What should you look for in a karate uniform? First and foremost, look for quality. How does the stitching stand up? What materials are used in the uniform’s construction? Will the uniform shrink in the wash? Does it stain easily? How long can you reasonably expect this investment to last?
Like most karate equipment, there are products best for competition and some that are better suited to the gym. When looking for a karate uniform, keep in mind what you plan to use it for. If you’re going to be wearing it to competitions and other major events, it’s worth investing in heavy, full cotton garments.
These uniforms shrink extremely easily, and you must wash them in cold water and only air dry them. Mixed cotton and polyester uniforms are much easier to wash. Since you’ll sweat a lot in the gym and during any kind of practice, you need something that washes easily and won’t show such dramatic changes if you make a mistake while cleaning it.
Always check your uniform’s stitching and review customer sentiment very carefully. This will help you know if the product can stand up to the rigors of training. Pay attention to comments about washing, stitching, and the crotch. Since the crotch sees the most stress of any part of your uniform and requires the most flexibility, it’s likely the first part of a uniform to tear.
How Your Uniform Impacts Performance
Karate demands speed, flexibility, and durability. If your uniform is too small, it will restrict your movements. This could lead to potential injuries, and will certainly lead to chafing and substandard performance. Overly large uniforms also hamper your performance. They can trip you, catch on your gloves or other protective equipment, or simply not stay in place. The last thing you need to worry about while you’re training is a pair of uniform pants that keep slipping down.
The Best Karate Uniforms
Venum Elite Kata Karate Gi Uniform
This one hundred percent cotton gi is designed for competition. It’s made of ultra heavy material, which makes for a great snapping effect when you move. The collar and sleeves are extra thick. The crisp look and sound are great for competition. The uniform is cut to not only fit well, but perform well. It allows a maximum range of motion, so you can perform the most demanding moves. This uniform is approved by the World Karate Federation, making it the ultimate competition gi.
The majority of previous buyers found this to be an outstanding product. They left glowing praise and emphasized how awesome the uniform fit. At least one buyer, however, had some trouble with sizing. They claimed they could fit two of themselves into their usual size. The rest of the feedback failed to back up this claim, however. The majority were entirely pleased with their purchase.
- 100% cotton
- Designed for competition
- Extra sturdy arms and neck
- Designed to allow full range of motion
- Cotton will shrink if washed incorrectly
- One previous buyer found the product too large
Fuji Karate Uniform
This gi features a blend of cotton and polyester. This prevents shrinkage in the wash, and allows users to clean it much more easily. It has an elastic waist for ease of wear, and its lightweight material is perfect for hot weather or sweaty training sessions. Although it’s a fairly comfortable uniform, the manufacturer emphasizes that they don’t compromise durability for comfort. Since it’s easy to break in a uniform with a few wears and washes, this makes perfect sense.
Although it’s a lightweight gi, previous buyers attest to its durability. Very few complained that the uniform was too large. The vast majority praised the lightness of the gi, which was perfect for sweaty gyms and long training sessions. Others chose this product as a replacement after training hard enough to wear out previous uniforms and found the gi to be both a good fit and sturdy product. Some users gave additional feedback after several months of use, and they remained entirely positive.
- Cotton/polyester blend
- Washes well
- Not fit for competition
- May run a little large for some users
Tiger Claw Medium Weight Traditional Karate Uniform
This uniform is made from one hundred percent cotton. The seams are made to take a beating and are double stitched for durability. The pants have a drawstring top.
Previous buyers had mixed feelings about this product. Although it seems that smaller sizes and youth sizes fit well, adults, particularly those with wide hips or extra height, had difficulty getting the right size. Although it appears to be a singular manufacturing flaw, one user did complain that the loops for the drawstring at the top of the pants ripped during the first wear. Several other buyers were not satisfied with the gi’s quality, pointing out that the material was substandard and that the stitching seemed loose.
- 100% cotton
- Poor construction
- Will not wash well
Since karate uniforms are used for different purposes, it’s impossible to choose just one and label it the supreme gi. However, with respect to their individual uses, some are better suited to their purpose than others. The Venum Elite uniform has every advantage for those going into a competition. It’s approved by the overseeing association, and it comes from a reputable manufacturer.
The only complaint involved sizing, which is a difficult thing to choose online. As for lightweight training uniforms, the Fuji uniform was the clear winner. Its mixed cotton and polyester fabric allows for easy care and washing, which is what any serious student needs. It also has glowing praise from users, and it seems to do its job well.
Unfortunately, the Tiger Claw gi’s claims of durability are unbalanced by user remarks. It isn’t durable enough for regular use, and it isn’t sturdy enough for competitions. In order to find the perfect uniform, however, all you need to decide is how and where you’ll use it.