Most BJJ academies will have an Intro BJJ gi for you to try on. Sometimes these only come in the major sizes A1, A2 – A6. The A in A1 stands for adult. While Children’s gi sizes will start with 00 and go up to M3. Our academy also offers half sizes to help those who are tall/slim or husky. That is where a lot of people are left behind and feel like their Gi doesn’t fit. If your academy doesn’t offer half sizes, try to find someone who is around your or your child’s size and ask them what size/brand and that should get you into your next gi.
In terms of fit, expect a little shrinkage, so if you put your arms out try to find one that goes a little past the wrist, almost to the first knuckle on your thumb and then expect it to shrink an inch or so over time.
When you start searching for gi’s you will have a choice of weave and weight of gi. I think most people should be in a pearl weave gi. The main choices are pearl, single, double, gold, and no weave. Gold weave used to be the hot item back when I started because it was a nice weight of gi in between single and double, unfortunately it is known for stretching out when wet (which is most training) and the extra long material from being stretched is a big hindrance. Single is usually a little too light for training and gives your opponent too solid of grips. Double is usually too heavy to be comfortable, but it is harder to grip which is an advantage. But in international competition (IBJJF) you have to weight in with your uniform, so you are either giving a size advantage to your opponent. No weave is not legal in international competition and usually more appropriate for kids uniforms where they don’t have the strength to rip the material so I would stay away from this. So that leaves us with my favorite of a pearl weave. It is heavier than a single weave, lighter than a double, doesn’t stretch out like a gold weave and is IBJJF legal unlike a no weave gi.
There are different weights of gi’s measured in GSM (Grams per square meter) and as a beginner I would look towards something in the 450gsm range. Under 400 and you will get into the lighter weight gi’s that can be useful if you need to weigh in, but don’t last as long. A 800+ GSM gi is going to be super stout, hard for other people to grip but it is probably going to be a little bit of a crutch if you are just starting out. So I would go with a pearl weave 450 GSM gi as your first gi purchase and then decide to go up or down from there.
I have used a wide variety of gi’s over the years and have seen a lot of teammates go through many gi’s as well.
If you are looking for a deal on a new gi I would check out deals at BJJhq.com
You might have to wait a bit to find something you are after, but the prices are hard to beat.
Breakpoint – I like their starter gi’s, this is what we sell and I use one of their black starter gi’s. I think their higher end gi’s are a little over the top in terms of patches.
93 Brand is a decent gi for the price
Kingz – Have a wide variety, but I liked my gi’s by Kingz
Lanky – A good gi for the tall skinny folk out there. Worn by many of my super tall students.
Fuji – This is what I currently wear since it is the manufacturer of the Six Blades gi’s.
Breakpoint – Ok, I would prefer Inverted and Kingz over it.
Tatami – I used this for years, but felt like they broke down more quickly than other gi’s
Shoyoroll – the fanciest, best marketed gi out there, but I thought they break down fast for what you are paying for.
Hyperfly – I have had a hyperfly double weave for years, it is a tank.
I have pretty traditional tastes, so I think that most students should start in a white gi or a blue gi. If you want to go more out there, then black. I like reserving black gi’s for competition days myself to have that special gi to bring out for a big day. Blue gi’s probably stay cleaner looking for longer, but white gi’s you don’t have to worry about color fading as much (though today Gi’s don’t fade or bleed like they used to 10 years ago). So I don’t really care much about color, but if you come in with a more canary yellow or something, then you should probably be focusing more on your jiu-jitsu technique then what you are wearing. I do think it is cool that some gi’s some fancy inner liners that allow you to be more expressive.
BJJ Gi to Stear Clear Of
Sanabul – Some students use this, on amazon prime, but not ideal if you want to put patches on it.
Inverted Gear – This was my gi of choice for years, but right now they only have the canvas and bamboo gi’s. The bamboo usually stretches too much and canvas is like a pant material and not a legal gi material.
Weaveless Gi – Make sure your gi is pearl (most common), single, double or gold (stretches too much).