Hip fractures may be prevented by the use of external hip protectors, but compliance is often poor. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the determinants of compliance with hip protectors by systematically reviewing the literature. A literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library. Primary acceptance with hip protectors ranged from 37% to 72% (median 68%); compliance varied between 20% and 92% (median 56%). However, in most studies it was not very clear how compliance was defined (e.g., average wearing time on active days and during waking hours, number of user-days per all available follow-up days, percentage falls with hip protector) and how it was measured. To provide more insight in the compliance percentages, the different methods of defining and measuring compliance were presented for the selected studies, when provided. Because of the heterogeneity in study design of the selected studies and the lack of quantitative data in most studies, results regarding the determinants of compliance could not be statistically pooled. Instead a qualitative summary of the determinants of compliance was given. The reasons most frequently mentioned for not wearing hip protectors, were: not being comfortable (too tight/poor fit); the extra effort (and time) needed to wear the device; urinary incontinence; and physical difficulties/illnesses. In conclusion, compliance is a very complex, but important issue in hip protector research and implementation. Based on the experiences of elderly people who wear the hip protectors, adjustments should be made to the protector and the underwear, while maintaining the force attenuation capacity. Furthermore, methods to improve the compliance should be developed, and their effectiveness tested.