Probably the number one, most-asked question in jiu jitsu is: "what is the best jiu jitsu gi"? Of course, every jiu jitsu company is going to offer their own - highly-biased - opinion on the matter, but it really all comes down to personal preference and budget.
Not the answer you wanted, I know. But hold on, I'm going to give you some tips on how to actually find the best jiu jitsu gi... for you!
You can easily spend hours and hours shopping for gis out of your price range... but then you'd have less and less time to actually train. You don't want that. Narrow your search by filtering for only those gis in your budget. Gis can get pretty darn expensive, so knowing what you can afford is key. The vast majority of gis range from about $80 for a basic, entry-level gi, to more than $200 for an extra-durable double weave. If you plan on training more than once or twice a week, you'll definitely need more than a few (so that you can cycle them through the wash and dry process). "You get what you pay for" is just as true with gis as anything else, so keep in mind that while you might be paying less for a gi, you might end up paying more in the long-term when that gi falls apart too soon. That being said, there are some exceptions: the Maeda Red Label, for example.
Not all gis are created equal. In fact, there's quite a lot of variation in the bjj gi market, which is cool because not everyone likes the same thing. Another consideration when shopping for the "best jiu jitsu gi" is what kind of fabrics do you prefer? If you plan on competing in IBJJF events, you're limited to a cotton weave jacket, but you can decide what "weight" weave you prefer. Do you like ultra-lightweight weaves, or a bit more structured, heavier weaves? Some gis even have sublimated linings in the jacket, which wick sweat from your body and helps keep you cool during a hardcore training session. You can also choose which kind of pant you prefer: cotton or ripstop?
Definitely the trickiest part of shopping for a jiu jitsu gi is finding one that fits your body type the best. Luckily not all gi brands use the same design pattern for their models. Unfortunately, you don't really know how a specific brand will fit on your body unless you actually try it on! Arg. BUT, there are some resources you can use to get a better idea:
- Sizing guides - While most sizing guides are pretty generic, offering only a height and weight reference, some provide more specific measurements, such as arm and leg length, wingspan, etc.
- Customer reviews - Many reviews will offer insightful information into the fit of a gi, such as whether the fit is more tailored than others, or if it fits loose around the shoulders, or if the length runs shorter or longer than other gis.
- Customer service - Especially here at Fighters Market, our customer service representatives are pretty savvy about the fit on a wide range of brands and can give you some valuable information about how they might fit your body.
- Friends and Teammates - If you see a friend or teammate wearing a gi that you like, don't be afraid to ask if you can try it on. Considering how much sweat we exchange rolling on the mat, it won't be weird.
- Event Booths - By far the best way to check the fit of a gi... is to actually try it on. Major jiu jitsu events - especially IBJJF events - typically have venders selling gis and other bjj gear and apparel.
Hopefully this guide helps you to choose the "best jiu jitsu gi" for you. See you on the mat!
Train on... and look sharp. Oss.