Don’t get gi overload. . . read my tips on buying a gi and let it assist you!
In the game of gi Jiu Jitsu, everyone wears a uniform. Nowadays, there are so many gi companies to choose from. Everyone can be unique on the mats. Not only are there different gi companies, but each company has a plethora of gis to choose from. There are men’s gis, women’s gis, kid’s gis, colored gis, different thicknesses/weaves on gis, and different designs. Not to mention, anyone can “Nascar up” their gi by putting patches on it.
Gi shopping can be fun, but it can also be intimidating. Now, for Jiu Jitsu beginners who are not familiar with what they need in a gi, I suggest reading The Best Gi Buying Guide. This article will inform you about the basic information one must know about Jiu Jitsu gis before going gi shopping.
Price: Gi prices range from $90-over $200. You can buy a perfectly good gi for under $150, I think. $150 is usually the price I try to stay under when buying my gis.
Sizing: Gi sizes tends to be all over the place. Depending on what company you purchase from, a size A3 might be a perfect fit in one brand, but a size A4 might be a better fit from another brand. Luckily, each company has a gi sizing chart that customers can go by.
My number one lesson I have learned when it comes to buying Jiu Jitsu gis: Buy a gi on the big side. Using a dryer shrinks the heck out of the gis. You can definitely air dry a gi to prevent shrinkage, but I’m tired of air drying my gis. Air drying gis takes half a day and they turn out stiff and crunchy. I like to wash my gis in the washing machine and dry them in the dryer. I didn’t put that lesson to use until after 4 years of training. From here on out, I will buy a bigger sized gi so I can wash, dry and shrink it down to my size. I am sick of having to get rid of gis because they barely close across my belly, or because the pants become tight when I bend over. You can also look like you are ready for a flood, because sleeve and pant lengths shrink, as well.
Logos: My next criteria (which is totally my preference and not a tip on whether a gi is good or not) is to get a gi with a clean look. I prefer simple gis over something fancy. The less logos, the better for me. Some logos are embroidered on, and others can be cut off with a razor (if you choose). But that’s the cool part- there are plenty of flashy Jiu Jitsu gis on the market for those of you who want to showcase your style.
Male and Female Cuts: As for female cut gis and male gis, I prefer men’s gis most of the time. The female cuts are more slim in the thighs, hips and shoulders. However, I am curvy with large thighs and a big ‘ol booty, so I would prefer to get a men’s gi and shrink it down.
Drawstring and Loops: I also prefer a Jiu Jitsu gi that has a rope drawstring closure- and the more belt loops, the better. Rope drawstrings tend to close more tightly and have a bit of stretch to them. And the loops also help my pants stay on more securely. Once I tie my drawstring, I like to secure the excess back through the loops.
Collars: My other criteria in purchasing a Jiu Jitsu gi is to pick a gi with a thick collar. Yep, that’s because I feel like it makes my opponent have to work harder to choke me. Most gi companies will try to describe the collar as thick, but that is something I have never been able to judge until I put my hands on it. If I see someone wearing a Jiu Jitsu gi I am unfamiliar with, I ask to grab and feel their gi collar so I can know what that brand’s collar feels like.
Weaves: As for gi weaves and thickness, I like thick ones and light rip stop material, as well. It basically depends on what I’m looking for. Thick ones last longer, they are often more difficult for your opponent to get a grip on, but they are also hot and heavy. Rip stop material is thin, airy and light, but they do not hold up as well in the long run.
Below are links, some pictures and descriptions of most of the gis I have owned in my Jiu Jitsu career.
1.Basic martial arts uniform from Academy Sports.
Haha. Do not make this mistake and purchase a karate uniform. This was my first gi that I bought, and I knew it wasn’t a real Jiu Jitsu gi. I wanted to test it out before I decided to sign up and invest in a pricey gi. As soon as I started training in it, I remember my instructor commenting about the flimsy collar that no one could grab. And to this day, I think it’s awkward when a student wears a karate uniform to Jiu Jitsu class.
Fuji gis always feel loose and comfy like pajamas. The collar is not thick and the pants are twill. I ended up selling this gi because I could not shrink it enough and the adult size A1 was still too big for me. It did not have a rope drawstring. I really like the look of this gi, though.
Boy oh boy are Shoyorolls ridiculously expensive and hard to get a hold of. There is a waiting list for their gis and you are only allowed one gi purchase at a time. I spent under $200 on this gi. Surprisingly, I was not on a waiting list for it. However, I was competing at the time and I bought the smaller size rather than the larger size. It felt so light, almost like I was naked. The collar was not very thick and it had light weight twill pants. It shrunk a bit, and I ended up selling it to a friend. But yes, I really liked this gi.
Inverted Gear is one of my favorite gis. I only stopped wearing it because it got stinky in the armpits. (That was before I learned my secret way to defunctify gis!) It is cheap, lightweight and the cute panda makes me happy. Since it is a lightweight gi, the collar is pretty thin. The pants are rip stop. The Inverted Gear gi shrunk a little, but once I stopped drying it in the dryer, it didn’t get any smaller. I am waiting to purchase more of these!
This is a nice, clean and simple gi that I still wear. Over time, the light twill pants have gotten tighter in the hips, but they are still a comfortable fit. The drawstring is a bit short.
This gi is a female cut gi, that is thin and comfortable. The collar is medium thickness and the pants are ripstop. It is not too prissy and feminine, with just a few purple embroidered words and logos. I am a fan of Grips gis.
I know the owner of War Tribe Gis, and I know many athletes sponsored by this brand. I like the designs and the thickness of the collar. However, my rope drawstring became unraveled in the wash. The gi also shrunk more than any other gis I have had. They are well made and are very sturdy. I just got tired of trying to fit into a tiny gi. (And I know others who bought big sizes only to have them shrink two gi sizes.)
This was my very first Jiu Jitsu gi I owned. I think Gameness has great products. I probably wore this gi as my only gi for too long, because the rip stop pants eventually ripped on the rear. And the top now fits children- it shrunk a lot. However, I have since wound up with other gameness gis as hand-me-downs, and they feel nice.
I received this Vulkan gi from a student who thought this gi shrunk too much for him. But for me, the fit was perfect. I have a wholesale account with Vulkan and when I buy my next gi, I will buy a size up. It was comfortable, roomy, the collar felt semi-thick and it had a simple design. I like Vulkan’s but I think they are pricey, and they don’t have a rope drawstring.
I bought this gi for my husband because it was unique. I bought the A2L, which he quickly outgrew after washing and drying it several times. And it soon became my gi when I was pregnant. It is thick, has twill pants, and a very thick collar. And I like it because it is sturdy.
This was my favorite heavy weight gi. It was simple, a female cut and had a very thick collar, as well as thick twill pants. It held up well, except I gave it a pink hue when I washed it with something I shouldn’t have. The employees at Fushida took my measurements and took the time to send me the best fitting gi for my body. I now air dry it, but I still love it.
I bought this gi when I was pregnant, because I needed a larger size and it was cheap. It is still in my rotation, even though it is a bit baggy. I did not think I was going to be as big of a fan of this cheesy gi as I was. But I am a fan. It is lightweight. It is strong. The collar feels pretty thick. It is ripstop material. My rope drawstring is way too long, though.
This is a female cut gi, and while I bought it on the bigger size, I feel it has gotten tight in the pants. I will just deal with that, because I like everything else about the gi. The inseam crotch is thick rip stop material on the twill pants. It has a colorful monkey rashguard liner inside of the jacket.
I like this simple, clean gi. It is inexpensive, but feels sturdy with a thick collar. The material feels thick, but it is not heavy or too hot. I will be ordering more with a wholesale account with tatami. I also really like the little bit of color running down the collar.
So, those are my tips on buying a Jiu Jitsu gi. What do you look for when purchasing a gi? What are some of your favorite gis? What are your least favorite gis?