Why Do Women Wear White Skates And Men Wear Black Skates In Figure Skating?

Why Do Women Wear White Skates And Men Wear Black Skates In Figure Skating

Like any sport, figure skating comes with its own standards for what its players wear during competition. In fact, modern-day figure skating attire for both sexes goes back to the early 20th century and is still just as common today. Read on to learn about figure skating dress codes and why women wear white skates and men wear black skates.

Why Women Wear White Skates

Modern female skating dress standards, including the use of white skates, go back to Sonja Henie. The Norwegian skater was one of the youngest Olympic gold medalists ever, and she first wore pristine white skates for competition in 1928. Before her time, there were no binding rules of dress code when it came to women.

In addition to Henie’s influence on the sport, it is theorized that white skates give a favored backdrop to the icy white rink. Another theory is that whiteness relates to classical notions of femininity and the fragility of a woman when compared to the darker color scheme of their typical male partners. Henie was also responsible for introducing the skirt and short dress combo look, which is still quite common in modern figure skating events. 

Why Men Wear Black Skates

While women figure skaters have fairly strict dress codes, men don’t have as many limitations. Male figure skaters typically follow a traditional dress code that has them wearing black skates that represent black boots or fine leather shoes. These types of black skates can be seen in almost any figure skating event. There are also theories that men wear black skates because the color represents the boldness of a man, while white represents the feminine traits of a woman. Men that are new to figure skating may wear white skates but usually cover them up with a black cover to maintain tradition. 

Figure Skating Dress Codes

Although times are changing and individuals are gaining more freedom in what they wear, there are still strict dress codes present in figure skating. For example, when women wear dresses or loose clothing, they must have all sections of their bodies covered as much as possible. They must also be fully aware of their outfits, as it plays a huge role when getting good ratings from judges.

Skaters also have the choice to wear gloves, but for comfort use only and not as a display piece. Finally, any contestant who chooses to pick an intricate costume has the freedom to design it as they please, but there are no exceptions for two-piece outfits. Two-piece costumes can lead to disqualification or a major deduction in score, and any exposed skin below the shoulders of any competitor must be covered with flesh-toned material.