BJJ is supposed to be accessible to anyone. It’s a martial art for people from all backgrounds, any shape or size. But a lot of people come into the sport and find it pretty expensive.
One of the most expensive parts, at least for a beginner, is buying a gi. A big purchase up front, before you’ve even decided if BJJ is right for you, blocks a lot of people from getting started. But the good news is, a BJJ gi doesn’t have to be super expensive.
So how much does a gi cost really? Is it necessary to shell out big dollars on a top of the line gi, or is this just gi brands trying to squeeze money from you?
Read on to find out.
How Much Should You Spend on a Gi?
The correct answer is… it depends.
Like many things, gis can be cheap or expensive. There’s a big range in quality, and as a result, price.
You can go all out for a high-end gi from a premium brand, like this Origin gi.
Yet you could also go for something more affordable, like the Hawk Jiu Jitsu gi.
The first option, a premium gi from a premium brand, costs $335, while the second, a budget option, is under $50.
That gives you an idea of the price range gis come at.
Whether you should spend $50 or $350 for a gi is completely up to your own circumstances. You shouldn’t feel like you need to outspend your means and spend money you don’t have, just to get a really good gi. Yet if you have the money to spend, and you want to invest in a top-quality gi, you may want to spend more, and that’s fine.
Average Price for a Gi
The average price for a gi is a little closer to the lower end of that range, than the higher end, which is a bit of an outlier.
You can expect to find a decent quality gi for somewhere between $70-$90. A good example is the Sanabul Competition Gi. You’ll likely find the highest number of choices in the range of $100-$125, particularly if you’re looking for gis from well-known BJJ gi brands.
Best Budget, Mid-Level and Premium Gi
You’ve got a large number of excellent choices at most price levels, whether you’ve got a lot to spend or you’re on a budget.
Here are a few recommendations.
Best Budget Gi: Elite Sports BJJ Gi
Click here to to view more cheap BJJ gi recommendations
Best Mid-Range Gis:
Sanabul Competition Gi
Venum Contender Gi
Gold BJJ Foundation Gi
Best Premium Gis
Hayabusa Goorudo 3 Gold Weave Gi
Origin “The Path” Gi
Read more: Our review of Origin BJJ Gis, and whether the brand lives up to its premium price tag.
How Many Gis Do You Need?
Now, a single gi is sometimes not that expensive. But you might be worried about needing to buy many gis, and the cost of that.
Whether you need one gi or more is pretty much down to how much you train. If you’re only training once or twice a week, you can probably get by with just one gi.
Wash your gi each time after training, and it should be ready for your next session.
If you’re training in the gi 3+ times per week, it might be tougher to keep your gi clean for each training session. In this case, it’s best to have at least two, so you can rotate them throughout the week.
If your academy alternates between gi and no-gi days, you might still be able to get away with just having one gi.
Long-term, you’re probably going to want to have a few gis you can choose from. This will help each gi last longer, as you’ll get less wear and tear on each. You might also want a couple of different styles to choose from – such as at least one lightweight gi for traveling or training in hot conditions.
However, again, don’t feel like you have to spend money on a bunch of new gis. If you’re on a budget, it’s fine to only have one gi.
What To Do If You Can’t Afford a Gi?
If you can’t afford to buy a gi, you shouldn’t have to feel like this stops you from taking up BJJ. There are a few other options you can go with in the meantime.
Borrow a Gi
Ask around class if anyone’s willing to lend you a gi for classes. Start with your instructor – often, clubs have spare gis lying around that you can use when you come to class.
Otherwise, see if anyone has an extra gi they can spare. Most BJJ folks are very welcoming and willing to help when you’re just starting out on your journey.
Check Local Stores or Second-Hand
Online, you’re probably not going to find a gi much cheaper than $50. But, depending on the area you’re in, you might be able to find something you can afford at a brick and mortar store.
Check sporting goods stores for a cheap option. Failing that, look to the second-hand market. You’ll often find decent deals on Facebook marketplace or other buy and sell groups.
Use a Different Martial Arts Gi
The BJJ gi has specific differences to gis in other martial arts, such as Karate, Aikido or Judo. Gis from these martial arts aren’t ideal for BJJ, but if you’re in a pinch, it can work when you’re just getting started.
Gis for other martial arts are usually thinner and lighter, which also means they’re often cheaper. This Pro Force Judo Gi, for example, is much cheaper than most BJJ gis out there.
You may want to check with your instructor first to ask if it’s ok, and explain your situation, but most schools should be ok with you using a different gi temporarily.
Finally, you might just want to leave the gi aside and train no-gi to start with.
With no-gi, your clothing choices are a lot broader. You’ll usually be fine training in regular gym clothes, so you might not need to buy anything new.
This is a good idea if you’re just dipping your toe in the water, and not sure if you want to stay with BJJ or not. You can learn a bit about the sport and figure out if it’s right for you or not, before deciding to spend $50-$100 (or more) on a gi.
Read More: BJJ Gi vs No-Gi – What’s the Difference?
What Else Do You Need to Buy to Train BJJ?
The cost of training BJJ can stack up, when you consider all the gear you need.
Not all types of BJJ gear are absolutely necessary – so if you’re tight on money, don’t feel like you need to spend hundreds of dollars kitting yourself out in matching spats, rash guard, and a gold weave gi to match.
The gi is the main piece of equipment you’ll need to buy at some point. You’ll also want a belt (though most of the time, when you buy a gi it comes with a belt).
Otherwise you can get by with clothing and gear you might already have.
If you can afford it, and you want to get fully kitted out for BJJ, you’ll look for the following gear:
You might also want to look at getting a set of headgear if you have trouble with cauliflower ear.
None of these are super-essential; at least not so much as the gi. But if you want to be as comfortable as possible, in order to progress fastest, you’ll want to make sure you get the proper gear.