What to Wear in a Sauna: The Ultimate Guide to Comfort and Safety

Saunas can be a great and relaxing way to unwind after a hard week of work, and what you wear is a key part of the experience. However, with all the various considerations of both comfort and safety, it can be a tricky prospect to navigate. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide; to ensure you get the most out of your sauna experience, so you can leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. We will look at all the key elements to consider for your outfit, so you can decide for yourself what to wear in the sauna and make the best of your sauna trip. This guide applies to all saunas, including Indoor Saunas and Outdoor Saunas.

Quick Overview

It is recommended to bring a towel to the sauna, as it is important to avoid direct contact with the hot surfaces. You should also wear light and loose clothing such as shorts or a bathing suit to ensure your skin can breath while you're in the sauna.

What to Wear in a Sauna

What you wear in the sauna greatly affects your comfort level. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to go au naturel or put on some clothing. It’s important to note that the clothing should be lightweight and breathable so as to avoid trapping the heat of the steam room and making you even hotter.

Going nude is always an option in a sauna, as it is usually expected for adults. Some people might find this more comfortable than wearing clothes, as it allows your skin to absorb sweat and release more toxins. On the other hand, many adults may have reservations about nudity, feeling awkward or uncomfortable being exposed in front of others. However, these feelings are completely up to each individual and there is no right or wrong answer as to what you should or shouldn’t do when entering a sauna.

If you wish to cover up while still allowing your body to inhale and detoxify, lightweight material such as cotton or linen are great options. Swimsuits are another popular option for saunas as they keep your body covered without trapping heat against your skin. Whatever you opt for, make sure that it wraps loose enough around your body so as not to constrict breathing or restricting any movements that are necessary from walking around in a steaming room.

Choosing a breathable fabric for your sauna session is key for staying cool and comfortable during your visit. As previously mentioned, keeping light and airy materials close to the skin helps regulate temperature and ensures proper air circulation for detoxification purposes. In the following section, we will discuss more details on choosing breathable fabrics before entering the sauna.

Choose Breathable Fabric

When it comes to what fabrics to wear in the sauna, breathability is key. The idea is to keep the sweat and steam away from your body as much as possible for optimal comfort. Opt for lightweight fabrics like cotton that allow moisture to evaporate quickly and evenly on your skin. Wearing dri-fit or other moisture-wicking clothes can also improve comfort and help you avoid feeling clammy while in the sauna. On the other hand, synthetic materials like polyester and nylon may not allow as much airflow and could cause you to overheat.

In addition, loose-fitting clothing is best when going into the sauna so pick garments with a little extra space. Tight-fitting clothes won't give you enough room to move around freely, and can easily become uncomfortable if they’re too snug. Go for pieces like tank tops, shorts or swimming trunks that are made of lightweight fabrics so that you get the best of both worlds.

Next up we'll discuss how to go for loose-fitting clothing so you can stay comfortable when lounging in the sauna.

Go For Loose-Fitting Clothing

When choosing what to wear in the sauna, it’s important to keep comfort and safety in mind. One of the key factors to remember is that loose-fitting clothing is best for a sauna visit. When clothing is too tight, heat cannot be regulated and can cause overheating, which can be dangerous. Layered clothing can also help provide optimal protection.

Loose-fitting cotton garments may be the ideal choice for sauna attire as they are breathable and absorbent, thus allowing sweat to escape easily while still providing coverage. Light colors like white reflect more light than dark colors which trap more heat, thus helping to regulate body temperature. The type of fabric is another factor to consider for optimal comfort; materials like wool or synthetic fabrics should be avoided as they trap heat instead of allowing it to escape.

However, some prefer tighter-fitting clothing such as swimsuits or spandex shorts when visiting the sauna, since this allows sweat to evaporate quickly due to surface area. Although this can help cool down body temperature faster, it might not be suitable for those who seek heavy sweating in the sauna experience. Ultimately, choosing a comfortable fit for individual preference and needs should always be top priority.

When preparing for a session in the sauna, minimal accessories should also be taken along so that optimal temperature regulation can take place safely and efficiently. Controlling excess with layers should eliminate thoughts of wearing accessories such as jewelry and hats. The next section of this guide will provide further information on what types of accessories you should avoid wearing while in the sauna.

  • According to research from Finland, the optimal temperature for a sauna is between 75° and 90° Celsius (167° to 194 °F).
  • According to the British Sauna Society, it is recommended to wear nothing when going into saunas as this allows your skin to absorb heat.
  • A study published in 2019 showed that people who go into a sauna with their clothes on may experience discomfort due to rapid heating and cooling of the body.

Top Points to Remember

When choosing an outfit for a sauna visit, comfort and safety should be top priority. Loose-fitting clothes in light colors like white work best as they will help regulate body temperature and allow sweat to escape. Opt for cotton fabric garments instead of synthetic or wool fabrics, though tighter-fitting clothing such as swimsuits or spandex shorts can also be suitable when seeking quicker cooling. Minimal accessories should be taken along to aid in optimal temperature regulation.

Wear Minimal Accessories

When it comes to accessories in a sauna, less is more. Accessories can be dangerous inside the dry heat of a sauna due to the potential for them to overheat. They can also be uncomfortable and may make navigating your way into the tight reclining seats difficult. In fact, the American Sauna Society (ASS) advises that “as a general rule of thumb, accessories such as jewelry should be minimized or avoided entirely” when using a sauna.

That being said, there are some exceptions. The ASS recommends that if you do decide to wear a watch, make sure it is water resistant and/or waterproof. This will prevent any potential overheating and also help protect any damage that could happen from high levels of perspiration. Additionally, many people like to bring a bottle of water with them to the sauna for hydration but caution should be taken here as well. Large bottles can take up quite a bit of space and are easily mislaid in the steamy atmosphere of a sauna room.

For these reasons, the general rule continues to be that minimal accessories should accompany you into the sauna — materials such as rubber and plastic should definitely be avoided. Now that we have discussed what kind of accessories to bring (or not bring) into a sauna experience, let's move on to clothing recommendations which will provide ultimate comfort and safety throughout your time in the sauna room.

Clothing Recommendations

When deciding what to wear in a sauna, clothing recommendations will vary based on personal preference. Essentially, it all comes down to how comfortable you feel. Most people choose to wear nothing at all, or just leave their towel wrapped around them. However, if you would prefer to be covered up a bit more for privacy or for extra warmth and comfort, there are several options available.

One of the most common sauna outfit choices is to wear a swimsuit or underwear. This is a great way to cover up while still allowing the skin to easily breathe and perspire. Lightweight natural fiber garments such as cotton and linen are ideal for this purpose. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics like nylon do not allow as much air flow and will keep perspiration trapped against your skin which can be uncomfortable.

Another option is to simply wear a large t-shirt and shorts. These items provide enough coverage while still allowing air flow and making sure that the body can perspire properly. Opting for lightweight fabric will help ensure maximum comfort during your time in the sauna.

No matter what type of clothing you choose, remember that too much clothing can cause overheating so it's important to keep it as light as possible. Overall, when deciding what to wear in a sauna, comfort should be the top priority.

To get even more specific about sauna attire, the next section will cover why shorts and a t-shirt may be the best choice for many people looking for maximum comfort and safety in the sauna room.

Shorts and a T-Shirt

When it comes to picking out what to wear in a sauna, shorts and a T-shirt may seem like the obvious go-to choice, especially if you are looking for maximum comfort. Wearing shorts and a T-shirt when entering a sauna will keep your muscles relaxed and your body loose, allowing you to move around comfortably while avoiding accidental scrapes against hot surfaces.

Shorts and a T-shirt may also have some protective benefits, such as extra insulation to prevent uncomfortable heat levels. In some cases however, they can also be the least safe option due to the materials they are made of. Natural fabrics like cotton or linen are more likely to absorb sweat which can lead to discomfort or even skin irritation from the excessive humidity inside the sauna. Additionally, some synthetic fabrics used for shorts and T-shirts might also melt under extreme temperatures which could leave you with an unpleasant situation that would ruin your entire sauna experience.

So it really comes down to personal preference when deciding whether wearing shorts and a T-shirt is their best option for a sauna session. Evaluating your own needs and wants beforehand is key in choosing the most comfortable option that will give you peace of mind during your time spent in the sauna.

That being said, another great alternative to consider is wearing sleeveless shirts when you visit a sauna. Some people may not think they are aesthetically pleasing but they offer great breathability and insulation benefits...

Sleeveless Shirts

When it comes to sleeveless shirts, comfort and coverage are the two main considerations. Wearing a sleeveless shirt in the sauna can allow for more freedom of movement, as well as better ventilation than a shirt with long sleeves. Additionally, many prefer wearing a lightweight tank top or muscle shirt over regular clothing to help prevent sweat stains. For those looking for extra modesty and coverage, a loose-fitting collared T-shirt can provide modest protection while still allowing moisture to evaporate quickly.

On the other hand, some experts believe that too much coverage can prevent the body from cooling off and releasing toxins as easily. Therefore, if one chooses to wear something on their upper body in the sauna, they should look for fabrics that are lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. If possible, airy fabrics like linen may also be an ideal choice for ultimate comfort.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to wear a sleeveless shirt in the sauna is up to personal preference and comfort level. Having the right type of fabric can make all the difference in terms of safety and maintaining optimal temperature balance in the hot environment of a sauna. Now that we have discussed sleeveless shirts, let's move on to swimwear as our next topic.


The swimsuit you choose to wear in the sauna is an important decision. Because saunas get very hot, lightweight and breathable fabrics are recommended. The purpose of a swimsuit is twofold: first, it provides modest coverage while allowing your body heat to escape; and second, it prevents you from directly exposing your skin to the extreme heat of the sauna. It’s important to note that some saunas forbid nudity, even if it’s covered by a towel, so be sure to check with staff prior to entering a new facility.

Traditional one-piece or two-piece swimsuits are both acceptable for saunas. One-piece suits provide full coverage, but can be uncomfortable in the high temperatures of a sauna due to their non-breathable structures. Two-piece suits offer more versatility in terms of fit and comfort, but are not always suitable for those who wish to maintain conservative coverage in high temperatures. There is also debate surrounding whether men should wear boxer shorts while in the sauna; while some argue that they provide adequate coverage and airflow, others suggest they trap too much heat around the body. Whichever option you choose, make sure that your swimsuit fits comfortably and allows air circulation around your body.

Now that you know what type of swimsuit to wear in a sauna, let's move on to discuss what shoes are best suited for the experience.

What Shoes to Wear

When preparing for a trip to the sauna, there is one part of your clothing that many people overlook: shoes. Most saunas will require you to be barefoot while inside, so deciding what footwear to wear can often be overlooked. However, it is important to think about what kind of shoes you should bring to ensure your comfort and safety while in the sauna and afterward.

If you plan on leaving your shoes in the changing room and going into the sauna barefoot, opt for a closed-toe style shoe with some grip on the bottom. Sandals are not recommended in this case as they offer no protection from bacteria that may accumulate on the ground, nor can they protect your feet from potential burns if you step on something hot. On the other hand, flip-flops provide adequate coverage but often do not have enough cushion or grip, leaving your feet vulnerable to slipping or discomfort.

Alternatively, many saunas will allow you to wear special non-slip slippers inside the facility. These typically look like flat flip-flops with a textured sole for extra traction in wet environments such as showers and steam rooms. While these can work well for those who wish to keep their feet covered in the sauna, bear in mind that most of these slippers are single-use items so you should factor this cost into your budget before entering the facility.

Whatever type of shoe you choose, make sure they are comfortable and fit properly prior to entering the sauna as once inside, it is best to take them off. Now that you know how to choose a shoe that is right for you when going into a sauna, next we'll discuss what to wear before and after your sauna experience.

What to Wear Before and After the Sauna

When it comes to deciding what to wear before and after a sauna session, it’s important to find the right balance between comfort and convenience. Whether you plan to hit the sauna before a gym session or just want something to keep you comfortable afterward, there are several options available.

When visiting a public sauna – such as at a spa or fitness center – wearing loose-fitting clothing is the best option. Opting for breathable fabrics like cotton, bamboo, or hemp will ensure that your body can adequately cool down after exiting the steamy room. If entering the sauna is uncomfortable with your clothes on, try bringing a pair of shorts or workout leggings that can easily be slipped on and off without feeling completely exposed.

At home saunas don't come with any dress code requirements, so customers may feel more comfortable wearing their normal loungewear around the house. Sweatpants and t-shirts are often popular choices for those using an at-home unit. Some people may prefer dressing more formally for the experience if they have other friends or family members around the house during the session – although this isn't necessary in any way.

Whatever you decide when determining what to wear before and after your sauna experience, make sure it's something you won't mind getting sweaty and uncomfortable in. No matter where your session takes place, it’s best to avoid overly constricting garments or accessories such as tight jeans or jewelry during your time in a sauna.

Now that the basics of what to wear before and after a sauna are out of the way, let’s move on to discussing how to keep it both comfortable and practical while inside the hot room.

Keeping it Comfortable and Practical

When visiting the sauna, comfort is key. To keep you as relaxed as possible, consider wearing something loose-fitting and lightweight. On your top half, skip anything tight that could restrict your movement as you move around the sauna room. A robe made of breathable fabric such as cotton can be a great option for both men and women. This type of garment will allow your skin to breathe since hot steamy temperatures are part of the sauna experience. Additionally, you can choose to wear swimwear underneath the robe if desired.

It is important to note that unless it is mandatory in your area, wearing clothing inside a communal sauna is considered optional. Some prefer to remain nude, while others may feel more comfortable wearing clothing or a swimsuit. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and how comfortable individuals feel in their own skin.

When it comes to footwear, opt for flip-flops or sandals. Shoes should be avoided in the sauna, but wearing protective footwear outside is important for safety when entering or exiting the facility from the locker rooms or outside world. Furthermore, be mindful of storing any valuables securely in a locker before entering the sauna, so there is no risk of theft or damage due to moisture caused by steam and heat within the environment.

To conclude this section about keeping it comfortable and practical in the sauna, take into account your own preferences during visits and be mindful of safety regulations when selecting your attire whether that be covered up with clothes or going au naturel. In the conclusion section coming up next, we will discuss how to wrap up the sauna visit with some key tips and considerations.


In conclusion, it is clear that there are many considerations when it comes to knowing what to wear in a sauna. A variety of factors, such as the type of sauna, the type of fabric, and personal comfort level should all be taken into account when selecting sauna attire. It is important to remember that comfort is key when choosing an outfit for the sauna, as this can make or break your experience. Ultimately, proper planning and research will help you decide what to wear in a sauna that ensures both safety and comfort.

Whether or not it is appropriate to wear clothing in the sauna is ultimately up for personal preference and varies on a case by case basis. Some people might prefer to wear clothing in a dry sauna when first starting out as a way to ease into the heat and maintain modesty. Others may feel more comfortable without clothing in the sauna, feeling liberated from material restrictions and enjoying the full benefits of heat penetration. Ultimately, it is important to evaluate individual preferences based on the type of sauna and respect other’s rights to choose what they feel best wearing for this experience.

Common Questions and Answers

Can I wear jewelry in a sauna?

No, it is not recommended to wear jewelry in a sauna. Perspiration and heat can cause some metals to oxidize, discolor, and/or cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Additionally, jewelry can melt if exposed to extreme heat. Even if the materials are rated for high temperatures, they may become hot enough to cause burns when exposed to sauna conditions. Therefore, it is best not to wear any jewelry when going into a sauna.

What type of clothing is most appropriate for a sauna?

The most appropriate clothing for a sauna is something light and airy, such as cotton or linen. Clothing that is too tight or restrictive can be uncomfortable and impede your breathing. Your clothing should allow your skin to breathe and wick away any sweat that may accumulate—making it easier for you to cool down. It should also be comfortable enough that it won't distract you while you are relaxing in the sauna. Additionally, avoid wearing anything with zippers, buttons, or snaps since these can cause burns if they come into contact with heated surfaces.

Should I bring my own towel to the sauna?

Yes, you should definitely bring your own towel to the sauna. Your own personal towel is better at absorbing sweat than any rented towels and will keep you much more comfortable while in the sauna. Additionally, towels that are used by multiple people can spread bacteria and other germs, so having your own towel is a great way to protect your health. Finally, many saunas require attendees to bring their own towels for good hygiene reasons, so it’s best to be prepared and bring your own towel to be on the safe side.

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