Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was evolved from judo in the 1920s by the Gracie family following on from what they had learned from Japanese judoka Mitsuyo Maeda. The traditional dress code worn in training and competitive jiu-jitsu is known as the Gi which is used worldwide. Gi was developed based on the Keikogi or kimono typically seen Japanese and other martial arts such as Karate and Taekwondo. Although the style has not changed too much, the best BJJ Gi of today has developed greatly over the past century with many different fabrics, graphics, sizes and weights available.
Choosing the right Gi for the first or fifteenth time, can be confusing with a variety of costs, brands, sizes and requirements depending on your desire to compete or not. We have taken the opportunity to explain the different components of a Gi and what things like single, gold, ripstop or double weaves mean, along with durability and desirable attributes and rounding our list off with the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi list that we could find.
The choices may be tricky but being aware of what different sizes and features a Gi comes helps. Our sole aim with this guide is to give you the information to make a decision on what the best BJJ Gi is for you.
What Is a BJJ Gi and Why Is a Gi Even Important?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an intense grappling sport where both the competitor and clothing are subjected to punishment. The Gi is both your best protection and weapon in these matches. It keeps your body safe from the infections and abrasions easily picked up on the mats and allows you to pull off some of the best sweeps and chokes.
Nothing seems cooler to me in BJJ than being able to get a submission using yours or your partner’s Gi against them.
Which Is Harder Gi or NoGi?
Much of the most recent popularity for jiu-jitsu has gone to NoGi competitions with the emergence of incredible talents such as Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones.
This new popularity has brought about a debate over which is harder between NoGi and Gi BJJ.
The debate, while fun, is almost redundant as it has little to no impact on each sport as they are simply different. They are both fantastically competitive and have different nuanced pieces for any competitor to really enjoy.
NoGi BJJ is often more dynamic, scrambley and frantic to watch with competitors enjoying a leg lock heavy game at most levels. The clothing is far more minimal with a simple shorts and tee-shirt combination appropriate for training and competition.
Gi is arguably a less dynamic, quite technical battle with more options for chokes, sweeps, throws and trips. The added element of being able to use clothing enhances creative opportunities. BJJ Gi training is often governed by stricter rules in the early stages, however, with leg locks ruled out by most gyms until purple belt level.
As we continue, we will keep the discussion purely to BJJ Gi matters from here on out.
How To Find the Right Sized Gi?
Gi choices and fit are a lot to do with personal preference when it comes to sizing and tightness of fit whether you have a muscular build or otherwise. In order to inform those choices, there are a number of factors to consider.
The main thing to keep in mind is comfort.
You don’t want a Gi that is overly tight and restrictive or baggy and in the way. Once you have that foundation, it makes it easier to work out the other details.
BJJ Gi Sizes
Gi sizes are peculiar to most as they do not hold the same small, medium and large sizing choices that people are familiar with. Similarly, there is not a selection difference for the pants or jacket as often come packaged together. Many of the different providers also have different sizing charts which complicates matters.
To give you an idea of the size breakdowns you will come across most often, we have created a rough template to show what to expect. In addition to the unusual size options, there are occasionally letters attached at the end signifying, long or heavy in most cases.
Sizes are noted in the imperial system as most suppliers use this measurement:
How Should a BJJ Jacket, Belt and Pants Fit?
For a comprehensive guide click here: how a Gi should fit.
BJJ Gi Jacket
When training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu it is important to understand that the Gi is not supposed to fit the same as normal clothing. A Gi jacket should fit comfortably without limiting your movement or disturbing your breathing.
High level competitors will often choose a more form fitting jacket to give less excess clothing and lapel for opponents to grip but this is not necessary when you are just starting out.
To get the fit right, you simply overlap the lapels across your torso and see if it causes any change to your ability to move. After you have found a correct fit across the torso, you need to stretch your arms out in all directions to see if there is any friction and tightness in the elbows, shoulders or arm pits. We will discuss the IBJJF competition regulations later.
BJJ Gi Pants
Just the same as the jacket, Gi pants are even more different to normal pants so there is no comparison at all. The same challenge exists with form fitting as tight fitting clothing is harder to get hold of but too tight limits your stretch and ability to move.
Check for any dynamic stretching friction by practicing some high kicks, squats or rotating your hips. Recapturing your guard or locking in good submissions has a great deal to do with the freedom of movement in your legs and compromising on this is self-defeating. Again, we will address competition regulations later.
A BJJ belt is not designed for the same purpose as your regular belt as it holds your jacket closed and shows your rank.
To know if your belt will fit correctly, you should wrap it twice around your waist over your jacket, tie a knot and still have roughly 15-20cm left over.
Fortunately for beginners, many providers make sure a good Gi comes with free white belt with your new purchase. If you are above the white belt ranking, you might be able to give your gym extra supplies or gift someone new starting out with a new belt. Many black belts have bought many a Gi and make sure to give back to someone starting training.
How Do I Wash My New BJJ Gi and Will It Shrink?
The misfortune many beginners will have in their first Gi is not understanding that depending on the material, your Gi is likely to shrink. One of the key things to be aware of are the materials and if your Gi is preshrunk or not.
We will discuss Gi fabrics and materials in more depth further into our guide but for now the important thing to understand are the following:
The idea that the best quality Gi will arrive to your doorstep already having been shrunk is new to anyone outside of the sport. These kimonos are typically made of a ripstop material, lighter and are a cheap BJJ Gi.
A pre-shrunk jiu-jitsu Gi will always be indicated on its packaging and has many benefits. Chief among the benefits is the ability to wash and dry the Gi without needing to air dry. This is a major help when you are training often and need to get things washed quickly.
The typical Gi is designed to have some shrinkage so competitors can size the Gi to their exact need by washing them. In order to shrink to the right size, BJJ athletes will put the Gi in a hot drier. The rate of shrinkage varies depending on material and fabrics with double cotton weaves likely to shrink up to 10% of the actual size.
To avoid shrinking altogether, it is best to wash your best BJJ Gi in cold water and then air dry.
What Types of Gi Fabrics Are There?
As mentioned above there are different types of fabrics that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gis are made from as they need to be incredibly durable and fit for purpose. There is a little bit of a list but rest assured, it is very easy to follow.
You are not expected to be any type of a seamstress but it will help to understand that the weaves referred to below are simply how the fabrics are woven together to produce different densities of material. Most of the fabrics discussed below refer to a BJJ jacket as the pants come in fewer types of material.
Let's take a look at different Gi features and how a Gi is made.
Single Weave Gi
The lightest Gi available is usually a Single weave Gi 100 cotton weighing around the 300-500 grams also noted as GSM. These are typically the least expensive and often used for hot weather training. If you are starting out, this may be a great option to go with as they require less of an initial outlay before you get fully immersed into the sport.
A 450 GSM Gi is one of the more typical single weaves for a training Gi to get you going. However, as they are cheaper, one of the cons is that they will not last as long as some of the best, thicker and more durable fabrics.
Double Weave Gi
Double weave Gis are made, somewhat obviously, with much more fabric and tend to be warmer to wear. They are thicker and therefore have the advantage of being more difficult to maintain a grip of an opponent.
A double weave cotton Gi weighs anywhere from 600-1100 grams and costs more than the single weave options. With that cost you will get a great life span, less rips and less grips for your opponent.
Pearl Weave Gi
A pearl weave jacket is becoming an increasingly popular choice and considered the best Gi for BJJ. Light GSM pearl weave fabric provides the lightest permitted fabric for a competition Gi while still being durable.
They hover around the same price range as the single weave but are more durable in the long run. They are characterized by the miniature pearl-looking schemes produced by the intertwining of the material.
Gold Weave Gi
A gold weave Gi used to be the accepted material for the best jiu-jitsu competitions but is no longer a pre-requisite for competitors. Gold weave Gis are the middle child of single and double weave Gis in weight and durability. It is not quite as robust as the double weave, but still offers competitors a reliable, light and breathable BJJ Gi suitable for all occasions.
Ripstop was the only weave used in BJJ Gi pants until the 2000s when different brands started making jacket options also. It is built to be light and durable and actually replaced silk in parachutes back in World War II.
Ripstop weave is simply a number of materials woven tightly into one garment. In fact, they are so tightly woven that they tend to score poorly for breathability and can become slippery. The pros for Ripstop fabric is that it is one of the lightest materials available.
Ripstop pants and Gi jackets are reinforced for the stress points but are also incredibly lightweight. They are the most common material used in a pre-shrunk Gi. If you are planning to compete, however, be aware as a Ripstop Gi comes, occasionally without IBJJF approval (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation).
Buying a hemp Gi is often disregarded from the list as a real competitor for the best BJJ Gi but those opinions are short sighted. Hemp has natural anti-microbial properties reducing your chance of picking up infections. It is close to three times stronger than cotton alternatives and a more breathable great Gi.
The downside to hemp Gis that put most people off is the fact that they can often shed. To avoid this, you should wash hemp Gis a few times before being ready to train.
Bamboo may cause you to do a double take. The best bamboo Gi did not come about as a result of tussling with pandas over food. Believe it or not, a bamboo Gi is becoming more mainstream.
A majority bamboo Gi is considerably lighter than most other options. It incorporates the same reinforced stitching and rugged collars are used in a more popular Gi but the softer material and lighter weight are gaining more attention from the jiu-jitsu community.
Duck Canvas Cotton
Duck canvas cotton may be a controversial inclusion as it differs from the best options for a top jiu-jitsu Gi. Many people love the durability of the average duck canvas Gis and their resistance to wear and tear over long periods of punishment.
It was originally designed for work wear to hold up against the harsher elements and is reinforced so much it is often twice the weight of ripstop weaves. Improvements to comfort have been made in many providers with EVA foam lining in the collar.
What Other Specifications Should I Look Out For?
Learning the make-up of a Gi for durability, breathability and costs are often what takes the longest. However, there are just a couple more things to be aware of before we get into who provides the Best BJJ Gi.
If you have had just one class in BJJ you understand the need for a specialized collar. The thickness and density of the collar are unlike any regular clothing with good reason. The penance suffered by a Gi collar requires it to be made stronger.
The outside of the collar will typically be made by cotton or whatever the material of the rest of the Gi is.
The fill or inside of the collar is often made of denser cotton or a rubber alternative. Rubber inners are becoming more widespread as they are lightweight, absorb little to no moisture and can be more difficult for one to grab.
Jiu-jitsu continues to grow in popularity and this has meant a boost in fashionable options since the old days of a bleached white Gi only. There are many stunning options available to you nowadays from camo, black, pink, navy and baby blue.
However, if you plan to compete there are rules governing the Gi colors allowed. Most competitions will only allow participants to wear a white, blue or black Gi with limited amount of logos and designs. If you plan to compete, keep at least one competition approved Gi in your locker.
Who Are The IBJJF and What Do I Need To Know?
The IBJJF or International Jiu Jitsu Federation are pretty much the best known authority governing competitive BJJ. Most competitions will adopt their rule sets from allowable submissions depending on your belt to exactly what color and size Gi and rash guards you must wear.
Sometimes it can be overkill but they are usually merited especially when it comes to poorly fitted Gis. Without further ado, here is what you need to know for competing from a white to black belt.
IBJJF Jacket Regulations
IBJJF regulations are almost never applied in BJJ training as this is typically a much more casual atmosphere. However, this is not the case for competition. The IBJJF require your sleeve to be no more than 5cm (2 inches) from the wrist when your arm is extended. The opening of the sleeve must also be at least 7cm (2.7 inches) wide.
IBJJF Gi Pants
The IBJJF requirements for Gi pants are similar to the sleeves with the pants required to be no more than 5cm from the ankle bone when standing up vertically regardless of height or weight. While it may be excessive, competitors are incredible adept at using whatever resources are available and ill fitting BJJ Gis are an invitation to guard passing experts.
IBJJF General Clothing
People who compete often will usually keep their best BJJ competition Gi aside purposefully as they may have cut weight or find they perform better with a lightweight, tighter Gi. For men especially, it is worth noting that if you intend to compete in an IBJJF regulated competition that you are not permitted to wear spats or a rash guard underneath your Gi. These rules do not apply to women of course.
What Are The Best BJJ Gi Brands?
The BJJ Gi market has been flooded with some amazing new high-quality Gi brands but there are a plethora of exceptional providers intertwined in the history of the sport. Whether you are looking for the perfect fit, a reasonable price tag, pearl weave, or simply a product with the top overall industry performance rating we have you covered.
Unfortunately we could not include lots of incredible providers such as Gold, Scramble and Gameness Air Gi but rest assured, there are still a host of amazing options featured. We will give you a quick rundown of our favorite Gis here.
Sanabul are the masters for affordable combat sports gear bringing some of the best inexpensive Gi choices to the world. They provide great value for money and comfort that endures longer than many of its rivals in this space.
If you are starting out and looking for a quality option Sanabul kindly provide a cheap Gi aimed at BJJ for beginners. Similarly, those of us who train numerous days a week, are so glad of their affordability, use of pre-shrunk materials and being lightweight so you can wash and dry them without concern.
Sanabul Essentials Gi line provide possibly the best BJJ Gi for the money and often come with free white belts as an excellent bonus.
Fuji are literally everywhere to be found in the martial arts world. In fact their founder, Frank Hatashita, was once the president of the International Judo Foundation.
Fuji makes a wider range of Gi sizes with A0-A6 options providing high quality and the best BJJ Gi for big guys. They are quite both practical and stylish with many intricate single weave Gi and double weave Gis for all competitors. Whatever the body type, they provide a cool BJJ Gi for everyone interested in training and competition.
Elite Sports are another of the wonderfully affordable, top quality jiu-jitsu Gi brand on the market. They create a great inexpensive, lightest BJJ Gi that is functional and IBJJF certified.
What they do differently to some is they use antibacterial and antimicrobial fabrics that are countering problems experienced with sweat dispersal and infections. They are still very durable with great protection, reinforced stitching and ripstop pants . They typically offer pre-shrunk weaves so you don’t have to spare a thought for shrinkage.
Kingz are as the name suggests, titans of the jiu-jitsu community for over 30 years now. They have stayed committed to innovating and improving throughout their association with the support and sponsor many of the top athletes in the sport today.
Every piece of equipment is of high, durable quality and gives each person the comfort they deserve. They may be one of the more expensive compared to others but you can be certain you are getting a Gi that will outlast almost all others. Kingz really are one of the best jiu jitsu Gi brands in the world.
Hayabusa are another brand that sit on the pricier end of the scale but provide impeccable quality. They provide gear across the spectrum for combat sports and it is all exceptionally stylish and performs at the highest levels. T
hey are another giant in the sport and sponsor numerous world class jiu-jitsu competition practitioners with great IBJJF lightweight Gi options. I would argue they also provide the best looking BJJ Gi with a great pearl weave option for training and competition but more on that later.
Tatami are quite possibly the best BJJ Gi brand on the planet. They certainly rival any other provider and supply almost everyone who trains in BJJ with at least one Gi. They provide options for a premium Gi also at competitive, middle of the road prices that are approved for IBJJF competitions.
They are unquestionably, durable, breathable and comfortable Gi option and also comes with rubber collar jackets to stay reinforced and also to avoid moisture being absorbed. Tatami are an all-time great in the market.
And Now, The Options for Best BJJ Gi
Armed with what you now know about the different options and materials the best BJJ Gis are made from it becomes much easier to decipher the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll keep the bad and ugly out of this list and give you the best options available now.
Sanabul are motivated to make sure combat sports are accessible to all budgets. The Essential line of products are comfortable and make one of the best value BJJ Gi. If you are training a few times a week, the affordable, pre-shrunk Gi gives you exactly what you need.
Sanabul offer this lightweight Gi for both men and women with the women’s version tapered slightly different. The Essential is an ultra-lightweight single weave Gi tailored to reduce baggy excess fabric and last you a long time.
- Affordable and durable
- Single weave
- Tapered to both women’s and men’s needs
The Fuji All Around BJJ Gi is almost exactly as you would expect it to be. It is one of the best Gis available for both training and competition. Some of the best BJJ Gis also can be pretty expensive for the top quality, the All Around jiu-jitsu Gi make sure to stay more modestly priced while also offering exceptional long-lasting great quality.
If you are on the lookout for the best BJJ Gi for either men or women, this is a serious contender vying for that top spot. Fuji simply don’t cut corners in their design stage incorporating special reinforcements for stress points with a mid-weight premium cotton blend that is comfortable and well fitted.
- IBJJF Approved
- Durable and long-lasting
- Reinforced stitching
Of course there had to be at least one Tatami option on the list. There are simply too many positive BJJ Gi reviews on it to ignore. The Tatami Zero G V4 is an excellent choice for a training or competition BJJ Gi. This Gi is specifically designed to meet the IBJJF requirements as minimum excelling way beyond those standards.
Tatami exceed expectations by adding stunning style and flare to the functionality. They are using a pearl weave Gi with a rubber collar to avoid moisture absorption and keep you comfortable. The collar is reinforced by Ripstop weave to keep it incredibly strong under the most punishment. Wherever you think it is needed, Tatami have already provided with reinforced stitching and material to help you be ready for anything
- IBJJF Approved
- Pearl weave and rubber collar
- Reinforced stitching
Elite Sports have certainly launched themselves right into the mix for the affordable, lightweight BJJ Gi brand of choice. The Ultra-Lightweight Gi is another fantastic pre-shrunk option available to men, women and kids. They specifically cut and taper the Gi in different places depending on the sex. What is the difference you might ask? Simply put, they allow more space in the crotch for a cup for gentlemen and a bit more space in the chest for the woman Gi also.
Unlike many of the lightweight Gi choices out there, the Ultralight from Elite Sport is IBJJF approved. They have also used antibacterial and antimicrobial fabrics which are an absolute gift for staving off infection or other nasties.
- IBJJF Approved
- Ultra lightweight
- Antimicrobial and antibacterial fabric
- Ripstop pants
The Estilo 6.0 is the latest premium Gi from Tatami. It is slim fitting and durable with a 550 GSM pearl weave jacket meaning that it won’t be caused to stretch under the duress of all your rolling. It is also approved for the IBJJF rule set.
The Estilo 6.0 is super comfortable and will not to cause friction burns to you or your partners. Slick graphics and embroidery along with the new Y-Jacket vents Tatami are using pushed our top pick all the way.
- IBJJF Approved
- Slim fitting
- Pearl weave jacket
- Comfortable and durable
This list simply had to include at least one great offering from Kingz. The One sounds like some sort of pinnacle achievement in Gi production and it is not too far from the truth. IBJJF regulated, the One is reinforced by triple stitching, double knee padding and 400 GSM High Tech Pearl Weave. The pants is a cotton design that weighs only 10oz.
Despite the incredible quality of this Gi, it manages to stage in the mid-range for pricing. The One makes a strong case to be considered the best Gi for jiu-jitsu whether you are a black or white belt.
- IBJJF Approved
- Extremely durable
- 400 GSM pearl weave
Finally, Our Favorite | 7. The Hayabusa Goorudo 3 Gold Weave Gi
The Goorudo 3 stands above almost all competitors in so many different categories and is our choice for the best BJJ Gi. 550 GSM Gold Weave jacket is a stunning piece of quality design with the incredible patchwork you expect from Hayabusa. In doing a Hayabusa Goorudo 3 review, we can acknowledge that it is the most expensive BJJ Gi on our list but we believe it is warranted. Both the jacket and pants maintain incredible comfort giving it a great feel for the athlete.
It is not all about the comfort and look though, as it also provides high level durability with reinforced double stitching to be found throughout. The pants are 12oz which is quite lightweight and competition ready all in one. Hayabusa also do you the courtesy of pre-washing it to reduce the chance that anything could go wrong with a gold weave jiu-jitsu Gi.
The Goorudo 3 is slightly more expensive but if you have it to spare, this is possibly the best jiu-jitsu Gi you might ever own.
- Committed to comfort
- IBJJF Approved
We hope you have found this comprehensive guide to choosing the best BJJ Gi helpful. You are now armed with all the information you need to pick the right size, weave, competition compliant and reputable brand of Gi.