Why Lacrosse Goalies Wear Sweatpants and Why You Should Too | Lax Goalie Rat

Why Lacrosse Goalies Wear Sweatpants and Why You Should Too


You’ve seen it before. It’s a scorching hot day as two teams get set to battle it out on the lacrosse field.

As the goalie takes the field, he’s wearing….sweatpants!

Lax goalies have one of the few jobs in the world where sweatpants are appropriate business attire.

In fact, I completely recommend every goalie wear sweatpants. And the baggier they are, the better.

So why do some lacrosse goalies always wear sweatpants in the cage? And should you start doing it?

Sweatpants provide added protection

Most lacrosse goalies don’t wear any pads on their legs. So as weird as it may sound, the extra fabric of sweatpants helps to take some of the sting out of getting hit directly in the thigh with a shot.

Make sure you’re using the heavy duty sweatpants, like these Heavy Weight Sweatpants from Champion. You don’t want the lightweight sweats as that defeats the purpose of getting extra protection on the legs.

Many lacrosse goalies pull up the sweats so they expose the shins, letting the world know you’re not committing the sin of wearing shin guards.

When pulled up to the knee the sweats also provide some nice padding for shots taken directly to the knee.


Sweatpants provide extra saves

Many lacrosse goalies swear by baggy sweatpants for the additional surface area they provide to protect the net.

This extra surface area can translate into an additional save every couple of games.

Even if the sweats don’t result in saves they definitely take up more surface area and reduce the amount of open cage an attacking player sees. This often results in them firing an errant shot which doesn’t count as a save but is better than a goal.

I remember several saves very specifically where the ball hit my sweats under the crotch or grazed the side of my sweats just enough to deflect it from going into the goal.

Lacrosse goalies are a crazy breed. We’d probably shave off our eyebrows if it meant an additional save per game!

Instead we wear sweatpants and get a few extra saves every season because of that.

Lacrosse Goalie Sweatpants

Sweatpants Provide Warmth

In my example in the intro of this post, the game was on a hot day but the lacrosse season starts in February when there’s still snow on the ground in the North East.

Because goalies are not active while the ball is on the other side of the field, it tends to get a little chilly.

Therefore, most goalies will wear the sweatpants to also keep their legs warm.

It’s important to stay loose and warm while the ball is on your own offensive side so that when its time to play defense you’re reaction time doesn’t suffer one bit.

Sweatpants will keep you warmer than shorts.

Sweatpants are a Goalie’s Superstition

Many lacrosse goalies have superstitions that they follow to maintain their dominance in the cage. If they’re doing a certain thing or even eating a certain thing, they won’t switch up during a hot streak.

Some goalies like ex-Syracuse star John Galloway rub dirt on their face and re-tape their goalie stick before every game.

“Part of being goalie is getting on a hot streak,” says ESPN Analyst Quint Kessenich. “So you stay with whatever is working.”

For many goalies, whatever is working means sweatpants.

And Kessenich is right, if something is working there’s no reason to stop doing it.

Lax Goalie Sweatpants

Sweatpants can cover up additional pads

There is a certain machismo amongst the male lacrosse goalies that explains why many ridicule goalies who use additional pads on their legs.

With how fast today’s shooter can rip the ball I encourage goalie’s (especially during practice) to be as protected as possible.

Goalies have a full range of lacrosse goalie gear at their disposal and I encourage all goalies to get protected.

If you find yourself being scared of the ball, try strapping on some additional padding and you’ll feel more confident in the cage.

If you’re going to use shin guards or lacrosse goalie pants, you can cover them up with a pair of sweatpants so nobody will know what kind of extra leg protection you’re using.

Sweatpants Look Good

I saved the most trivial reason for last. I liked the way they look.

I think a lacrosse goalie with a pair of thick sweats rolled up to the knee looks like a bads$$ goalie.

And as Deion Sanders once said, “When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you play good”.

Dillon Ward Goalie Stick


Wearing sweatpants while playing goalie is entirely a preference thing. Some goalies like them while others prefer to stick with shorts.

For those that wear sweatpants while in goal they typically do so because:

  • Sweatpants provide additional protection
  • Sweatpants provide additional saves
  • Sweatpants provide additional warmth
  • Sweatpants are a superstition
  • Sweatpants look good
  • Sweatpants can cover up extra leg padding

I encourage all goalies to get a pair of sweatpants about 2 sizes too big and use them while in goal.

Until next time! Coach Damon

Anyone out there use sweatpants in the cage? Let me know in the comments below. 

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13 thoughts on “Why Lacrosse Goalies Wear Sweatpants and Why You Should Too

  1. Good article. I’d add to your warmth reasoning that many athletes feel like they perform better “with a sweat.” I wear sweats even when it’s 70-80 degrees because the sweat seems to make me play better.

  2. Coach Damon,

    What type of sweat pants do you think is best to wear? I never let my legs go un protected in practice or games, whether its with sweats or tights.. Being a very mobile goalie I tend to wear tights for every game unless it is super cold (then i wear sweats). And since I am such a mobile goalie who runs around whenever I wear sweat pants it seems as if I get less movement with the baggier sweatpants. Personally I feel that when I am really in the zone in a game or in practice my protection doesn’t matter because I loose the feeling of pain and other sensations (like fear) allowing me to make more saves, do you think it is beneficial to start wearing (baggier) sweatpants more or just stick with tights?

    1. Sweats are a personal preference Danny. I say go as baggy as possible without losing mobility. But if the tights make you ‘feel’ like a better goalie go with those.

    1. I believe the official rule on sweatpants is that they must either be a solid neutral color (white, grey, black) or one of the team’s colors. By rule, all players must use the same color sweatpants too. So if goalie uses grey, field players must use grey if they too want to wear sweats. Regarding style, any normal sweat pants are ok. Sweat pants that have been modified to occupy more space in the cage not ok.

  3. I live in Florida and my coach won’t let me wear sweatpants for some of our games due to it being 90+ in late March-early April! I don’t blame her at all, she doesn’t want me to pass out, but I wish I could get some goalie swag on because currently I gotta rock shorts that are two sizes two big as a 5’1 goalie! Hopefully next year will be a bit colder so I can ditch these hand-me-down shorts.

  4. Hey there Coach Damon, I’m new to lacrosse and considering playing goalie. I have three years of experience as a catcher in baseball. Should I pursue goalie? I have the broader build for it. Any tips? Anything that could help is much appreciated.

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