There are several factors to consider when purchasing a Gi for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gis generally come in either light, medium, or heavy-weights. Medium weights are the typical entry-level uniform for beginners to the sport. Heavier weight Gis tend to be more durable for those who train more intensely or more frequently. Lightweight Gis are made of less material and more lightweight cotton. They are the choice of many athletes but not for all. Key reasons for not choosing a lighter Gi include durability and feel. Many students are more comfortable in a medium weight Gi, and others grow accustomed to the heavier variety. In this article, I will set out some reasons to consider purchasing a lightweight Gi. I will move onto some essential considerations before purchasing and will conclude with the seven best lightweight Gis available on Amazon today.
Why Light Weight?
Mobility is an essential factor for many athletes. Less material means more maneuverability throughout your body. The most straightforward example of this is in your shoulder area. If you are wearing a hefty jacket, it will be harder and more strenuous to keep your arms raised above your head. If you are wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt, on the other hand, it will be much easier to do so. This is how lighter uniforms improve mobility in BJJ. The increased movement will allow for more streamlined submissions, position advances, and controls.
Comfort is an essential consideration for all students. Although BJJ is a typically uncomfortable sport, being comfortable in your uniform allows you to focus on your game and not your clothing. This is especially true for lighter athletes who may feel suffocated in a more massive, heavier Gi. A more lightweight option will allow you to train and compete without the distraction of a heavy uniform.
For those of you fortunate enough to train in a warm climate (big shoutout to those northern Europeans), the heat is always on your mind. A heavy Gi will inevitably drive up body heat and force the body to sweat more. Whilst this may seem like a dream to our European readers, it is far from ideal for those involved. Some companies claim that less sweat leads to fewer bacteria buildup and fewer infections as a result. Although the science on this topic is far from perfect, a lighter Gi will undoubtedly keep students cooler while on the mats.
4) Making Weight
This is often overlooked (certainly by myself) as a reason to purchase a lighter Gi. Many of the Gis listed below weigh an average of 3.5lbs. Compare this to a heavier alternative of around 5lbs. That extra few pounds could mean the difference between Medio and Meio-Pesado!
What to Consider Before Buying
The Gis listed below are all positively rated on Amazon. Before purchasing any Gi, it is crucial to do your homework and check out reviews from around the internet. Although the manufacturer may lure you in with some catching advertisement, the best judge of a Gi is the sum of all users. This will give you the best view of the durability, comfort, etc.
As mentioned above, you aren’t purchasing a lightweight Gi for exponential durability. While it should hold up, you shouldn’t expect to get more than a couple of years out of it before tears start to show. As such, you should budget accordingly. Don’t pay through the roof for a product that won’t last forever. Lightweight Gis can be a great addition to your armory, so make sure you have another uniform ready to go.
3) Item Descriptions
This one is for the manufacturer again. Several products that I’ve seen have advertised lightweight Gis but reading through the descriptions, these uniforms wouldn’t look out of place in our list of heavy, durable Gis. Make sure you double-check the GSM (grams per square meter) and the uniform’s actual weight before buying. Also, if you’re unsure about your size, check out our gi size chart guide so you can avoid buying a too small/big gi.
The first Gi on our list is also the highest rated on Amazon. It is made from a single weave, features tapered sleeves, pant hems, and a rubber collar to ensure protection in essential places. It weighs around 3lbs depending on size. Although not world-renowned, the Sanabul team advocates include coach John Danaher and UFC start ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. The Gi features a few brand logos, which means less stitching and more strength to the uniform overall.
The Gi tends to run big, so sizing is not consistent with other, more popular Gis on the market. I would always recommend getting a larger size and shrinking in the wash. As I have learned over the years, you can make a Gi smaller, but you can never make it bigger. The Gi is extremely affordable and also comes with a free belt of any color. Featured colors include green, grey, and navy alongside the traditional choices.
Hayabusa is becoming a larger presence online and on Amazon, particularly with their wide variety of Gi and No-Gi uniforms. This Gi features a reasonably lightweight jacket at 350 gsm (N.B. Heavier jackets tend to run 400-500 gsm) and 8oz ripstop pants (reduces the spread of tears). The Gi runs from 3-4lbs but is reinforced in critical areas, including shoulders, knees, and sleeves.
The Pearl weave is not the cheapest product on the list, but it is quite good looking and features some favorable reviews to boot. The Gi is pre-washed but not pre-shrunk. This generally results in less color fading, but some customers have reported fading after a couple of washes. As a result, I would advise a black or grey uniform as opposed to navy or white.
The Kanji features a 350 gsm jacket and ripstop pants to match. Weighing in at around 3.5lbs, the Kanji is a traditional-looking GI and features some very positive reviews from past buyers. Crucially, for durability purposes, the Kanji is reinforced at the shoulder, knees, sleeves, and pant hems. Additionally, the Shogun Fight brand features a strong endorsement from ADCC Champion and current PFL fighter, Vinny Magalhães.
The Kanji is available in some L sizes and potentially H sizes in the future. Although not essential, it is nice to have these options for those who don’t fit the traditional A/F sizing structure. For what it is, the Kanji is reasonably priced. One reservation I would have is the quantity of Shogun Logos featured on the Gi. Not only are they slightly jarring to the traditional white uniform, but they also provide more opportunity for rips and tears to occur. However, this was not highlighted in any of the reviews online.
Regardless of the performance of this one, it certainly has the most enticing name on the list. Fuji’s offering is the first of the ‘premier’ brands on the list. As with Shogun’s Gi, the Fuji features a 350 gsm jacket and ripstop pants. The collar is tapered, and the sleeves and pant hems are also reinforced to provide peace of mind while rolling. There are also overwhelming reports that the Gi feels great, unlike others, which can feel like plastic.
As you would expect, the Fuji comes in L and H sizes. It costs a little more than the others but also comes with the backing of Fuji’s customer support and heaps of good ratings. You can get the Submit Everyone in Black, Blue, or White. Similar to the Shogun Gi, my only concern here is the quantity of Fuji logos. Inevitably, the more you stitch into the uniform, the more you infringe on its strength.
The Zero-G V4 is the first Gi on the list with a dedicated Woman’s sizing. Tatami is one of the biggest names in the BJJ game, with many world-class athletes on their team, including JT Torres and Gilbert Burns. The fourth edition of their Zero-G features a 475 gsm jacket and 9 oz ripstop pants. We have to stop here because 475 gsm wouldn’t look out of place on a winter coat. Regardless, this thickness didn’t mean a compromise on weight with the Zero-G weighing in at 3-4lbs. The collar is rubber, the knees and sleeves are tapered, and the entire uniform is cut from 1 piece of fabric.
The Zero-G is around mid-price on this list. The GI comes in L and H sizes and features F sizes, especially for women. This is an excellent reprieve from the A sizes, which are typically cut to fit men’s body shapes. The GI is available in traditional black and white. Although there are few reviews on Amazon, the Zero-G has received favorable reviews on other outlets online.
The second entry from Fuji is their Summer Weight Gi. As implied, the Gi is geared towards those in warmer climates and need a reprieve from their heavier uniforms. The Gi weighs around 4lbs and features tapered collars, sleeves, and knees. Like the Zero-G, the Sumer Weight uniform sits around the midpoint of our list in terms of price.
An interesting aspect of the Summer Weight is the elasticated drawstring cord on the pants. Some like it and others don’t. It’s certainly not the norm in BJJ, and preference is probably entirely subjective. Unlike their ‘Submit Everyone’ the Summer Weight has fewer logos, and those featured are away from frictional areas. The Gi is currently only available in black online.
When it comes to advertising a lightweight Gi, Gold has nailed it. Sitting at the higher end of our price list, the Ultra features a 275 gsm jacket and 10 oz ripstop pants. Overall the Gi weighs around 3lbs, making it one of the lightest on the list. The jacket and pants are reinforced and tapered in all of the key areas. Although not a household name, Gold has received excellent reviews for this model and others.
The Ultra Light Weight comes in traditional Black, Grey, or Navy and, you guessed it, Gold! The Gis are also available in L and H sizing, which is unique for such a new brand. Although I don’t have much experience with the brand, I must say that it could make for an excellent purchase given the weight and reviews of this product.