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Can you sneak well with heavy armor compared to light or is there no difference?

In Skyrim, does heavy armour provide a penalty to sneaking, and if so, can I remove my armour to sneak better?

  • 5
    I love the title of this question.
    – user13999
    Nov 15, 2011 at 10:15

3 Answers 3


According to UESP:

  • Sneaking now takes into account the combined weight of your armor, instead of just your boots like in Oblivion. You can no longer wear heavy armor and just take off your boots to sneak. It is, however, still possible to just unequip all armor, sneak, then re-equip it later with hotkeys.

  • Heavy Armor and Light Armor both contain perks that reduce the weight of worn armor to zero, meaning you can sneak with no penalty while wearing full heavy armor sets.

So heavy armor does hinder your sneaking, even if you take off the boots, unless you have the Conditioning perk.


Yes and yes.

Alternately, there are perks in the Sneak tree, and the illusion spell 'Muffle' to offset this penalty.

Be advised that, unlike Oblivion, this penalty applies to both Heavy and Light Armor (though it is more severe for heavy), and is applied for every piece of armor worn. Just removing your boots is no longer sufficient.


does heavy armour provide a penalty to sneaking

Yes, but only when you move.

While wearing full dwarven with 30 sneak skill, I have

  1. snuck into glancing range of a bandit (half eye)
  2. pulled back to a pitch black corridor
  3. Remained perfectly still
  4. watched as the bandit searched by me within pick pocket distance

If the bandit bumps into you, he'll raise an alarm, but otherwise, you're hidden!

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