You have a little extra cash available and you are looking to buy a new gi and why not you deserve it. As you start to look through the various websites to pick the one you want, what should you be considering, besides how cool it looks? Here are 3 important considerations before you buy a new gi.
The cut – This is really important. Not all gis are cut the same. It really depends on the template they have used for the basis of the cut. Some can be narrower an almost athletic cut or some are geared towards more broader shouldered and stockier people. This means you really do need to consider the measurements and the weight of the person they are cut for. I have made this mistake myself, when I bought a couple of A3 gis that I could almost double wrap around my body, even after shrinking. You really don’t want to be in this position, giving plenty of fabric for all those collar and lapel grips. You may even have to look to see if you would be better in an in between size. Some manufacturers produce gis cut to take into account you may be tall and lean (like me) or shorter and stockier, than the average. At 6 feet 3 inches and weighing in at 177 pounds discovering this was great. The same would also still apply if you are a woman buying a gi. My wife has bought a couple of woman cut gis and she has not been happy with them. However after looking at the measurements and the sizing a smaller size mens gi was a much better fit for her.
The cost – You do have a look at what you have available to spend. This does not apply to just the cost of the gi, but also the shipping and potential import costs. A lot of manufacturers now will ship internationally, but this can add to the cost of the purchase. Plus the bigger cost you can get stung with is the import tax. I know a lot of brands that have international resellers that can get over the import tax issue. But if you are looking to get a gi from another country the cost of the import tax is something to prepare yourself for. I know a few people including myself, that have had to pay about 20% plus of the cost of the gi for the import duty. The value of the gi is the starting point, you need to make sure that when everything else is added on you are still approximately within budget.
The look – You train jiu jitsu of course the look is important. But you do also have to consider are you going to be using it as a competition gi or purely in your academy for training. As we all know the IBJJF have restrictions on patches and colours. If you are intending to use it in competition you will have to think about this. There are some amazing gis out there, with different coloured tops and pants. Some bright and very different colours but they do not comply with the IBJJF regulations. You will also have to consider where the patches and branding are situated on the gi. As the IBJJF only allow specific areas for these too. Also does you academy have any rules about gis. I know at the Mendes brothers academy you can only wear a white gi for training and I have also trained at places that have a similar rule. You don’t want to turn up to training with your shiny new gi, to be told by your coach he would prefer it if you didn’t wear it again.
There may be a number of other little things to consider besides these main three. Do you prefer rip stop cotton pants like I do, or are these too rough and you prefer twill. Does it have to be pearl weave or gold weave? Even the weight of the gi could play a part in your decision making. Also as my wife pointed out, does anyone else at your academy have the same one, as clashing gis, apparently can be embarrassing? Ultimately making sure your hard earned money is spent well and appropriately is what you are looking to achieve.