I found it surprisingly hard to find good grappling shorts for no gi BJJ. The first shorts I bought were actually unsafe, and my second shorts restricted my movement too much. Here, I’ll tell you what to look for in grappling shorts and which are my best grappling shorts for no gi BJJ and why.
Contents of this article
What to Look for in Grappling Shorts for No Gi BJJ?
You’re probably wondering what you need to look for to find the best grappling shorts for no gi BJJ.
Here’s the summary:
- Safety: No zippers, pockets, or other loose material or hard objects.
- Material: You want your BJJ shorts strong and a little elastic.
- Fit: The best grappling shorts are fitted quite tight for safety, but don’t restrict movement and ideally don’t reveal the shapes inside your pants.
Safety First: Can you wear board shorts for BJJ?
Yes, as long as the shorts don’t have any hard pieces of metal on them (such as zippers). They also can’t have pockets or otherwise loose materials, because fingers or toes might get stuck in these. And finally, they shouldn’t restrict your movement.
The Best BJJ Shorts: Tight but not Too Tight
The best grappling shorts need to satisfy two conflicting requirements: they need to be tight enough to be safe, but not so tight that they restrict your range of motion.
The safety part of this dilemma arises from the fact that if your grappling shorts are too loose, stray toes or fingers might get caught in them, which can lead to rather severe finger injuries. (And if that’s what we wanted, we would have just trained in the gi 😉 .)
The grappling shorts dilemma is why some grapplers roll in only spats, because these combine maximum tightness with maximum flexibility. (But please be aware that some of your (female) rolling partners might be uncomfortable if you wear spats without shorts, and at some gyms it’s not even allowed.)
How to Find Your Fit
The models of grappling shorts are quite different across brands. It’s always hard to know in advance to know which brand will fit you the best. It took me a few tries until I found a brand that fits my body type very well.
One tip for finding your fit is to look at which shorts people with a similar body type to you are wearing at your gym. And of course, if you ask, they may even let you try on their shorts before class (or after, 🤮).
The Best Grappling Shorts for No Gi BJJ
Here’s my list of the best grappling shorts for no gi BJJ.
The Gold BJJ Jiu Jitsu shorts are high quality and IBJJF approved. They’re definitely the best BJJ shorts that I’ve had so far, and they’re only a little more expensive than the budget options.
I’ve had my Gold BJJ shorts for about 6 months now and they show no wear and tear yet, so that’s great.
What I also really like about these BJJ shorts is that you can easily pair them with the other Gold BJJ apparel to create a consistent outfit. I got these shorts at the same time as I got the Gold BJJ spats and rashguard. That consistent outfit definitely looks better than the random apparel assortment that I used to wear.
So if your budget allows you to not get the absolute cheapest BJJ shorts on the market, I recommend the Gold BJJ shorts. They’re the best grappling shorts I’ve had so far.
- Everything you need out of your BJJ shorts
- Optional: waistband in the color of your rank
The Sanabul Essential BJJ shorts are a basic price fighter. They’re not flashy, but if you just need a pair of shorts that’s safe for BJJ, these will do.
What I personally also like about these shorts is that they don’t have very visible branding on them. There’s only the Sanabul name on them, quite small and in the same color as the shorts themselves.
These shorts also have a small cut in the bottom sides of each leg, which lets you move around in them much more freely. Earlier shorts I bought didn’t have this, and they restricted my movement and didn’t last very long.
In my opinion, these are the best grappling shorts for no gi BJJ if you’re on a budget, and I recommend them to people of all levels.
The Hawk BJJ shorts are among the cheapest BJJ shorts I could find.
These fight shorts aren’t exclusively made for BJJ, but also for other combat sports. In my experience this doesn’t matter much though. They’re also unisex, which probably makes them the best BJJ shorts for women.
One cool fact about these grappling shorts is that UFC fighter Robbie Lawler wore them in one of his fights.
The main thing I dislike about these shorts is that the Hawk logo is very visible. I personally never like to feel like a walking advertisement, and I don’t like to associate myself with brands unless I absolutely love them.
Still, if you want fight shorts for BJJ and you want to save some money, the Hawk shorts are a great pick.
I’ll mention the Anthem Athletics Resilience BJJ shorts because they offer multiple cool design choices. All the other BJJ shorts I’ve mentioned are quite plain.
These shorts are good quality. The material is light but feels durable and the Velcro connector in the front doesn’t get in the way of my movement.
You pay a little bit more for the design, but if you want to your personality to shine through while you’re rolling, this could be worth it.
The Elite Sports BJJ shorts are another great budget option. At the time of writing they’re the cheapest BJJ shorts I could find (but prices can change). They come in plain black or in ranked colors.
But, one thing I dislike about these shorts is the big Velcro connector in the front. For my first few training sessions the Velcro was very rigid and even quite sharp at the edges.
So for me, although these are the cheapest grappling shorts, they’re not the best shorts for BJJ. For just a few dollars more, you can get grappling shorts that don’t have a stiff Velcro waistband in your belly.
So What are the Best Grappling Shorts for BJJ?
The best grappling shorts that I’ve had are the GoldBJJ shorts, and they’re not super expensive, so that’s my top recommendation.
If you really want to save some extra money, you have a few options. The Sanabul jiu jitsu shorts, Hawk grappling shorts and Elite Sports BJJ shorts are all fine. I personally don’t like the big brand label on the Hawk shorts and the Elite Sports shorts have a thick and uncomfortable piece of velcro, which makes Sanabul the best budget grappling shorts to me.
If you’re looking for grappling shorts with cool designs, you want to check out Anthem Athletics Resilience’s grappling shorts, they have more design choices than the other brands.
Do I need ranked shorts for no gi BJJ?
No! For IBJJF competition and all the gyms I’ve ever been to, you can just wear white or black BJJ shorts. But, you can wear ranked shorts, for example if you want your uniform to still indicate your rank while you’re not wearing a ranked rash guard.
Can you wear compression shorts to no gi BJJ?
In my opinion, you shouldn’t.
This question is similar to the question of wearing only spats in BJJ. The upside is that compression shorts are both maximally tight and maximally flexible. The downside is that they are very revealing of all your junk.
In general I wouldn’t recommend wearing compression shorts for no gi BJJ (unless it’s as underwear under your shorts). The reason is that more people are uncomfortable with this than you might realise. They may not tell you, but I’ve heard people complain about clothes that are too revealing in the locker room after training.
I know a few people who do wear only compression shorts, but they also wear a cup, so they still cover their junk. Also, they train at a gym with almost no women, which I think makes the problem less salient.
Are gi pants allowed in no gi?
It depends! At some 10th planet jiu jitsu gyms this is actually encouraged. But, at most no gi BJJ gyms, it’s frowned upon or not allowed.
I actually wore gi pants to no gi class for a while when I didn’t have shorts. I got a lot of comments from people that thought it was cheating, because gi pants make it much harder to escape leg locks due to the increased friction. (Of course, this actually cuts both ways because it makes it harder for yourself to escape leg locks as well, but I do see their point.)
So that’s the main reason I bought no gi shorts.
Also, if you wear gi pants, your opponents will grab them. That happens automatically, so you also can’t blame them for it. But it’s sub optimal if you want to experience actual no gi BJJ.
I hope my post helped you find the best grappling shorts for no gi BJJ for you. If you have any more questions about the best BJJ shorts, let me know!