This article is from the Fencing FAQ, by Morgan Burke with numerous contributions by others.
FIE-certified (800 N) uniforms are fashioned from special fabrics
such as kevlar, Startex, or ballistic nylon. Some uniforms (in
particular, older uniforms of kevlar construction) offer partial
800N coverage in vital areas with lighter 350N fabrics used
elsewhere. Full-coverage 800N uniforms are now the norm in
The rules for FIE 'A' level competition demand FIE jacket
and pants. As of April 1, 1995, an additional 800N plastron is
required. CFF and USFA competitions have less stringent uniform
FIE clothing generally provides the highest degree of quality
and protection available. It is strongly recommended for serious
competitors, and for anyone else concerned about their safety.
Although considerably more expensive than practice gear, many
fencers find it well worth the price.
Kevlar clothing should be washed with mild detergent-free soap,
and no bleach. Hang dry away from sources of ultraviolet light
(especially direct sunlight). Store in a dark place (a closet or
your fencing bag, for example).