BJJ Gi Buyers Guide (2020)

Updated: 4.8.2020

Whether you’re a pro or someone starting out, you will need the right gi to make an impact. The huge number of options out there can make it difficult for practitioners to pick the right one.

Look at gi as your uniform. You will wear it for hours and it will become an integral part of who you are. Jiu Jitsu practitioners take grade pride in their attire and hence are very careful when picking one. 

In this BJJ gi guide, we’ll cover everything from BJJ Gi materials to sizes to help you pick the right one.

Let’s start.

What BJJ Gi Material to Choose

Remember that not all gis are made equal even if they look the same. 

Material is of huge importance because it largely dictates how durable, comfortable and light the gi is.

BJJ gis are typically thick. They’re made specifically to handle wear and tear that practitioners have to go through.

Most gis contain 100% cotton or a blend that is predominantly cotton. It lasts long and is available in a range of thickness including military grade. Many times for the gi pants reinforcing techniques like rip-stop are used.

It’s woven with unique reinforcing techniques that make it durable and resistant to ripping and tearing. It is thin, light, comfortable, yet durable. Rip-stop is pretty easy to recognize due to its square pattern.

When you look around, you will find gis labeled as a certain GSM, short for Grams per Square Meter. The figure is typically between 450 and 550. It is used to measure the material’s weight.

A gi with a lower GSM is almost always lighter than a gi with a higher GSM. However, two gis with the same GSM will not always weigh the same as other factors also come into play. 

For durability, pay special attention to spots like knees, belt loops, edges of the top, inseams, armpits, pant legs, and cuffs. They should be heavily reinforced with extra layers and stitching to prevent the risk of premature tearing. 

Some cheap gis use poor quality material. It’s best to stay away from such options as they will tear in no time and you will have to invest in another gi. It’s best to opt for a reinforced gi.

A very important point to pay attention to is the collar. Good gis come with filled collars. Some contain foam-like rubber inserts and some are filled with fabric. 

While it’s a personal preference for most people, we’ve found that most experts like to go for rubber inserts as they dry quickly, are thicker, and can be a little tricky to hold onto, which can help players during competitions.

Macaco Branco has an extended range of Gi’s from 350 GSM to 550 GSM – 350 GSM being ultralight and comfortable Gi and 550 GSM being the most durable Gi you will find.

What BJJ Gi Size to Choose

It can be a little difficult to find the right gi size. You have to be very careful when selecting a gi because loose gis will give more space for your opponent to use against you. Similarly, tight gis can constrict your movement and make it difficult for you to move or apply chokes.

In addition to this, you should also pay attention to the length of the gi when choosing the right size BJJ gi. Remember that it is often not allowed to use a gi that has legs and sleeves that end much higher than your ankles and wrist in competitions.

Such a gi may give you an unfair advantage, hence most competitions and dens ban such outfits. Moreover, a very long gi is not of much help. It can make it difficult to get a hold of your opponent and may give the other person a great opportunity to control you.

When buying a gi, make sure to pay attention to the chart, you will see sizes defined in terms of letters (A for adult, I for infant) and numbers (0 to 6 in ascending order). The good thing is that there are BJJ gis for all sizes and shapes. Whether you’re big or small, you will have no difficulty in finding a gi that fits you.

Due to the popularity of Jiu Jitsu among children and teens, companies have now started to offer special sizes as well. 

So how to choose an appropriate BJJ gi size? There’s no universal size chart because sizes differ based on companies. They are not always the same. Always look at a company specific sizing chart before buying a BJJ gi. Below you can find the Macaco Branco sizing chart.

We are happy to help if you have any questions about the sizing: lauri@macacobranco.com

Lastly, remember that it is common for gis to shrink a little after wash. The best way to be safe is to wash them with cold water before hang-drying them overnight. Machine drying can cause gis to shrink a lot. However, Macaco Branco Gis are double pre-shrunk so shrink will be minimal.

Which Jiu Jitsu Gi Color to Choose

Gis are available in almost all colors from yellow to brown to white to black. However, be careful because some Jiu Jitsu competitions and gyms only allow specific colors.

White, black, and blue are the safest and most popular choices. However, some academies are known to only allow ‘white’. Such occurrences are rare, but it might be a good idea to consult your academy to be on the safe side. 

There is no such thing as the ‘best’ color and it ends up being a personal choice; however, black and blue tend to look cleaner and sharper than white, which is the most common and traditional color.

The Jiu Jitsu community seems to prefer white as well mainly due to most popular names including Roger Gracie adorning the color.

When picking a color, remember that you might have to add patches (school brand, etc.). Try to pick a color that goes well with the batch so that it doesn’t stand like a sore thumb.

Which BJJ Gi Weave Is the Best

It is important to understand Jiu Jitsu weaves to be able to pick the right BJJ gi.

  • Single Weave: Beginners should consider this option. It’s cheap, light, and pretty common as well. However, it isn’t as durable as other options. Still, it’s preferred because it’s comfortable to wear and can make it easy to train even during the hot season. Moreover, since it’s lighter, it can help keep your weight down during competition. 
  • Double Weave: This option is twice as heavy and thick as the first option, which is why it is said to be suitable for fanatics who have been in the business for at least a few months. It’s more expensive and warmer but also more durable. Another important point to remember is that they can take slightly longer to dry. Hence, consider buying two gis if you train every day. 
  • Gold Weave: This is a mix of single and double weaves. It takes the best aspects of the first two options and presents a product that’s durable but light. Go for this once you’ve become accustomed to BJJ as it’s typically more expensive than the other two options.
  • Pearl Weave: For most people Pearl weave Gis are the way to go. It has become quite popular in recent times and is preferred by a large number of pros and practitioners who take part in competitions. It’s the lightest gi allowed in competition and is known for being among the most durable options. It got its name due to its unique feel – the fabric appears like tiny pearls but is very comfortable to wear as it lets air pass through.

In addition to this, you may find some more weaves on the market including Honeycomb and Platinum. These are ‘branded’ weaves introduced by companies to attract buyers and may not always be reliable. The safest bet is to stay away from these.

How to Choose a Gi for Jiu Jitsu

Now that you know all about the factors to consider when selecting a gi for Jiu Jitsu, it’s time to look at how to buy one.

If this is your first gi then it is best to go for a mid-price gi. Once you know enough you can move to a top BJJ gi.

Expensive options might be more reliable but remember that durability does not only depend on how a gi is built but also how you use it. On the other hand if you buy a Gi costing €35 you can get anything, but not a good Gi. When you know what you want you should aim for the best.

A Buyer Guide to Purchasing a Gi: FAQ

How long does a gi last?

A gi typically lasts for about two years but it depends on a number of factors including the material, use, stitching, and weaves. Gis typically begin to get torn from the sleeves, knees, armpits, and collar. This indicates it’s time for a replacement. 

How and how often should I wash my gi?

You should wash it every time you wear it; otherwise, it will begin to smell. Use cold water and hang dry to maximize the life of your gi and minimize shrinkage.

How much does a gi cost?

Prices vary depending on the material, weave, brand, size, and other such factors. Some cheap gis cost about $35 but most high quality options will cost about $140. Some top companies are also known to offer special gis for about $500.

Do all BJJ gis look the same?

No, they do not. They differ in terms of color and cuts. Some gi manufacturers stick with traditional retro looks and cuts, while some brands appear to prefer a more updated look. The look, however, does not affect performance. It only impacts how you ‘look’ and may offer a mental advantage.

If you are competing you should check out rules that IBJJF sets for the Gis. If you buy and Macaco Branco Gi, the right size, of course, you can use it in IBJJF competitions. https://ibjjf.com/uniform/