Investing in decent kit is as important, if not more so in the case of a helmet, than spending money on parts for the bike. Having said that, you don't need to go out and buy the top of the range carbon helmet immediately!
There are many entry level options that will do just fine, but a word of caution; there are equally as many helmets on the market styled to look like full-face helmets but aren't constructed in the same way and aren't as sturdy.
A simple check is where are you getting it from? If it's a specialist BMX retailer you're likely to be buying a good quality model from a reputable brand that's fit for purpose.
Brand examples; 661, Fox, Fly, Troy Lee Designs (TLD), Bell, Airoh, 100%, O'Neal
Footwear needs to be sturdy, but the type depends on the pedals you use.
If you're sensible and starting out, you'll be on flat pedals (see our page The Quirky Bits) which will ideally have a flat sole (rather than running shoes)
Brands like Shimano, Vans, DC, Etnies, 510 and Nike are popular for good reason, as they all offer shoes with flat pedals in mind. Shimano and 510 offer specialist compound rubber soles, to make them extra grippy on flats.
You don't need to splash out on new kit straight away. Many clubs have helmets they'll lend out for a session and a long sleeved top with jeans is fine for your first few laps of the track. Once you're ready for race kit, there are lots of companies to choose from and you have the choice of an off-the-peg jersey or a custom made club one to show your allegiance. Gloves are relatively cheap and another compulsory item, all with rider safety in mind.
Check out our page on The Bike for a list (and links) to BMX Race retailers, they'll sort you out with kit too!
BMX Racing is far simpler than other cycling disciplines in terms of kit. With just a few essential items, you're ready to race!
The most important piece of kit for any rider is a good quality helmet. BMX racing is a fast sport with eight riders going all out on technical tracks. Crashes happen. With this in mind, Full-face helmets are compulsory for competition and at many clubs, for training too (to explain; some clubs allow riders to wear open-face helmets, like skatepark helmets, for training - but a helmet of some kind is always required when on track)