What to Wear While Playing Petanque | A Complete Guide

  • By: Reece Williams
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Petanque is a simple game that requires very little in the way of equipment to play. For that reason and more, thousands if not millions of players partake each and every year. It is a great summer or holiday game to play.

There are some rules to be aware of, though. For starters, you need to know what you can wear while playing the game. That’s not to say there is a uniform, but it more pertains to what you can wear on your feet while playing the game.

Tops On

There are not many rules when it comes to the attire one must wear while playing petanque. That said, there is one staunch rule that is meant to be followed. Players must wear a shirt at all times. A player cannot play with a “nude torso.”

Of course, if you are playing with friends in a private area, you can wear whatever you want. But in a more competitive atmosphere, shirts are mandatory for playing petanque. But the real question is about the footwear.

Wearing the Right Shoes

The most important thing to consider when wondering what the appropriate attire for petanque is what shoes must be worn. The proper attire includes footwear that is completely closed. That means both the toes and heels must be covered at all times.

This is part of not only FIPJP rules but are also considered to be standard rules among casual players. It is part of the “Player Code of Behavior” that is part of the official rules of the game. The Code of Behavior can vary from country to country, but there are generally a few accepted rules. No drinking, smoking, cursing using a cell phone, playing shirtless, having glass containers, high heels, or having pets on the terrain.

There are many Codes of Behavior that include the closed-toe rule as well, going back to the earliest part of the 21st century.

Why Do Shoes Matter?

If it seems like the main concern is the safety of the players, think again. The simple fact of the matter is that even a closed-toe shoe offers little in the way of protection against a falling boule. No, it has more to do with being a tripping hazard.

The strings that mark the boundaries can get caught up on things like sandals, making them serious tripping hazards. Even if the player manages to catch their balance, they are more likely to pull up the string that marks the boundary lines. This can result in serious delays in the game and major annoyance on the part of the other players.

The same thing applies to bare feet. There is a much greater chance of catching a string between the toes, tripping, and even falling as a result. The rules therefore require that players have closed-toe shoes on at all times while playing.

Questioning the Rule

As is the case with just about any rule out there, players will find a way to question it. While sandals and bare feet are clearly designated within the rules, there are players across the globe that wonder if their shoes are viable for playing.

But whenever asked this question, most petanque umpires will say that no, they don’t count. Shoes are meant to be completely closed. If they aren’t completely closed, they are in violation of the rules. This is a reasonable way to dictate that specific types of shoes are not applicable for playing petanque.

The simple fact of the matter is that players must wear closed footwear. If you think that you have to ask an umpire about the validity of the shoe, then there is a good chance that it shouldn’t be worn in the first place.

It is also common sense that playing on a terrain marked with strings means not wearing shoes that could catch on the strings. It could pull up the boundary while also potentially leading to a nasty fall. Following the rules is also proper etiquette and should be followed at all times to avoid any issues.

When playing with friends or in a casual setting where there aren’t strings, then rules are more likely to be relaxed. That means playing with sandals or bare feet is probably fine.


While there are not many rules as it pertains to the clothing to be worn on the petanque court, there are a few important ones to know. The first is that you have to wear a shirt at all times. It is considered proper etiquette whether playing recreationally or professionally.

Secondly, all players must be wearing closed-toe shoes. This is not only to protect the player but limit potential tripping when drawing boundary lines. Keep your shirt and your shoes on and you will be ready to play petanque anywhere.

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