When you’re new to BJJ, everything seems crazy complicated.
The one thing that seems pretty straightforward is getting those interesting and colorful training uniforms known as a BJJ Gi. Or at least most people think.
Picking out the best BJJ Gi for beginners is one of the most complicated things in the sport. It is a difficult task for the coach, who usually has to give recommendations, and an impossible one for an actual beginner.
At least if you want your very first Gi to fit optimally, last a while, be comfortable, not shrink too much on you, and be a complaint for use in competitions, should you decide to test yourself…
And that is before we even discuss personal preferences and prices.
This article is here to ease both coaches’ and BJJ beginners’ lives, by offering the very best Gis any beginner can rely on, with all the details on why they are better than others and how these picks were made.
Let us help suit you up!
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- Best overall BJJ Gi for beginners – Venum Contender Evo Gi 2.0
- Best budget beginners’ Gi – Sanabul Essentials BJJ Gi
- Best backup Gi for BJJ beginners – Elite Sports BJJ Gi
- Best cold weather Gi – Fuji All Around Gi
- Best competition Gi for BJJ beginners – Sanabul Core Competition Gi
Best BJJ Gis for Beginners
When a BJJ beginner is looking to buy their first ever Jiu-Jitsu Gi, their focus is only on the performance qualities of that Gi.
Personal preference only goes as far as the new student picking out the color of their first-ever kimono, since they do not have any idea yet about weight, brands, shrinkage, materials, style, IBJJF compliance, etc.
In short, if you’re a BJJ beginner looking for their first Gi, or a coach answering this question for a brand new student of the Gentle Art, what matters is comfort, the correct size, and picking out a Gi that is going to last.
Like one of the Gis in this list:
Venum Contender 2.0 BJJ Gi
A brand synonymous with quality in the combat apparel world, Venum simply has to feature in any list of the best BJJ Gi for beginners, if it is to be a complete and comprehensive one. From a huge selection of Gi’s on offer by Venum, we went with their Contender series as the best pick for folks who are just starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Made from 100% premium cotton, the Contender 2.0 Gi is all about strength and resilience. It features reinforced stitching at key areas, along with a reinforced EVA foam collar for an extended lifespan. The insides of the sleeve and ankle cuffs are also reinforced, preventing even the potential for rips and tears.
The second edition of this Gi is lightweight, with optimal moisture management. There are 5 different colors available of this Gi, including the three that have the IBJJF stamp of approval for tournaments. The Venum Contender 2.0 Gi comes in 8 different sizes, including in-between ones.
- Durable and tear-resistant
- Keeps you dry by wicking moisture away
- Pre-shrunk, will not shrink even after everyday use
- Does not include a belt
Sanabul Essentials BJJ Gi
Sanabul is a brand that ticks all the essential BJJ Gi for beginners’ boxes and does so while offering Gis at budget prices.
A combination like this usually means lower quality, especially with beginners in mind, who don’t really know what they’re looking for, but Sanabul is not just one of the bunch – their Gis are high quality while being available at budget prices, offering great Gi options for both beginners and experienced grapplers alike.
The Sannbul Essentials BJJ Gi is a great example. It is a lightweight BJJ Gi, which introduces the highly important and often overseen factor of comfort to it. Unless you’re training in very cold weather conditions, getting a lightweight Gi is always a reliable choice.
The Gi is made from 100% cotton material, featuring a single weave which makes this Gi not just lightweight, but ultra-light. It usually is a huge positive factor for beginners, who tend to feel suffocated and claustrophobic in heavier-set BJJ Gis.
Reinforced stitching at strategic areas means this Gi is going to last long under the constant stress of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training and competition. The collars are also optimized with stiff rubber inside, to ensure durability and make it uncomfortable for opponents to hold on to grips.
A big caveat of the Sanabul Essentials BJJ Gi is that it comes pre-shrunk so that no matter what you do in terms of washing it, it won’t turn into a children’s Gi after a couple of trips to the washing machine. Still, it is highly advisable to stick to the brand’s washing recommendations.
This clean-looking Gi, with embroidered Saanabul logos, is available in 7 different base colors, and a total of 9 designs. There are 5 different adult sizes to choose from.
- Machine washable
- Free belt with every Gi
- Tested for performance by professional BJJ coaches and athletes
- Won’t shrink regardless of how often you wash it
- A little baggy in terms of fit
Gold BJJ Foundation BJJ Gi
One of the best beginner BJJ Gi options comes via Gold BJJ, a brand built by active grapplers who understand the difference a good first Gi makes for those new to the sport.
Gold BJJ declares this Gi as the “perfect everyday Gi” which I find to be the best description. It is lightweight, durable, and medium-heavy. It features a pearl weave, giving it a lightweight feeling, and lots of tensile strength at the same time.
An original feature is the sublimated rash guard liner at the neck area of the Gi jacket, which helps wick sweat away, keeping your neck and upper back area sry, and extending the lifespan of the Gi.
The Gi is approved by the IBJJF and is only available in competition-permitted colors: blue, white, and black. It is available in 13 different sizes, including in-between sizes.
- Machine washable
- Wicks moisture away from key areas
- Very strong but light and comfortable to wear
- Designed by competitors
- Available only in 3 colors
Fuji All Around BJJ Gi
I would go as far as calling Fuji a classic BJJ Gi brand, a perfect fit for everyone practicing grappling, regardless of experience.
The brand has been around longer than all other brands, since it initially produced Judo Gis, and then widened its offer to include BJJ Gis, before the demand for Jiu-Jitsu apparel became a lot bigger than that for Judo. this pedigree means that the folks over at Fuji know exactly how to make a Gi that is perfect for the mats.
A unique aspect of this particular Gi is that it is made out of a cotton-polyester blend (55%:45%, respectively) which helps it retain its shape and gives additional flexibility properties in addition to comfort.
In terms of weight, this is a medium-weight Gi, with reinforced stitching holding together multiple layers of material across the common stress points like knees, crotch, shoulders, and under the armpits.
The Gi is designed for performance, built to last while offering comfort and an unimpeded range of motion. It is approved by the IBJJF for competition, and tested by professional athletes on the mats.
Fuji’s All Around BJJ Gi is available in 5 different base colors, but a total of 8 different designs with variability around those base colors. It comes in a huge size range, featuring 14 different sizes, which include specific sizes for both male and female BJJ beginners.
- Built to last and withstand the rigors of repetitive BJJ training
- Keeps its shape and is flexible
- Athletic, tight, yet comfortable fit
- Male and female-specific sizes with lots of variability
- Hand wash only, otherwise, it shrinks significantly
To be honest,t this is the Gi I recommend to people who join my academy and ask the inevitable question which is the best beginner BJJ Gi. Tatami’s Gis are affordable but not budget Gis, they are premium quality, and they are easy to get a hold of wherever you find yourself around the world.
A 100% cotton Gi with a pearl weave jacket, falling under the lightweight BJJ Gi category. The Nova Absolute is a Gi great for both competition and training, with a specific focus on the way it fits.
There is no extra space in this Gi, which is a great thing, as it means opponents can’t get a hold of you. Moreover, the design is slick and minimal, with only the brand’s logos over the shoulders. The pants are tapered, weighing only 10oz, and feature an elastic drawstring.
You can get the Tatami Nova Absolute Gi in 9 different colors and 11 different sizes.
- Light and very comfortable
- Free white belt with every purchase
- Lots of colors and sizes are available
- Hand wash only – can shrink significantly otherwise.
Progress Jiu Jitsu Academy Gi
This is one of the best BJJ beginners Gi options which combines both resilience and comfort. Progress is a brand with a laser focus on quality over anything else, so their gear comes after meticulous and extended research and testing.
The minimalistic Jiu-Jitsu Academy Gi is literally designed for beginners – it is clean, with no patches or clutter, offering exactly what is needed on the mats – optimal performance. It is a pearl weave Gi, right at the border of light and medium weight Gis but still considered light.
The pants are made out of ripstop material, weighing only 8o, and built to be tough and resilient, reminiscent of heavy-weight competitor Gis, but without all the added weight and restricted range of motion.
Available in three different colors (blue, white, and black) and 8 different sizes, including in-between ones.
- Free white belt with every purchase
- Machine washable
- Clean aesthetics – no patches and minimal branding
- Comfortable but very tough and durable
- Only 3 colors are available
Elite Sports BJJ Gi for Men
Elite is a brand similar to Sanabul in terms of its mission – to provide very affordable, quality gear for grapplers. As such, they offer some of the best beginner BJJ Gi options, starting with their BJJ Gi for men.
Similar to Sanabul, Elite’s Gi is a blend of cotton and polyester, ensuring elasticity, a long lifespan, and comfort, while also preventing the shrinkage usually associated with pure cotton Gis. In fact, this Gi comes pre-shrunk, so you can rest assured it is going to fit exactly as expected.
A key aspect of this Gi is the technology used to pre-treat it so that it is impervious to bad odors. Being lightweight, It dries very fast and disperses sweat so that odors and microbes do not stay on the Gi, even if you leave it in your gym bag (which you shouldn’t do, ever)!
The Gi is available in 9 different colors, including some unique designs like yellow or grey camo. Elite offers 5 different sizes to pick from.
- Free white belt
- Machine washable
- Does not retain bad smells
- Ergonomic design
- Looser fit compared to other Gis
Venum Contender Evo BJJ Gi
Venum features yet again in our best BJJ Gi for beginners with an evolution of their Contender series Gi.
This Gi is all about movement. With a 350 GMS jacket and 230 GSM pants, it is one of the lightest Gis on the market, designed for warm weather training and maximum comfort.
The impressive thing is that Venum has come up with a way to reinforce a lightweight Gi so that it does not feel lightweight to opponents, who end up struggling to keep a hold of the sturdy parts of the Gi, specifically designed to make their life difficult while keeping you cool and comfortable.
This is Venum’s most minimalistic Gi design, with only a subtle embroidery over the shoulder area, and a tag on the bottom front lapel. Available in 4 different colors and 10 different sizes.
- Extremely light and comfortable
- Reinforced so that it makes it impossible for opponents to hold on to
- Affordable price
- Clean, minimalistic design
- Hand wash only
Sanabul Core Competition BJJ Gi
Sanabul is definitely making the claim for the best beginner BJJ Gi, this time through their Core Competition BJJ Gi, which, as the name suggests is a great Gi to start your competitive career in.
This is a Gi designed specifically for competitors, with a strong focus on how the Gi fits. The Core Competition Gi is a perfect example of an athletic fit, with a cut designed to fit snuggly, with no excess material available to opponents for gripping, but still not being too short to restrict movement.
Design-wise, subtle details truly make this Gi stand out. Made out of competition-grade fabric, it features cross stitching along the pants, a cross pattern to prevent easy grips, and a dense jacket weave. The Gi also has a vibrant multicolor design.
It is available in 6 different color variations.
- Double-color designs
- Pre-shrunk fabric
- Worn and tested by professional competitors
- Ultra-light but very strong
- A belt is not included
Hawk Sports BJJ Gi
Hawk is yet another brand that has quality Gis at very affordable prices, which is usually why it is a great fit for beginners.
This Gi has all the best qualities of BJJ Gi combined into one: it is very light (350 GSM), made out of a pearl-weave 100% cotton fabric, comes pre-shrunk, and is reinforced in all the major stress areas to provide durability.
Once again, branding is minimal, since it is important for beginners to focus on performance qualities rather than intricate designs, at least for their first couple of Gis. There is a smooth finish to the edges of this Gi, including the collars which are covered with ripstop material.
Available in 5 different colors and 6 different sizes.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Lightweight, comfortable, and long-lasting
- Free white belt with every purchase
- Sizes are slightly larger than standard
How to Choose the Best BJJ Gi
Several things are hugely significant when picking out a Gi, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional. It is important to understand which qualities make a gi stand out over all others and make it a great choice for BJJ beginners.
In all of the reviews above, we mentioned different types of weaves.
This term refers to the way the cotton (or cotton blend) material is put (weaved) together. The weave provides durability by increasing the tensile strength of the fabric, but also adds to the weight of the Gi, depending on the weave pattern and amount of material used.
A single weave is the simplest Gi weave pattern, offering a very lightweight Gi, which is very soft, almost too soft for BJJ. Single weave Gis are ultra-lightweight and comfortable but tend to be easy for opponents to grip, they can tangle easily and tear faster than other Gis, on account of the thin fabric.
The double weave means that a second single weave is introduced to the fabric, resulting in a different pattern and doubling the durability properties of the Gi. What it makes up for in terms of durability, it loses in terms of weight, though, since double the material means double the weight compared to a single weave. The double weave is quite rare nowadays.
The gold weave was the first combination of weaves, meant to blend the best of both worlds: lighter weight and greater durability. It worked, as gold weave gis are lighter than double weave but stronger than single weave. A notable drawback of this weave, though, was the significant shrinkage rate.
Enter the pearl weave. A combination weave that has become the standard for most BJJ Gis in modern days, providing comfort, a wide range in terms of weight, between light and medium, and great tensile strength and durability. It is particularly popular among competitors.
Rip-stop material is a reinforcement of Jiu-JItsu Gi pants, stitched with a cross-hatch pattern to provide reinforcement to the base fabric, with a distinctive grid-like look. It is thin, light, and extremely strong.
A unit of measure of weight for fabric, referring to Grams per Square Meter. The denser the fabric, (like double weave) the heavier the Gi is going to be, and vice versa. It is usually a measurement for Gi jackets, as ripstop construction usually seen in Gi pants is different from weaves, so GSM does not apply.
Nowadays, you can pick any color, or combination of colors like camo, that you want in a Gi. However, the best BJJ Gi for beginners is one that can be used in different settings, and since the IBJJF does not allow colors other than blue, white, or black in tournaments, I’d advise beginners to stick to those.
A simple rule of thumb is to have at least two Gis with colors approved by the IBJJF before venturing out toward more colorful options, which will only be restricted to training sessions. Or Halloween.
For beginners, a great approach is to start your journey into the addicting world of BJJ Gis through one of the brands that have a proven track record of providing both variability and Gis that fit the needs of new students.
Over time, as you develop a preference for weight, certain fabric types, a design you like, etc. you can pinpoint a few, or even just one brand that will provide all your Gis.
Size & Fit
Size is crucial in selecting a Gi, and it should be the number one concern for BJJ beginners. There are standardized Gi sizes in terms of measurements with the letter A always first for adult Gis, followed by a number that references size.
Each brand has its own size chart that specifically outlines the size of Gi for a grappler of certain proportions, like height, weight, sex, and in some cases, even body type.
The same goes for fit, with competition-specific Gis usually a lot more snug-fitting than regular ones.
Tournament/ Competition Considerations
The rules for BJJ Gis in tournaments are decided by whoever is organizing the tournament. However, with the IBJJF regarded as the authority in the field, simply because they were the first to organize international tournaments and organize the most tournaments worldwide per year, their rules are usually taken as the standard.
As per their extensive rulebook, BJJ Gis must be either blue, black, or white colored, they need to fulfill certain requirements in terms of the length of pants, sleeves, and the skirt of the jacket, as well as the width of pants and sleeves.
There are also rules determining when a Gi is too rugged and damaged to be considered IBJJF legal, and they also have rules about the placement of patches on the jacket and pants.
Prices on Gis vary, mostly according to brands, but also in terms of certain features, like the quality and quantity of material that is used, whether or not a Gi model is from a limited edition series, specific properties unique to the model, etc.
For the BJJ beginner, the best route is getting a first good quality Gi which is not too expensive but is proven to be quality and durable, like Venum’s Contender 2.0 or the Tatami Nova Absolute.
Follow up on this with a budget GI for backup, as you’ll need at least two Gis if you’re training more than twice a week. Sanabul, Elite, and Hawk are great backup Gi options, as they are extremely affordable.
How to Choose the Right Size
There are two main methods to select the correct size Gi the first time you buy one.
A methodical way is to measure the length of your limbs, shoulder to wrist and hip to ankle, as well as the circumference of your thighs, biceps, chest, and waist. Along with your height and weight, these are the standard measurements included in every BJJ Gi size chart.
The second method, which is more hands-on is to try the same model of Gi you’re thinking of buying in the gym, from someone else who has it. The chances of someone having one of the Gis in our list is very high given their popularity and proven track record.
Even if it is too big or small for you, you’ll get a much better feel for the right size than jsut measuring yourself and crunching numbers.
Popular Brands of BJJ Gis
Popularity is not something that is earned through trust, at least in the BJJ community, so there is no way a brand would be worn by thousands of grapplers if they did not have something to offer. Some brands, manage to achieve just that with every line of Gis they release.
Sanabul is a fairly new brand, first appearing in the market in 2014, but quickly emerging as the number one brand for affordable, even cheap BJJ Gis, you can freely rival any of the big brands. As the brand grew in popularity, so did their offer, which now has 8 different Gi models, that cover every need a BJJ athlete might have, from starting BJJ to competing at an elite level.
Gold BJJ is similarly a fairly new brand, at least compared to the likes of Fuji, who have been making Judo Gis since 1969. Gold BJJ has been around since 2016, founded by a couple of grapplers, Cole and Dave, a brown and purple belt at the moment, and their focus is on providing grapplers with what they need through understanding the demands firsthand on the mats.
Why do I Need a BJJ Gi?
A BJJ Gi is required for training Jiu-Jitsu, with lots of technical and tactical functionality dependent on it, rather than just being a fashion statement.
BJJ Gis helps in attacking, defending, transitioning, and pinning, while also keeping you clean and injury-free, at least in terms of abrasions. While there is a version of BJJ without a gi, the traditional one which requires a Gi is a lot more widespread and synonymous with the sport.
How Many BJJ Gis do I Need?
At least one, but if you’re training more than twice a week and would like to extend the lifespan of your Gis, you need two Gis. I’d go as far as claiming the three as the ideal number, with one Gi just for competing. However, you will most likely find yourself hoarding gis once the BJJ bug really gets a hold of you.
How do I Wash and Dry my BJJ Gi?
Simply follow the instructions of the brand. A rule of thumb is to stick to cold water, whether you’re using a washing machine or doing it by hand, and hang dry it as opposed to using dryers. If you don’t stick to the recommendations, you will most likely end up shrinking your Gi significantly, damaging it, or fading the color.
What is the Difference Between Competition and Training BJJ Gis?
The main difference is in the cut of the Gi. Competition Gis fit a lot tighter and leave almost no material free for the opponent to grab at the level of the skirt, the lapels, and the collars. The sleeves and pant legs are also narrower compared to regular training Gis.
Can I Customize my BJJ Gi?
Yes, but if you want to compete in it, you’ll have to ensure you’re not changing its color, and you’re placing any patches in the areas where the IBJJF allows for such customizations. Otherwise, your Gi is only going to be allowed in training, and even then certain academies might have an issue with it.
The best BJJ Gi for beginners is whatever you pick from the list above.
All the options guarantee quality Gis at affordable prices are legal to use in competition and training, are made from performance fabric, and are available in lots of different sizes and different weights and weaves.
Since you’re going to need more than one Gi if you’re serious about training, feel free to make more than one pick from our best beginner BJJ Gi recommendations.