Whether you’re starting out with BJJ and buying your first Gi, or a seasoned practitioner adding to your collection, it’s a neat moment when that brand new Gi arrives.
You want to make sure this moment stays a special moment, by getting the best BJJ Gi for your budget, which you’ll get quality use out of for years.
There are a bunch of things that go into the decision-making process when buying a Gi. Plus, depending on personal preference and your intended use for the Gi (BJJ competition vs casual training), different Gis may be better suited than others.
That said, we’re going to break down some Gis that our team here loves, and bring you the best BJJ Gi for 2020.
What to Look For In a BJJ Gi
Here are some of the things you want to consider when shopping for your BJJ Gi. Some may be more important than others – it’s all down to personal preference.
You can go with one of our recommended Gis, or asses by these factors, and make your own decision when you buy your Gi.
This is a pretty clear basic to look for. You obviously want to make sure the Gi fits well.
Start by checking out the sizes. If the brand has their own size chart, refer to this, as different brands will often have slightly different sizing. An A1 Gi from Hayabusa may not be exactly the same size as an A1 Gi from Venum, for example.
You’ll also want to take note of whether it’s pre-shrunk or not. If not pre-shrunk, buy slightly larger, as the Gi is going to get smaller after a few washes.
While good fit is a vital factor for anyone, you may have your own minor preferences as fit goes. Perhaps you like your Gi a little bigger or a little tighter. Take into consideration IBJJF rules if you plan to compete in it though, as there are usually regulations on how your Gi fits – particularly the length and loose area in your sleeves.
There are different ways that Gi material is sewn together, known as the “weave”. The different weave styles impact the weight, feel and more of your Gi.
Common weave styles to see today are Gold Weave and Pearl Weave, both of which are built to be lighter and more durable than older weaves. Classic Gis are usually Single or Double Weave, which are often a lot heavier.
The biggest reason you should care about weaves is the weight. Most people prefer a lighter Gi, which will be easier to move in, and gives a little more allowance when weighing in for comps. Weight for Gis is measured in GSM (grams per square meter), and can range from as much as 900 GSM to as little as 350 GSM. We’re even starting to see “ultralight” Gis pop up, which are even lighter than 350 GSM.
You may have a preference for lighter or heavier Gis, and that’s fine. Know that going into your Gi search, so you can check out the GSM and have a good idea what the Gi will feel like.
What’s worse than spending big on a shiny new Gi, just for it to split, and leave you shopping for another Gi too soon?
It’s understandable that Gis will wear down over time. But you also expect your Gi to be able to handle the rigors of daily BJJ training, at least for a couple of years.
Every brand will claim their Gi is going to last a long time, so to be sure, you’re going to want to check reviews. Look for common complaints about a lack of durability here. Also, shopping with a reputable brand is usually a good way to ensure you’re getting a Gi that’s well made and will hold up to even the strongest Judo death grip.
As always, you want to take cost into consideration. While more expensive Gis generally tend to be higher quality, you can also get great Gis on a budget.
I’d advise looking for a cheaper Gi if you’re new to BJJ – no point spending big before you even learn the basics of the sport, and know if you want to do it long-term.
If style is a driving factor for you (let’s face it – 50% of BJJ is looking good on the mats), there are usually a few colors you can go for.
If you want to look great while competing, you’ll want to go with a white, black or blue Gi. However, if you don’t plan to compete in your Gi, you can get one in just about any color, from pink, to bright yellow, to camouflage.
Finally, if you want to compete, make sure you get a Gi that’s IBJJF-legal. Most top Gi brands will ensure their Gis meet IBJJF standards, in terms of things like sizing and color. But confirm this yourself before you make your purchase.
Best BJJ Gis for 2020
To save you time shopping and comparing Gis (and give you more time on the mat training to be a killer!), here are our recommendations for the best Gis out there right now.
- 450 GSM Gold Weave
- Built-in rashguard material neck lining
- Clean, classic design
- 10oz ripstop pants
- IBJJF approved
One of our favorite brands here at Find Your Gi, Gold BJJ consistently put out quality and affordable gear, and some of the best BJJ Gis on the market.
This 450 GSM Gi is an awesome mix of comfort and durability. It’s light enough to move around in, but strong enough to stand up to daily use.
The “Dia de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) neck lining design both looks amazing, and feels great. It’s supported by a high-quality EVA rubber collar, which should stand the test of time.
The Gi is fully legal for IBJJF competition. Colors available are black, white and blue, with a clean design that leaves room for additional patches.
Sizing runs a little big, so be sure to check out their size chart before buying.
- Lightweight Santec Single Weave fabric
- Striking lining design
- Super durable pants and jacket
- IBJJF approved
Sanabul makes a range of awesome gear that’s super affordable. Their “Essentials” Ultralight Gi is one of the best value for money Gis out there.
They also have excellent high-end gear, as shown by the Highlights Professional Gi. The Highlights Pro is a beautiful Gi that is also durable enough to last.
The striking characteristic with Sanabul Gis is the Single Weave fabric. Single Weave is quite rare to see these days, but Sanabul’s Santec fabric is different to classic Single Weave Gis. It’s light and durable, while the brand cites that it is rough enough on the outside to not let opponents take easy grips.
The design is one of the best things about this Gi. All three colors – blue with neon green highlights, black with red highlights and white with orange & red highlights – look gorgeous, while maintaining color standards necessary for IBJJF competition.
On top of all this, the Highlights Pro is super affordable for a high-end Gi.
The Gi is pre-shrunk, and their sizes run big. Take this into consideration when choosing your size.
- “Mediumweight” Pearl Weave fabric
- Clean design
- Reinforced knees and extra stitching on stress points for improved durability
Fuji Gis are a personal favorite of mine. While they generally aren’t as light as newer Gis on the market, they have a classic feel which brings you back.
The Fuji design is super clean, with just a small branded trim on the bottom of the jacket and the Fuji logo on the arms. The regular design is very subtle, but I like the Brazilian Pride design because it adds that little bit of color necessary to stand out.
Still, the design leaves room for patches or other additions. Fuji Gis are awesome for academy Gis.
As for functionality, Fuji Gis are extremely strong and durable. Instead of going for as light as possible, they reach a middle ground between heavy and light, resulting in a Gi that’s comfortable, but makes you feel strong when wearing it.
- 550 GSM Gold Weave
- 12oz twill cotton pants
- Color options: black, white, navy blue, grey
- Top of the line Hayabusa craftsmanship
No one makes premium gear as good as Hayabusa. Their Gis are no different – and the Goorudo 3 is the pick of the bunch.
This Gi is a classically styled Gi, heavier than newer Gis, at 550 GSM and with 12oz pants. While some may prefer a more lightweight Gi, the Hayabusa Goorudo 3 has superior durability and doesn’t make it easy for your opponent to take grips.
The design is classic Hayabusa, with the recognizable Hayabusa branding and Japanese-inspired Kanji patches.
Their sizing can run a little small based on reviews, so you might want to consider erring on the larger size, and shrink it down if needed.
- 350 GSM Pearl Weave
- 230 GSM cotton pants
- Reinforced seams
- Black, blue, white, navy, grey color options
Like Hayabusa, Venum is a staple for high-quality martial arts gear. And while they’re mostly known for no-Gi and MMA gear, their Contender Series 2 Gi is excellent.
The jacket is made from 350 GSM Pearl Weave fabric, which is extremely lightweight. Despite that, the reinforced collar and seams and trusted Venum craftsmanship results in a super durable Gi.
The design is clean and simple, with just the Venum brand on the front and logo on the upper back. Plenty of space for additional patches, while staying in compliance with IBJJF rules.
- 400 GSM Pearl Weave
- 10oz cotton pants
- Triple reinforced stitching
- Double reinforced knee padding
KINGZ makes a simple but extremely nice Gi, with “The One”. Made with quality material, the 400 GSM Pearl Weave feels really light, but stands up to heavy use.
A great fit for both training and competition, this Gi is designed to be compliant with competition rules (with the light weight an added benefit you’ll love when it comes time to weigh in). The available colors are the IBJJF-approved black, white and blue, with nothing fancy that will get you in trouble.
The design itself is clean and subtle. The only additions are small KINGZ logos on the upper back, sleeves and lower lapels. This makes it a great choice for academy Gis, with plenty of space to add your club’s logo.
- 450 GSM Pearl Weave
- 12oz cotton drill pants
- Slim fit reinforced knee pads
- COOLMAX fabric lining inside the jacket and pants
- Stunning Japanese-inspired design
I really love the Senso Aizome Gi. It’s got a great mix of style and practicality, with a 450 GSM jacket that’s right in the sweet spot – light, but not too light.
Unlike some others on this list, Senso put a lot into the design, and making this Gi stand out. It’s got a classical Japanese style that conjures up images of Samurai in a Kurosawa film. The jacket lining is both cooling and looks great, a light blue and white that contrasts with the navy blue Gi.
The Gi is pre-shrunk, but can be shrunk down more with a hot water wash if needed. Otherwise, stick to a cold wash if it’s already the desired size when it arrives.
BJJ Gi Pro Tips: Getting the Perfect Fit
Getting a BJJ Gi that fits is a bit of an art. It can be up to personal preference a little bit – maybe you prefer a close fit or a little looser – but generally something that’s not too tight and not too loose is best.
Basically, you want maneuverability (the ability to move comfortably and without restrictions), while not giving your opponent too much fabric to grip.
If you plan to compete, you also need to follow the IBJJF uniform requirements. These rules state your Gi jacket and pants can’t be too long or too short, and can’t be too tight either.
To get the sizing right, the best thing would obviously be to actually try on the Gi. But if you’re buying online, that might not be an option until it arrives.
One thing you can do to get the sizing right is check the brand’s Gi size chart. Most brands have slightly different sizing, and will have their own chart recommending which size fits your height/weight.
After that, check out reviews and questions left by previous customers, as that will give you an idea of the sizing for the Gi you’re looking at – for example, if it tends to run long, or if the arms are shorter than normal.
Finally, you can also shrink your Gi a bit after it comes, to get the best BJJ Gi fit for you.
BJJ Gi Pro Tips: Shrinking Your Gi
Shrinking your Gi is fairly common practice. Due to the material Gis are made from, it’s natural for them to shrink a little on the first few washes.
That’s why you shouldn’t panic if your Gi arrives and it seems to be too big for you.
If this is the case, shrinking your Gi is pretty simple. Start by washing it in hot water. If it comes out at the ideal size, leave it at that and let it air dry.
If not, you can machine dry it. Don’t throw it in the dryer for an hour and leave it – this might end up shrinking your Gi too much (and there’s no de-shrinking a Gi). Instead, dry it for a short time, stop, and test it. If it’s still too big, dry it a little longer.
You can also wash your Gi in hot water again to shrink it further. Usually the first few warm washes will shrink down your Gi a little each time.
When you’ve got the size you want, wash your Gi in cold water and air dry from then on to prevent further shrinkage.
Some Gis these days come pre-shrunk for you. Take note when buying your Gi if this is the case, although these Gis can usually still shrink a little more if you need it.
BJJ Gi Pro Tips: Caring For Your Gi
While a Gi from the best BJJ Gi brands should stand the test of time, it’s also important that you care for your Gi the right way.
There are some things you should never do when washing your Gi:
- Never use bleach
- Never iron your Gi
- Don’t machine dry your Gi (except the first one or two times, when you’re shrinking it)
- Don’t leave your Gi in direct sunlight too long
These things can cause your Gi fabric to weaken and wear down. Before long you’ll be shopping for a new Gi.
You should also wash your Gi as soon as possible after each use. Leaving it lying around, or balled up in your bag lets bacteria grow and settle, which can lead to infections or persistent bad odors. You never want to be the stinky Gi person in your class.
BJJ Gi Pro Tips: Gis for Competition
If you plan to compete, think about this when buying your BJJ Gi. A competition Gi may be different to a day in day out training Gi.
First, as we mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure it fits in with the IBJJF uniform requirements.
This also means taking color into consideration, since most comps only let you compete in basic black, white or blue Gis.
Aside from being legal for competition, you might also want to think about a lighter Gi for competition, as this can help you make weight. The lighter Gi you have, the lighter you’ll weigh in at, so this may give you a little edge by allowing you to be slightly heavier than your opponent.
On the flipside, lighter Gis can be easier for opponents to make grips on. So if you’re not worried about giving over a pound or two, a heavier Gi may work out better for you.
Picking The Perfect BJJ Gi: In Summary
A great BJJ Gi does not only mean extra style points (though style points are important). It also means a comfortable Gi, that doesn’t interfere with your training, and lasts a long time before wearing down.
BJJ Gis are not cheap, so it pays to try and get your choice right the first time. To avoid buyer’s remorse (similar to “jumped on the submission before securing position” remorse), we gathered this collection of things to look for when shopping for a Gi, tips to care for and maintain your Gi, as well as a curated list of our team’s personal favorite Gis out there today.
Be sure to check out the list above, and don’t waste any time getting a shiny new Gi for your collection.