Lamés are conductive jackets used for fencing electric sabre and foil. They cover the target, which is different for each weapon, and allow the electric scoring box to discriminate between a touch made on or off the target.

·         Lamés wear out with use and transport – there is no way around this depressing fact, though we all try to minimize it.  The twin assaults on a lamé are from abrasion, and as most lamés feel like a scouring pad they can abrade themselves, and corrosion, with fencers being a prime source of salt-laden damp.

·         Normal lamé material has conductive metal threads in both warp and weft of the fabric, giving it the feel of a soft scouring pad at times.  It is often shiny to look at. Rubbing against itself will gradually break these threads causing the electrical resistance to increase until eventually it can’t be used.  Here the care of the lamé and the brand really matter – a good brand, well-maintained, can last five years of use three times a week while other brands, poorly-maintained, will be lucky to see one year through.  There have been extreme cases of lamés failing after only a few months, but this is rare. 

·         Normal lamé material is either stainless steel or not (Europeans often label it “Inox” – Inoxydable, just the French for stainless steel). Don’t get the non-stainless variety.  Leon Paul and Allstar won’t offer you anything else; with other brands make sure you choose the stainless version. Allstar lamés enjoy probably the best reputation for durability, but the normal Leon Paul ones are a close second.

·         Lightweight lamés use a totally different material which is usually some sort of silver-coated or silver-impregnated polyester. It is usually darker grey, smooth to the touch, and looks duller.  Be very wary of these.  Ten years ago these were very poor, having much less life expectancy. Leon Paul improved theirs to the point where they are now competitive with the normal material for durability, but we can really only say this with certainty about Leon Paul ones.  These lamés suffer much less from abrasion, because they are smooth, and so may be more attractive for sabre lamés or foil bibs.

·         Lamés have no safety rating, and are not considered part of safety equipment, so there is no FIE or non-FIE choice here.

·         Care of the lamé is important for longevity, so talk to your coach when you get one to learn how to look after it.