Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Superhero Costumes That Have Serious Real World Flaws

There's a classic scene in Pixar's animated hit The Incredibles where fashion designer Edna Mode refuses to add a cape to her latest design, because while they look cool, capes just lead to injury and death. Yet in the world of superheroes, all too often characters get stuck with costume designs that might look awesome, but are totally impractical. Looking good is nice, but not dying is also pretty important for our heroic sentinels of justice. These heroes sacrificed safety for theatrics by wearing costumes with some serious real world design flaws.

Dazzler's roller skates

It's hard to believe now, but roller skating was once such a huge fad that Marvel Comics decided to create a roller skating-themed superhero. Dazzler was a mutant who could absorb sound waves and convert them into light, which she would then refract off her disco ball necklace to blind bad guys. She also powered herself by singing pop songs loudly as she fought. Her original costume is a little too '70s for our tastes, but the roller skates just make it seem like she's not serious at all when it comes to fighting crime. Nothing beats losing the bad guys just because they ran down a street laced with gravel or cobblestones.

Superman's pants

For three-quarters of a century, Superman has provided the template for all superhero costumes that have followed. Well, until now, that is. A couple of years ago, DC decided to modernize Superman by taking him out of his iconic red and blue undies and instead putting him in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and some boots—which is nice if he was working construction. As rugged as your Levi's may be, they aren't exactly going to stand up to the strain of fighting Doomsday or flying through the sun. Hopefully the citizens of Metropolis don't mind a glimpse of Lil' Krypton, because one real tussle and Superman is going to be flying around town buck naked.

Rocketeer's jetpack

The Rocketeer has a sleek, simple design to go with his sleek, simple powers. He wears a jetpack and uses it to fly around while fighting crime—mostly airborne crime, of course. It's cool. Well, except for the fact that strapping a rocket to your back is a surefire way to completely incinerate your legs in about three seconds flat. Sure, there are real world jetpacks that don't light your butt up like a Roman candle, but the Rocketeer does not appear to have one of those. Just look at it. The guy is setting himself on fire! This is exactly what doomed Hindenburg Man, too.

Penance's spikes

There are so many things wrong with Penance's costume it's hard to know where to start. For instance, there's no possible way he could see out of that mask he's wearing, so that's going to make crime-fighting a bit awkward. Even worse, the inside of his suit is covered with dozens of sharp spikes, like an iron maiden. Given that his superpower is not extreme coagulation or accelerated healing, chances are he'd bleed to death before he even got out the door. There's emo, and then there's just taking emo a little too far.

Hangman's noose

The Hangman has a fantastically scary design. He's a guy in a hangman's hood, carrying a noose and wearing a noose around his neck. Terrifying! Or, terrifying right up until the moment a villain grabs that rope around his neck and hangs him with his own fashion accessory. Seriously, guys, spend at least one hot second thinking about your costume before putting it on!

Red Sonja's "armor"

Okay, so technically Red Sonja isn't really a "superhero," but she's essentially the fantasy version of one—an unstoppable warrior who seeks out evil and protects the innocent. Given that Red Sonja regularly faces off against wizards, demons, and entire armies of bloodthirsty killers, you'd think she'd want some armor that actually protects her. Instead, she's gone completely the other way, wearing a ridiculous chainmail bikini that offers very little protection and undoubtedly poses serious chafing and frostbite hazards as well. This is another case of the artist thinking with his pencil instead of his brain.

Hawkman's mask

Hawkman is another classic example of putting fashion over function. He has undeniably one of the coolest looking masks in comics, but, well, there's no peripheral vision. In fact, there's almost no vision at all with this thing. Look at those giant wings on top of the helmet. If he turns around too quickly, he could easily poke Aquaman's eye out, not to mention stab himself right through the heart with his own downward-facing pinions. And how aerodynamic could he really be with a costume this top heavy? This is just another tragic accident waiting to happen. Looks neat, though.

Wonder Woman's high heels

There's an old saying about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: he was great, but she had to do everything he did, only backwards and in heels. Well, Wonder Woman apparently took this a little too much to heart when she decided on some of the most impractical footwear a crime-fighter could possibly use. Oh, sure, she's proven she can do everything Superman and Batman can do. But it's going to be pretty embarrassing when Dr. Cyber destroys the U.N. because Wonder Woman accidentally broke her ankle stepping in a pothole on the way to the battle. How about some sensible shoes next time?

Catwoman's tail

Finally, there's Catwoman and her silly costume tail that can get caught on anything. Sure, she goes back and forth between being a hero and a villain sometimes, but that doesn't excuse her from occasionally having a useless tail attached to her outfit. For actual cats, tails serve all sorts of useful functions, which you no doubt know from watching cat videos on YouTube all day long. But for Catwoman, her tail doesn't help her keep her balance or anything like that. It's just a cool thematic cosplay touch to go with her weird cat obsession. It's also a really easy way for someone—like, say, Batman or Killer Croc—to grab her. Making yourself significantly easier to be captured is probably a bad idea for a professional thief, especially a cat burglar.