Published: September 25, 2020
Skydiving is pretty simple and common sense will carry you far. It can get very technical and complicated once you dig in, but at a basic level it is about jumping, having fun, and landing correctly in the right place.
Rules Be Rules
Dropzones are sometimes very remote, and if you search around to watch any of the crazy stunts that involve skydiving with cars or fridges or sofas you may notice that these things happen way out in a desert somewhere. More likely is that airfields are close to where there are people below going about their lives. The skydiving industry has very detailed requirements about every piece of equipment used for parachuting operations. A very important part of jumping out of aeroplanes is that all the things that go with you stay with you, as that unlike humans with parachutes - loose objects hit the ground while going very fast and are potentially problematic for everyone involved.
Aside from wearing some clothes, your shoes are one of the things you need to consider when heading to the dropzone to jump for the first time. The rest of the equipment is provided for you here - such as a jumpsuit, a harness if you are going tandem, or a student parachute if you are aiming for your license. There might be some shoes kept in a box here for emergencies, but there is no guarantee and you really don't want to have to wear those anyway. The best plan is to select and wear something suitable.
What Is Correct?
The most important part is that your shoes stay on the whole time, so laces that do up nice and tight are key. To be extra certain you can tuck the ends away. The wind will quite easily undo laces, and even if your shoe stays on after that - they might flap uncomfortably against your leg. A little extra incentive is that if you do lose a shoe in freefall, it is very unlikely that you are ever going to see it again.
Something that offers some support around your ankles is good too. Landing at the end of a skydive is relatively straight foward, but there is always the possibility of a little bump in the landing area that you don't notice on the way in. Injuries are rare, but considering the possibilities is always a good idea. A common thing said in skydiving is that the jump is not over until you are back in the hangar, and that twisting your ankle in a gopher hole while walking back in counts as a parachuting accident.
What Is Not Correct?
The wrong things to wear are basically anything that is not laced up and supportive. Any footwear that is open in some way should be avoided. Straps are not as strong as they look and the wind will destroy them. Also, landing off is super rare for tandem jumps, but if you are learning for yourself the chances that at some point you might have to pick an alternative spot to land are a little higher and there is no guarantee that there will not be thorns or nettles or snakes out there.
Remember: Common sense is key.
Running shoes yes. Soccer cleats no. Your tandem instructor will appreciate keeping the skin on their legs and you might fall over while walking to the plane. Sneakers are great and you probably don't mind getting mud or dust on them.
Boots yes. Knee-high boots no. They might look good while strutting about on the ground, but they probably limit your mobility some and you might need to put a jumpsuit on. Sensible boots without heels are fine, but if you are getting involved you might find big clompy ones to be a bit unruly in freefall.
Skate shoes yes. Flip flops no. It is entirely possible that these are the two kinds of footwear that you own. Choose wisely.
If you are still not sure whether what you were planning to wear is suitable for skydiving, give us a call. One of the great things about the sport of skydiving is that there are no stupid questions and we will be more than happy to answer anything that is on your mind.