Traditional Gi Review
This review is to help students of all ranks if they are considering a new gi for training. Prices on Gis do not reflect shipping or recent changes in company prices. Check with your Sensei for a quote. Consult your instructor on their opinion as they will have probably tried these gis out themselves. It is also good to always to order these through your dojo as your Sensei will also be able to get discounts from time to time as these companies have specials and also that any ordering through your Sensei helps your school.
There are many other gi brands out there, this is only a review of those that my students or I have worn.
For the beginner
|Tokon wins hands down with a light weight, traditional cut gi that is priced very reasonably. Many students who immediately take to karate with a passion can tell the limitations of a student or introductory gi and ask to advanced to something more comfortable. This gi, for the price, is a beginner gi with the cut and feel of an intermediate/advanced.Price-$75|
|Pro Force makes an affordable gi that is built to a “Western Cut” gi, similar to Century. The gi seems to have less shrinkage than Century and students seem to enjoy this as an economy model gi that lasts a long time.|
|Century makes an affordable gi to start off with however tends to have a great deal of shrinkage on gis that are heavier in weight. The student, light-weight gis are fine and should last a student for their first year of serious training.|
For the intermediate student
|Again, Pro Force makes an affordable gi that is built to a “Western Cut” gi, similar to Century. The gi seems to have less shrinkage than Century and students seem to enjoy this as an economy model gi that lasts a long time.|
|Ki International has long been known for it’s supply of traditional Japanese/Okinawan dogi and makes uniforms that are perfect for the intermediate student. Their new line of Mugen gi’s are not only have a great fit and feel, they are also one of the best priced gi out there. This is a great gi for traditional Japanese/Okinawan stylists. The black label tournament and the yellow label tournament gis share the same traditional cut with long jackets and short pants. They require little to no alterations unlike other gi companies and the only difference between them is that the black label is heavier than the yellow.The red label is a lighter material geared towards a kumite cut and weight.
Black Label-$75 and up depending on size
Yellow Label-$75and up depending on size
Red Label-$75 and up depending on size
|Tokon is another great gi company that not only makes advanced student gi, but also has a line of very affordable and comfortable uniforms. Formally known as Kamikaze USA, there are models of gi for every type of practitioner. The Europa is a great feeling gi. Most heavyweight gis live up to their name when you are sweating a great deal during practice. They become heavy, bunch-up and “drag” along your legs and arms. The Europa stays the same throughout practice and moves freely with the light feeling of a middleweight but the snap and weight of a heavyweight. A great combination on a great gi. I have students that have been wearing the same Europa for over three to four years and still love it. Watch out for shrinking! Wash Smart.
For the advanced student
|Price:$175 and upShureido is one of the top choices for heavyweight gi for the traditional karateka. They are built with extra room in the jacket and pants in a non-athletic cut.Pros
Freedom of movement
If you are a very lean or athletic build, shureido gis can be a bit bulky.
Suggestions: Get a medium weight pant with a heavyweight top for workouts in the heat so that you don’t keep pulling up your pants.
|Price-$250 and upTokaido makes one of the most comfortably fitting gis and with it’s athletic cut, it is “blends” with your movement. If you normally wear a 5 or 5 1/2 in Shureido, you will want a size 6 in Tournament cut Tokaido. I bought one in Tokyo from the store and it is one of the most comfortable gis I have ever owned. Worth EVERY penny.Pros
If you order too small or wash in hot water, you are going to have a gi that a child could wear.
|Price: Around $260 and higherHirota offers the luxury of tailored gis fit to your exact measurements. I recently ordered one for Christmas and love the fit however the sleeves were cut a little too short which has made me not wear it a great deal. The pants were a “high waist” cut which is also a little uncomfortable so make sure that you order the regular waist pants.Pros
Tailored fit is great
If the measurements are wrong or you wash it incorrectly, you have a very expensive gi for your 5 year old.
|Tokon makes a great advanced gi in three models. The Sovereign is a lighter weight gi with still the snap of a heavyweight. It is perfect for kumite or summer training and it’s longer cut is very comfortable. The Monarch and America is a great kata gi that is a traditional “heavy” gi and fits the body very nicely.|