Bursting onto the scene of any crime or mishap within Central City faster than the speed of light is, of course, everyone’s favorite scarlet speedster, The Flash... or at least one of them. Ever since his first appearance in Showcase #4 by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, Barry Allen and his Flash family have been zooming about the DC Universe, saving the day, changing timelines, and essentially throwing around the dice that represent the fate of the DC Universe.
With his iconic speed, every iteration of the Flash also sports an iconic look. While the current costume most audiences know the Flash for wasn’t the first to be worn by a speedster who goes by “The Flash”, it’s certainly the most loved. From the yellow boots to the red cowl, here are ten things you never knew about the Flash’s costume.
10 The Flash’s Ring
The Flash's ring has been an on-off part of the costume ever since his first appearance in Showcase #4. Appearing as a gold ring with a flash lightning bolt on the front, Barry Allen and the other Flashes use the ring to easily get in and out of their Flash costume whenever a physical suit was being used.
Always containing a compressed suit, all Flash would need to do is press a tiny button on the side of the ring, releasing the suit, and allowing for Barry to quickly get in and out of his costume.
9 Coated In Chemicals
Running around with his Scarlet PJs on all the time, it's easy to forget that besides being a member of the Justice League, Barry Allen is also a Forensic Scientist. Having to know his way around a crime scene, The Flash is no stranger to certain chemicals and their uses. He used that to his advantage when making his Flash Suit.
With a special concoction of chemicals, Barry was able to make his suit shrink and compress enough to fit into one of his suit rings. These chemicals also helped with fire retardation, prevention the suit from catching due to the friction Barry caused within the suit as his body ran. There's nothing a good chemist can't do when he puts his mind to it, although, it does help that this chemist can think faster than the speed of light.
8 New 52’s Suit Was Made From Metal Plates
In the New 52’s The Flash #0, it's showcased what Barry Allen made his suit out of after his accident that gave him his powers. First attempting spandex, he quickly found out how fast this burned and broke. Settling for an armor of sorts, Barry used metal plates that he could magnetically adhere to his body using the speed force, even able to fit them into his famous Flash ring. These metal plates explain why he had all these seams in his suit and made for a cool effect with the speed force, but what's everyone else's excuse?
7 Woven From The Speed Force
Wally West was the 3rd speedster to take on the name The Flash, and arguably is one of the best. First starting out as Kid Flash, being Barry's sidekick. Eventually, when Barry died in the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Wally took over the role of Flash and was the main Flash for over 20 years, until Barry's return in Flash: Rebirth.
In that 20 year span, Wally had mastered some abilities of the speed force that Barry hadn't even dreamt of. One of these new abilities allowed Wally to create a suit using only the speed force. No cloth, no metal, no nothing. Just speed force energy. There's a lot of mystery still with how exactly the speed force works, and new abilities are being introduced still to this day.
6 Wing Ears Aren't Just For Show
The little Hermes wings that the Flash sports have been a crucial design point that was a part of the first flash suit with Jay Garrick and continues on to this day. You can't have the Flash without those wings. However, what most don't know is that those wings aren't just for show.
Some might think that they're for aerodynamics or they help Barry channel the speed force, but nope. They are actually earpieces that Barry used to help himself hear over the wind and speed force.
5 Future Suit
With his ability to time travel, Barry Allen and all the Speedsters of the DCU have had their run-ins with future versions of themselves. Sometimes these meetings are good but most times, they end up going horribly. Such is the case with the Barry Allen of the future in the New 52.
This Barry Allen had lost Wally West and was not happy about this fact. So he went back in time and started killing all of his old Rogues, as you do. This Barry was cold and ruthless, but did sport some awesome tech. His suit included an AI which he would use during time travel to keep up with what he's doing and the suit even had the ability to track distortions in time.
4 Jay Garrick Inspired Barry's Suit
If there's an unsung hero in the world of the Flash, it would have to be Jay Garrick, the original Flash. This is the Speedster who started it all, yet is not the most popular Speedster. That title belongs to the second Flash, Barry Allen. While originally, these two came from separate Earths, Barry drew great inspiration from Jay to influence who he would become, even down to his suit.
While Barry Allen resided on what was referred to as Earth 1, Jay Garrick came from Earth 2. On Earth 1, the adventures of Earth 2’s heroes were sold as comic books, thought to be nothing more than pure fiction. Barry grew up reading these comics, and eventually when he was struck by lightning that famed night, he based his suit design off of Jay's... kinda. Barry definitely took some liberties, but it definitely felt in spirit with what Jay wore to fight crime. Eventually, when Earth 1 and 2 merged, these two would go on to become great friends, with Jay acting as a mentor to Barry.
3 Boots Made From Fireproof Jackets
The Flash is so fast that when he attempts to run and stop, most normal sneakers would just burn up. This, obviously, was a big problem that Barry had to face, because running and shoes go together pretty well. However, the answer to this was shown in the recent The Flash #70, dubbed Flash: Year One.
In this comic, the origin of Barry Allen is recapped and updated. In the issue, he's shown burning up and destroying countless pairs of sneakers when attempting to run. Eventually, he decides the best way to combat this is to make boots out of fireproof jackets. The future boots of the Flash weren't also made from firefighter jackets, but it can be assumed they were made out of similar material.
2 The Color Of The Lightning
In the DC Universe, there are a lot of Speedsters. With this many Speedsters, surely there needs to be a way to rank them, at least in their speed. Luckily, the DC Universe thought of this and there is a way. The color of a Speedster's lightning generated through the speed force determines how fast they can go.
This coincides with the suits of these Speedsters because sometimes, even the color of a suit would change to fit with this new speed. The in-universe explanation is that the speed force itself changed the suit because of how fast they're going. The editorial reason is that they wanted the colors to look nice. Either way, these suit changes act as almost a color graph, which makes for ranking Speedsters on speed a breeze.
1 The Suit Isn't Friction Proof
On The CW's hit show, The Flash, it's often pointed out that the Flash's suit is made out of a friction-less material that allows him to run without burning up the suit in the process. This may sound pretty reasonable however, this isn't the case in the comics. The CW's Flash lacks certain abilities that Comic Barry uses to his advantage.
In the comics, Barry Allen uses the speed force to create an aura around him that acts as a shield between him and friction. This prevents his clothing from bursting into flame and killing him as a result. This aura also extends to anyone or anything he carries, which explains why Iris West hasn't gotten whiplash yet. If only Barry Allen had attempted to catch Gwen Stacy.