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What to Wear to Pole Dancing Classes


Last Updated on February 21, 2023

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What great news! You’ve taken the twirl of faith and decided to go to your first ever pole dancing class! That really is a huge step to take and you’re already at the start of your pole fitness journey.

This article is all about what to wear to pole dancing classes, as being self-conscious within any fitness or workout environment is very common.

So, if you’re wondering what to wear at your first pole dancing class, you’re in the right place!

Remember, any form of fitness class is not a fashion show, you’re there to workout, NOT to look stylish!

But, it can make you feel much more confident if you’re working out in comfortable clothes.

Pole dancing is a sport that’s an intense form of exercise.

You need to wear appropriate but comfortable clothing in order to get the most from your lesson, but you don’t need to rush out and immediately buy loads of new gear.

What To Wear To Pole Dancing Class

In short, you’ll need:

  • A comfortable pair of shorts (yoga or cycling shorts will be fine if you don’t want to fork out for something new)
  • A breathable tank top – don’t worry about wearing a cropped top if it’s your first lesson
  • Hair ties to tie your hair back if you have long hair.
  • A sports bra for comfort and ease of movement.
  • A hoodie or sweater and longer leggings to wear during the warmup and cool down portions of the class.

Optionally, you can also bring:

  • Wrist and ankle protection if you feel like you may need it.
  • Knee pads – your knees can go through a lot during a pole class, especially considering the floorwork aspect, so many pole dancers use knee pads to protect their skin in this area.
  • Grip aid products – if this is your first class, you may now know what type of grip product to use, or even if you’ll need it at all.
  • Pleaser shoes or stripper shoes – completely optional – it is not required to wear 6″ heels during your first class. Many pole dancers practice and perform barefoot.

DON’T wear these items:

  • Lotions, creams or moisturizer on your hands, feet or body – this will affect your ability to grip the pole!
  • Jewellery – this will get in the way. Dainty rings and small studded earrings are fine, but bracelets and necklaces are really annoying during pole dance!

Think about what you’ll be doing during your lesson, you’ll likely be doing floorwork, grips, spins and stretches, so think about what clothes you have that’s appropriate for doing things like that!

Pole Dancing and Skin Grip

Pole dancing is done on a smooth metal pole, it relies on friction between your skin and the pole for you to be able to grip. If you’re trying to grip the pole with your legs, but you have leggings or trousers on, then you’ll slide straight down!

Dance poles are made from a variety of different materials, chrome or stainless steel is the most common, but titanium gold and brass are known for their superior gripping abilities. You can perform Chinese pole fully-clothed, but you’ll need a powder-coated or silicone-coated dance pole!

Read more about different dance pole materials here

So, skimpy outfits and shorter-than-short shorts are not there to show off the dancer’s incredibly toned body, but skin needs to be out in order to grip the pole properly!

At the very least, you need bare legs and bare arms. For more advanced tricks you will need a bare midriff as well. There’s no need to be body conscious here, the pole community is very welcoming and will not judge you.

Women and men of all shapes and sizes attend pole fitness classes, there’s very little judgement on either side. Many beginner classes usually consists on women only.

A vest top (tank top) and shorts are advised, you may want to wear leggings or yoga pants for the warm-up.

Pole Dancing and Footwear

You’ll probably have noticed that pole dancers are performing in 6″, 7″ or even higher heels! These infamous ‘stripper shoes‘ do look amazing for pole performances, but they’re by no means essential, especially for beginners.

You can perform pole dancing with bare feet, there’s absolutely no need to wear any shoes at all. However, if you want to wear shoes to dance in, then check out these tips for dancing in heels (link opens in a new tab).

The choice is entirely yours.

You may not want to wear ‘stripper shoes’ from the get-go, but you want to have the feeling of something substantial on your feet. Yoga shoes a great option for pole dancing as well, as they have grip on the top of your foot.

Sports Bra

You’ll want to wear a sports bra for pole dancing, no matter how big or small your breasts are! They will just get in the way in you don’t wear a sports bra, and many classes will start with some light running as a warm-up!

Here are some beautiful sports bra ideas:

SHAPERX Women's Sports Bra Padded Breathable High Impact Support Criss

Totally loving the chunky straps on this, it comes in different colors too, click on the image above to see the full range of colors available. Click on the image to see a larger version.

AKAMC Women's Sports Bra Criss-Cross Back Strappy Wireless Post-Surgery Bra

This is actually a pack of 3 sports bras, not just one! The removable padding is a nice feature, and they’re excellent value. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Knee Pads

Pole dancing can be quite tough on your poor knees. Especially if you do a lot of floorwork or there’s a carpeted floor. Friction burns and carpet burns happen fairly often when pole dancing, so it’s common for pole dancers to want to protect their knees with knee pads.

You can opt for standard knee pads or more stylish ones. For standard ones, a good option is these plain black ones from Amazon – they will go with any outfit!

Pole Class Outfit Ideas

Here are a few stylish ideas for what to wear to pole dancing class. Mix ‘n’ match these items with items you already own!

Pole Shorts

Pole Dance Shorts
Image from BoomKat’s Polewear


Any basic tank top will do for your first pole dancing class. As you begin to perform more advanced tricks, you’ll need to have certain areas of skin on show for grip! However, as you’re getting started, any regular gym top is absolutely fine for your pole dancing lessons.

Womens 3 Pack Compression Athletic Long Tank Top,Black,Grey,White,EU M, US
The simple but practical option!
Redqenting Longline Sports Bra for Women with Removable Padded,Sexy Criss
Image from Amazon


Socks like these would look extra stylish for a pole workout session, if you want something substantial on your feet without wearing ridiculously high heels!

Bcurb Toe Gel Lined Compression Socks & Spike Massage Ball

Or, for the more adventurous…

Pleaser Women's MOON-708TG Sandal, clr/blk-SLV, 7 M US
These Pleaser Pole Shoes are actually a great introduction to pleasers – the perspex on the top will help with grip.

Click to see the lowest price!

Pleaser Women's Flam808/C/Ppch Platform Dress Sandal, Clear/Purple Chrome, 7 M
Such a beautiful color on these!!

Click to see the lowest price!


X Pole Seamless Leggings
Image from X Pole

Optional Extras!

These items are not strictly necessary, but many pole dancers wear them anyway!

Leg warmers for pole dancing – some pole dancers chose to wear leg warmers to style reasons, they don’t give any extra grip on the pole, in fact they may get in the way of certain tricks. But, they look great for photos!

These beautiful patterned leg warmers have a silicone band around the thigh so they don’t slip and slide around during your pole workouts. There’s loads of other patterns and colors available so checkout BoomKat’s Polewear for more!

Black Pole Dance Leg Warmers
Image from BoomKat’s Polewear

Wrist Wraps – wrist wraps are a great invention for pole dancers who have tiny wrists. Your wrists are actually a very difficult area to build up and easy to injure. So, if you want to be safe, get yourself some SneakyDeez wrist wraps which are specifically designed for pole dancers! If you suffer with sore wrists, then these are a must for you!

Thigh Protectors – these are made by Mighty Grip and design to protect your upper thighs and allow you to grip to pole with more ease. Read our full review here.

Ankle Protectors – also made by Mighty Grip and do the same as the thigh protectors, but for your ankles. Read our full review here.

Grip Gloves – some pole dancers prefer to wear pole dancing gloves instead of use their bare hands. Read more about grip gloves here.

What Not to Wear

Moisturizer – It goes without saying that moisturized smooth and silky skin isn’t going to hold up well against a shiny metal pole. Yet, this is still a regular mistake that people make! Moisturize after pole! Not before!

Jewelry – Besides the fact that bracelets, necklaces and long earrings will get in the way of your spins and especially won’t help you during inverted tricks, they will also scratch the pole.

Perfume – Many perfumes have ingredients that can erode the coating on the metal poles, eroding and damaging them over time.

Sun cream – Like moisturizer, it definitely won’t help you grip the pole!

Read more here about what NOT to wear!

Further Reading

Want to become an amazing pole dancer?

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Happy poling!

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