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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 PerksEdit

Agile Defender
Custom Fit
Matching Set
Wind Walker
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 ArmorEdit


  • Lighter weight and less movement penalty.
  • Less noisy, making sneaking easier.
  • 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).
  • Once you reach the armor cap, light armor is arguably a better choice due to its lighter weight and fewer perk investments needed to unlock the more impactful perks.
  • 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. However, due to the lower weight of light armors, it is also less powerful.
  • 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, and makes light armor the most protective option at maximum armor rating.


  • Less protective in the early game, which in certain situations can be a fatal flaw.
    • 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.
  • Unintuitively, Light Armor's agility, speed, and lower protective value can lead to slower skill progression. Light Armor players tend to take fewer hits, which means less XP is acquired. Player damage, however, will continue to improve similarly to that of a heavy armor player, meaning enemies will die faster, further reducing damage taken and total skill experience. This can trigger a domino effect where players have too little durability to take damage, preventing them from gaining further XP, and stalemating their skill progression.
  • It can be harder to reach the armor cap with light armor. While a Heavy Armor user can reach it relatively easily with a combination of perks and smithing, light armor will require a more substantial investment into either enchanting or the smithing tree to achieve the same results.
    • For comparison, a Heavy Armor player with Daedric armor can reach the armor cap with a fortified skill level of 148, while a Light Armor player requires a much more substantial fortified skill level of 297. These requirements are substantially lower after smithing is taken into account, but even so, achieving the armor cap with light armor will remain significantly more difficult.
  • Unarmed attacks are less powerful without Fists of Steel, though heavy investment in Fortify Unarmed enchantments can still make it a viable choice, albeit never as powerful as an equivalent Heavy Armor alternative.
  • Light armor lacks the Tower of Strength perk or an equivalent, meaning players will be staggered more easily, and will be ragdolled more frequently by Draugr's Unrelenting Force shout.
  • Most Light armor shields are less useful at blocking power attacks than Heavy armor shields.

Skill IncreasesEdit

Character CreationEdit

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


Skill BooksEdit

Free Skill BoostsEdit

Gaining Skill XPEdit

  • Armor skill increases are based on incoming damage, i.e. tougher enemies advance your armor skill faster.
  • Methods that improve armor rating, such as Smithing, skill enchantments, spells, potions or shouts, have no adverse effect on the XP gained. For example, a character with an armor rating of 400 will receive the same XP as a character with an armor rating of 100 for the same enemy strike.
  • The number of light armor items simultaneously worn by the player does increase XP gained. For example, receiving damage while wearing four pieces of light armor will result in more XP than wearing three pieces.
  • 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.
  • The Matching Set perk's bonus is not applicable to Fur armor.


  • 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%.