A few weeks back, I heard from Douglas at Razorback Jiu Jitsu. He had some gold weave gis made to order and was going to be selling them for well below what you’d expect to pay for a BJJ gi, currently only $65 (no that’s not a typo). He asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing one and, of course, I was more than happy to oblige.
I got the gi in the mail and tried it on. It’s not pre-shrunk and the only adornment are two patches on the sleeves: the US flag on one shoulder and the Brazilian flag on the other. I received an A4, which is listed as fitting guys between 6′ and 6’4, 200 to 250 lbs. Of course, at 5’10″ and ~185 lbs, I was swimming in it. But after I washed it twice in hot water, it shrunk up nicely.
My first impressions on opening up the package are pretty good. The gi is pretty light and looks well made. The pants are a little thinner than what you’ll find from a high end gi, but are reinforced at all the right spots. The top is made from a sturdy, gold weave fabric.
This gi, as you can see, is made from a three piece top. While all of the seams look sturdy and are reinforced at all of the stress points, this does separate this gi from some of the more expensive models available. Top tier BJJ kimonos are made from a single piece of fabric for comfort and durability. Seams in the fabric can be a potential tearing point. Also, a seam down the back can be uncomfortable if you’re working from the bottom in guard. On the mat, I didn’t notice the seam at all.
The fit is roomy, cut with a little more space than some BJJ gis I’ve owned. What I mean is, the sleeves are a little roomier, and the pants don’t have that tailored cut that some of the other brands sport. On the spectrum of gis I’ve owned, this gi fits much like my Atama #7 and the Padilla and Sons gold weave gis. Another one that comes to mind is the Gameness single weave gi.
Value: 5 out of 5.
This is a better than student grade gi. In quality, it’s compares very favorably to an HCK single weave at $80 or the Gameness Single Weave at $78 in quality. If you’re considering purchasing your first BJJ gi, a solid backup or an inexpensive replacement, I highly recommend this gi. As of this review, Douglas is selling these gis for $65 each. That’s a steal for a gold weave BJJ kimono.
Fit: 3.5 out of 5
The fit is baggier than I like. I prefer to have a more tailored cut to my gis and feel like I’m swimming in this top. The pants are also pretty baggy. This is largely a matter of preference, though. If you’re a bigger dude, or if you prefer something closer in fit to a Judo gi, this will be ideal for you. I’ll qualify this by saying that I’ve only washed this gi three times and it’s not pre-shrunk, so I expect that it will shrink a bit more.
Provided you purchase a gi that fits you correctly, this one will have no problems meeting IBJJF specs for fit and construction. Before you buy, I would recommend shooting an email to Douglas to find out from him what size he recommends. I wash my gis in warm/hot water and machine dry them, so I expect a little more shrinkage than others might.
Durability: 3 out of 5
I’m giving this gi a 3 for durability, but this was a tough one and I honestly kept waffling between 2.5 and 3.
Pros: All of the stress points are well reinforced and the stitching looks solid. The gold weave fabric is nice and looks strong.
Cons: The pants are a little thin and the jacket is constructed from three panels of fabric, resulting in seams along the middle and down the back.
While this gi clearly won’t last as long as a more expensive gi, it’s selling for $65. Comparing it to others in the same “class” of gi (which are all more expensive), such as the Gameness Single Weave, I’d say this is as well made and the gold weave fabric is sturdier. I wouldn’t be surprised if the jacket outlasts the pants.