Making the cheer squad is only the start of your journey as a cheerleader. Once you are on the squad, you'll need items for days you cheer as well as practices. Learn about all of the equipment and supplies you'll need to be prepared for all aspects of cheerleading.
If you're really serious about participating in cheerleading, whether it be a school squad or a competitive cheerleading squad, there are a few things that should go on your "must have" list.
The entire team should have the same uniform. Consult with your coach about styles. If you're lucky enough to be in on the decision-making process about which uniform the squad will wear, then check out a variety of sources such as:
- Cheer Deals - This online store specializes in cheerleading uniforms at affordable prices. They offer sets or you can purchase shells and skirts separately. Uniforms can be personalized with team logo or letters.
- Cheerleading.com - They call themselves "the industry leader" for cheer uniforms. It pays to order for the entire team at one time, because they offer team discounts. Purchase just the uniform or their "bow to toe" package, which includes hair bow, briefs, poms and socks.
- GTM Sportswear - Bonuses such as a free brief with uniform purchase can be found here. These uniforms are school-friendly with the ability to add a mascot or school letters. Online tools include "Coach's Assistant," which will help you build the perfect uniform for your team.
Some athletes will tell you that shoes are the most important piece of equipment in any sport that you play. Cheerleading in improper shoes can lead to serious injury. However, which type of shoe you need depends on the types of cheerleading routines your squad performs. Ideally, you should have a pair of cheer shoes for practicing stunts, a set for performing and a set of shoes for working out at practice.
Why do you need so many pairs of shoes? You really want your feet to be well protected and cared for. Each shoe is designed to meet a different need, and having two to three pairs is the best way to prevent injury and keep one pair clean and neat for performances. For the widest selection of cheerleading shoes, try:
- Campus Teamwear - Shoes on this site start as low as $14.95, which can save a ton when you need a couple of different pairs of cheer shoes. You'll find brands like Adidas, Chasse and Reebok.
- Cheer and Pom - Cheer shoes for about half off manufacturer's suggested retail pricing. Brands include Nfinity, Reebok and Kaepa. Orders over $100 enjoy free shipping.
- Dick's Sporting Goods - If you want a brick and mortar store or you prefer to order from a big chain, Dick's offers a variety of cheerleading shoes. They also have Nike cheer shoes.
Curly Hair Extensions
Among the cheerleading stuff that you need, you might have use for curly hair extensions. The big advantage to using hair pieces is that regardless of what you've been doing all day, your hair can be game ready in a matter of minutes. It also ensures that the entire squad looks the same regardless of anyone's hair style or length. Get hairpieces specifically made for cheerleading to ensure the hairpieces doesn't fly off during a tumbling pass.
- HairForCheer.com - With a nice selection of styles, these hairpieces go over a bun to create a polished ponytail. Hair length meets competition requirements.
- Wigs.com - There is a special section for hairpieces, but try to stick with the ones specifically made for cheer. There are some others available that might be suitable for those not doing a lot of tumbling or for squads that do only minor stunting.
Just for Practice
Your performance and competition items can be expensive and you don't want to subject them to extra wear and tear, so opt for more basic items to practice in.
Chances are, you'll want a bag for schlepping your stuff to and from practice. Choose a bag that will hold all of your gear and be comfortable to carry.
- Cheerleading Company - Choose from more than a dozen cheer bags. Bags can be customized with emblem, name or team name.
- Thirty-One Gifts - Thirty-One's new product line includes a couple of sports/gym bags. These bags can be customized in a material pattern of your choice and embellished with customized lettering and emblems to make it unique to your squad. Check out the cinch sacs for a solution to carrying clothing changes to practice.
- Customized Girl - Unique cheer bags can be found here, with the ability to personalize them with a name. The cheer tumbler duffel bag is only one of the unique selections, with the silhouette of a girl in the middle of throwing a back handspring. Another bag has the silhouette of a girl at the highest point of her toe touch jump.
Appropriate practice clothing is very important, particularly if you are practicing stunts. In general, you'll want fairly tight-fitting clothing when you are practicing. Clothing that is too loose poses a danger during stunting. This is especially true if you are a flyer. On the other hand, if your squad sticks close to the ground during their routines and there is a minimum of tumbling, clothing that is comfortable is sufficient for practice. Also keep in mind that you'll probably want at least a couple of different practice outfits since most cheerleading squads practice daily.
- Omni Cheer - This site offers a nice collection of practice wear, including T-shirts, tanks, shorts and leggings. You'll find other cheerleading accessories here as well.
- Chasse - Chasse has long been a mainstay for cheerleading clothes. Cheer shorts in a variety of colors, T-shirts and tanks grace their catalog.
- Soffe - Soffe is another well-known cheerleading clothing brand. Soffe shorts can also be found at stores like Dick's Sporting Goods, but you can order them directly online along with tops and accessories.
If you practice for long, you'll start to feel aches and pains. Ankles, knees and wrists are common places for cheerleaders to feel stiffness. For non-serious injuries that only cause minor discomfort, wrapping that part of the body can help ease the pain. Sports wraps are available at retailers like Walmart, but you can also order them online.
- MFasco Foam Wrap - Since you'll go through a lot of tape over the course of a cheer season, you'll appreciate the 12 rolls that come in this box. It is a simple blue without any added designs.
- Mueller Sports Medicine - In addition to basic wraps, Mueller also offers Kinesiology tape to help with muscle strains.
Odds and Ends for Cheerleaders
In addition to the common cheer items such as shoes, uniforms and hair pieces, there are many smaller items that cheerleaders need to get that polished look and be on top of their game.
Part of the uniform includes a beautiful bow that complements the outfit. Cheerleaders also wear bows for practice, tryouts or on school spirit days. Just any old bow won't do, so you'll want to purchase one from a place such as:
- Team Cheer - This site will create custom bows in the colors of your choice. Choose from a variety of styles, or opt for bows with glitter, embellishments and zebra print.
- Cheer Bows and Beyond - Looking for unique bows to wear to practices? This site offers bows with sayings like "Hit! Hit! Hit!" and "Wednesday We Wear Pink" (a reference to the movie Mean Girls). You can also order custom bows.
- Glitzy Cheer Bows - These cheer bows are full of bling and glitz. Choose from bows with gemstones to animal prints with sequins.
Indoor heat and activity can play havoc with your skin. Cheerleaders don't always think about how dry the skin on their legs are until they get ready to go in front of a crowd. It's a smart move to add a good leg lotion to your cheer bag for those last-minute moisturizing needs.
- Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Lotion - This lotion is a cross between moisturizer and "leg makeup." It will smooth any color variations in your legs and give your skin a smooth silky appearance. Order online or pick up a tube at your local drugstore or big box retailer.
- Phytomer Beautiful Legs - If you are looking for a luxury treatment to make you feel pampered on performance days, turn to Phytomer. This product helps reduce the appearance of blemishes on your legs. However, expect to pay about $78.00 for a 5 oz. tube.
Cute Cheerleading Stuff
Aside from the gear, cheerleading enthusiasts can find all kinds of collectibles and accessories to proclaim their love of the sport. After you get the things that you have to have in order to cheer, why not look at some of the extra cheerleading stuff that is funny or cute? Cheerleading's popularity means you'll find items such as photo frames, teddy bears, jewelry and body glitter. Find these and other cute items at sites like:
- Cheer Zone - You'll find everything from cheerleading themed bags and purses to jewelry for cheerleaders, including rings here.
- Bling Spirit Glitter - Get glitter for competitions and performances in neon colors. You'll also find glitter stickers and a lip color collection.
- The Cheerleading Source - Find hoodies, scarves, flannel sling bags and custom team spirit socks.
Resources for Cheerleading Gifts and Stuff
These resources are a good place to start for all your cheerleading needs, but you'll also want to attend cheerleading competitions in your area, such as those put on by JAMFest, CheerSport and Varsity. Vendors set up at these events and offer cheerleading specific products you can't find anywhere else. Over time, you'll gain a collection of cheerleading stuff that will show the world how proud you are to be a cheerleader.