Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shirtless Uniforms

I think that more sports should consider having a shirtless uniform, or at least making it optional. In writing this, I'm really hoping to reach some of the promoters and organizers and encourage them to think about whether their sport really needs a shirt or jersey as a requisite uniform component. Whether it's a national or international organization, or just a small local league, it's worth considering a less restrictive uniform requirement.

Now some sports governance bodies have some truly assinine uniform regulations, and I think if you are busy regulating the stitching on participants' undergarments you need to stop and think about what purpose the uniform really practically serves for your sport.

That said, running is actually a prime candidate for a shirtless uniform. It's already wide-spread practice to train shirtless.

Many other sports are also commonly practiced shirtless. Any sport that is commonly practiced shirtless should consider an official uniform that doesn't require a shirt or jersey. Team colors and even player numbers can be displayed on shorts.

For instance, basketball:



And even tennis, although it has traditionally been rather stuffy about uniform in formal tournaments:

While some sports, like football, call for upper-body protective gear, why not forgo the shirts when playing two-hand touch or flag football?

Gymnastics is another excellent example of a sport commonly practiced shirtless.

It's also noteworthy that it is not uncommon in sports that require a shirt or jersey as part of the standard uniform to see players on the sidelines without them. Why should this be accepted, but not for them to play without them on the field?

So, if you are involved in organizing a sports league or event, or writing the regulations for a sports governance body, why not consider a shirtless uniform, or at least making the jersey optional? A little bit of freedom for the players does no one any harm.


  1. Concerning male gymnasts, if you watch them Training, nearly all of them don't wear a Shirt, even in warmup for competition they have their Leotards rolled down and their upper Body free. Only in the Moment of competition the Shirts come up. So why not have male Gymnast shirtless for competition with Long gym Pants for highbar, parallel bars, pommel horse and rings and short Shorts for floor and jump?

  2. My twin bro & I are competition gymnasts, it's great to see other gymnasts on your blog.
    We never wear shirts in training or in competition and we never wear shoes, (ever, flipflops is the only footwear we own). We wear matching shorts in competition, we wouldn't wear a jock if our coach, (and our mom) didn't insist...hehe. We have always preferred shirtless and shoeless and most of the time pantless....w/o the jock...

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  4. Competition swimmers do not have to wear shirts so I cannot see why shirts are required for gymnastics at all. Today’s society tries hard to stop men being men, more people within gymnastics need to challenge the totally unnecessary rules which require athletes to wear vests and shirts.

  5. Absolutely agree Matt, can't see any reason why gymnasts should need to wear a top. Also they can be positive role models for boys growing up and help them see it as normal to be shirtless.

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