Pole dancing is a great workout. It’s one that combines strength, flexibility, and grace, and will give you a few good bruises along the way – IYKYN. As such, choosing the right pole dancing clothes and outfits is crucial not only for comfort and safety but also for enhancing your performance. You need to be able to move but also look after your body while doing it. If you’re a complete beginner and not sure what to wear for a pole dance class, and which pole dancing clothes to buy, we’re here to help.

What pole dancing clothes to wear for your first class?

What pole dancing clothes to wear for your first class?

For beginners taking their first pole dancing class, picking the right pole dancing wear is crucial for a comfortable and safe experience. Start with a supportive sports bra or a snug-fitting top to ensure adequate support and coverage while allowing freedom of movement. Pair this with form-fitting shorts that are not too tight, providing enough skin exposure on your thighs for a good grip on the pole, while still offering sufficient coverage. You can also opt for leggings for pole dancing outfits, but it depends on the amount of grip you need (see below).

Most beginners prefer to go barefoot to better feel the pole and the floor, although special pole shoes can be introduced as you advance. It’s important to keep your hair tied back to avoid any distractions or accidents, and minimal jewellery is advised to prevent any snagging or injuries. Also, skip lotions or oils before class, as they can make your skin slippery and reduce your grip on the pole. A light, removable layer like a sweatshirt or joggers is ideal for warm-ups, which you can take off as you start working on the pole. Comfort, functionality, and safety should be your top priorities in choosing your attire for these initial classes.

Should you wear leggings or shorts for pole dancing?

Should you wear leggings or shorts for pole dancing?

When deciding between leggings or shorts for pole dancing, it’s important to consider the type of grip you need. Shorts are generally recommended because they expose more skin, allowing for better grip on the pole, which is crucial for performing many pole moves safely and effectively. The exposed skin on your thighs and legs provides the necessary friction to hold your position on the pole, especially when learning new moves or performing inversions.

On the other hand, leggings can be suitable for certain styles of pole dance or for specific routines where less grip is required. They offer more coverage, which some may prefer for personal comfort or during floor work elements of a routine. However, for most traditional pole dancing classes and practice sessions, especially for beginners who are still mastering the basics of grip and technique, shorts are the more practical and safer choice. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the specific requirements of your pole dancing style and your personal comfort level.

Can I go barefoot for pole dancing and why do pole dancers wear long heels?

In pole dancing, going barefoot is quite common, especially for beginners or those practising certain styles. Dancing barefoot allows for a better sense of the pole and the floor, offering more grip and control, which is essential when learning the basics of pole techniques. It also helps in building strength in the feet and ankles, which is beneficial for balance and stability.

On the other hand, many pole dancers wear high heels or specialised pole dancing shoes for specific styles, particularly in performances and competitions. Wearing heels changes the body’s centre of gravity, adding an element of challenge and elegance to the movements. It also elongates the legs, enhancing the aesthetics of the dance. Additionally, the heels used in pole dancing are usually designed with added grip on the sole to aid in stability and safety. They can also be a part of the artistic expression, contributing to the overall theme or style of the performance. It’s pretty much your decision, but the best idea could be to pack a set of high heels in your bag so you have the option and can see what everyone else is doing.

The essentials of pole dancing clothes

The essentials of pole dancing clothes

Materials of pole dance wear

When it comes to pole dancing, the material of your clothing is not just a matter of style, but functionality. The ideal fabric should offer a good grip against the pole, which is crucial for both safety and performance. Natural fibres like cotton or blends with polyester are often preferred due to their ability to facilitate better grip and reduce slippage. On the other hand, materials like silk or satin should be avoided as they can be too slippery, increasing the risk of accidents. Additionally, the material should be breathable and able to wick away moisture, keeping you comfortable during intense sessions.

Fit and comfort

The fit of your pole dancing attire is equally important. Clothes that are too loose can get caught or interfere with movements, while overly tight garments can restrict your range of motion and circulation. The key is to find a balance – attire that is snug enough to stay in place and provide support, but also flexible enough to allow for a full range of motion. This is particularly important for moves that involve extensive stretching or bending. 

Comfort is also paramount, as discomfort can distract you from your routine. Look for seamless designs or flat seams that minimise irritation, and ensure that the waistbands and straps don’t dig into your skin. Remember, when you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you can focus better on your technique and performance.


The style of your pole dancing clothes can also impact your performance and confidence. Functionality is the most important aspect, but if you enjoy dressing up or want to wear something in particular then go for it. It’s all about enjoying yourself while getting in a good workout. But you can also go basic and neutral, with a simple set of leggings or shorts and a plain top. The choice of style is up to you and whatever you feel the most comfortable in.

7 tips to avoid a wardrobe malfunction with pole dancing clothes

wardrobe malfunction with pole dancing clothes

A key aspect of this confidence lies in avoiding wardrobe malfunctions, which can be both distracting and potentially unsafe. In this section, we’ll discuss how to select clothes that stay securely in place, no matter how dynamic your movements, and the importance of testing your outfit’s reliability before stepping into the studio or onto the stage. This way, you can ensure that your focus remains solely on your performance, free from worries about your attire.

1. Ensure your clothes are reliable and stay in place!

In pole dancing, the risk of wardrobe malfunctions is not just a matter of embarrassment but also safety. To avoid such mishaps, it’s crucial to choose clothes that remain securely in place, regardless of the intensity of your movements. This includes spins, inversions, and any dynamic routines. Look for outfits with a snug fit that hug your body comfortably without restricting movement. Elasticity is key, but it should be balanced with firmness to ensure the garment doesn’t shift or slide during performance.

2. Test how secure your outfit is first

Before attending a class or performing, it’s wise to conduct a ‘movement test’ with your chosen outfit. This involves performing a series of moves that you’re likely to do during your session. Pay attention to how the fabric reacts to stretches, spins, and inversions. Does it stay in place? Do you find yourself needing to adjust it after certain moves? An outfit that requires constant adjustment is a distraction and can hinder your performance. 

Additionally, consider the cut of the clothing, especially around areas like the neckline and waistband, to ensure they don’t slip or expose more than intended during complex moves.

3. Opt for high-quality fabrics

We’re not saying don’t get your pole dancing clothes from Primark. But just ensure that you try to find good, high-quality fabrics. This is important for lots of reasons. Firstly, they are more resilient and less prone to ripping or getting stretched out, which is crucial when performing high-intensity movements. These fabrics often have better moisture-wicking properties, keeping you dry and comfortable, which in turn helps the fabric maintain its grip on the pole. 

Additionally, quality fabrics retain their colour and shape after multiple washes, ensuring your attire looks good and performs well over time. Investing in such materials means investing in your safety and confidence during performances.

4. Choose appropriate underwear

The right undergarments are foundational for any pole dancer. They should provide sufficient support to keep everything in place, especially during high-impact movements. Sports bras designed for high-intensity workouts are ideal as they offer the necessary coverage and support while staying discreet under your attire. For bottoms, opting for seamless underwear or designs specifically made for athletic activities can prevent unwanted lines and ensure coverage even during the most demanding routines. These undergarments also contribute to your overall comfort, allowing you to focus solely on your performance.

5. Consider buying grip aids

Applying grip aids directly to clothing is a clever trick used by many pole dancers. This technique enhances the grip of the fabric against the pole, particularly in areas that are crucial for performing certain moves, like the sides of shorts or the backs of knees. It’s important to choose the right type of grip aid that works well with your fabric and doesn’t damage it. This added grip can be a game-changer, especially in routines that require advanced holds or inversions.

6. Layering appropriately

Wearing layers can be a strategic choice in pole dancing outfits. It offers additional security and coverage, because let’s face it – you might end up upside down more than once. Layering your pole dancing clothes can also be particularly useful for beginners who feel a little nervous or shy at first, or during certain types of routines. For example, wearing form-fitting dance shorts under a skirt can provide extra coverage while still allowing for full range of motion. 

However, it’s crucial to layer smartly – the layers should complement each other without restricting movement or causing discomfort. Choose materials that are breathable and work well together, ensuring that each layer serves a purpose and enhances your performance.

7. Regularly update your wardrobe

Once you get into pole dancing, it’s worth checking how well your pole dancing outfits are doing. Pole dancing clothes undergo a lot of stress and can lose their functionality over time. Fabrics may stretch, elastic bands might lose their tension, and grip areas can become smooth. Regularly replacing old or worn-out attire is crucial to avoid unexpected malfunctions.

One tip is to check your pole wear’s stitching and elasticity is vital for ensuring its reliability. Look for any signs of fraying or loose threads that could lead to tears. The elasticity of the garment should be firm enough to keep everything secure but not so tight that it cuts into your skin or hampers circulation. Pay special attention to areas under high stress, like waistbands and seams around the thighs.

By selecting the right pole dancing clothes for beginners, you’ll be able to feel more confident going into your first pole dance class. Above all, it’s all about having fun (and not getting too hurt in the process). If you’re interested in other types of dancing, read more about commercial dance here.

Pole dancing clothes are often referred to simply as pole wear or pole fitness attire. They include items like tops, shorts, and sometimes leggings specifically designed for pole dancing,

Pole dancers wear minimal clothing to ensure better skin contact with the pole. This improves grip and manoeuvrability, reduces the risk of clothing interference, and enhances fluidity in movements. It also allows dancers to showcase their body lines and forms more effectively.

For your first pole dance class, wear clothes that allow firm grip on the pole and easy movement. This typically includes a sports bra or fitted top and shorts. The attire should be comfortable and not restrict your movements, especially during spins and dance routines.

Pole dancers often wear heels to add an aesthetic element to their performance. Heels can enhance the appearance of the legs, create a particular style or mood, and sometimes even aid in certain moves. However, wearing heels is not mandatory and depends on the style of pole dance and personal preference.

Pole dance can be challenging for beginners as it requires strength, flexibility, and coordination. However, like any other form of exercise or dance, it becomes easier with practice. Beginners are encouraged to start at their own pace and gradually build up their skills and strength.