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Fencing equipment

On this page we will take a closer look at the required material and where you can purchase it.


Often fencers, and especially parents of young fencers, ask what fencing clothing is necessary or useful. The simple answer is: FIE approved (800N) clothing. Due to the use of modern plastics (super fibres) such as Dyneema, this clothing offers excellent protection against accidents with broken blades. Especially vulnerable places such as the armpit are extra protected. When using such clothing, fatal accidents, even among top athletes, are virtually impossible.

Short or long blade?

The rules are quite simple: in the year you turn 12 you go from the Benjamins to the pupils after the summer break. Chicks and benjamins fence with a short blade.
If you participate in a competition for pupils or older (and that is also allowed before you are a pupil yourself) you may fence with a long blade.

At some recreational competitions the rule is not always strictly enforced. It is fairer if both fencers use an equally long weapon. Ask your opponent – if you use a short weapon yourself- to borrow a short weapon if necessary. If you are about 12 years old, you may want to bring a spare gun in the other length yourself (from the club).

What is the well-dressed fencer wearing?

He or she wears:

  • A mask (350 or 1600 N)
  • A fencing vest (350 or 800N)
  • An undervest (800 N)
  • One fencing glove
  • Fencing pants with long stockings underneath
  • Indoor sports shoes or special fencing shoes
  • For women and girls: breast protection

What is required?

There are regulations of the KNAS (fencing federation), derived from the rules of the FIE (international fencing federation).

For recreational fencing the prescription is: decent clothing. For competitions, the requirements are clearer and heavier. Naturally, the recreational fencer can wear competition clothing. It is a bit more expensive, but you are well protected.

The regulations mentioned above are applied slightly differently for the JPT. See for that
JPT manual page 8.

In what order?

Some don’t want to buy their equipment all at once, but want to buy a piece every now and then. What is the best order to do this in?

Many people first buy a gun, but the question is whether that is wise. It is more pleasant to first buy a vest and mask that only stink of your own sweat. You grow faster out of your vest than out of your mask. Then gloves, trousers and stockings.

If you are already quite sure that you want to participate in ‘real’ competitions, you immediately buy FIE equipment, possibly second-hand. Otherwise material for the holiday maker will suffice, so the 350N version.

At Porthos you can use the club’s equipment free of charge for the first six months. After that, a fee of 25 euros per year is requested.

Where can I buy fencing products?

It’s pretty pointless to walk into a sporting goods store for fencing gear. Shoes or stockings still work, but nothing else. There are various suppliers of fencing products. Many suppliers have a webshop, but if you want to try on a cardigan or trousers, it is better to visit the supplier. There is also a booth at almost every match. For a competition agenda you can go to the Nahouw.

Below some possibilities.

As soon as you get home with your new stuff, it’s a good idea to put your name (or other marking) there. Many fencers sometimes forget a mask, gloves or something after a competition or training. The chance that you will get the lost object back will then be much higher.

How much does that cost?

Below is a price indication in euros.

recreational competition comments
mask 100 160-300
fencing vest 70-90 130-160
undervest 800 N 80-100 80-100
chest protection 25 30
glove 18-35 50
fencing pants 70 120-160
electric vest 150-170
fil de corps 25 each
fil de tete 6 each
saber 50 70-150 each

And maybe another screen bag to take everything with you, the price can differ between 30 and 250 euros.

Cleaning tips for fencing equipment

How can you best clean fencing equipment?

The jacket and glove can be washed:

  • The jacket inside out, with the zipper and Velcro closed
  • The glove just as it is, close the Velcro!
  • In the washing machine
  • At 30 degrees Celsius
  • With color detergent (no bleach detergent: bleach damages the material of the jacket)
  • Without fabric softener (it also damages the material)
  • Hang to dry, do not tumble dry

The mask can go in the dishwasher. You can also place it in a bucket or bath with warm water, with Biotex or soda. Leave it for a few hours and then rinse thoroughly with the shower. Let it dry, preferably in the sun. This takes a few days!

Use a polishing block (e.g., Schleiffix or a sanding block) to make the weapon rust-free and lightly coat it with a cloth in weapon oil.