Best Karate Gis Reviewed in 2020
Did you know that the word gi simply translates to the word ‘uniform’? When wearing a karate gi, there are a few key features to look out for. First of all, you want something that will fit you right to allow for a full range of motion.
Weight is another thing to take into consideration. If you are new to the class, a lightweight option allows you to keep light on your feet as you learn. You want to select a karate uniform that is made from soft and easy materials and won’t leave you constantly itching and adjusting.
Karate is about developing not only fighting skills, but it is also about a sense of control and humility. When you suit up in a perfectly fitted karate gis, getting in the right state of mind before class is much easier!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
40 percent cotton
Our 10 Top Rated Karate Gis
40 percent cotton
The reason that we selected this model for the top of our list is that it comes from a trusted brand in the fitness world, and it is made from quality materials. This karate gi has sharp and subtle design features that fit your body well without hindering your movements.Read more
The materials used for this design are 60 percent polyester and 40 percent cotton. This blend is perfect because it means that it is incredibly soft and comfortable, but the higher polyester count means that it won’t shrink in the washing machine. WIth 40 percent cotton, the fabric feels soft against your skin, breathes, and moves right along with your movements.
One of our favorite features of this design is that it is equipped with a mesh panel along the back that makes it a little bit more breathable than most when you start to get a little sweaty. Elastic cuffs on the waistband keep the bottoms comfortably in place without cutting off circulation.
If you are in the market for karate uniform that is comfortable and durable, this is one of your best options. It comes from a trusted brand that always uses top quality materials proven to hold up very well over time.
Delicate to wash
If comfort and movement are your number one concern, you might want to give this karate gis from Fuji a try. It is constructed from incredibly soft materials that feel great against your skin. While some blend of fabrics feels stiff and itchy, this one is made to feel incredibly lightweight and comfortable.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed is that it is composed of 100 percent brushed cotton. The use of brushed cotton not only feels lightweight it is also incredibly soft against your skin. While it is incredibly comfortable, it is important that you only wash it in cool water and avoid heat to prevent it from shrinking.
One thing worth noting is that about ¾ of users felt that this design fit them exactly as expected. Due to the fact that it is composed of cotton, it is in your best interest to buy a size up. Some users feel that this option runs a little on the small size, and cotton is notorious for shrinking when washed.
For those that feel that comfort and movement are most important over durability and ease to wash, this is one of your best options. We love that it feels light and easy against your skin which will not hinder your movements in the slightest. Plus, it is a lot more breathable than those with polyester blends.
3. Elite Sports
What we liked most is that the fabric is treated so that it works to wick away sweat and keep you cool and dry under pressure.Read more
One of the very first things that we noticed was the pants. Some brands cinch the pants in place with rip-stop fabric or elastic. These pants use a simple karate belt with a string that ties in place to provide a very comfortable fit that stays in place without digging into your skin.
Users also love that this fabric is treated in a way that repels moisture and odor. If your training sessions get a little intense, this fabric works to keep your skin dry and comfortable when the pressure is on. Plus, it’s pre-shrunk so there is no need to worry about it shrinking up a size when you toss it into the washing machine for the first time.
For those in the market for karate gis that can keep up with you intense sparring sessions, this design from Elite Sports is a great option. Not only does it help keep you dry and comfortable, but it is also incredibly durable and easy to wash.
Looking for a little bit of style in your gear? This option from Athllete has stylish and sharp color panels that are constructed from quality fabric that feels light and comfortable against your skin. Plus, it wicks away sweat and will not hinder your full range of motion as you move.Read more
It has color panels on the pants and a pop of color in the stitching. The top is constructed from 100 percent pearl-stitched cotton. This cotton design is light and breathable and allows for a full range of motion as you move. Plus, it’s pre-shrunk so there’s no worry about it losing size in the washing machine.
While the top is constructed from 100 percent cotton, the bottoms are made from a material that is meant to really move. Ripstop is a blend of nylon that uses a technique to make the material incredibly strong and reinforced so you feel free to really move.
If you are in the market for something that is made from incredibly durable materials that wick away sweat and it fits your body perfectly without hindering movement, this design from Athllete is your best match.
5. Hawk Sports
Weighs 8 ounces
This classic design is cut so that it doesn’t hinder your full range of motion. It is made from a blend of fabrics that hold their size over multiple washes, but it still feels nice and light against your skin. It also has comfortable bottoms that allow you to really get into a low stance without holding you back.Read more
It's made from a blend of cotton and polyester. The use of cotton promotes movement and feels soft against your skin. The use of polyester makes it a little bit more durable, and you can toss it into the washing machine to wash away your blood, sweat, and tears without it shrinking.
This design weighs in at an impressive 8 ounces, which means it feels light and easy. Some polyester options have a tendency to feel heavy and weigh you down, but this karate gi is made to keep you light on your feet.
If you are in the market for something that is classic, lightweight, and comfortable to wear, this is an excellent option. The blend of polyester with cotton means that it won’t shrink up in the washing machine.
We have explored some of the lightweight designs out there on the market, but this karate gi from Ronin Brand is heavier than most. It is made from a thick and sturdy material that protects your skin from heavy blows and throws. Plus, it is something you can wash for years without it even flinching. It is a little more expensive than most, but it is something that will last for years and still look new.Read more
This model weighs in at 16 ounces. While it adds a good deal of weight to your body, the material is incredibly thick and sturdy. This is great because it protects your skin from blows, and it is also incredibly easy to toss into the washing machine without shrinking.
This design is made from 100 percent cotton duck canvas. What’s great about this material choice is that it has the look and feel of heavy canvas, but it feels incredibly soft against your skin. This karate gis is perfect for wearing over long periods of time without being too itchy or uncomfortable.
For those in the market for something that will last a very long time, this is an excellent choice. While it comes in at a higher price point that many of the others out there on the market, it may prove to be the last gi that you will never need to buy.
7. Zephyr Martial Arts
Easy to wash
Runs very small
This option from Zephyr Martial Arts is constructed from quality materials that are made to move with you. This design is incredibly easy to care for, and the perfect option for those that are just starting out as well as for veterans. Plus, it comes in quite a few bright color choices as well.Read more
The fabric used is a blend of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. This blend guarantees durability and ease of wash. The addition of the cotton to this blend makes it breathable as well as promotes a full range of motion.
It weighs in at just 7.5 ounces, which makes it one of the lightest options out there on the market. Double-stitched flat seams make it sturdy, and it also won’t feel itchy when placed against bare skin. Colors options offered include classic white, blue, red, and black.
For those in the market for something that is lightweight and easy, this karate uniform from Zephyr Martial Arts is a great option. The blend of materials makes it incredibly easy to care for as well as durable. Plus, it comes in classic as well as unique color options.
8. Pro Force
Looking to keep things light and easy? It is hard to get any lighter than this design from Pro-Force. The karate uniform is made from materials that feel light against your skin while promoting a full range of motion. The cut of the pants fits easily on your waist, and will not restrict your range of motion.Read more
This fabric is composed of a blend of 55 percent polyester and 45 percent cotton. The blend of materials makes it pretty durable, but the higher cotton count makes it feel soft against the skin. It comes with a pair of polyester/cotton blend pants with an elastic waistband that allows you to really move and get low.
Weighing in at a mere 5 ounces, this is one of the lightest options. A lighter design makes you feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all, which allows you to be quick and light on your feet while sparring with a partner.
For those in the market for karate gis that is lightweight and easy, this design from Pro-Force is one of your best options. Users love how light it feels against their skin, and reinforced stitching means that it can really take a beaking.
Easy to wash
Comfortable against skin
Runs very small
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this design from Redox. It is made from a blend of materials that feel great against your skin and allows for a full range of motion. It has a light and easy fit that won’t weigh you down, and it is very easy to wash when needed.Read more
This karate gi is composed of a blend of 55 percent polyester and 45 percent cotton. Polyester provides a strong and secure fit that won’t lose shape over time or once you toss it into the washing machine. The addition of cotton in the blend feels soft against the skin and promotes a full range of motion when sparring.
The pants come with an elastic waistband for a sure fit, and it also has a drawstring to ensure that they stay firmly in place as you start to move. The entire ensemble weighs in at 7 ounces.
If you are in the market for karate gis that is simple, easy to wear, and comfortable, this karate uniform from Redox is a great choice. We love that it is easy to toss into the washing machine without the fear of it shrinking.
10. Kango Fitness
Easy to wash
This blend of materials used for this design from Kango Fitness makes it incredibly durable for your most intense training sessions. It boasts a simple design that is affordable and feels great against the skin. If you need something durable that won’t break the bank, this is a great option.Read more
What we noticed about this blend of materials is that it has a higher polyester thread count than many of the other blends out there on the market. This material is composed of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. The higher polyester count makes it a little tougher than higher cotton blends, and it means that it won’t shrink in the washing machine.
The pants boast a thick and durable elastic waistband for a comfortable fit the promotes a full range of motion. This design weighs in at just 8 ounces, which runs about in the middle of the road when compared to other designs out there on the market.
For those that want karate gis that is simple, easy to care for, and affordable, this is a really great option. We love that it is composed of a blend of materials that feel soft against that skin but are still tough enough to really take a beating.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There isn’t a lot of range in the materials used for these styles of uniforms. Brands use two types of fabrics: cotton and polyester. We wanted to get into a little bit of detail about these two types of materials, and the advantages and disadvantages of using both.
The great thing about cotton is that it is incredibly lightweight and breathable. Many of the novice-grade gis are made from cotton because they move so well. Just like your favorite cotton t-shirt, it isn’t the least bit itchy and is something you will be excited to put on for each class.
The downside to cotton is that it is quick to lose its shape and shrinks when exposed to heat. If you want to keep your uniform looking great, it doesn’t mean you have to skip out on 100 percent cotton designs. It simply means that you need to wash it in cool water with mild detergent and hang it up to dry in a well-ventilated area.
For durability, polyester is the way to go. Polyester is one tough material, and it can be washed over and over without losing its shape. If you take a lot of hits, polyester works better at protecting your skin from scrapes and cuts over cotton as well.
The downside to polyester is that it isn’t considered to be as soft as cotton. Many users complain that karate uniforms made from 100 percent polyester aren’t very breathable, and they are often pretty itchy when worn against bare skin.
There are three special weight classes that are used for various skill levels.
If you are just starting out, in the height of your training, or you're an old pro, the right weight makes all of the difference. It is important that you select the right weight for your skill level. Below, we explain the different weight options and the reasons they are perfect for your skill level.
Lightweight options are perfect for beginners. They typically weigh in at between 4-7 ounces and are made from cotton. These designs are built to promote a full range of motion without weighing you down.
If you are in the height of your training, medium weight options are your best bet. They weigh in between 7-14 ounces and are typically constructed from a blend of polyester and cotton. These designs offer higher protection from hits and spills and a little more structure for deliberate movements.
Heavy weight designs have a dense canvas-like feel to them. Teachers, instructors, and tournament attendees often select these heavy options because they are the highest quality styles currently out there on the market. Users also like the heavier options because they don’t absorb sweat and odors as quickly as those crafted with cotton, which means you will not need to wash it as often.
Finding the perfect fit for your specific body type is key. Brands that provide a lot of sizing options accompanied by a detailed sizing chart was one of the very first things that we looked for.
It was important to select brands that had at least 75 percent of previous users happy with the fit. Due to the fact that not everyone is built in quite the same way, there are bound to be problems with a proper fit. The important key is to ensure that the size chart and the final product are correct.
In most instances, users found that some of the products out there on the market run small rather than run large. While you want to ensure a perfect fit, it is always better to go a little bit larger than smaller. When your karate uniform is too small, it limits your full range of motion. Plus, there is very little to be done about a fit that is too small.
If you find that your karate gi is too big, there are some ways to fix it. If you are handy with a sewing kit, hemming the sleeves and the pants are a quick and easy fix. When you sew the arms, just be sure that they don’t come up higher than your elbow!
For competitions, the jacket must at least touch the hips. If you select a uniform that is too short, there is a chance you may not be able to wear it in a competition. There are no regulations about a jacket being too long. Plus, it is something that you can hem as well.
If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, employing the help of a skilled tailor can help craft the perfect fit for your body. Fixing a uniform that is too big than too small is a much easier process. If you are unsure about what size to select, we encourage going just one size higher than normal.
Whether it’s karate, boxing, kickboxing uniforms, or yoga gear, wearing uncomfortable clothes is the worst! We wanted to make sure that we selected products that were not only crafted from high-quality materials but were comfortable as well.
There were a few key features we considered to make sure you are just as comfortable at the beginning of practice as at the end.
Fabrics that are blended with polyester and cotton provide users with comfort, flexibility, and protection. In most cases, brands used a slightly higher polyester thread count compared to cotton. Most designs are made up of about 55 percent polyester and 45 percent cotton.
By blending fabrics, users get comfort and mobility from cotton while receiving higher durability from polyester.
Another thing to take into consideration when selecting a uniform is the design of the waistband. You want your pants to give you a low of free movement for easy kicks, but they still need to fit loosely. There are a few different designs that keep your karate pants snug around your waist while loose in the legs, hips, and crotch.
Elastic bands are the most common band out there on the market. It is a great way to accommodate a wide variety of waistlines without cutting off the circulation in your hips. The downside to elastic is that it can become stretched out and worn over time.
We also liked products that use a drawstring to hold the pants in place. Drawstrings won’t lose strength over time and can be adjusted to fit incredibly tight or as loose as you want.
Well placed features in the design and cut of the fabric keep you cool and comfortable. For instance, the Adidas design offers vented mesh in the back to promote air circulation to keep you cool and dry. Other brands feature reinforced panels to the hips and crotch to give your legs an even higher range of motion for powerful kicks.
These uniforms really take a beating, so it is important that they are able to withstand your movements. There are a few key features that we considered to make sure that they last more than one training session.
Pre-shrunk fabrics are a great way to make sure that your perfectly fitted karate gi doesn’t shrink up in the washing machine. Due to the fact that you gi needs to be washed after every sweaty use, pre-shrunk materials ensure that it will not change shape after only one visit to the washing machine.
Utilizing these types of fabrics means that you can also select uniforms that contain cotton without the worry of shrinking.
Double stitching is another great feature that ensures the seam in your pants doesn’t rip after landing an epic roundhouse kick. We love brands that offer flat-locked double-stitched seams to be kinder to your skin. Everyone knows the very specifical irritation of itchy seams. By sewing the seams to the garment, there is less of a risk of irritation.
If you love the fit of your gear right out of the box, you may want to skip hot water completely. Even though brands claim they are pre-shrunk, or that they are machine washable, they can sometimes lose shape when exposed to hot water.
We recommend washing your karate gear in cool water with gentle detergent and then placing it in a well-ventilated area to dry completely. If you have more than one practice per week and don't have time to hand wash and dry your uniform, buy enough uniforms for the week and then wash and dry them on one day!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Karate quite literally translates to the words ‘empty hand’. Kara translates to empty, and te translates to hand. Therefore, karate translates as the art of fighting without any weapons.
When you hear the term black belt, you may conjure an image of a karate master. However, this could not be further from the truth. Many feel that earning your black belt simply means that you have learned enough to really begin your karate journey. Just like in life, there is no tangible finish line when it comes to learning.
New to class and feeling overwhelmed with the various gi options out there on the market? When it doubt, always opt for a lightweight option. Designs that weigh between 4-7 ounces are designed for new students that need something light and easy.
Other Factors to Consider
At the end of the day, just as with martial arts shoes or MMA gloves, getting the right fit is key. Be sure that you utilize the detailed sizing charts that are provided by most brands! Be sure to measure not only your waist and chest but also your wingspan as well.
Selecting products that are composed of a blend of polyester and cotton offers a stretchy fit that is both breathable and lightweight. When sparring with a partner, it is important that you are able to achieve a full range of motion without extra bulk or tight fabrics holding you back.
If you are just starting out on your karate journey, lightweight options that weigh in at around 5-7 ounces are great for really learning the movements while staying comfortable. Due to the fact that fit is so important, there is nothing wrong with employing the help of a tailor to get that perfect fit for your unique body shape!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How should my karate gis fit?
Movement is key. A uniform that is too large will weigh you down and make your movements feel loose and sloppy. A uniform that is too tight hinders your movements and does not allow for a full range of motion. So, where exactly is the sweet spot?
One of the most important things to ensure is that the jacket fits down over your hips. A gi that is too short doesn’t feel natural. The arms should offer plenty of room to move without the fabric getting bunched up at the elbows.
It is also important that the shoulders feel loose and easy. If you carry extra muscle in your shoulders, finding the perfect fit can be frustrating. In our experience, we found that selecting a size up is better than something that is too small.
If you found that you love everything about your uniform, but there is just something off about the fit; you have options! There is nothing wrong with taking your uniform to a tailor to get it specifically cut to your body.
However, before you take it to a tailor be sure that you wash it first to ensure it doesn’t shrink on you after paying to get it tailored.
q: What do I wear under my karate uniform?
Various dojos have different rules when it comes to what to wear under a uniform. To play it safe, you should always adhere to these simple rules.
Women should always wear a sports bra under their jacket when training and in competitions. Men should never wear a t-shirt under their jacket.
It is also important to note that cups are often prohibited at most competitions. Therefore, training with a cup is not considered to be ideal.
q: How heavy should it be?
There are various weight classes for this style of uniform, so it is best to select the right weight for your skill level.
If you are a novice, lightweight designs are perfect for just starting out. Lightweight options often weigh in at around 5-7 ounces and are designed to help you really learn the movement without heavy gear weighing you down.
Heavier, models, like those that weigh in over 14 ounces, are designed for teachers, experts, or those heading to a competition.
q: Do I need a special karate gis for competitions?
The good news here is that most uniforms are allowed for karate competitions. The only exception lies in international competitions. For serious competitions, there are a few guidelines your gi must pass.
First of all, there are certain color requirements for various competitions. While red and blue may be fun for practice, these colors are not permitted for some competitions. To play it on the safe side, we suggest opting for the basic white and black if competitions are in your future.
Secondly, uniforms must be free of rips or tears. If you plan to complete, we suggest buying a gi specifically for training and then buying one for competitions.
q: Is it easy to wash?
The answer to this question depends upon the type of material you selected. If you opted for a design that is made from 100 percent cotton, or the cotton count is higher than polyester, washing is a little tricky.
Cotton is notorious for shrinking when exposed to heat. If your gi fits perfectly right out of the box, it is important that you never subject it to any heat. We suggest washing your uniform in cool water with a gentle detergent. Once you ring out the excess water, hang it in a well-ventilated area to dry completely.
If you select a design that uses a higher polyester count, you don’t need to worry about it shrinking when exposed to heat. When washing a polyester style, you can simply toss it into a washing machine with warm water. To be on the safe side, we like to skip the dryer and hang our uniforms up to dry.
q: How do I know what size is right for me?
No two body types are alike, which can make picking out the right size for your shape a little difficult. The good news, however, is that most companies out there on the market have sizing charts to make things just a little bit easier.
There are three areas of your body that you need to be sure that you measure. The first, and maybe most important, is your wingspan. Karate movements require that your arms are free and unencumbered. Arms need to be loose, but not so loose that the fabric hinders your movements.
The second area to measure is your waist. While most brands offer an elastic waist to accommodate most sizes, pants need to be held firmly in place at the waist while offering a full range of motion in the legs and hips.
q: How do I prevent it from shrinking?
As with most fitness gear and equipment, you want to avoid heat at all costs. Even if your uniform is made from polyester (which is resistant to shrinking), avoiding the drier prolongs the life of your gear.
We like to wash our gear in gentle detergent in cool water by hand, and then hang it up to dry completely.
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