With the increasing popularity of Judo-based fighters in the UFC/MMA, such as former champion Ronda Rousey and welterweight standout Dong Hyun Kim, many trainees are adding Judo to their training regimen.
The explosive grappling/throw based martial art is a good fit for both MMA and BJJ.
So if you want to take your judo training seriously, you’ll need to invest in a solid judo gi.
Luckily for you, we’ve found the best five gi’s out there for you to choose from.
Top 3 Best Judo Gis
The Best Judo Gis Reviewed
Mizuno craft some of the finest judo gi’s on the market, as well as some stellar BJJ gi’s too.
The Shiai comes pre-shrunk, so you can forgo all the hassle of having to wash it, dry and shrink it to get it to the fit you want. It can be a massive pain shopping for a larger size gi and hoping that it will shrink just enough, but not too much. But not with the Shiai.
It comes in the competition approved colours of blue or white and is also cut to competition approved length. You won’t be turned away from the competition if you stroll up in this gi.
You might already own a Fuji gi for BJJ. They’re the go-to for great teachers/competitors such as Royler Gracie.
Fuji started out making judo gi’s long before they got into the BJJ gi market. Even though their BJJ gi’s are great, they’ve really perfected their craft when making judo kimonos.
The gi has a double weave construction for increased sturdiness and durability. Your kimono will take a worse beating in a judo class than you might in a BJJ class so that added toughness will definitely come in handy.
It’s also made with soft 100% cotton, so you’ll stay cool and comfortable when training gets tough.
Elite Sports are one of the best names when it comes to excellently priced martial arts equipment. Whether you’re buying any equipment from Elite, you can expect the absolute best in quality. And their gi’s are no different.
This heavy-duty, double weave gi is manufactured with both comfort and durability in mind. You can use the gi in your everyday training without it breaking down or tearing apart.
The collars are especially thick which makes it even better for competition; it’ll make your opponents have to work that much harder to hold on to your collars in competition.
This gi is a good option for the smaller trainees like kids/teenagers, female judokas and even the big monsters out there too. It is available in half sizes from size 00 all the way up to the huge size 7.
So far, we’ve listed almost exclusively heavy-duty, double weave gi’s.
Now, these gi’s are great for their strength and toughness and can make it uncomfortable and unpleasant for your opponents in competition.
However, these double weave gi’s can get very hot in the summer months.
If you live and train in a hot climate, then you won’t want to be bogged down in a double weave gi. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a solid single weave on hand to keep cool in the humid summer months.
You can expect even more comfort than usual with this Yamato Sakura gi, due to their thinner material and the soft 450 gsm cotton. To make sure the gi holds up to rigorous use, the chest, shoulders and knees are reinforced with quilted patches to prevent any tears.
If you haven’t trained Judo at all before and you just want to dip your toes in the water before going all in, this might be the gi for you.
This cheaper uniform features a single weave construction but with solid materials to keep it in good stead with repeated use. This is a gi you can buy and try with little to no risk to give judo a go.
If you find that you do like judo and it’s something that you want to pursue further, you can still use this exact gi in both training and in competition without it ripping and failing you when you need it.
Unlike some other judo gi’s, you can actually purchase this in four different colours; black, blue, bleached white and a natural off-white/cream colour.
Judo competition normally only allow you to use blue or white gi’s, but the black one is there for training if it takes your fancy.
Other Judo Gi’s We’ve Reviewed
The double weave fuji USA Judo is an excellent gi for just $100. This is the gi for the USA national team, so if you want a kimono that you know is going to be quality, think about this one.
The double weave means this gi is going to stand up to so hard training.
If you love your country you’ll love this gi, with a silkscreened print of “Land of the free, home of the brave” inside the lapel of the jacket.
Fighting films are a staple brand in any Judo practitioners wardrobe.
This 750gsm judo gi is perfect for training on those cold winter days, or if you need to cut that extra weight because this judo is thick!
Conforms to all IJF regulations so you know you’ll be in good hands with this gi.
Judo Gi Buyers Guide
The Japanese martial art of Judo is known to test the mind, strength and durability of the practitioner and their clothing. The rigorous nature of the sport means the kimono also known as the gi is constructed from a weaved cotton design to last the pulling and pushing nature of the sport.
Unlike Jiu-Jitsu a Judo gi is a designed to be loose-fitting, with a baggy jacket, which includes large sleeve openings, this is designed to be easy to grip, to initiate a takedown.
When a student is looking to buy a judo gi, they should consider the following.
Since the sport of judo involves takedowns which are initiated by grabbing the gi jacket, a strong and well-constructed gi is a must for anyone who trains or competes regularly.
Thickness & Weight
The thickness of a gi comes from how it’s weaved, it is recommended to get some gis of varying thickness to help with seasons. There’s nothing worse than training in a double-weave gi in the height of summer. Collar thickness is also a consideration when picking your gi, a thick collar makes it difficult for your opponent to grip, while easier for you to break a grip.
There are various fabrics and fabric blends which can be used to make a judo gi more durable, however, cotton is really the goto when it comes to buying your first gi. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon and great for being water resistant, however, a good, breathable material such as cotton is a far better choice.
Weave often indicates the thickness, strength, and durability of a judo uniform. Cotton gis usually come in single or double weave (with single weave being lighter), and synthetic uniforms feature varying weave types like gold, pearl, and honeycomb weaves.
The weave of a gi is one of the most important aspects of a Judo Gi. We will go through some of the three most common weaves
Single Weave – A single weave is the lightest weaves of judo gi. This weaves one layer of cotton fabric within itself to give a strong but lightweight kimono
Double Weave – A heavier brother of the single weave, this weaves two single weave fabrics together to give a heavier gi jacket construction.
Gold Weave – The gold weave combines the lightweight features of a single weave while giving us the durability of a double weave. The perfect combination
Judo Gi Sizing
Unlike Jiu-Jitsu Gis, who have their own sizing options, Judo Gis also have their own sizing. Below we go through all the sizes for a judo gi.
- 000 – 4′ – 4’3″ in height, 40-60 lbs.
- 00 – 4’4″ – 4’5″ in height, 60-85 lbs.
- 0 – 4’6″ – 4’8″ in height, 85-100 lbs.
- 1 – 4’9″ – 5’1″ in height, 100-125 lbs.
- 2 – 5’2″ – 5’5″ in height, 125-150 lbs.
- 3 – 5’6″ – 5’10” in height, 150-185 lbs.
- 4 – 5’11 – 6′ in height, 185-210 lbs.
- 5 – 6’1″ – 6’3″ in height, 210-250 lbs.
- 6 – 6’4″ – 6’7″ in height, 250-280 lbs.
- 7 – 6’8″ – 6’11” in height, 280-325 lbs.
Judo Gi Colours
When buying a Judo Gi, you only have two option, white and blue. It’s highly recommended to get a gi in each colour, this is because competition requires you to wear one or the other depending on what side of the mat you compete on. It’s very common to change your gi colour midway through the competition.
As a student progresses through the art of Judo, they will be awarded different belts to signify their journey through the martial art. The series of ranks, known as kyu, are represented by colours belts, known as obi. Once a practitioner receives their black belt, their progress is then represented by dans.
- White – Beginner
- Yellow – 9th kyu
- Orange – 7th and 8th kyu
- Green – 5th and 6th kyu
- Blue – 3rd and 4th kyu
- Brown – 1st and 2nd kyu
- Black – 1st to 5th dan
- White and Red Stripes – 6t to 8th dan
- Red 9th and 10th dan
The most common takedowns these days are shoot takedowns, like single legs and double legs. But these takedowns can be just as dangerous to the person using the move, as they are to the person being taken down.
There’s a risk of catching a knee to the face as you shoot, or more commonly, finding yourself deep in your opponents guillotine choke as the fight hits the mat.
Judo throws generally negate these problems and can be a safer alternative to getting the fight to the mat. If you become proficient enough at the techniques of course.
It’s extremely rare to find a gym that holds no-gi Judo classes, so you’ll have to train in a gi. Regardless of if you focus on MMA and no-gi specifically.
Now, you’ve most likely already got a separate closet for all your BJJ gi’s. You probably already have more BJJ gi’s then you do normal clothing. But a BJJ gi won’t cut it when training pure judo.
Judo gi’s are a lot bigger and looser than BJJ gi’s. BJJ gi’s are cut to be form-fitting to your physique, with short arm length and leg length so that there’s less material for you to grab on to.
If you entered a judo competition in one of your BJJ gi’s, you could very well be turned away and disallowed to compete.
The extra material on the judo kimonos will take your grip fighting to the next level; it’s so much easier for your opponent to grab your gi and latch on to you, so you’ll have to be that much sharper on the defence.
The stand-up/takedown game is really lacking in a lot of BJJ gyms. Many BJJ matches start out as a stalemate until one of the competitors choose to sit down in their guard.
A big reason for this is their inability to impose their will when standing and forcing their opponent to the mat.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to play guard, but make sure it’s your choice. Not because you lack the judo techniques to throw and take your adversary down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Personally, we think that the Mizuno Shiai Competition Uniform is the best Judo Gi due too it's excellent construction.
The term Gi derives from the Japanese word 'keikogi' or 'dogi,' which translates to 'Working Uniform'.
A Judo gi and a BJJ were born from the same cloth but they both have distinct qualities. A Judo Gi is designed to be grabbed, while a BJJ gi is designed not to be grabbed by being a lot slimmer.
Tradition states that while training only white GIs should be worn and during a competition, you wear either a white GI or a blue Gi depending on the side of the mat you compete on.