This is by far the most common question about paintball and the "pain" part of paintball can be a little intimidating. Won't lie. The answer is that paintball CAN hurt but the more informed you are about what makes it hurt can help make it hurt a LOT less. There are a few things you can do to ensure that worrying about what it will feel like won’t take away from the experience - paintball IS after all one of those Bucket List things that you just have to try at least once!
What you wear and where you play are the two biggest factors involved in the ouch factor. Yeah, it may be 80 degrees in the middle of July but shorts and a tank top are not really how you want to do this! Layers are key - the more the better and if it's just too hot - at least make sure there is no bare skin to speak of. A long sleeve t-shirt and some sweatpants will be well worth the effort. And ladies, Yoga pants? We would leave them in the car for the ride home and opt for loose, baggy pants. Bring thin gloves if you have them, a beanie or a baseball hat flipped backwards helps too. Sneakers or boots will work - opened toe shoes are a definite NO!
Now where you play and why it matters.
There are a LOT of woods and abandoned properties out there and they are usually just begging for someone to bust out a paintball game - awesome! But, this experience can easily give first time players a not so great impression of the game and here's why. Paintball playing fields NEED you to have a good experience, one that may make you want to come back. To ensure this they make sure the guns used on their fields are operating within safe operating guidelines. Paintball guns shoot in Feet Per Second (FPS) and it is how we measure velocity. Safe velocity is between 220 and 280 FPS. Paintball goggles are rated to withstand 300FPS and paintballs themselves are made to shoot optimally between the same ranges. There is never a reason for a paintball gun to be shooting higher than 300FPS - but it can happen. Paintball fields have the necessary equipment to test this - and do often. Trust them!
The more you know - the better your paintball experience can be! If you have questions - call the field and ask them - they will be more than happy to help you feel confident that paintball is more fun than ouch!