It is always important to know what you wear is made of and how it is made in the world of BJJ. Certain weaves can make a Gi lighter and better for use in hot conditions, and certain materials that Gis are made out of can cause less shrinkage. So, check out this breakdown to see what Gi weave and material may be right for your next purchase.
Gi Weaves 101
Single weave Gis are generally the least expensive, and are light for training in hot conditions. They are only one solid piece of fabric, but if that is thin fabric they will wear out quicker than most of the other types of Gi weaves. Some single weaves are made well and are durable, but most are made cheaply. For a longer lasting Gi check out some of the other weaves.
Double weaves are like putting two single weaves together. The thickness can be a positive and a negative. The positives are that it makes the Gi last longer and it is harder for your opponent to grip. Unfortunately, some people complain that it is too hot to wear sometimes, and it can also put extra weight on the scales for competition which is something to consider if you are almost at the limit.
The Gold is one of the more popular Gi weaves on the market. Over half the Gis manufactured use this weave. It adds the durability of the double with the lightness of the single weave. It seems like a good enough reason to be the most popular Gi weave.
The platinum weave gi is professed to be the highest grade gi weave on the market. Whether or not it is true, they also profess that is is already 100% pre-shrunk. The Platinum is only used by one manufacture of Gis, so it is hard to substantiate their claims since no one else uses it.
Rip Stop Gi
This is a very popular style of Gi when it first came out due to it being very hard to grip, hard to tear, and a long lasting material. The negative was it was disallowed by competitions, so you should not train in something you cannot compete in. You do not want to get used to rolling in a Gi when you will wear a different one on the mats.
The pearl weave makes the lightest gi allowed in competition, but at the same time is extremely durable. The weave makes the fabric a lot more tightly knit than most of the other weaves. It can hold up to stress from your opponents since it is built to last for a long time.
The most common material that Gis are made out of, but there is some drawback when comparing it to Hemp or Bamboo. Cotton can be made to make lightweight to heavyweight Gis, but they always shrink. You have to consider how much a Gi will shrink so that it will stay competition legal for many years to come and not be illegal in six months. The cotton Gis are very neutral, but they seem weak compared to the hemp and bamboo.
For the eco-friendly BJJ rollers, the Hemp Gi is your best friend. No, I am not saying because it is weed eco-friendly people will like it. Hemp is great because it takes half the land and half the water to have a good crop to process. In fact, before 1937 hemp was not illegal, and almost all the cordage and string was made of hemp. That is because Hemp is a lot stronger than cotton, but laws prohibited its use back in 1937. Now, hemp is such a fantastically strong material it makes a very breathable Gi that keeps one cool on the mat. Also, the plant has anti-microbial fighting in the genes of it which transfer over to the Gi itself.
Bamboo is easily the softest Gi I have ever worn. It does not shrink through multiple washes, and the material actually becomes softer after a few washes instead of harder like cotton. The process of making the Gi and treating it does not take as many chemicals either which makes the Gi less abrasive. The Bamboo plant also supposedly has bacteria fighting qualities in it which transfer to the Gi material itself.