What is a Fencing Lamé?
A lamé is a conductive jacket worn by a fencer to register hits on scoring equipment during electric bouts.
As such, a lamé does not need to be worn during fencing practice or in non-electric bouts. For this reason it is normally excluded from fencing clothing starter kits, and bought separately when the fencer is used to fencing electric routinely and thus more experienced.
A lamé is worn over your fencing jacket, and it is one of the last items you should put on, other than your mask and gloves.
Types of Lamé - Foil and Sabre
A lamé is worn in both foil and sabre to cover the valid target area. This is so when a fencer hits the opponent in the valid target area, that it is conducted by the jacket and registered on the scoring equipment.
In epee, the whole body is the valid target area. As such, a lamé is not worn because there is no distinction on the body between the valid or invalid target area.
In foil, the lamé jacket covers the valid target area of the torso and groin area.
In sabre, the lamé jacket covers the valid target area of the torso and arms, but not the groin or hands. Additionally, sabreurs will also ensure their mask is connected to their body wire so valid hits on the mask are registered also.
For more information on how each sword differs in fencing, see our guide to fencing sword types.
How Much Does a Lamé Cost?
The cost of a lamé jacket can range between £80 and £300. The factors that influence the cost of the jacket include:
- Adult or child lamé - Adult will use more material.
- Materials used - Cost of materials may affect overall price.
- Standard or lightweight - More lightweight or premium jackets are likely to cost more.
- Foil or Sabre - A sabre jacket uses more material and so is likely to be more expensive.
A lamé is usually a polyester jacket with a woven metal surface. The metal layer of the jacket is commonly made of either:
Each material can have its advantages and disadvantages, with copper typically being the cheapest. However, the material is only one component of the jacket, and so you should also consider comfort, fit, your own budget and even style if that is important to you.
Over time, due to the jacket being used as a target, a lamé jacket may also develop dead spots, at which point it should be replaced. It’s important to keep this in mind as you fence, and test your lamé for conductivity if you may suspect an issue.
How to Care for a Lamé
It may come as a surprise that you can wash lamés without damaging their electrical conductivity. You should always pay attention to the specific manufacturer’s washing instructions. However, it is generally fine to wash lamés at a lower temperature and without using harsh chemicals such as strong detergents or bleach.
Using harsh chemicals may damage the jacket material and as a result cause it to develop dead spots, rendering it useless.
As with almost all fencing equipment you should also refrain from tumble drying a lamé, and instead opt to air dry.
It should also be noted that as a lamé is the outermost jacket, it won’t need to be washed as frequently as other items closer to the body which are more susceptible to sweat.
Want more tips? Take a look at our beginner fencing advice guide for more.
Guide to Fencing Swords
Learn more about different fencing sword types and their differences.
Guide to Fencing Plastrons
Find out more about plastrons with our in-depth guide.
Guide to Fencing Masks
Find out more about masks with our in-depth guide.
Guide to Fencing Breeches
Learn more about fencing breeches with our guide for fencing beginners.
Guide to Fencing Jackets
Learn more about fencing jackets with our guide for fencing beginners.