A Gi is what makes you look like a real martial artist. To some people, it makes you look like a badass. To others, you look like a member of a cult.
The BJJ Gi is a little different to other martial arts. It’s usually strong, sturdy… and to tell the truth a little heavy.
That’s one of the reasons you might want to think about picking up a lightweight Gi for training, competition, or perhaps just for summer.
In this article, I’m going to break down the advantages and disadvantages of a lightweight Gi for BJJ, and present some of the best ultralight Gis you can get today.
Why Do You Need a Lightweight Gi?
Jiu Jitsu Gis are often really thick and heavy. Put the BJJ Gi against Gis from other martial arts like Karate or Aikido, and you’ll see the difference.
There’s a reason for this, and it’s hard to train BJJ if you only have a super-thin Karate Gi. But BJJ Gis still have varying levels of weight and thickness, which can appeal to a lot of people.
If you train anywhere hot, the Gi becomes unbearable after a while. It weighs you down, and feels like a lead jacket after a few hard rolls. That slows you down, makes it hard to move, and drains your energy.
Having trained in Brazil and Asia, with no air conditioning, I know this feeling too well!
When you’re competing in the Gi, it starts to feel like a big hindrance too. You need to weigh in with full uniform, so the heavier your Gi, the more weight you need to cut. A lightweight Gi could be the difference between making weight in a lower class, or having to go up against fighters bigger and stronger than you.
The practical benefits go on… if you need to carry your gear around all day, you’ll feel a lot better with a lightweight Gi. Even better if you’re travelling – you probably don’t want half your baggage allowance going just towards your Gi.
If that’s not enough, lightweight Gis are generally cheaper too! Who doesn’t want to save a little money?
Disadvantages of an Ultralight Gi
There’s really no massive downside to wearing a lightweight or ultralight Gi. But for a few reasons, some people may prefer a regular Gi.
When you buy a lightweight Gi, you need to ensure the quality is up to standard. Most top Gi manufacturers make an ultralight option that is up to their regular standards, but you can certainly get some that are weak, and tear easily.
The fit tends to be a little looser, which makes it easier to grip and manipulate. Plus it’s a little easier to get feet and hands caught, which bothers some people.
Also, while a heavy Gi in a hot Brazilian gym is kinda uncomfortable, it does make your training more intense, and increases the benefits. If you can stand it, you’ll be stronger at the end of everything. Like Goku’s weighted training gear.
So, while there’s no major downside to a lightweight Gi, they’re not necessarily essential. It comes down to personal preference.
What To Look For
There are a few things you want to look for when deciding on your lightweight Gi.
Weave is the biggest difference-maker in the weight of your Gi. It refers to the way the fabric is woven together. Different styles result in heavier or lighter Gis, as well as affecting the strength of the Gi.
Generally speaking, pearl weave is the best style for a light, yet durable gi. Other styles include gold weave, single weave and double weave (double weave Gis are usually the heaviest). Single weave style is very lightweight as well, but doesn’t tend to last as long as pearl weave.
GSM is “grams per square meter” – this is the weight of your Gi, so obviously if you want a lightweight Gi, you want a low-GSM Gi.
Most Gis range from 375-890 GSM, though you can find heavier or lighter.
If you intend to compete, it’s a must that you double-check that your Gi is legal for IBJJF competition. Otherwise you could end up doing a tough training camp that’s all for nothing.
Getting the right size is a must. Both so that it fits comfortably, and also that it complies with IBJJF rules.
Finally, you almost always want to get a Gi from a reputable manufacturer – especially when you buy a lightweight Gi. It’s easy to pick up a Gi that feels great, but then tears the first time someone gets a grip on you.
If you’ve been in the BJJ game a while, you’ll recognize some of the biggest names. These brands are a staple in the game for a reason, and generally you can feel pretty safe picking up any of their products.
Don’t Waste Your Money – The Best Lightweight Gis for 2020
As promised, here are the best lightweight Gi options on the market right now.
Gold BJJ Ultralight Aeroweave
- 40% lighter than a standard pearl weave Gi
- Strong and durable
- Four clear, minimalist designs
- Light and breathable 10oz ripstop pants
Gold BJJ is a smaller brand than some of the heavyweights on this list, but they consistently put out high-quality BJJ gear. This offering from them delivers the goods for a lightweight Gi. The aeroweave design provides a great mix between light weight and durability. At 275 GSM, they claim it’s 40% lighter than a standard pearl weave Gi.
The Gi is pre-shrunk, available in black, white, grey and navy blue. Light and durable 10oz ripstop pants complete the ensemble.
- Pearl weave
- Thick rubber collar resistant to mildew
- Preshrunk Gi
- Durable pants
- Includes two FREE sew on patches
I’m not sure what the bigger name is now… Fuji the mountain, or Fuji the Gi brand. As grapplers are concerned, it’s pretty clear.
It’s hard to look past Fuji Gis. My first Gi was a Fuji, and I’ll keep coming back to them as long as I continue to train.
The Fuji Summerweight is a pearl weave, top quality and durability without weighing you down. The design is basic, no-nonsense Fuji style. It comes in blue, white and black, compliant with IBJJF and all other major BJJ organizations.
Hayabusa Lightweight Gi
- 420-gsm pearl-weave cotton jacket with 8oz ripstop pants
- Reinforced seams for durability
- Light and durable feel
- Pre-treated to prevent color fade
- IBJJF compliant
Hayabusa is another big-name premium brand in BJJ and martial arts. Though known more for their MMA gear, their BJJ products are top quality too.
This lightweight Gi is made from 420 GSM pearl weave, while the pants are 8oz ripstop. Everything is made to IBJJF standards, so take it into competition with no worries.
The Gi is available in a range of colors, including grey, blue with gold trim, military green and stone white, as well as the regular IBJJF-certified colors.
Flow Kimonos Air Gi
- 9 sizes to fit any body type
- 100% preshrunk fabric (<2% shrinkage)
- 350gsm pearl weave (100% combed cotton)
- 8oz ripstop cotton pants - lightweight and breathable
- High density foam drawstring - no more interrupting class to tie your drawstring
With a 350 GSM pearl weave design, coupled with 8oz ripstop pants, the Flow Air is as light as the name suggests. The fabric of this Gi is incredibly breathable, and is specially designed to keep moisture away. This makes it a great choice for those hot Asian or South American gyms.
The best feature of the Flow Air is the size range. Those of us with different body shapes can have a hard time finding a Gi that fits perfectly. But Flow Kimonos have us covered, with 9 size options between A1 and A4, to suit grapplers with longer or stockier bodies.
It also comes with nice added extras such as 100% pre-shrunk fabric, and a high density foam drawstring that will stay tied for longer.
War Tribe Hydrogen Ultra-Light Gi
- 2nd Generation of War Tribe Ultra Light Gi’s
- Beautiful Multicolor Stitching Direct embroidery on shoulder and pant leg Simple embroidery allows you...
- 350 GSM Pearl weave using premium cotton fabric
- 8 ounce Cotton Ripstop pants, double reinforced stitching
- Well built & extremely durable IBJJF Legal
The War Tribe Hydrogen is a little pricey, but my lord is it beautiful. The stitching and design are incredibly detailed while being simple enough for you to add your own patches.
Talking performance, the Hydrogen doesn’t sacrifice anything here. The pearl weave Gi is made from super light 350 GSM premium cotton. While the pants are 8oz ripstop, reinforced to hold up to the 300 lb wrestler who doesn’t want to let go.
If you’re willing to shell out a little extra for a premium product, you should definitely consider a War Tribe Gi.
Gameness Air Gi
- Gameness Ultra Light Weight BJJ Gi - Great Jiu Jitsu Gi for competition or training
- 350 Gram Pearl Weave BJJ Top with 8 oz Rip Stop Gi Pants
- IBJJF Approved
- One of the most popular jiu jitsu kimono's in the world
The Gameness Air is a very comfortable 350 GSM lightweight Gi, great for training in tough conditions. It’s totally IBJJF legal, so it can help you get the edge in your next competition.
The pants are comfortable and durable too, with a technical rope drawstring and a 4 loop system to help you keep your pants up – even in the most intense “flow roll”.
The fit tends to be a little bigger than other Gis, so take that into account when choosing your size.
Sanabul Essentials V.2 Ultra Light
- Preshrunk for perfect fit
- Tested by pros like Bellator fighter and BJJ black belt Guilherme Bomba and Jiu Jitsu coach, John Danaher
- Classic, uncluttered style
- Lightweight, with stiff rubberized collars, tapered sleeves, and dense single weave design
- Bjj gi fabric is specially treated, to stay dryer and cleaner
Sanabul has some of the highest quality, best value BJJ gear on the market today. So it’s no surprise they have a quality lightweight option.
Sanabul Gis are beautifully designed, coming in a variety of color choices. The Essentials V.2 is a lightweight single weave Gi, suited ideally for training, but IBJJF legal. Despite single weave not being known for the highest quality, Sanabul reinforces the fabric to ensure durability as well as comfort.
The best part about this Gis the built-in antimicrobial and anti-odor features, which is vital for those sweaty, prolonged rolling sessions.
The Essentials V.2 is also available for women, and they make a great value kids version as well.
Sanabul Gis run a little bigger than other Gi brands, so keep that in mind when buying. They are also pre-shrunk for convenience.
Venum Elite Light 2.0
- Jacket 350 gsm Pearl Wave
- Pants 250 gsm ripstop with reinforced stitching
- Optimal moisture management
- Gi preshrunk
- Sold with a lightweight backpack
Everyone knows the Venum brand. While their No-Gi gear is what they’re most well known for, their Gis are no joke either.
The Elite Light 2.0 is classic Venum, with a gorgeous design that is the hallmark of Venum products. The jacket is 350 GSM pearl weave, while the pants are 250 GSM ripstop. The Gi comes preshrunk, and with moisture management built in.
The classic Venum Gi is a little thicker at 450 GSM, and you can definitely notice the difference with this one.
Best Lightweight BJJ Gis for 2020 – In Summary
Whether you’re trying to keep cool training in hot climates, or want to cut a little bit extra for competition, most people today prefer the convenience and comfort of a lightweight Gi. The good news is there is a huge range of durable yet light Gis available today. Choose one of our picks above to be sure you’re getting one of the best out there.