BJJ gis come in all shapes and sizes. How do you know which is best for you?
In this article we discuss the different types of BJJ gis that are available in the market today.
BJJ gis for beginners are typically constructed from a single weave or ripstop material. Generally, they will cost less but the price difference means lower quality.
A beginner BJJ gi is best for someone just starting out in jiu jitsu who wants to test the waters before committing major bucks for a premium gi. Fortunately, the quality of these gis has improved over the last decade. Even a simple gi will typically be of a decent quality that will last you a while.
Fit may not be the best
A lightweight gi weighs less than a regular gi. It takes up less physical space in a gym bag and is best suited for summer training when the weather is hotter.
A lightweight gi can be a good choice when you want to train and travel bjj. The downside to a lightweight gi is that the quality can suffer. It’s essential that a lightweight gi have strong inner stitching to compensate for the material. It’s not uncommon for light gis to tear, so be careful.
Easy for travel
Keep cool in hot weather
Vulnerable to tear
A double weave gi is basically a heavy duty gi. Judo double weave gis were famous for being built like tanks. This made them difficult to grip and BJJ players often wore them when there were less BJJ specific gi brands around.
Double weave gis are still in used Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, yet they are much less common. They restrict movement because of their weight making them disfavored by many for competitions. They still have their fans, however.
A competition BJJ gi is designed for tournament play. In competition, you will need a high quality material that will last as your opponent gives his or her all against you. The last thing you want to have is the gi tear which could cause you to lose the match. The best competition gis give wearers a competitive advantage. They are light but also have a good fit which combine for or improved mobility on the mat.
You will pay more for this type of gi, but the cost is worth it if you plan to compete regularly. A basic gi might work if you compete just once in a while, but we highly recommend a competition gi if you want to get into the grappling tournament circuits. If you are competing, avoid using a lightweight or travel gi. These are best designed for rolling or practice, not intense competition.
A BJJ travel gi is basically a super lightweight gi designed for travel. It’s not recommended for competition or strenuous practice. The best features are that they are fast drying and light. These gis often use ripstop material for the weave.
We recommend that you choose a travel gi white in color and which does not have patches. This is because each school that you visit may have different uniform restrictions. Keeping your gi simple is the best policy. You don’t want to be told you cannot train because your gi breaks a club rule.
Takes up little space
Likely to tear
A premium BJJ gi is for when you want to show off. It can be great for an instructor or higher belt to wear. These types of gis can be custom fitted and will often have special designs on the exterior or interior. Some will feature specially commissioned artwork.
Premium gis often have an excellent fit. Some companies will even custom tailor the size and fit. Obviously, these gis will cost a few hundred dollars, but they are worth it if you want to take your BJJ experience to the next level.
Now that we have discussed the various categories or types of bjj gis. Let’s look at the thread design that a gi is made of: the weave. There are several types of weaves. The weave a gi uses will determine its quality and function.
Note, you will often see “GSM” listed near the name of the weave. GSM refers to Grams per Square Meter. Basically, it tells you how heavy the gi is. The bigger the number the heavier and vice versa.
The single weave material is the standard weave used in most BJJ gis. This is common with beginner gis and your normal, mid-range gis. This weave is tried and true, there have been advancements in weave technology over the years.
The double weave does what it says. It packs in twice the thread as the typical single weave.
The gold weave is a special weave. Before the explosion of variety in the gi market, the gold weave was one of the top of the line weaves. It is light yet strong. However, it has a tendency to shrink. It’s a mix between the double and single weave in that it is strong like a double but light like single. These days it’s less frequently seen on gis, but is still a good choice.
Premium gis use pearl weaves. This is the “go-to” weave popular with many high end models. This is a lightweight material yet strong. Air flow will pass through, however it has a tight structure which forms little balls or “pearls” in the material. This is essentially an upgrade from a single weave.
Ripstop is the lightest of all gi weaves. It is most commonly used as a pant material, but lightweight gi’s also use it. It is easily identified by its square/grid pattern. True to its name, the “ripstop” will prevent tears from spreading because of its design.
The hemp weave/material is an alternative to cotton or ripstop. It claims to be soft, strong and durable and will also keep you cool. It apparently has good moisture absorption and is mildew resistant.