Movies & TV Shows

The 5 Most Practical Superhero Uniforms (& 5 Most Impractical)

One of the most recognizable elements of superhero movies has become the costumes characters wear when taking on their missions. The journey for them to develop these uniforms is sometimes a slow one—like Iron Man’s continual work on his suit in his first solo movie—but seeing the memorable outfits brought to life is satisfying to watch.

With film adaptations come changes though, whether because comic book costumes aren’t suited for the time and aesthetic of the MCU, or due to the tone of a movie. Through this process come some great successes, creating practical and memorable uniforms that highlight a character’s actions and powers, but also some misses, leading to impractical costumes that seem unfit for their purpose.


Updated on June 30, 2022 by Stacie Rook: As Disney+ show Ms. Marvel has proven, getting a superhero costume just right takes time. For Kamala Khan, this could be developing a cosplay outfit or her own unique look, but in any case, the MCU’s most practical superhero costumes are at their best when they showcase a hero’s personality and identity. 

Practical Costumes

Captain America’s Stealth Suit

Whether he’s following the rules or rebelling, Captain America has had a variety of star-spangled suits made for use in many heroic situations, including the stealth missions he finds himself taking on as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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Although the colors of this outfit are very muted in comparison to Cap’s normal ensemble, it does the job in terms of fitting the spy-oriented tone of the movie and allowing him to blend into the shadows. In addition to its practicality, the uniform still manages to be on brand for Captain America, with the detailing across the front matching his brighter suits.

Hulk’s Stretchable Pants

The awkward logistics of Bruce Banner’s transformations to the Hulk and back again are made clear in The Avengers, when Bruce crash-lands in a warehouse and finds himself completely naked.

Luckily as one of the smartest characters in the MCU, Bruce is soon able to fix this problem by developing and wearing stretchable pants, able to grow and shrink with his transformations. These provide a far smoother transition for the hero during and after battles, and while they aren’t the iconic bright purple pants he wears in the comics, they do give a similar visual.

Hela’s Headpiece

Cate Blanchett as Hela in Thor Ragnarok

The look of the headpiece which Hela wears in Thor: Ragnarok suggests it is anything but practical, but in actual fact, the goddess uses it to great effect.

Not only does its size and sharp edges provide defense against those attacking her, but it’s also shown to be used offensively, and when Thor manages to sever a section of it, the helmet quickly regenerates.  The MCU villain’s biggest displays of power have dire consequences for Thor and Asgard, and Hela’s smart apparel mimics the threat she poses.

Captain Marvel’s Supersuit

The MCU's Captain Marvel.

Carol Danvers has a super-suit that manages to be both bold and suitable for her high-intensity fights, and is perhaps one of the most comics-accurate costumes in the MCU, taking the hero’s look from page to screen while keeping the style of her red, gold and blue outfit intact.

Captain Marvel’s suit manages to be durable while also remaining distinctive, and provides her with tools to help with her missions, including a collapsible helmet that can allow her to breathe in outer space or underwater, and a device that can identify unfamiliar objects.

The Black Panther Suit

A sleekly designed costume built to last, the vibranium Black Panther suit used by T’Challa provides the hero with a high level of protection.

RELATED: 10 Best Black Panther Comics Characters Not In the MCU

Although there are some elements of the lore around vibranium that make no sense, Black Panther’s uniform remains impressive, with in-built vibranium claws and — after some moderations by Shuri — the ability to not only materialize from T’Challa’s necklace but also redistribute stored energy.

Impractical Costumes

Mysterio’s Motion Capture Outfit

Mysterio in his motion capture suit in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Mysterio’s visage may look intimidating at first, but when it’s revealed that he’s in fact a fraud using motion capture technology to enact his heroics, his Mo-Cap suit leaves a lot to be desired.

In addition to the disappointing reality of this look, it’s also an impractical choice on Mysterio’s part, leaving him with little to no protection once Peter Parker manages to see through his illusions, and ultimately leads to his demise when a rogue drone accidentally shoots him.

Scarlet Witch’s Corset


Scarlet Witch’s MCU costume has had several iterations over the course of her appearances, both in movies and WandaVision, but the ensemble she wears in both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War includes a strange corset top.

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While the silhouette of this piece with the addition of her coat is likely meant to mimic that of her comic book leotard and cape, the corset is a poor choice in terms of ease of movement, and frustratingly seems to have been picked for fashion over function.

Hawkeye’s Sleeveless Apparel

The costume that Hawkeye wears in The Avengers is both underwhelming and impractical. The colorless uniform was bound to be a contrast to his bright comic book ensembles, but this suit also makes little sense.

The lack of sleeves is completely bewildering, exposing his arms to attack and making it unsuitable for many climates. It’s also unnecessary, given that in some of Hawkeye’s hardest-hitting fight scenes he’s shown to be perfectly capable of shooting in a more covered and realistic outfit.

Black Widow’s Zipped Catsuit

Black Widow Iron Man 2 infiltating Hammer

Another costume that sticks close to its comic book origins is Black Widow’s catsuit, a black, form-fitting outfit that allows Natasha to blend into the shadows easily, letting the essential MCU Avenger infiltrate all sorts of top-secret locations.

There is a flaw to the design, though, in that its zip-up front is completely impractical for the amount of acrobatics she uses in her fighting style, providing little security when she’s flipping to-and-fro or otherwise engaging in combat.

Pietro’s Athletic Wear

Given that Pietro’s stint as the speedster Quicksilver was cut short, it does make sense that his outfit was not more developed, but the uniform he chooses to wear during the Battle of Sokovia gives him no protection whatsoever.

Though the athletic look of his costume makes sense given the nature of his abilities, the uniform left Pietro wholly exposed to attack, and led to his untimely death in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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