Skyrim:Light Armor

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This article is about the skill. For the physical equipment, see Light Armor (item).

Skill: Light Armor
Light Armor

Light Armor is the skill governing your ability to fight and move in light armor. Each skill point increases your armor rating from Light Armor by 0.4% (1.5% for NPCs). The Light Armor skill tree has a total of 6 perks, requiring a total of 10 perk points to fill.

In-game Description: Those trained to use Light Armor make more effective use of Hide, Leather, Elven, Scale and Glass armors.

Additional types of light armor that are forgeable: Imperial light armor, chitin armorDB, dragonscale, and Stalhrim light armorDB. There are also a few types of generic, unforgeable, light armor: fur armor, Blackguard's armorDB, Dawnguard armorDG, Forsworn armor, guard armor, Morag Tong armorDB, Skaal armorDB, Stormcloak armor, and vampire armorDG. Also, the artifacts Morokei, Volsung, Krosis, Wooden Mask, and Savior's Hide are classified as light armor. Light shields, including the artifact called the Dawnguard Rune ShieldDG, are not light armor in any meaningful sense - neither this skill's ranks nor perks interact with them.

Skill Perks[edit]

Light Armor Perk Tree
Agile Defender (5 ranks): 0/20/40/60/80 Light Armor. Increase armor rating for Light armor by 20/40/60/80/100%.
Agile Defender
Custom Fit: 30 Light Armor. 25% Armor bonus if wearing all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.
Custom Fit
Matching Set: 70 Light Armor. Additional 25% Armor bonus if wearing a matched set of Light Armor.
Matching Set
Unhindered: 50 Light Armor. Light Armor weighs nothing and doesn't slow you down when worn.
Wind Walker: 60 Light Armor. Stamina regenerates 50% faster in all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.
Wind Walker
Deft Movement: 100 Light Armor. 10% chance of avoiding all damage from a melee attack while wearing all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.
Deft Movement
Light Armor Perk Tree
Perk Rank Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Agile Defender 1 Increase armor rating for Light armor by 20%.[1] 000be123
2 Increase armor rating for Light armor by 40%.[1] 00079376 20 Light Armor
3 Increase armor rating for Light armor by 60%.[1] 00079389 40 Light Armor
4 Increase armor rating for Light armor by 80%.[1] 00079391 60 Light Armor
5 Increase armor rating for Light armor by 100%.[1] 00079392 80 Light Armor
Custom Fit 25% Armor bonus if wearing all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.[2] 00051b1b 30 Light Armor Agile Defender
Matching Set Additional 25% Armor bonus if wearing a matched set[3] of Light Armor. 00051b17 70 Light Armor Custom Fit
Unhindered Light Armor weighs nothing and doesn't slow you down when worn.[1] 00051b1c 50 Light Armor Custom Fit
Wind Walker Stamina regenerates 50% faster in all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.[2] 00105f22 60 Light Armor Unhindered
Deft Movement 10% chance of avoiding all damage from a melee attack while wearing all Light Armor: head, chest, hands, feet.[2][4] 00107831 100 Light Armor Wind Walker or Matching Set
  1. ^ a b c d e f Does not affect shields.
  2. ^ a b c "All/Only Light Armor" does not necessarily need to be a matching set. For example, some pieces might be Elven and others might be Glass. In addition, the shield can be Heavy without removing the effect.
  3. ^ A Set is Matching if the four pieces of worn armor (armor, helmet, gloves, boots) share the same material. Shields of all types match all armor.
  4. ^ This also works on ranged attacks.[verification needed]

Comparison to Heavy Armor[edit]


  • Once you reach the armor cap, light armor is a much better choice due to its lighter weight.
    • The lighter weight allows for the carrying of multiple suits of armor, each fine-tuned for specific enemies and situations, without drastically taking up encumbrance (6 full sets of elven armor weigh slightly more than 1 full set of steel armor).
  • Lighter and less movement penalty.
  • Less noisy, making sneaking easier.
  • The Unhindered perk (worn light armor is weightless) is available 20 levels earlier than Heavy Armor's Conditioning, and doesn't require taking two highly situational perks to unlock.
  • Consumes less stamina when sprinting.
  • Stamina recovers faster with the Wind Walker perk, which is very beneficial for dps focused characters.
  • Can be faster than the enemy, allowing you to run away from a battle or pursue a fleeing enemy for longer.
  • Deft Movement has a 1-in-10 chance to completely negate melee damage, which can make the difference in difficult fights at higher levels and/or difficulty settings.


  • Much less protective in the early game, which in certain situations can be a fatal flaw. However, as your skill level rises in light but not heavy, light armor will surpass heavy armor in defensive rating. Eventually light armor will also reach the armor cap.
    • This can be exacerbated if you wear heavy armor early on and use the Warrior Stone to increase your One-handed or Two-handed skills, as Light Armor is not affected. You can use the Thief Stone to level your Light Armor and Archery at the same time, or you can find and use the Lover Stone to increase all skills at a slightly lesser rate.
      • Light Armor being "much less protective in the early game" is widely misunderstood. The misunderstanding comes from the fact that the displayed Armor Rating (AR) is not the actual AR used by the game engine. Light Armor pieces have lower displayed AR in the game, compared to Heavy Armor pieces of the same/similar type, grade and quality. However, for every piece of armor worn, the game engine hiddenly adds 25 to the displayed AR. If all armor slots have been filled with something categorized as armor (as opposed to clothing or something else), the game engine hiddenly adds a total of 125 to the total of the displayed AR. Solely by in-game numbers, a full set of Leather Armor (base AR = 52, no shield) does appear to be "much less protective" than a full set of Steel Armor (base AR = 72, without a shield). However, with up to 125 hiddenly added to their displayed AR, the difference in "protectiveness" of Leather Armor vs Steel Armor (152 vs 172, without a shield) is obviously much smaller than one would most likely have been tricked into believing.
      • The relevance of Light Armor being "(much) less protective in the early armor" is subject to game difficulty settings. It matters if and only if the extra protection of Heavy Armor, as opposed to Light Armor, is good enough to let a character noticeably survive some extra hits. On lowest (Novice) difficulty, wearing Heavy Armor (such as a full set of Steel Armor in the early game) as opposed to Light Armor (such as a full set of Leather Armor in the early game) may make an already durable (due to the Novice setting) new character more durable against physical attacks. On highest (Legendary) difficulty, Light Armor is no less protective than Heavy Armor, even for a new character in the early game, in any noticeable meaningful way.
  • Unarmed attacks are less powerful without Fists of Steel, though heavy investment in Fortify Unarmed enchantments can still make it a viable choice.

Skill Increases[edit]

Character Creation[edit]

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Light Armor:


Skill Books[edit]

Free Skill Boosts[edit]

Gaining Skill XP[edit]

  • Armor skill increases are based on incoming damage, i.e. tougher enemies advance your armor skill faster.
  • Regenerate Health potions and enchantments can heal you while leveling armor skills, potentially allowing you to leave the game unattended. This can also be accomplished with natural health regeneration during brawling sessions with NPCs or fighting very weak enemies like skeevers, though skill gains will be very slow.
  • Healing while getting bashed is a good way to level the Restoration skill at the same time.
  • The Block skill can be easily leveled at the same time as Armor skills.


  • Some guards will say "Lightly armored means light on your feet. Smart." This actually refers to your skill level, not what you are currently wearing.
  • Before patch 1.3.10, armor rating for werewolves was affected by the Light Armor skill and had been increased by the Agile Defender perk.
  • Fur Boots and Fur Gauntlets count as Stormcloak/guard equipment, and therefore do not give the Matching Set bonus if worn with other fur equipment.


  • With the Unhindered perk, when you carry more weight than you could without the perk, and you save a game, upon loading from inside the game, you will be over-encumbered (as if you didn't have the perk) until you open your inventory. This typically occurs only after an event, such as your death, removing all of your active effects. If you die and then quickload, you may become affected by this bug until you relaunch the game.
  • The Unhindered perk is intended to reduce only the weight of light armor that is actually being worn (equipped). However, as of patch version 1.4, Unhindered also reduces the weight of any piece of armor in your inventory that is the same base item as any piece being worn. For example, if you have 10 glass armors in your inventory, equipping one of them will make all of them weightless. This remains true even if the worn armor is enhanced by Smithing, enchanted, and renamed.
  • Even though Deft Movement claims to only work against melee attacks, it has the same chance to ignore damage from arrows, too. ?
  • Deft Movement's chance to activate is actually 11%.
  • Armor types introduced in Dragonborn incorrectly get only a 20% bonus from Matching Set instead of the expected 25%.