How Should a BJJ Gi Fit? (Guide) | Is your gi too big or small?

So you just bought a new BJJ gi and you’re not sure it’s the right size. Maybe it’s too big or too small, or maybe it’s alright. In this article I share some example pictures of BJJ gis that don’t fit, I tell you how to know if your BJJ gi fits and I tell you what to do with a gi that doesn’t fit.

Attention: in this article I assume you already bought a gi. If you want to find out your gi size before buying a gi, please use our gi size calculator.

How Should a BJJ gi fit?

A BJJ gi should be big enough to cover your wrists and ankles, but not much bigger (these are the official BJJ gi fit rules from the IBJJF). A gi should also be loose enough for you to move around freely, especially in the groin and hip area. 

GI Size Calculator

Also read: The Complete BJJ Gi Size Guide | Gi Size Calculator & 3 Gi Size Charts

How to know if your BJJ gi fits?

You can know if your BJJ gi fits by doing the following test while wearing your gi:

  1. Stretch out your arms in front of you: do the sleeves end around your wrist? Your gi fits correctly if the sleeves are within the width of 2 fingers from either side of your wrist.
  2. Stand up straight: do the gi pants end around your ankles? The pants legs are too long if they hit the floor, and too short if they end more than 2 fingers width above your ankles.
  3. Lay down on the floor, stretch one leg to the floor and raise your other knee to your chest. The gi pants are too tight if they impede your natural range of motion.

If you pass these 3 tests then your BJJ gi fits correctly.

What to do when your BJJ gi doesn’t fit?

If your BJJ gi doesn’t fit, you can solve that problem in a few different ways. The solution you need depends on whether your gi is too big, too small, too baggy or too tight.

Problem \ SolutionReturn itSell itShrink itTailor it
Too bigYesYesYesYes
Too longYesYesNoYes
Too looseYesYesNoNo
Too smallYesYesNoNo
Too tightYesYesNoNo
Table: How to fix a BJJ gi that doesn’t fit (depending on whether it’s too big or small)

BJJ gi too big

Is your BJJ gi too big all around? There’s a few ways to fix up an oversized gi:

  1. Return it and buy a new gi. This is always the easiest option if your gi doesn’t fit, as most stores have free return policies. And use my gi size guide this time to get the sizing right.
  2. Shrink it in the wash or dryer. This works very well if your gi is a few inches too big all around. You can expect to shrink about 10% off your gi. (Also read: how to shrink you BJJ gi.)
  3. Take your gi to the tailor. This works especially well if your gi is too long. I took several gi’s to the tailor when the gi pants were too long, and they were able to hem the gi pants cheaply and quickly.
Someone in a BJJ gi that's too big
Image: a picture of someone in a BJJ gi that’s much too big (taken from Reddit)

BJJ gi too small

Is your BJJ gi too small? Unfortunately you can’t make it bigger. But here’s what you can do:

  1. Return it and buy a new gi. Use my gi size calculator this time, so you can get the sizing right.
  2. Sell it to someone at your gym. This happens a lot in BJJ gyms. Just try to see who’s smaller than you and ask if they’re interested in buying a new gi from you because you bought the wrong size.
Picture of someon in a BJJ gi that's much too small
Image: Picture of someon in a BJJ gi that’s much too small

BJJ gi too loose or baggy

Is your BJJ gi too baggy or loose, but not too long? In that case I don’t recommend shrinking it (because it will become too short), and it’s hard for the tailor to help you. 

But, a gi that’s too loose is also not a super big problem. You can just suck it up and train in it, or you can try to sell it to somebody at your gym.

BJJ gi too tight

Is your BJJ gi too tight? Then the question is where it’s too tight. If the jacket is too tight, that’s usually not a big problem. (It’s actually an advantage because it makes it harder to grip you). 

If the pants are too tight around the groin area and they impede your movement, that’s a big problem. It’s also impossible to make your gi more loose, so you’ll have to return this gi or sell it.

Is it better to have a BJJ gi too big or too small?

It’s better to have a BJJ gi that’s a bit too big than to have one that’s too small. The reason is that a gi will always shrink a little bit over time in the wash. And a big gi also doesn’t inhibit your movement, so it’s not as big of a problem as a gi that’s too small.

Is it better to have a BJJ gi too tight or too loose?

It’s better to have a gi that’s too loose than to have a gi that’s too tight, because a tight gi inhibits your movement. However, if you gi is only a little bit too tight and doesn’t inhibit your movement, that’s actually fine. As a matter of fact, it’s an advantage because it makes you harder to grip, and you should consider using this gi as your competition gi.

Also read: The best BJJ gi for competition

FAQ

How tight should a BJJ Gi be?

A BJJ gi should be comfortably tight. It shouldn’t impede your natural range of motion, but it also shouldn’t be much looser than that.

Can you hem gi pants?

Yes you can hem gi pants. You can do it yourself or you can bring your gi pants to your local tailor, who should be able to hem your gi pants for a cheap price.

Can you bring your gi to a tailor for alterations?

Yes a tailor can easily alter your gi. Depending on what you need done this can be very cheap (for some simple hemming) or expensive (if you need many different alterations).