It is made up of split-toed tabi boots ("jika-tabi") and socks; special trousers with double-ties which fasten at the ankles, knees and waist; a jacket with overlapping lapels which is tucked into the trousers; and protective arm-and-hand sleeves. A mask and a hood as seen in movies were not commonly used. An obi belt to indicate the wearer's level of kyu or dan grade may also have been worn. The outfit is made of strong, typically dark fabric, usually cotton, fitted loosely to allow freedom of movement. The jacket may sometimes contain a pocket for hidden weapons.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that the ninjas ever wore "ninja suits" in Japanese feudal times. The black ninja outfit (the shinobi shōzoku) is said to have derived from bunraku (not noh theatre); Bunraku prop handlers would dress in black in order to be less conspicuous to an audience as they moved props around the stage area. Another idea supporting the absence of a ninja outfit and any specific weaponry is that, if seen, they would have been identified as enemies and captured. Thus, historical ninja spies and assassins were far more likely to be disguised as samurai, wandering Shinto priests or Buddhist monks, or peasants by daylight.