Despite what you may have seen in fighting films, Judo actually stands for 'the gentle way'. Out of all the martial arts that exist, Judo is one of the more modern martial arts. Learning the art of Judo is just half the battle, the other half involves making sure you are well suited and booted for the martial art. Having a suitable Judo Gi is essential for any judoka regardless of whether they are a beginner or someone who takes their competitive fighting seriously. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the vast selection of Judo uniforms that are available, but luckily for you, this guide will set out exactly what you need to know about Judo Gi regulations, how to choose the best Judo Gi and our top 5 recommendations for the best Judo Gis out there.
What Do You Need To Know About Judo Gi Regulations?
To ensure that everyone is on a level footing, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has set out a number of standards regarding Judo Gi regulations. These are revised annually to keep everything up to date and fair. National competitions must comply with these regulations and so, it is important to have a rudimentary understanding of how these rules can affect what Gi you need.
Let’s start with the basics. For those who want to participate in IJF standard competitions they will need to comply with the Gi regulations. A quick, useful list of approved IJF authorized suppliers is available on their website.
Sleeves & Length of Pants
IJF have strict rules regarding sleeve and trouser length, and the fitting of a Judo Gi. The rules state the sleeves must touch the base of the wrist. Also, the trousers should not be any higher than 5cm above the ankle. It has been stated that all Judo Gis must have no tears, holes, bloodstains and be free of excessive wear. For women, the wearing of a T-shirt under the jacket is compulsory, and this must be white with short sleeves only.
How you wear your belt is also very specific under the IJF guidelines. The belt must be made from 100% quality cotton and be no thicker than 5mm. Once tied, the belt must not be too long or too short, specifically, the ends of the belt must be 20 to 30cm away from the knot.
It is important to keep in mind that the jacket and trousers need to be the same color and be one of the following.
While there are other Judo Gi colors available, such as black, these colors are not allowed to be worn in IJF competitions. It will always have to be white or blue. The white uniform is the traditional color and is typically associated with Japanese culture more than the blue uniform. However, it is best to get both a blue and white Gi as during a competition you may be required to wear either depending on what side of the mat you fight on. Anything that can be regarded as not meeting to the IJF standard can result in the competitor being disqualified.
How To Choose The Right Judo Gi For You?
Judo Gis consists of a jacket, trousers, and a belt. The Judo Gi can be either white or blue.
A Judoka’s journey is documented through the varying belts awarded to them as they progress through the martial art. As a beginner in Judo, you will start with a white belt and with each grading you will work your way up to black.
There are three different types of Judo Gi: single weave judo, double weave, and gold weave. Essentially, the difference between the three lies within their thickness. The single weave is a thinner and lighter kind of Judo Gi. Whereas double weave Judo Gi is made of thicker, heavier construction. As for the gold weave Judo Gi, this is essentially made from a heavier strand of single weave, that weaves two single threads together to give it that extra weight.
There are pros and cons to each style of Judo Gi. For instance, with a single weave, you are less likely to overheat and so this style may be preferable to use for longer training periods. However, on the flip side, these types of textile fabrics tend to be far less durable than the double weave option. The main advantage of the double weave is that the textile fabric becomes much harder to grab during competitions. Alongside this, double weave Gi’s are frequently sold pre-shrunk, which is important to consider when getting the best fit for a Gi.
Sizing & Fit
Sizing can be difficult to get right, but it is worth investing your time into to ensure you get the best sizing for you. The fit needs to be correct, otherwise, it will impair your training and ability to compete. If it is too tight, your movement will be restricted and if it is too big then your jacket is easier to grab, and your trousers suddenly become a tripping hazard.
Will My Judo Gi Shrink?
Depending on the Gi you get, it may shrink. It is best to check the product description before buying to know whether it is a pre-shrunk fabric or not, as this will affect the size you need to purchase. As you can imagine, the double weave Gi cost more than the other weaves, and so, when it comes to having the best Judo Gi for you, it depends on your priorities regarding quality, weight, thickness, comfort, and fabric.
Is a Judo Gi the Same as a BJJ Gi?
You may be wondering whether you can use BJJ Gi in a Judo competition, however, the short answer is no. Whilst they are similar in fit, the Jiu-Jitsu Gis have tighter cuffs on the jacket and trousers. Consequently, the BJJ Gi does not meet the guidelines necessary for a Judo competition.
Pricing is also important to consider when finding the best judo uniform for you. There are several brands out there that are high quality but also a high price. Brands such as Kusakura Judo Gi offer some of the highest quality equipment available, however, this is not always the most affordable options for people.
How Much Does a Judo Gi Cost?
The average cost for a Judo Gi is hard to pinpoint as there's such an abundance of varying brands out there. However, the cheapest brand represented in our top 5 recommendations comes at $50 roughly, dependent on size, and the most expensive brand comes in at around $95.
There will be no price difference between white and blue Gi if they are made by the same brand. The color difference, as explained earlier, lays only in which side of the mat you are asked to fight on. So do not fall into the trap of thinking one is better than the other!
Our Top 5 Judo Gi Recommendations
There are many Judo Gi brands to choose from, and so, in order to help you understand what is the best Judo Gi for you, we have set out our top 5 recommendations and summarized their pros and cons.
Fuji is known to be one of the best Japanese Judo Gi brands out there. The Fuji Double Weave Judo Gi can be purchased in both white and blue.
Wearing the Fuji Sports Double Weave Gi uniform has been compared to the feeling of wearing armour. You feel strong, stable, and ready to fight. It is a Gi that looks so good that you would expect to see it in fighting films. This uniform is also great for competition, it is robust but will not restrict your movement. It is made up of 100% premium cotton and the high-quality seams and stitching result in an incredibly durable uniform. It has a thick collar that is hard for the opponent to grab, and it has been designed to last even the most intensive training sessions.
You absolutely will not have to worry about wear and tear as the Fuji Judo Gi has superior durability. Another notable pro is that the fabric does not shrink! This makes getting the best size for you much easier. As you can imagine, the price of a Fuji uniform is more expensive than some of the other options out there. However, whilst the price may be daunting, it is a traditional, high-quality Judo Gi that will last in the long run and look good along the way!
The Sakura Bleached Gi uniform by Yamato is made up of single weave construction making it a much lighter option. This is also useful if you are training lots, or when it comes to training in the summer as it is a much more breathable fabric compared to some of the double weave counterparts.
This Gi does not come pre-shrunk and so must be washed in cold water and left to drip dry. Alternatively, what a lot of Judoka’s do is buy a couple of sizes up and then they shrink them to get that best fit. A nice touch in the Yamato Sakura uniform is that the trousers have a quilted patch at the knees. This can create that extra feeling of comfort for those vigorous groundwork training sessions. Not only is it also reinforced in the chest and shoulder area for comfort, but this design style also helps prevent ripping. The anti-ripping design certainly comes in handy during competition.
The Yamato Sakura Judo Gi is high quality and an affordable choice, making it a suitable choice for young children who are likely to outgrow whatever Gi you buy. Either way, if you are a keen Judoka who is on a budget, the Yamato Sakura is certainly one of the best investments!
The Elite Sports Judo Gi suit is made of lightweight, pre-shrunk fabric. The lightweight double weave Gi is comfortable and breathable, allowing the judoka freedom to move. It is also available in both white and blue, giving you that extra choice. The collar/lapel comes reinforced with a thick collar, which helps with the judoka’s comfort when their lapel is being grabbed, pulled, and pushed. This is perfect for the Judoka who spends lots of time training and battling away during competition.
However, something that must be considered when purchasing this Gi is that the sizing is not always consistent. It has been advised by users to opt for the size up with this kit.
A typical problem with Judo Gis is that sometimes odour can linger. Nevertheless, this Gi absorbs and disperses sweat quickly. This helps reduce those lingering smells as well as preventing bacteria from clinging onto your Gi. This lightweight, odour resistant uniform is not only practical but stylish too. Elite Sports have embroidered their logo on the upper arm of the jacket. The words ‘Elite Ippon’ will also catch your eye as it is fashioned on the bottom of the jacket.
All in all, the Elite Sports Gi is a stylish and practical choice for any Judoka who wants something a little bit extra in their Judo Uniform.
4. Adidas Gi
Adidas are no stranger to the world of martial arts. The Adidas Judo Gi is known to be one of the best Judo Gis. It is a desirable, classic Gi. The jacket has the trademark stamp of those well-known 3 stripes down the shoulder. Alongside this, it has the Adidas logo embroidered on the bottom of the jacket and the trousers. These simple design touches create a sense of a more sophisticated looking Gi. The white belt is included which is an extra little perk.
If you are a beginner or an intermediate, this Gi is a great option to consider. The durable and sturdy fabric does not compromise the Judoka’s comfort. It is built to last whether you are using it for casual training or rigorous competition. Its single weave construction allows for freedom of movement as well as being engineered for the quality fabric to breathe.
However, it is important to note that this specific Adidas Gi does not come pre-shrunk, and so be sure to consider this when ordering your size. It may be preferable to order a size or two up to account for shrinking when it is washed.
This brand is deemed one of the best Judo Gis and actually, the Adidas Gi is not as expensive as one might expect. In fact, it does well to not break your bank as well as being a high quality, long-lasting investment.
The Pro Force Gladiator Gi is available in a variety of sizes. It is available in different colors including the traditional white and blue. This brand is also no stranger to the world of martial arts, providing uniforms and equipment for a variety of combat sports. The uniform is constructed in a single weave fabric; however, it has a comparable strength similar to its double weave counterparts. If you are looking for a more affordable option, this is one of the best Judo Gis for being a low-cost uniform that is built to last.
This Gi has a thick collar and is made from 100% cotton, fitting comfortably with a soft feel for the skin. The trousers are designed with reinforced knees to protect you no matter how many times you take a fall. It has been engineered to endure impact time and time again. Its unique construction makes a practical, lightweight Gi that is perfect for everyday training and fierce competition.
If you are a beginner or looking for a child-friendly Gi, then this is one of the best low-cost starter options out there. The lightweight fabric makes it easy to transport to and from training sessions, which also is fantastic for those parents who find themselves lugging around their children’s uniforms all the time.
A Quick Summary
Whether you are a beginner or a long-standing veteran, you need your Judo Gi to be comfortable, durable, resistant, and cost-effective. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the extensive amount of Judo Gis out there. However, there are some key things to keep in mind when digging through the countless options. It is important to have the following factors in mind, durability, thickness, weight, weave, material and sizing. It may sound like a lot, but these are the things that will ensure you have the best Judo Gi for you.
There is something out there for everyone. Judo is a fast-paced, full-contact sport. It tests the mind and the body. A judoka will find themselves putting vast amounts of effort into their training, consequently, it makes sense to find the best Judo Gi that can keep up with that level of effort and help the Judoka succeed. It is important to think of it as your amour. The saying ‘if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ is very apt in this context. If your Judo Gi can withstand all the grappling, then so will you!