What To Wear At Running Of The Bulls?


Are you embarking on a thrilling Running of the Bulls journey? Excellent, I’m positive you’ll have a once-in-lifetime experience. This article is your go-to guide for understanding and adopting the event’s traditional attire. 

Not only do I advise you on what to wear for the Running of the Bulls, but I’ll also highlight the symbolic significance of each piece, comfort and safety considerations, and the cultural importance of adhering to the traditional dress code. 

So let’s delve into the rich history and intriguing traditions behind this spectacle and help you plan and participate in San Fermin Festival’s iconic run!

🧣 The Basics of Running of the Bulls Attire

Before we get into the attire, you can get a complete overview of the event with our guide on The Running of the Bulls.

Red Scarf

The traditional red scarf, or pañuelico, is essential. This scarf is not only a symbol of the San Fermin Festival spirit, but it also helps you blend in with the crowd for this adventurous event.

Many shops around the city sell these scarves, and some will offer more elaborate, decorative ones for keepsakes.

White Shirt

Aside from the red scarf, a white shirt is another staple for the Running of the Bulls attire. This shirt is typically lightweight and comfortable, an added bonus under the blistering Spanish sun while you’re trying to outrun the bulls! 

Although it’s important to follow the tradition of wearing a white shirt, it doesn’t necessarily have to be plain – some people choose to wear shirts with logos or designs on them that showcase their love for the festival.

White Pants

In addition to the white shirt, white pants are a must for the Running of the Bulls. Just like the shirt, these pants should be comfortable and breathable. Often, you see participants wearing jeans or chinos, but any style of white pants will suffice. 

Insider Tip: The best pants for running offer flexibility and ease of movement. They might get dirty during the run, but that’s all part of the adventure!

Red Sash

Finally, the last accessory needed to complete my Running of the Bulls attire is the red sash, also known as the faja.

This sash is typically worn tied around the waist, adding a pop of colour to the white ensemble. The red sash not only honours the tradition of the San Fermin Festival, but it also serves a practical purpose – some runners tuck their belongings into the sash while they run.

To truly immerse myself in the spirit of the San Fermin Festival and join the crowd of bull runners, it’s essential to don the traditional attire of a red scarf, white shirt, white pants, and a red sash.

👟 Dressing for Comfort and Safety

Form follows function applies when taking part in the running of the bulls (or encierro). To help other future attendees prepare for this exciting experience during the Festival of San Fermín, I’ve put together some tips on what to wear.


In an event like this, where bulls and steers are running alongside you, having the proper footwear is crucial. So leave the Crocs at home! 

Wear comfortable and supportive sneakers with good grip to help navigate the slippery cobblestone streets. Avoid wearing sandals, flip-flops or any open-toe shoes, as they simply don’t provide enough protection. 

Backpacks and Personal Items

Backpacks can be cumbersome and get in the way of you and other mozos (runners) too. But they aren’t banned. 

In my opinion, a small waist pack or a fanny pack is a more practical option for holding essential items like your phone (don’t take selfies with the bulls, please!) and some cash. 

Leave any bulky or heavy items at the accommodation you book to keep as light and unencumbered as possible.

Avoiding Inappropriate Attire

As a sign of respect for the tradition and the community, it’s important to wear the appropriate attire. 

The majority of participants are dressed in traditional white pants and shirts, with a red bandana and waistband. This costume has a rich history, rooted in the legend of San Fermín and the martyrs of the faith.

Though wearing jeans, soccer jerseys, or neon-coloured clothing might be tempting, avoid doing so as they’re not in line with the traditional attire and may draw unwanted attention. 

Also, consider that the festival can get quite messy, especially with people drinking and throwing sangria everywhere, so be prepared for your clothes to get stained!

Not only does the traditional attire make you feel like a part of this historic event, but it’s also practical. Plus, you can find the required merchandise, such as red bandanas and waistbands, easily around the streets of Pamplona or even purchase them online in advance.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll enjoy the thrill of running with the bulls while staying comfortable, safe, and in harmony with the vibrant atmosphere of the Festival of San Fermín.

And now that you know how to dress up correctly, you can learn how to run with the bulls in Pamplona.

📜 Running of the Bull’s History and Traditions

As someone who first learned about the Running of the Bulls festival as a high school student, I’ve found the history and traditions incredibly fascinating. 

In this section, I’ll discuss the origin of the red scarf, the role of butchers, and the Chupinazo Rocket.

Origin of the Red Scarf

The use of the red scarf in The Running of the Bulls dates back to ancient times. San Fermín, the festival’s namesake, was a martyr in the 3rd century. 

The red scarf is worn in his honour to symbolise his martyrdom. Therefore, wearing one with traditional white attire during the event is essential. Participating without this iconic outfit may result in standing out in the crowd and feeling awkward.

The Role of Butchers

The origin of The Running of the Bulls is deeply rooted in the medieval era when butchers were responsible for corralling the bulls through the streets. 

The white pants and shirt worn during the event are thought to represent the butcher’s apron from that time. Thoughtco suggests the white uniform symbolises respect for the original butchers who managed the bulls.

The Chupinazo Rocket

The Chupinazo Rocket plays a significant role in the festival, marking its official start. This fireworks event takes place in Pamplona’s Old Town and adds excitement to the already thrilling atmosphere. 

It’s such a unique aspect of the celebration, drawing both locals and tourists eager to capture the moment on social media.

In conclusion, the event is full of fascinating history and unique traditions that have withstood the test of time. As a fan of Ernest Hemingway and a lover of culture, I consider the event intriguing and often dangerous, but ultimately a captivating experience.

🙋‍♂️ Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best outfit for Running Of The Bulls?

Traditional attire, including white pants, shirt, red waistband, and pañuelico scarf, is ideal for blending in and enjoying festivities comfortably. Prioritise breathable, lightweight materials and closed-toe running shoes for ease of movement as a participant or spectator.

Do I need a bandana?

A red bandana is a vital component of the traditional Running of the Bulls attire. It symbolises the festivities and provides practical benefits for runners, such as protecting the neck from the sun and dust.

At the event, you can find red bandanas and other traditional attire from nearby shops and vendors. Remember to pack sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.