In a full-contact sport like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, durability in your equipment is non-negotiable. In Gi-based Bjj, there is a considerable emphasis on gripping your opponent’s uniform for control and advancing your position. As a result, the traditional BJJ gi is made of thick cotton capable of withstanding repetitive wear and friction. For those training numerous times per week, having a uniform that will stand up to consistent use is essential. In addition, Gis are an expensive piece of equipment. Nobody wants to fork out money for something that won’t last. This article sets out some important considerations to make before purchasing a Gi. We then move onto the five most durable Gis available on Amazon.
What to Avoid?
1) Lightweight Gis
- When it comes to comfort and hot climates, a lightweight gi is the way to go. Lightweight Gis will give you slightly more mobility and will undoubtedly allow more airflow whilst training. The critical issue with lightweight Gis is that they use less material and are therefore more likely to rip and tear under continuous use. The stitching on lightweight Gis is also weaker in crucial areas. If you plan on building up a Gis collection, then a lightweight option may be something to consider. If you only plan on having one or two, look for something thicker.
2) Cheap Gis
- Yes, BJJ uniforms are expensive, but you will be better set spending more money on one reliable Gi than purchasing several cheap Gis for the same price. The issue with cheap Gis is that the material used is of much lower quality than their more expensive counterparts. Additionally, the stitching and machinery used to put these Gis together are not conducive to a durable uniform. Trust me, in the long run, you’ll be happy you spent the money.
3) New / Generic Brands
- Although it may seem unfair to up and coming brands, there is a reason why a handful of Gi manufacturers dominate the Bjj world. The recognized brands have been tried and tested for years in competitions and academies across the globe. The highest level athletes wear these brands because they stand up to black belt level grappling day in and day out. Generic brands may offer a solid product, but inevitably, you are taking a bet on your purchase.
What to Look For?
1) Reinforced Stitching at Pressure Points
- The critical pressure points on a Bjj gi are the shoulders, the elbows, the collar, the sleeves, the knees, and the pant hems. These are the areas that receive the most friction and contact while sparring. It is crucial, when considering a durable Gi, to make sure that these areas are reinforced through extra stitching or extra material either inside or outside the uniform.
2) High GSM Cotton Material
- GSM (grams per square meter) refers to the thickness and weight of the material on the uniform. The higher the GSM, the more durable the uniform will be. Due to mobility purposes, the jacket will always be thicker than the pants. When looking for this information online, pants are generally listed in Oz. This figure can be converted to GSM online.
3) Pre Shrunk Material
- Many of us know too well the horror of pulling a shrunken gi out of the washing machine. Many Gis will specify whether or not they have been pre-shrunk or not. This factor will not only give you peace of mind when washing your BJJ gi, but it will also ensure that the cotton has been shrunken previously. This process brings the material closer together and adds another layer of durability to the uniform.
Kingz is a well-known brand in the BJJ community. Their Balistico 3.0 offers a 480 gsm jacket with 270 gsm pants to match. The material is preshrunk for an added level of protection against wear. The collar is made of a heat-resistant rubber, and the stitching around the collar is also heavily reinforced so that collar grabs will not result in rips along the neck. The jacket itself is made from a single piece of material. This feature means that numerous pieces were not sewn together to form a uniform. Obviously, this results in a more durable fabric with less stitching required to keep it all together. The jacket also features a reinforced chest and shoulder area.
The pants are made of ripstop threads. This material features a higher thread count and reduces the spread of rips once they have occurred. As a result, a small rip or tear can be easily amended without the risk of it spreading throughout the pants. The knees are double enforced, which is crucial when considering the friction created in that area. The full uniform features overlapped seams so that even in areas when stitches may be fragile, there is an added layer of protection. Another small detail is the high thread count on the Kingz logos features on the Gi. The higher count results in less risk of tearing in those areas.
Balistico 3.0 is a stunning uniform and is available in the traditional colors of black, blue, and white. It comes in L and H sizes for a more accurate fit for your size. Kingz also offers excellent customer service and carry a strong brand recognition.
Venum is another well-known brand in BJJ circles. The Power 2.0 features a 450 gsm jacket and 280 gsm pants. This thickness adds to the reliability of this uniform. The jacket is not pre-shrunk. However, it does feature a three-times enforced stitching pattern on the exterior and interior sleeve. The collar on the Power 2.0 is firmly stitched, ensuring little wear with regular use. The chest and shoulders on the Power 2.0 are also reinforced, meaning that each pressure point on this jacket is ready for action.
The pants on the Power 2.0 feature three times enforced pant hem similar to the jacket sleeves. The knees have additional stitching, and the entire pants are put together with a cross-stitching technique. This technique means that the seams are overlapping, keeping them strong throughout repetitive use. The Power 2.0 comes in black, blue, or white and carries a strong brand recognition through Venum like Kingz.
Although not as renowned as the previous Gis, the Goorudo 3 offers a 550 gsm jacket and 405 gsm pants. The uniform is heavy, ranging from 4-6 lbs, depending on size. This weight is supported by three times enforced sleeve and a strong collar stitching to avoid friction wear. The chest and shoulders are both reinforced, providing an incredibly strong uniform for training and competition.
The pants on the Goorudo are similar to the jacket with reinforced pant hems and strong knee protection too. The entire uniform is semi-shrunk for durability, but it is susceptible to some shrinkage in the wash. Reviews of this gi are mostly favorable, with a couple of outliers highlighting the color fading. As a result, I would recommend the black or grey color for this uniform. This is, by far, the heaviest gi on the list.
Our second Kingz product on the list features a 400 gsm jacket and 340 gsm pants. The production is similar to that of the Balistico 3.0 in the 1-piece fabric for the jacket and pants. Although there is no triple stitching on the sleeves, the 1-piece provides a solid material. The hems, collar, chest, and shoulders are all reinforced on the jacket too. The collar is also made from a heat resistant rubber to protect from grip friction and warm washes.
The pants on the One feature reinforced hems to protect from gips in that area. The knees are crucially padded and, just like the jacket, the pants are made from a single piece of material. Other interesting features include minimal Kingz branding, which means that the material is not compromised by additional stitching. As will all Kingz gis, L and H sizes are available, and it comes in black, blue, and white.
The final Gi on the list is another uniform from Venum. The Contender 2.0 offers a 350 gsm jacket and 230 gsm pants. As with the Power 2.0, the Contender features enforced sleeves and is pre-shrunk to add to durability. The chest, shoulders, and jacket hems also feature additional stitching. The collar is made of foam and provides extra stitching for added support.
The knee pads have extra stitching on the inside of the material. This provides two layers of support when working on the ground. Aside from that, the pant hems are supported as standard. The Contender is a great cost-effective option and comes in an interesting navy and grey as well as other standard colors. It comes in 5 main sizes, and although it has mixed reviews online, many of the negative reviews are not related to the uniform’s durability. If you’re unsure of your size, check out our BJJ gi size chart.