Beach Volleyball Uniforms - What do Beach Volleyball Players Wear?

Woman Beach Volleyball Player wearing a uniform

You may be wondering, what are the standard Beach Volleyball uniforms? It is natural to question in what type of clothing to professional Beach Volleyball players find themselves in extremely hot conditions. This question is quite interesting because the answer varies based on gender that is being talked about.  

The differences between the gender’s beach volleyball uniforms are unmissable, considering women typically compete in bikinis, while men play in tank tops and shorts. This controversial question is one of the main talking points surrounding the sport: Why has there always been such a difference between these athletes' uniforms, more so than in other sports? 


Moreover, men are required to wear tank tops in the hottest conditions while women are allowed to play in bikinis. The AVP recently addressed this concern and allowed men to compete without their jerseys and limit their Beach Volleyball uniforms to simple shorts, and jerseys if they choose to. 

According to the communications director for USA Volleyball, the answer is fairly uncomplicated: Because that’s the female athletes preferred uniform. Women aren’t technically required to compete in bikinis —  the Federation of International Volleyball’s (FIVB) uniform guidelines, allow for a variety of options. Consequently, you will see that some women exercise this freedom based on their preferences or their culture. If you do not know, some cultures, primarily Muslim, prevent women athletes from revealing their skin to the public, resulting in specially tailored Beach Volleyball uniforms specifically for them.

Woman Beach Volleyball Player wearing a uniform

The FIVB provides some freedom of Beach Volleyball uniform choice. Athletes are permitted to wear long sleeves, shorts, and tank tops. Many athletes have gone on record and explicitly stated that they feel more comfortable wearing a two-piece as this does not allow for sand to collect in their uniform - it is not a fashion statement. However, a lot of athletes, especially males, have criticized the requirement of tank tops, as in places where the temperatures are extreme, wearing a tank top that is drenched and sweat becomes a nuisance. 

Previously to the alterations made to women’s uniform guidelines in 2012, it was a requirement for female players to compete in bikinis. In an attempt to be more culturally inclusive, the FIVB changed the rules to allow the athletes to have a multitude of options when it comes to their uniforms. In 2016, Egypt’s national team competed wearing long sleeves and pants, which did not deviate from the FIVB guidelines. In our opinion, this flexibility was an important addition to the sport and a good move on the FIVB’s part for global inclusiveness. 

So, we think it would be important for you to see the layouts for male and female uniforms for Beach Volleyball. Hence, below we will show you the layouts for the Beach Volleyball uniforms from the Rio 2016 Olympics

Male Beach Volleyball Uniform Layout 

Beach Volleyball Men Uniform Layout

Female Beach Volleyball Uniform Layout 

Beach Volleyball Female Uniform Bikini Layout

When it comes to competition uniforms, female athletes have a wider range of options available to them than their male counterparts, the only commonality is that both genders have to wear both tops and bottoms. However, this requirement was removed for males in the AVP tournaments and at amateur levels where men are permitted to remove their tops.

Female Beach Volleyball Uniform Long Sleeve

To answer the question of why male athletes can not compete topless, judges say they need to be able to see the athletes’ names and numbers, which are displayed on their jerseys. This is done mainly for identification purposes, but also to create consistency between the guidelines for the genders. However, this argument is rather superficial, there are alternative ways to illustrate these factors as simple temporary tattoos or armbands. 

Two renowned female Beach Volleyball professionals, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross worked with a designer to help come up with their own uniforms for the Rio games; Calabro said that keeping the uniform standard between partners is the most important thing. Calabro couldn’t be more right. Beach Volleyball player’s often neglect following the uniform standards which result in disqualifications. Calabro mentioned that it is more about “keeping it consistent”.

Female Beach Volleyball Uniform Shirt Layout

With the addition of Snow Volleyball, the uniforms vary slightly and are more inclusive now, however, as this platform is not about Snow Volleyball, we will avoid discussing these volleyball uniforms in greater detail. 

We hope that now, you have a better understanding of Beach Volleyball uniforms and understand why females wear bikinis and males wear tank tops and shorts. 

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