Favorite Gi Brands of 2023

What is the best Jiu Jitsu GI brand? Nowadays the amount of options for Jiu Jitsu gis and brands seems never ending. Nine Lives was built in 2015, a time when the options were much more limited and there wasn’t much available that fit ‘our vibe.’ If you wanted aggressive skulls and tribal tattoo style art you had plenty of options but that is not the arena Nine Lives typically plays in. Jiu Jitsu gis are a bit of a commodity so where we differentiated Nine Lives was in our branding and the style of art we brought to our kimonos

This blog post is not about Nine Lives though, this was written to celebrate some of the amazing brands that DO align with our vibe. Yes, we are supporting our competitors and potentially driving you to buy their product. From our perspective, these are the best gi brands of 2023. 

Buying a gi comes down to finding a brand that aligns with your needs, wants and budget: 

  1. Size and fit
  2. Color and design elements
  3. Price point
  4. Brand 
  5. Quality, weave style and fabric weight

This blog post will be focused entirely on number 2 and 4 from above, price, fit and quality do not weigh in for our system of picking. I have decided to not re-feature brands previously ranked in my 2016 “9 (plus one) of Our Favorite Jiu Jitsu Gi Brands” blog post. Rest assured all of these brands I still hold with highest regard. It was actually hard to not go back and feature some of these that are still at the top of their games. 

So without further ado, here is our list in no particular order. 

  1. Arm Bar Soap Company
    OK, I know this brand has “soap company” in the name but they do also make gis. Part of my allure to this brand is how well they have gone from a company that has soap in their name to being a sought after brand/logo to wear. I would say this is 100% based on the quality design and imagery that they use. I mean look at this "Ghost Jaguar" gi and tell me they are not pushing the limits of all other companies. armbarsoapNINELIVES

  2. Vanguard Kimono 
    These guys won my heart out the gate with their selvedge denim kimono. For someone who came from streetwear clothing production, this is the epitome of cool. They are and were the first to make a gi from selvedge denim but my love for the brand extends to their graphic design as well they keep it clean but without benign basic. 

  3. Half Sumo Collective 
    Based out of New York this brand oozes the NYC gritty executed at an exceptional level. What I love about Half Sumo Collective is that they have a very unique and easily recognizable style. The hand drawn samurai style is done in a maximalist way that works so well because their gis still have a clean and simplistic look. They have done an artful job and finding that balance and building a very recognizable brand. 
  4. Kitsune Kimonos 
    I am a bit biased towards this brand because the 9th Chapter gi for Nine Lives was named Kitsune and featured a fox design celebrating the Japanese folklore character and its paranormal abilities. Kitsune Kimonos does a great job of weaving in Japanese style artwork and symbolizm that aligns perfectly with their brand name.  I would say the brand has a Half Sumo vibe with less maximalist designs, amazing color choices and always a very clean exterior to their gis. 

  5. Spyder 
    I have been wearing Spyder gear on the mountain since I was probably 7 years old so when they crossed into Jiu Jitsu and were the first brand to serve both my hobbies I was fascinated with how they would navigate two very different sports. They have done so masterfully, I believe in large part due to Spyder Korea which has expanded the brand into a variety of sports beyond skiing and BJJ. Spyder recently achieved the pinnacle of cool by securing a collaboration with Supreme New York.  Their gi designs push the limits and are unmistakably “Spyder” when you see them. 
  6. Supernatural Survival Gear 
    Kent Peters is the brains behind this brand and if you have heard of Instagram and like learning Jiu Jitsu it is almost impossible to have not heard of Kent’s brand. A master of teaching Jiu Jitsu and unabashedly calling for folks to “buy my shit,” Kent is a breath of fresh air in how he is just being himself and calling it like it is. No pulled punches here. Kent focuses on heavy pattern usage and picks classics that really never go out of style like tye dye and camo. 

I am keeping the list short, even though there are many other brands out there I have either covered them already in my previous post, or I don’t yet see them rising to the ranks of branding greatness…yet. This list also, by design, focuses on more boutique or artisan designers and creatives. 

Again, this post features competitors of mine but I do not shy away from sending you to their sites. You will have a checklist when buying a gi and this industry is big enough for all of us to thrive, so even as a small one man operation I will always support each individual finding the best fit for their budget, style, fit requirements and any other needs they may have. With that in mind we hope you seek out and find a list of companies who offer gis that perfectly fit your vibe!