The Best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi isn’t just a uniform or a suit. These attires create a sense of serenity and calmness in your mind thereby allowing you to focus on the aspect of here and now which is vital in martial arts.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when choosing the best gi for Jiu Jitsu including the material, type of weave, size, cut, collar, and your gym rules – Believe us, even a minuscule error here could cost you a lot in money spent and more so in your overall performance. We’ll talk more about these later. As at this time, here are a few great picks that we consider to be the best BJJ gi of 2018.
A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi (pronounced gee) is more often than not referred to as a kimono. While the 2 names- gi and Kimono- literally mean a cloth, the gi is used to refer to a martial arts uniform. The gi was developed and introduced to Jujitsu by Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo in the 20th century.
One question that most people ask is, ‘’why is it important to wear a gi in BJJ?’’ Originally, Jigoro Kano simply wanted a uniform for his judo students, but the attires were also intended to bring out the style and pride of martial arts- a role that they still play to date.
Other than that, a Jiu Jitsu gi is a specially crafted uniform that is designed to withstand all the abuse that comes from grappling, pinning, throwing, choking and mat burns. In addition, just putting on a gi literally shifts your mind from the current fast-paced world to a relaxed environment where you can learn the skill maneuvers that only a mentally clear mind can grasp.
But above all else, donning a clean and neat Jiu Jitsu gi helps the practitioners to retain the integrity of the art besides motivating them to remain true to its culture.
7 Best BJJ GI to Buy in 2018
While we scoured hard to bring the best of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi in the market, there is always that particular item that tends to have the upper hand. And the Sanabul Essentials V.2 is the leader here.
A price you can’t beat!
One thing that most previous buyers are yet to believe about this gi is the price that it comes at. As you’ll find out later in these reviews, most gis that offer similar qualities come at almost double its price tag. But does that mean a cheaper construction? We don’t think so.
Quality construction in ultra-lightweight design
This gi is crafted from a single weave fabric that makes it super lightweight and breathable for rolling. While the terms single weave and durability are never used in the same sentence, this is an exception. Its seemingly thicker material should withstand a good amount of abuse in lightweight training.
Mind you, the V.2 is a revamped version of the V.1- a gi that was plagued with too much shrinking. The good news with the latest release is that it comes preshrunk. This means that you won’t have trouble washing it in cold water (not hot water).
Note that Sanabul gis come a size larger compared to other brands. Thus, you’ll need to go one size down. The reviews section also has invaluable info regarding size.
Overall, the Sanabul V.2 will make a great pick for anyone looking for the best lightweight BJJ gi. This is an affordable single-weave gi with a slightly thicker design that allows it to withstand pulling and mat-rolling. Of course, it won’t last you forever. But its level of comfort, breathability, and its nicely cut athletic design make it an irresistible choice, especially for the price.
Our next recommendation here is a gi that we’d really advise you to consider if you want a strong kimono that won’t rip with the slightest pull but then again, one that won’t cost you the earth.
It’s a gold weave
One thing that gives the Hayabusa Goorudo an edge in terms of durability is the gold weave that it has been engineered from. The jacket is a 550-GSM (grams per square meter) while the pants are made from 12oz twill cotton blend.
Basically, gold weave offers the best worlds of single weave and double weave. Precisely, it is as light as a single weave but has the durability of a double weave (the latter is usually heavy). These features mean that the Hayabusa Goorudo won’t feel like a sauna and yet it will resist tagging and pulling for a long time.
The Hayabusa 3.0 is available in 3 different colors; black, blue, and white to fit your style. Most previous buyers are also thrilled by the patches and embroidery on the legs, back, shoulders, chest, and lapel. It also has the kanji to create the feel of strength, pride, respect, and courage.
Designed with 100% compliance to the IBJJF regulations, the Hayabusa 3.0 is likely to impress anyone looking for the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi for competitions in 2018. We really like its overall design especially the gold weave and the reinforced lapel and stress areas. However, while the manufacturer says that this gi comes pre-shrunk, note that it tends to shrink by 1-2 inches after washing. That being said, it’s advisable that you go a size higher.
Our next pick here comes from a Japanese company that you’ve probably heard of before; Fuji. The Fuji Summerweight BJJ uniform is a gi that we’ve always recommended to fighters who want a sturdy kimono that will offer not only a good fit and comfort, but an advantage over their opponents too.
Pearl weave uniforms are currently being considered as the best BJJ gi and might remain so for quite some time. And the reason is simple- this weave takes all the goodness of gold weave and makes it even better.
To be precise, a pearl weave gi is a hybrid between gold and single weaves. This means that the gi feels incredibly light to allow easy and fast escapes when in bad positions, yet sturdy enough to take a beating for some time.
Excellent Stitching and Reinforcements
To add onto the already impressive weave, Fuji then goes ahead to give the major stress points an ample reinforcement to boost durability. The stitching is also superbly done and we expect it to resist ripping and fraying for quite some time.
Most importantly, the pants are ‘rip stop’ in that, unlike regular light pants, a small hole or tear on won’t extend all over to destroy the entire pants.
Another feature that makes Summerweight the best BJJ gi for the money is its stiff rubber collar. Needless to mention, the rubber used here is a bane of your opponents’ choking techniques in that it is hard to grip and retain a secure hold due to the fear of scraped fingers.
The Fuji Summerweight has a lot to offer for Jiu Jitsu practitioners who are looking for a good bang for their bucks. The pearl weave used for it makes it lightweight, soft, and flexible thereby allowing you to train harder with minimal restrictions. We also appreciate that all its stress points have several layers of reinforcement that again add to its durability. Even better, it comes preshrunk and most people affirm that the size fits just fine.
Plain and simple, this is a gi that you won’t go wrong with more so if you are hunting for the best cheap BJJ gi. Your Jiu Jitsu (the manufacturer) takes pride in profiting less so you can benefit more and this gi says it all.
Before going into the specifics, it’s worth noting that this uniform does come with a free belt regardless of the size and color that you go with. And we think that makes it a much better deal if you are dealing with a tight budget.
Available in different colors
Your Jiu Jitsu gi is available in several color options including black, blue, white, grey, navy, white, and pink. This brand opts to leave the uniform entirely blank to suit people who love a subdued style and also to allow you to customize it with your BJJ academies patches.
At its price, one may not expect much in terms of quality and durability, but you’ll be darn wrong to think that this is another run-of-the-mill gi. This uniform’s weight itself is a reliable telltale of the quality. While it’s not as thick as the Elite Sports below, you’ll find it quite reliable for casual training.
This Brazil Jiu Jitsu kimono also has a sturdy seam work to enhance its overall quality. Yes, the collar is also rubberized and should, therefore, give you an added advantage on the mat.
Your Jiu Jitsu has about all the basic features that starters and intermediate practitioners would want to see in their first or second gi. It is light enough not to allow a good airflow and quick drying and yet has a good thickness to resist ripping. If you are just starting off in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and you’d want at least 2 uniforms to take you throughout the week, we can confidently recommend this gi.
Located in Shenzhen, China, Elite Sports is a brand that won’t make an appearance in most topics of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi brands. However, this manufacturer has really hit a homerun with its Elite Sports IBJJF gi, and it’s currently one of the most popular kimonos out there.
So, what makes it worth your money?
Great design for a modern practitioner
The first thing that is bound to catch your eyes here is the impressive design that this manufacturer uses for this gi. This uniform comes in a couple of colors; white, pink, black, navy, grey, and blue to fit most practitioners style.
If you’ve always desired to own a couple of gis in different colors and without hurting your wallet, this might be a dream come true.
Top notch construction
A gi’s durability is only as good as the material used for it. The type of weave plus the stitches also matter a big deal. And Elite Sports understands this better.
This is a 400-GSM pure cotton Jiu Jitsu gi featuring a cut from a pearl weave fabric. This fabric makes it considerably lightweight and a good bet especially if you are worried about the scale.
But the good thing is that the pearl weave does not compromise durability for lightweight. Speaking of durability, the Elite Sports has some of the best stitches that we came across when creating these reviews of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi.
Furthermore, this gi is cut to perfection. This means that if you follow the sizing chart offered, getting a uniform that works for you won’t be an issue.
Elite Sports has engineered a solid gi here. From the carefully cut sizes to the very last stitch, this is surely one of the best durable Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi that you can find at this price point. Couple this with the amazing color options available and the free belt that it comes with and this gi will be your all-time favorite uniform.
Hayabusa has got you covered in terms of options. If you are a fan of their gis but you think that our previous model, the Goorudo, is somewhat heavier, our second option here might save the day if you really want to control weight seriously.
Unlike the Goorudo that we saw earlier on, this kimono features a 420-GSM pearl weave jacket and a pair of pants that clocks in at 8 oz. These pants again sport a blend of cotton and polyester that have been woven to stop rips and reinforced around the stress areas including the knees.
This construction design makes it a little bit more subtle than the previous model besides giving it a lightweight yet durable feel.
Great for training and competition
While being honored as a comfortable and durable uniform, the Hayabusa Lightweight again boasts of being IBJJF certified. And this means that you can use it both for training, and roll in it when competing.
In addition to its already convincing features, 82% of its current users affirm that it fits true to size and does not shrink as other models do.
We’d still recommend this kimono even if it was sold at 3 times its current price, and there are a lot of great things that we could talk about it. First and foremost, we like the cotton-polyester blend that Hayabusa uses for the pants and the reinforcement used in the areas of stress. The construction design used for the jacket is also super impressive and makes it a reliable choice for practitioners at all levels from white belt to black belt.
Elite Sports makes a second appearance in this list with one of their best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi for kids. This kimono is a replica of the previous gi that we saw earlier from the same brand only that it has been cut precisely for budding Jiu Jitsu artists between 5 and 15 years.
Great colors for all sizes
Similar to the adults’ kimonos, the Elite Sports Gi for kids is available in about all the great colors that we like for our gis; blue, black, purple, pink, grey, and white. This means that your kids can get just the right color to match either your gi or that of their role models.
In terms of size, this kimono is available in a range of sizes ranging from C00 to C3. If you are wondering how to get the right size for a kid’s gi, Elite Sport has a simple chart to guide you. Touching further on the issue of sizing, close to 90% of previous buyers report that the gi fits perfectly for their children.
Like most of its best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi, Elite Sports did not compromise on the quality of the materials used for this uniform neither the stitches.
For the record, the jacket is made from a 400 gsm pearl weave fabric that has already been preshrunk to ensure that it offers a perfect fit even after washing. On the other hand, the drawstring and elastic pants are crafted from a 40-gsm fabric featuring the old but still highly reputable ripstop weave design.
As if that’s not enough, this manufacturer goes ahead to use contrasting stitches in seams and all the stress areas to give you a gi that your kid will grow up with.
Anyone looking for the best BJJ GI for kids for training and competition is better off with this Elite Sports kimono. Similar to the adults’ pick, this kids’ uniform has an unbeatable construction that consists of top-notch weaves and stitches for comfort and durability. It comes in an array of kid-friendly colors and can be used for both training and competition thanks to its IBJJF certification.
HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST BJJ GI
Falling for the wrong gi isn’t uncommon especially if you can’t tell how the material used for the gi and the type of weave affect its comfort, durability, and your performance. Mind you, these 2 areas (material and weave) are the most challenging and we really recommend you to get them right first even before thinking about other factors such as size, color, and budget.
Cotton has for long been the king and a favorite among most practitioners until hemp came knocking. Hemp is a fabric obtained from industrial hemp or cannabis sativa fiber. While both cotton and hemp are strong, sweat-wicking, and breathable, the best hemp gis are said to be 3 times stronger than their cotton alternatives and also the most durable. But they are also the most expensive and are, therefore, considered a thing for the advanced fighters in blue and black belts.
We find no problem with cotton gis though, in fact, we are big fans of how easy they are to dry and their affordability. If you are shopping for your first gi and don’t have a big budget, cotton will most probably suit you.
Type of weave
Whether you decide to go with cotton or hemp, the next big step will be to choose the type of weave. For those who might not be familiar with this term, weave simply refers to how the cotton or hemp threads have been interlaced to form that particular fabric.
There are different types of weaves that are used for BJJ gis and each affects price, durability, and weight differently.
Here are the most common:
This weave is the least expensive. Its gis are also relatively lightweight. So, you might want to consider it if affordability is your major concern. On the same note, its lightweight nature makes it a recommendable option for martial art practitioners in hot areas.
Unfortunately, this weave’s lightweight design is its con too. First and foremost, single weave tends to stretch easily thereby becoming baggy. Besides looking awkward, it also becomes easier for your opponent to have a grip and hold onto it.
A double weave is simply 2 single weaves. This weave design eliminates the problem of stretching that is commonplace with a single weave. It also makes thicker gis that will pose a challenge when your opponent tries to play spider guard against you. However, while double weave gis tend to be quite durable, their thickness also makes them heavy and could inhibit your movements easily.
Gold is slightly expensive but it’s not difficult to see why. This weave brings you the best of single weave and double weave. Precisely, it offers you the durability of double weave but with the lightness of single weaves. Gold does not come cheap and it’s mainly used for Olympic judo gis.
This is the newest weave in town and looks like small bumps or tiny pearls. It is slowly unseating the gold weave to become the most popular. Pearl is a hybrid between gold and single weave. This means that it makes strong, durable, and soft Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis with the lightweight feel of a single weave. It’s slightly pricier than the single weave but way less expensive than gold. Mind you, pearl gis are currently the lightest gis that are allowed for competition.
Other types of weaves
The weaves that we’ve just seen above make the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis for training and competitions and we’d really recommend you to consider one of them. All in all, knowledge of other types of weaves out there might give you a deeper understanding of what to avoid.
This type of weave derives its name from the fact that it is designed to stop a rip or tear from spreading through the material. Ripstop is the thinnest and the lightest of all weaves. However, it has a tight design that makes it barely breathable. That being said, it is highly preferred for summer training situations. It also comes in handy in competitions when you are at the upper end of a weight division. Importantly, most Ripstop Gis are not entirely IBJJF legal. So, if you are considering it for a competition, enquire whether it is IBJJF legal beforehand.
This weave was popular in early 2000s and paved way for ripstop gis but some stores still carry them today. Cotton drill is mostly used for karate and gi pants and it’s relatively cheap. Its major drawback is that a single fray or hole means the end of it since it extends all over thereby ruining the pants.
With the type of material and weave in mind, the next step would be to be to identify the right size for your needs. BJJ Gis come in different sizes ranging from A0 to A6. Letter ‘’A’’ stands for Adult while the number denotes different sizes. For female fighters, it’s important that you consider gis that are tagged F rather than A. Such gis are measured and cut with the female structure in mind and will, therefore, offer a better fit.
This is something that most people tend to ignore but it can cost you a lot especially when facing a highly tactful and fast opponent. The collar can be filled with either cotton or rubber. Of course, cotton is comfortable and makes you feel great. The drawback, however, is that it tends to give your opponents a good grip that they could use to choke you.
On the other hand, rubber won’t feel so comfortable compared to cotton. But it makes it tricky for your opponent to have a good grip on you.
It’s also of paramount importance that you double check the size of the sleeves before committing to a particular training or competition kimono. If you intend to compete in the gi, you’ll need to ensure that the sleeve is approximately 7 centimeters in line with IBJJF rules or else you risk being disqualified.
Generally, big sleeves offer your opponents an advantage since they are easy to grip, for instance, for a spider. On the other hand, you don’t want sleeves that are too small to hinder your maneuvers. Or do you?
Style vs. Your Gym Rules
Jiu Jitsu and BJJ gis come in a variety of bright and flashy colors to fit the practitioner’s personal style. But there are some models that come in subdued and simple colors for those who prefer something plain; white, blue, or black. All in all, while you can train in whichever flashy or simple color that you prefer, it’s always important that you check with your gym first. Again, if you are considering some of the best BJJ GI for competitions, enquire with the tournament on the type of style that they allow.
Q: Should I wear a gi for my first class?
A: Well, this will depend mainly on your gym’s regulations. Some gyms actually prohibit trainees from wearing a gi while others won’t let you train without one. If your gym either prohibits or does allow you to train without the uniform, it’s better to wear some loose pants and a t-shirt. Ideally, they should not have zips or pockets as these can catch fingers and toes or cause scratches.
Q: Is Kimono and gi the same thing?
A: In Japan, a kimono simply means a cloth that represents the Japanese culture and heritage. If you’ve seen the brightly colored clothes that ladies in Japanese embassies wear especially when welcoming guests, the chances are that it was a Kimono. However, in Brazil – and several other parts of the world- it’s not uncommon to hear martial art practitioners referring the gi as a kimono.
The word gi derives from another Japanese name ‘keikogi.’ These are actually 2 names in one- Keiko means practice while gi means cloth or dress. Thus, keikogi literally translates to practice clothes. Keiko can then be replaced by the specific martial arts that you engage in, for instance, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to form Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi.
Q: What are the differences between a gi and a no-gi class?
A: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes 2 forms; Gi or No-Gi. While they are practically a sport that involves grappling, they differ in a few aspects including clothing, strategies and techniques, and rules.
For instance, in gi, you are supposed to wear a heavy cotton drawstring pant and a heavy jacket closed with a belt. You could wear a rash guard, a t-shirt, a sports bra (for women), or nothing at all under the jacket.
In no-gi, you wear no gi (pun intended). Instead, of the heavy pants and jacket, no-gi students wear compression shorts and a rash guard.
In terms of techniques, gi grappling allows the practitioners to use the sleeves to tie the hands of their opponents or even choke them with the collar. In no-gi, you don’t have the advantage of the collars and sleeves, so you’ll have to target the natural handles of your opponent’s body; wrists, neck, knees, elbows, hips, etc.
Q: How should I wash my BJJ GI?
A: That’s a good question! It’s always advisable to clean your gi immediately after coming from a class. But cleaning these uniforms can be quite challenging for most of us. In fact, doing it the wrong could easily change an IBJJF compliant gi to a non-approved one in a matter of minutes. Usually, this happens when you wash a new gi in hot water. That being said, it’s always advisable to clean it in cold water and hang to dry.
You must have come across certain models that claim to be preshrunk. If you are curious, this simply means that the uniform has been washed and dried before packaging. This means that there is no risk of shrinking again once you wash it. Regardless, never wash your gi in hot water or throw it in the drier.