As a martial artist, especially when grappling, there’s a lot of inverted position, flexible positions (leg locks, rubber guard etc.). You wouldn’t want to be in shorts or large sweatpants, I lost count about the number of times I ripped my pants during my early days in BJJ.
Finding the right gear is important for any serious martial artists. Whether you’re training 2-3 hours a day or just a recreational martial artist, you’re going to spend a good amount of money on sportswear and equipment.
Let me guide so that you make the right choices and avoid getting disappointed form ripped, and shrunk low-quality spats.
What are BJJ Spats?
Spats are pocketless leggings that you can wear under shorts or gi pants to help protect you and make you more comfortable during training. The materials used to make compression pants are typically a blend of nylon, spandex, and polyester. This helps the pants fit snugly and be stretchy.
Spats are designed to provide support and increase performance while wearing them.
Spats are not only worn by BJJ athletes, but also by wrestlers, mixed martial artists, and even some CrossFit athletes. While they serve different purposes for each type of athlete, the main goal is always the same: to provide support and increase performance.
They are also known as spats, BJJ compression pants, BJJ spats, and grappling spats.
Why Wear BJJ Spats?
The spats are a versatile piece of clothing that can help with both maneuverability and moisture control during training. Made from high-quality, durable materials, these spats offer a precise and comfortable fit for unrestricted movement.
They also help keep the body dry and at the optimal temperature through thermoregulation, preventing injuries and enabling optimal performance.
In addition, the spats protect against cuts and scratches as well as potential infections, helping to keep practitioners safe and healthy during their training sessions.
Top BJJ Spats at a Glance
All criteria in consideration here is my top pick, keep in mind it’s not which one is the best, it’s which one is the best for you:
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BJJ Compression Shorts
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Under Armour is a reputable brand for compression spats, you could say they have skin in the game when it comes to sportswear. Under Armour has been a partner of the legendary Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who is known for his gruesome work ethic and even more gruelling workouts.
So, their products have been rigorously tested. Not to mention the plethora of athletes they work with.
To list a few Tom Brady (NFL), Anthony Joshua (World Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Canelo Alvarez (World Boxing Champ) and last but not least they’re also the official sponsor of the USA National Boxing Team.
Under Armour’s spats are made of 79% Polyester and 21% Elastane which guarantees thickness and overall functionality.
Its HeatGear fabric is essential for winter, it helps keep you warm while training. And to top it off, they come with 7 different colours (including white and dark grey which are hard to find in spats!).
The spats are equipped with stretch-mesh support and inseam panels improve ventilation of legs.
It’s essential to have proper blood circulation during intense grappling sessions, which is why these spats we’re included in our top picks! In short, the Under Armour Spats are tough, durable, and comfortable.
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DRSKIN’s spat is as cost-effective as they get. The spats are equipped with three different layers: A water diffusivity layer that comes in handy against water splashes and quick time dryness.
A metastases layer for proper compression. Finally, an absorption layer for the sweat and hard work you’re putting in. You don’t need to spend half your budget on sports clothes for compression leggings. These are cost-effective.
They also come in a lot more designs than most spats brands offer with at least 16 different colours. They’re made of 92% polyester which guarantees durability and compression of the spats.
Those spats are perfect for grapplers, but also runners, cyclist and lifters who sweat a lot and want to keep the sweat away and stay cooler while training.
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This one is top of the line when it comes to design, quality and price. Designed for high-level grappling, the California-based brand is known for providing sportswear and equipment for athletes from all levels.
They even have their own app for jiu-jitsu techniques and their own sponsored athletes like Sheymon Moraes (UFC) and McKenzie Dern (Jiu-jitsu champion and UFC fighter). Their production ranges from spats to GIs, Gloves, pads, you name it.
Their leggings are designed with flatlock seams, which is a type of stitching that eliminates discomfort and prevents any skin rash.
The fabric itself is made from polyester and spandex, which is the gold standard for quality spats. They are also equipped with elastic waistband and anti-slip sleeves bands that make the spats slip-proof during high-intensity grappling.
The spats also have a 4-way stretch fabric which is optimal compression in all ranges of motion, and we know that range of motion in jiu-jitsu is the name of the game. If you want the best bang for your buck, the Elite Sports spats might just be what you need.
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Fuji has been providing BJJ sportswear and equipment for quite some time now. They’re known for producing custom made academy GIs as well as rashguards.
What we liked about their spats were their thickness and cold-sheltering material. They’re made of 88% Polyester which explains the chunkiness and durability.
They also have a draw spring waist which is needed because you don’t want your spats to fall in the middle of a roll or takedown…
They also come with 360° stretch flex panels and saddle gusset which allow for full range of motion. Another great feature with Fuji Baseline spats is that you can customize them with your club logos or sponsors.
They are a bit pricy though, but if you have the budget, then, by all means, go for it.
Fuji has its own line of sponsored athletes as well like Kayla Harrison (Judo and MMA Champion), Travis Stevens (Judo and BJJ Champion) as well as members of the Gracie family Rolles and Igor.
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Those spats were the most comfortable out of all the other ones, because of the silicone band inserted in the waist and ankle. The band makes sure the spats stay locked in place while you move.
The fabric is very smooth while rolling on the mats, without any movement restrictions. They’re to be used for almost any activity. Whether that’s rolling, fighting, hiking, biking, or running they will get you through it all.
They sponsor big names in the combat sports community like GSP, Douglas Lima (3x Middleweight Bellator Champion), Carlos Machado (Coral Belt in BJJ) and even the great and powerful Iron Mike!
So when it comes to high-level training and comfort, Hayabusa provides.
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These are specifically designed for No-Gi grappling, no more mat burns and ripped spats after a heated scramble. The spats are moisture-proof and have a reinforced waistband to avoid any discomfort.
They come with the anticipated 4-way stretch material, so no movement restrictions here. Gold BJJ also produce their shorts which match with the spats.
The brand has expanded over the last couple of years and started producing its own mat soap among other BJJ essentials: it’s safe to say that their products are geared towards protection for BJJ athletes.
They sponsor athletes like the prominent Dean Lister among other BJJ athletes, so it comes as no surprise if their leggings made it to our list.
To top it off, they offer some really good instructional content on their website for free once you buy one of their products! (i.e Dean Lister’s Leg Lock System, that inspired John Danaher to create his own).
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Zipravs spats caught our attention with the variety of colours and designs they offer. The designs are made with good polyester and spandex. If you don’t want to sacrifice style and still wrestle on the mats, the Ziprav compression pants are the go-to!
They do have numerous cool designs which make it hard not to pick at least one of these considering their price. It wouldn’t hurt to add a little colour to your rashguard pants collection: After all, if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good you perform better!
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Sanabul is another reputable brand that They create their own gloves, gin and rashguard spats for jiu-jitsu. The Sanabul spats are made with a combination of polyester, nylon, and spandex. They’ll stay comfortable and still allow your legs to have room to breathe so you stay cool in practice.
The spats are also made with 2-needle stitching which makes them tear-proof for grappling and MMA. They also come with a waistband inserted in them which are essential for good quality grappling spats.
Granted Sanabul spats are simplistic in design but they do get the job done and they last for years (if you follow washing instructions and don’t go crazy with them).
Sanabul sponsors Athletes like Mike Bisping (UFC Champion), Sean “Sugar” O’Malley (UFC) and TJ Dillashaw (UFC).
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Spats – Buyer’s Guide
To determine which compression pants are best for you, there are 4 criteria we think are important in order to make the best choice.
The first thing we look for in spats is the fabric because it indicates the level of protection your skin gets (infections, skin rash etc.) as well as comfort.
We don’t want you choosing spats that make you itch every second. Make sure it’s made of mostly polyester, nylon and spandex which gives your body room to breathe and helps with body temperature regulation.
Good spats keep your sweat mostly in, and shields you from your training partner’s sweat. The spats you look for should preferably have an elastic waistband to keep its size even after you wash them, as well as preventing them from sliding down in practice.
As a general rule the thicker fabric the better protection you will get. A lot of people don’t have basic gym etiquette, especially newcomers. They either don’t have their fingernails cut, don’t wear proper grappling clothing and sweat while grappling in those clothes (don’t be like that! Seriously…).
Another thing to keep an eye for are mat burns: you’ll notice when a competition or fight is coming up, the intensity of the gym will ramp up. This means more takedowns, more explosiveness and more friction burns! So wear spats that are good enough to protect you from that.
The spats to be looking for should be tight, yes, but they should be able to stretch, which is the number one factor when looking for quality pants.
The more they stretch the less likely they will rip in training (ex: inverted guard, high head kick tec.).
Spats with a draw spring are better as well because they keep the pants tight to your waist and are more efficient for grappling.
You don’t want to spend money over gear every time something breaks or rips, it’s time and money consuming. Good quality spats should be stitched on the inside. You want to find spats with the flatlock stitching, it’s a double stitch to prevent it from ripping after washing them.
For a BJJ practitioner, a good pair should cost more than 50$ (and that’s on the very high end). You’re going to need a good amount of them, and they should last for at least 6 months (preferably more than that). In terms of how many to get, you’d want to get a pair of spats for the number session you go to weekly.
For example, I have three days a week of no-gi, so I need 3 spats and one extra just in case I postponed laundry. Having 5 pairs a week for 5 training sessions means you’ll wash them once a week, because the more you wash them the more they wear down.
In conclusion, you want to be looking for durable spats that don’t cost a lot and allow you to move with breathability. Some compression pants from other sports such as ski or hockey could work as well since they often provide the right insulation and protection needed for BJJ.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to know which spats are the right size?
Try and look for the size that’s appropriate for your region, for example, if you live in Europe look for the EU sign or any other European country like France (FR) or Italy (IT). As we mentioned before we want the spats to be tight enough while still allowing you to move.
How to measure for your size?
In order to have the correct sizing down, we suggest you measure with a tape or knitting ruler these areas as follow:
Waist – Measure around your natural waistline – right where your hips start. Be careful not to squeeze too tight to allow a little room.
Hips – With your feet together, measure around the fullest part of your hips to ensure you’ll have enough room to move comfrotablye
Why wear rash guard and spats for BJJ?
“As far as functional fitness, spandex is the most functional fitness fabric ever made, rash guards and spats protect your skin from all the wear and tear, and abrasions and cuts that happen in grappling “– Ramsey Dewey, Head Coach of the JX Fight Club, in Shanghai China.
It’s extremely valuable because when you’re wearing good equipment, it will protect your skin from the mat. If your training partner isn’t the most hygienic, or if he’s sick, you want to have the right equipment to protect yourself.
Jiu-jitsu is a close contact sport, meaning you will be face to face with your training partners’, sweating for extended periods of time. The last thing you want is a skin infection or a skin rash. We all have that one training partner that has gone too many days without showering (better not be you!!).
The number one thing to look for in spats is protection, because if you get infected skin, or even sick, that’s going to force you to take time off the mat, and in the process stall your progress.
This is why we’re giving you some basic guidelines to find the right spats and avoid all this in the first place.
I’ve heard countless stories of staph infections and one of the main takeaways for me was protection: The first obvious solution is anti-fungal soap which you can check out here.
But the second most important takeaway is a proper rash guard and compression pants will prevent infections. If your skin is protected, then you have fewer chances of getting infected.
Compression pants are designed to maximize blood flow to your legs and provide as much oxygen as possible to your muscles.
The result of this can be higher performance output and even faster muscle recovery after each training session or competition.
Not only that they help regulate temperature keeping you dry and cool during training.
They also could assist in performance: it keeps the blood flow a little restricted in the legs (not too much!) which helps drive as many nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. With that being said this could help your leg get conditioned, and recover better from session to session.
If you train mostly in the Gi, wearing spats under your Gi pants could still help minimize the wear and tear of your own Gi pants by eliminating how much of your sweat is rubbed into them. I think it’s fair to say the Gi Pants are the ones that usually get destroyed the fastest especially as training intensity ramps up.
How tight are spats supposed to be?
Compression gear shouldn’t be too tight, you don’t want to cause “vasoconstriction”, this is not a superhero spandex contest. You need to be very comfortable and give your legs room to breath
How to wash BJJ rash guard and spats?
It depends on the instructions on the back of the label, but usually, they’re washed at a cold temperature and for tumble dryers they should be at low temperatures as well. Keep in mind that the more you wash your spats the more they wear down, so it’s best to have as many as you can to preserve them.
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