What to Wear to Pole Dancing Class

what to wear to pole dancing classSo you’ve booked your first pole dancing class (that’s so exciting – you won’t regret it) but you’re now panicking about what you should wear. Fear not, you have landed in the right place because this article is about “what to wear to pole to pole dancing class”. 

So, if you’re wondering what to wear at your first pole class, you’re in the right place! Heading to your first pole dancing class can be a bit daunting, you’ve seen the pictures of the participants wearing just short shorts and a sports bra but you’re not sure you’re quite ready to show that much skin. That’s quite a common thought and don’t stress you don’t have to show that much skin at first, but in a minute we will delve into the reason why students have so much flesh on show. 

First, we’re going to have a look at the relationship between skin grip and pole dancing – the reason why eventually we need to show quite a lot of skin. 

Then we will look at what clothes to wear (or not wear). We’ll touch on pole outfits for beginners and go into more details about what to wear to pole dancing lessons as you become more confident.  

As well as pole appropriate clothing we will also discuss what beauty products and footwear you should or shouldn’t wear to pole class.  After that we will talk about some other optional extra it might be worth popping in your pole bag ahead of pole fitness class. 

We’d advise that you read all the way to the end of the article as there is a ton of information for pole dancers about to take their first lesson. Much of the information is applicable for those going to a pole dancing party that might be part of a hen do, works night out or just a random outing with a group of friends. 

Pole Dancing and Skin Grip

Pole dancing poles are made from various finishes, but in general, unless you’re in Oz, you will find that the pole studio you are visiting has poles made out of smooth metal. Either Stainless steel or a chrome finish. 

If you want to sit on the pole for example and you were wearing leggings you would just slip down the pole. This is because to grip the pole in some pole dancing moves rely on friction between your skin and the pole.

Moves taught to beginners will require that you have your legs out, your need the skin to be able to climb and sit on the pole. As you learn more moves you will find that you will need to uncover your arms and your midriff. There are some moves that even require you to get a bit of bum cheek out as well. 

So you can see why pole dancers don skimpy outfits and very short shorts – it’s because it is essential and not because they are showing off their long slender limbs. In fact, you will most probably find a full range of body shapes in your class. Some slender and some fuller figures as well. 

(I must admit some choose to wear incredibly skimpy outfits that be a bit eyewatering if you are behind them in the warm-up – some girls performing a downward dog in tiny up the bum shorts should really think it through). 

What to Wear to your First Pole Dancing Class

Most people get a bit anxious when they think about what they are going to wear to their first pole dancing class. It’s your first class, just keep it simple. There is no need to buy anything new, just select items of clothing that you have around the house already. 

You’ll need to wear shorts (or very loose trousers), bare feet or trainer socks for pole. On the upper body wear a T-Shirt or a tank top. The less material you have in your legs, the easier you will find pole dancing.

What To Wear to pole dancing class

Here are some ideas about what to wear at your first pole dancing class:

  • Shorts
  • T-shirt or vest top
  • Sports Bra
  • Leggings or tracksuit bottoms
  • Jumper if it’s a cooler day

Pop your shorts on ready and pull your leggings or tracksuit bottoms on over the top. If you’re not feeling brave enough for shorts, don’t worry. Pull-on your loosest tracksuit bottoms or leggings. When at the class you might be feeling brave enough to pull up your bottoms to reveal skin. If not give the moves ago anyway to get a feel for it. As the weeks go by you will see that there is nothing to worry about and will see why you need to get your legs out.

Once you’ve been bitten by the pole dancing bug there are a few optional extras that you might like to buy.

  • Leg warmers
  • Knee Pads
  • Platform Heels
  • Shoe Protectors
  • Grip aids
adult, body, close-up-1867743.jpg
Sports Bras
pole dancing shorts
Pole Shorts
Vest Top

Sports Bra

Whether you have big or little breasts you will want to wear one. Sports bras are made to reduce this movement. They will stop your boobs bouncing around during the warm-up and will keep them nicely packaged away so they don’t fall out whilst you are hanging upside down. 

Here are some beautiful sports bra ideas:

Knee Pads

These are a nice optional extra and certainly won’t be required for your first lesson. They are especially useful when you are doing floor work as crawling around on the floor can be quite tough on the knees.  If your pole sessions take place in a hall with carpet you could get friction burns on your knees if you’re not wearing knee pads. 

However, if you are doing a tricks based class the knee pads could actually get in your way. 

If you are serious about pole dancing classes then you can opt for standard knee pads, like these black ones available on Amazon or some more stylish ones 

What Not To Wear

When you go to your first or subsequent classes there are a few things that you should avoid wearing. This is for safety reasons or so you don;t flash your private bits at your instructor or the rest of the class 🙂

  • Jewellery – the pole will most likely be made from metal, rings, bracelets, watches can scratch the pole and get in the way. Scratches in the pole can be dangerous for students as they might cut themselves on them. You might damage your jewellery as well. 
  • Pleasers/Heels/Stripper Shoes – unless it’s a heel class most instructors will ask you not to wear heels, see the section above on pole dancing and footwear for more details on this topic. Your safest if you wear bare feet or dance slippers. Some girls opt for trainer socks but this can sometimes be a little slippy. 
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes (unless it’s cycling shorts) or anything too revealing. 

Hair, Beauty Products, Skincare & Make-Up

What Products To Use

You’re going to be on a pole that requires friction for the moves to work. Any products that will make your hands or body slippery are going to prevent you from sticking to the pole. 

So, try to avoid wearing lotions and beauty products if you can. They will jut sweat off after all. 

  • Deodorant/Antiperspirant – you’ll need it if you get sweaty
  • Grip Aid (if needed)

What Products Not To Use

Try not to wear any of the following to pole class as they just make you a bit too slippery to spin, climb or hold tricks. They can also leave a residue on the pole making it slippery for those using the pole after you. 

  • Moisturizer/Hand cream
  • Body lotion 
  • Sun cream 
  • Baby Oil

These should also be avoided:

  • Body glitter – the glitter can damage the poles and get all over the studio
  • False Tan – It can make you slippery. It can also come off on the poles and make you all streaky. 

What to Do With Your Hair

This is up to you, or if your pole studio tells you otherwise do what they want you to do.

Many girls tie there hair up, just like they would if they were going to the gym as they find it gets their way, their eyes or gets a bit sweaty. But it’s up to you really. Hair down at pole looks super awesome when it comes to hair flicks.

Pole Dancing and Footwear

When I started pole fitness classes ten years ago it was pretty standard for girls to rock up to class in 6 inch heels but then health and safety kicked in and many deemed it unsafe for students as they might slip or land funny when inverting and twist an ankle. Instructors were also trying to detach the associated stigma that was gained from pole dancers working in after-hours clubs for males.

In an attempt to make it a “proper” form of exercise and fitness sexy platform heels were abandoned and replaced with bare feet or trainers. Trainers are now not advised because students can’t point their toes. 

We have now gone full circle and 6, 7 or even 8-inch platform shoes and boots have made a come back and pole studios frequent run sexy choreo classes where students dance around the pole in heels. However, unless it’s a competition or special classes shoes are not usually worn to beginner or tricks based classes. 

What to Pack in Your Pole Bag

That gives us an idea for a whole blog post…but we’ll get to that later. If you’re heading to your first pole class here are a few things you might like to pack into your bag.

  • Water
  • Hand towel
  • Arnica Gel
  • Grip aid (optional extra)
  • Protein bar, banana, or another healthy snack
  • Haribo or some other yummy sugary sweets 🙂
  • PLUS the clothes items we mentioned above

Frequently Asked Questions

That’s a very popular question and whilst we go into it in quite a lot of detail above of you want a short answer the best thing to wear is shorts (or really loose trousers) and a tank (vest) top. If you have a sports bra pop it on.

In the coming weeks, you will need to invest in a sports bra and maybe some short shorts and perhaps a crop top. There are also some optional extras you can buy such as leg warmers, knee pads, wearable grip aids, pole outfits and heels. 

If it’s your first lesson or so leggings will be fine, but you won’t be able to try some of the beginner moves like sitting on the pole or trying to climb it. But you will be able to try out some spins and beginner dance moves. 

To be able to stick to the pole for quite a few of the moves you need bare skin, see the section above on pole dancing and skin grip for more details. 

As you become more experienced you will be able to do some moves with your clothes on like spins and inverts when you have the strength to hold yourself on your arms. 

In general, the smaller the better. The more skin you have out the better you will be able to stick to the pole. 


Sophie Green has been pole dancing and aerial arts at home and in studios around the world for over 13 years. She’s taken a number of instructor courses in pole and aerial. Plus attended a course on rigging. She takes part in lots of exercise.