What does it mean to get the best BJJ gi for your kids? I don’t believe children need an expensive fancy gi, but you can’t just bring them in their pajamas either. I looked as all the available kid’s and youth BJJ gis, and in this post I’ll explain what the best kid’s BJJ gi is for different situations your child might be in (think of beginners, more serious kids and competitors).
Contents of this article
What to look for in a jiu jitsu gi for kids?
To get the best BJJ gi for your kids, the main factors you need to consider are:
Gi size & growth spurt
As with any piece of kids clothing, the dilemma is that you want clothes that fit your kid now, but also 6 months from now. And just like with other clothing, there isn’t a really good answer to this dilemma for gis. The best is to get one or even two gi sizes up if your kid is still actively growing a lot.
For adults I’m a big fan of thick gis that are reliable and durable. However, I think that thin gis are fine for kids, because kids don’t need super durable gis, for a few reasons:
- Kids usually only train once or twice per week, so their gi will last longer anyway
- Kids are not so strong yet that they can easily pull each other’s gis apart
- Kids grow out of gis anyway, so their BB gi doesn’t need to last much more than a year
And the added benefit of thin gis is that they’re cheaper, and they dry faster after washing them.
Color: ‘Cool’ VS Competition legal
Kids BJJ gis can come in bright colors and with fun designs. These are awesome and can really help to motivate your kids for BJJ by making your kids feel cool in their BJJ gi.
However, the only thing you need to keep in mind is that in competition, your kid will still need to wear a plain white or plain blue gi. (But most kids in BJJ don’t compete until a much later age.)
Like I said, I think it’s ok to get a thinner gi for your kid, which is also cheaper. But, don’t try to save money by buying an extra cheap gi that’s meant for Karate, because that will get torn apart in the first class. You still need to buy a specific BJJ gi, but you can get one of the cheaper ones (the list below contains kids BJJ gis that I think are cheap but also good value).
What Kind of Kid's BJJ Gis are there?
There’s three types of BJJ kids gis: budget gis, durable gis, and gis with a special design for kids.
Budget kids bjj gis
There’s quite a few brands that offer kids bjj gis for between $40 and $50. Honestly, all kids gis in this category are pretty similar to each other. They’re all made of thin cloth (which makes them cheap), and they have similar designs. The main thing that differs between them is what colors they offer and how visible their own branding is.
In my opinion, it’s not wrong to get a budget gi for your kid. After all, you don’t know how long your kid will continue to enjoy BJJ, and your kid may also still be growing. Also, thin cloth gis are very comfortable.
Durable kids BJJ Gis
For young kids, I don’t believe you need to get a very durable gi. But if your kid is over 10 years old and pretty serious about BJJ, or even wants to compete, a durable gi starts to make more sense. Older kids are more likely to stick longer with jiu jitsu, and they’re also stronger so they need a tougher gi.
Gis with a special kids design
A BJJ gi with a special design for kids (think animals or superheroes) is great because wearing a cool gi makes a kid like jiu jitsu more.
Currently, the only gis with special kids designs are Tatami’s Meerkatsu line, which features small cartoon animals on the arm and nice colors.
The Best Kids BJJ Gi
The Elite Sports Kids BJJ gi is the best kid’s BJJ gi when they start doing BJJ. I’ll buy this gi for my kids when they are between 5 and 10 years old (assuming they want to do BJJ).
This gi falls into the budget category I described earlier, which means it’s made very thin, and this makes it cheap. I think this is ok for my kids, for the reasons I described earlier: I won’t know how long they’ll like BJJ, young kids don’t need a very strong gi because they’re not so strong themselves, they’ll grow out of their gi soon anyway, and this gi is as comfortable as pajamas.
As for colors, I’ll try to get my kids into a white or blue gi, because I like that classic look much better than the bright and flashy colors. But, if bright colors are what it takes to get my kid to give BJJ a chance, I definitely will. And Elite Sports has some flashy colors available (pink and green) 🙂
Some extra conveniences of this gi are that it’s preshrunk which helps with choosing the right size the first time, it comes with a free white belt (always nice), and it has an elastic waistband so if my kid doesn’t tie his drawstring right, his pants won’t keep falling off.
The Vector BJJ gi for children is in between the budget gi and a durable gi categories I described above. It’s thicker than the budget gis, and not quite as sturdy as the really durable gis. Keep in mind that younger kids might find a thick gi less comfortable than a thin gi (which basically feels like pajamas).
I would buy this gi when my kids become ~9 years old. At that point the thicker material shouldn’t be an inconvenience to them, and there’s less chance that they’ll suddenly quit jiu jitsu overnight so durability would become a bigger concern.
The Fuji Kid’s BJJ Uniform is the best BJJ gi for kids of about 10 years old, who are pretty serious about BJJ and maybe even entering into competitions. At that point, I would want them to have a gi that’s very durable and strong.
Fuji gis are also widely recognized and IBJJF legal (given that you get a white or blue one), so your kids can actually compete in it.
So basically, if my kids start to identify less as kids and more as youth athletes, I’ll get this Fuji gi for them.
Tatami’s Meerkatsu kids gis are the best kid’s BJJ gis in terms of design. In fact, they’re the only gis on the market with special designs for kids.
Normally, I’m not really a design snob, and I would never buy a special design gi for myself. But, if I thought my kids would really like it, I could get these Meerkatsy gis for them. What I really like is that they are not so over the top. They’re still pretty classic looking gis, but with a bright color and a cartoon animal that could be a small expression of identity for my children.
Basically, I would love it if my kids could talk to other kids like: ‘I’m Leo the Lion, who are you?‘ ‘I’m Pedro the Chimp.‘ ‘Wow, cool!‘
So if I felt that a Meerkatsu would help to get my kids motivated to do BJJ, I would buy them.
The HAWK BJJ gi for kids is honestly very similar to the Elite sports kids BJJ gi. It’s also made of thin cloth, it comes with a free white belt, it has an elastic waistband on top of its drawstring, and its price is similar.
What I like less about the HAWK gi is that its branding patches are bigger and not particularly appealing in my opinion.
What’s good though is that the sizes of this gi are different from those of Elite Sports, so if your kid is in between different sizes on the Elite sports gi, you can check if the HAWK gi fits better.
Conclusion: What's the Best Kid's BJJ Gi?
What the best kid’s BJJ gi is depends on how serious your kids is about Brazilian jiu jitsu.
If your child is just getting started, the Elite Sports Kid’s gi is the best because it’s very affordable and good enough quality.
If you want to give your child some extra motivation by giving them a ‘cool’ BJJ gi, get the Meerkatsu Kid’s gi.
Does my kid need a bjj gi, or is another gi also ok?
BJJ gis are much tougher than gis of striking arts such as karate and Tae Kwon do. You absolutely cannot bring a Karate gi to jiu jitsu because it will get pulled apart within the first 5 minutes.
A judo gi can be ok though. Judo gis are usually even thicker than jiu jitsu gis. They’re also usually more loose fitting, which is a disadvantage for your kid, but that shouldn’t be a really big deal.
At what age can kids start jiu jitsu?
Kids can start doing jiu jitsu around 5 years old, depending on your kid’s development. It’s important that your kid can verbalize needs and desires, is bathroom trained, and can follow the rules.
For the dojo, it’s important that they have a class with kids of the same age as your kid. Often, BJJ kids classes for 5-8 years old focus on games rather than techniques and are only 30 minutes long.
Which gi size does a 5 year old have?
Always check the size guide from the specific gi model you’re buying, because sizes differ across models, even within the same brand.