Finding the right gear is crucial for any style of martial arts, but especially for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Over the years I’ve gone through my fair share of No-Gi apparel, and have had a mixed bag of experiences. You can learn from my success and misfortunes, so keep reading to get the lowdown on the best BJJ Spats.
It’s Hard to Pick Just One
After you’ve been doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a couple of months, you may, as many people do, become obsessed. One or two classes a week isn’t nearly enough anymore, and you start taking 5 or 6. Then you realize you don’t have enough clothing for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so you start buying more, spending just as much money, if not more on your grappling gear as you do on your regular clothes…
Once you get to the almost inevitable point of obsession with Jiu Jitsu, you will really want to have an idea of what’s worth spending your money on, as far as training gear goes. I think a pair of spats should last 6 months, at a minimum, with moderate ( 2 classes a week) use. The better brands and designs will last a year, 2 years if you are really lucky.
Everything from the stitching, to the type of waistband, and the way they fit can have a noticeable impact on durability and even performance. After some real trial and error I’ve decided on a few specific spats that I’d recommend, and some I wouldn’t. Keep reading to get the scoop on the best compression pants for BJJ.
Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uniform is the Gi.(Read best bjj gi for a beginner if you’re looking for one.)
Compression pants and rash guards are the unofficial uniform for No-Gi classes.
Sure, you could wear just shorts and a T-shirt for class, but why would you?
Most of the people I train with, including yours truly, wear rash guard and spats under gi.
You get decent moisture control, avoid rashes and infections even under gi.
Hygiene (People Get Sweaty)
I get sweaty, my training partners get sweaty, the mats are sweaty. I personally like to have a little bit of fabric between myself and the group slip-n-slide that the BJJ mats can turn into sometimes. Just my personal preference, but I hate having to use my sweaty legs to hold someone else’s sweaty legs in my half-guard. A nice pair of compression pants can stop that.
How many people have you seen wash their feet before they step on the mats?
Sometimes people don’t follow the gym etiquette and have their fingernails a little longer than they should be.
Don’t be that person!
Spats and a rashguard will save you from getting scratched by a training partner’s claws, and getting some sort of mat funk rubbed all over you..
There’s also the rash protection factor; your training partners are trying to pass your guard, take you down, heel hook you, and more.
Friction burns are real.
If you want extra protection then get a pair of bjj knee pads as well.
Triangle chokes from the bottom are my bread and butter, but I always feel bad if I throw one one without my Jiu Jitsu spats, giving my partner a face full of sweaty man thigh. It just seems rude..
Yes, I put it last on the list, but let’s not pretend that looking cool isn’t on the radar. Who doesn’t want to dress up like a superhero and fight people? There are all manner of BJJ compression pants for men and women available these days, as you’ll see below. As the popularity of sports like Mixed Martial Arts grow, more and more companies are trying their hand at producing grappling gear.
What Makes a Good Pair of BJJ Compression Pants
Seems pretty simple; it’s just a pair of slip on pants. I’ve learned from experience that not all spats are created equal, and the details matter. Here are a few things to look for when searching for spats:
You want to have a nice polyester blend of fabric that allows for fluid motion when grappling. Good Spats don’t feel static-y or very porous; they should feel relatively smooth and silky. You’ll want the fabric to keep your sweat in, and your training partner’s sweat out. Having anti-microbial fabric helps to some of the germs at bay.
The quality of the stitching is the most important factor in the longevity of your spats, next to the type of fabric. Like most pants, spats are stitched on the inside. You’ll want to find a pair that is double stitched or has Flatlock stitching so they don’t come apart after a couple washes. Cheap BJJ Spats will sometimes come apart at the seams way before they should.
Depending on your size, weight, and stature most Jiu Jitsu spats will fit accordingly with your normal clothing size. Many companies have a sizing chart available when you order, but some brands run smaller or larger in the length. You want your grappling spats to fit snugly, like a second skin, and not have them sagging or bunched up anywhere.
The style and type of waistband is also very crucial to the durability of your spats. A good elastic waistband should keep its size and shape through multiple washes, and should keep your pants from sliding down in the middle of a high intensity roll. Save yourself the embarrassment, and find something with a decent waistband.
It’s Hard to Get Just One Pair
These 10 brands of grappling spats are not the only brands out there, but are my personal recommendations. Depending on where you are in your training and how often you get on the mats, I’d suggest having a pair for each day that you train.
At present I try to step on the mats 5 days a week minimum, and some days I go for the morning and evening classes. Wearing the same pair of spats twice in a day is inconceivable, unless you hate your training partners. It’s worth getting a couple extra pairs, in my opinion. Washing is what really degrades your spats, and washing your spats 5 days a week will wear them down quickly, no matter how high quality the brand.
I like to keep a couple pairs that I would use for competition or in-house tournaments, and then a few that are in my everyday rotation. Having five pairs means I only wash them once or maybe twice a week, hopefully extending the product life a little longer. I have yet to have a pair of spats come unstitched or come apart on me (fingers crossed). The only problem I’ve had is one small hole the size of a pencil tip in my Sanabul pants that I believe came from friction with the Velcro of the shorts of my training partners.
How To Wear BJJ Spats
Basically, you can do whatever you want, no one can stop you! (Depending on how good you Jiu Jitsu is) I prefer to wear a pair of grappling shorts over most of my spats, but that is a personal preference. Some designs and graphics make it feel less like you are hanging out in your underwear than others, but it really is about how your spats fit and how comfortable you feel in them.
Finding the Right Fit
The best thing you an do is refer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart according to your height, weight, waist size, and inseam if they offer one. Depending on where the product is manufactured, and where the company is located, there could be some major size differences.
I recommend trying them on as soon in store, or as soon as you get them if you order online. Test them out at home prior to going to class, just to make sure there are no incidents. Do a couple deep squats and lunges to make sure they don’t bunch up or ride to low in the waist. Your spats shouldn’t really move at all if they fit right.
Do some spin moves, throw some kicks, and anything else you can think that might compromise your grappling garments. Maybe do a friction test to make sure you won’t have any drag on the mats and you aren’t going to hip escape right out of your pants.
Caring For Your Spats
As I said, washing is what will degrade your spats the most. Try to follow the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the tag, which usually says machine wash on cold and hang dry. One thing you really want to avoid is leaving your spats and rashguard in your gym bag for hours or even overnight. The combined sweat of you and all of your training partners will create the worst smell imaginable.
I always wash my grappling spats and rashguard in cold or warm water , and make sure to add scented fabric softener along with laundry detergent to counteract any potential stench buildup. In extreme cases I will add a 1/2 capful of bleach, but the best thing to do is to wash your workout gear as soon as possible, and stay fresh.
Always refrain from dying your Jiu Jitsu spats and rashguards. IF absolutely necessary, you can dry them on low or air dry settings, but do so at your own risk. The best practice is to wash daily if you can, and just let them dry overnight. Having a pile of sweaty training gear in a corner for a week waiting to get washed will not bode well for your household, trust me.
This list is just my personal opinion of the best BJJ Spats that I’ve found so far. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a constantly changing and evolving sport and martial art, and the companies that are producing the training gear are evolving just as fast. The brands and products at the top of the list are tried and true staples of the grappling world, while the ones near the bottom are worth checking out as well.
The Pros and Cons listed are my opinions based on personal experiences and reviews, but I am constantly purchasing new gear. As the obsession with practicing my favorite martial art grows, my closet space shrinks.
What are your favorite training spats/compression pants?
Good luck with your gear search, and don’t stop training!