time skaters. Remember that ice is a hard surface that can cause serious injuries for those who are not experienced. If you wear a helmet, you can prevent any negative outcomes.


Choosing the perfect outfit to go ice skating doesn’t have to be complex. Overall, you can’t go wrong wearing athletic pants paired with layers of clothing on top to match the weather conditions.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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