How to choose a kimono (part one: kimono for karate)

How to choose a kimono (part one: kimono for karate)

Sooner or later, before everyone who is engaged in martial arts, the question of acquiring a kimono arises. For some, this happens at the very beginning of the process in order to get in shape for the very first lesson, while someone first tries to practice, and only then buys himself a gi for training. When it is worth buying a kimono, we found out in one of our previous articles Training Gi for Aikido: when should you buy a kimono. Now – let’s talk about what you should pay attention to before purchasing it.

So, there are several types of kimonos. Conventionally, they can be divided into three global categories:

  • kimono for karate;
  • kimono for judo;
  • dobok for taekwondo.

The main differences between them are in the features of the fabric and cut, of course, depending on the type of martial arts. In this article, we will focus on the kimono for karate.

What to look for when choosing a kimono

One of the most common and popular types of kimono is, of course, the kimono for karate. This is really the most optimal option (including for children’s workouts), especially in the initial stages: lightweight, practical, strong enough to withstand all the loads during training. But, of course, there are certain nuances here.

Price, in this case, is not always equal to quality. And prices, by the way, range from several hundred to several thousand hryvnia. We will tell you how (when buying a kimono) to use them “effectively”.

First of all, decide what exactly you are buying a kimono for:

  • for regular workouts;
  • to participate in competitions, or pass rank test;
  • or – one kimono for both.

Another aspect that is always worth paying attention to is at what level the adult is, or the child is the future happy owner of a kimono:

  • beginner level;
  • intermediate or advanced (several years of training);
  • professional level (has been engaged for many years).

Those who have been practicing for a long time and professionally clearly know what is more convenient for them and how to choose a kimono, therefore our advice is more for representatives of the first two categories.

The next aspect to consider when choosing a kimono is the age of the person who trains:

  • a child in an active growth phase;
  • a teenager who continues to grow, but not at such a fast pace;
  • an adult with an already stable body length.

Based on this, we get the main points to which you need to pay attention when acquiring a form for training:

  • purpose of application;
  • training level;
  • age and height.

If you approach the issue of choosing a kimono, taking these points into account, you can choose exactly the option that will not only suit you, but also show itself as efficiently as possible in practice.

Fabric composition and material nuances

One of the most important points to pay attention to when choosing a kimono is, oddly enough, the composition of the fabric. Most buyers are accustomed to the fact that if this is a children’s kimono for karate, then, accordingly, it should be made of cotton. But, in fact, there is an incredible amount of offers on the market that can surprise potential customers.

Nowadays there is absolutely everything on sale: from 100% cotton to almost 100% synthetic fabric. More often (as additives) polyester is used, which, in turn, performs the following functions:

  • ensuring the wear resistance of the kimono;
  • preservation of the original form;
  • reducing the cost of the product.

At the same time, depending on the manufacturer and model, the composition of the fabric can vary as follows:

  • 100% cotton;
  • 70% cotton and 30% polyester;
  • 50% cotton and 50% polyester;
  • 65% polyester and 35% cotton;
  • 90% polyester and 10% cotton;
  • and even 100% polyester, or other synthetic fabrics.

And these are only the most common options, but you can find other proportions. At the same time, oddly enough, it does not matter at all what kind of company or country of origin it is. Moreover, even the price of a kimono may not always indicate the quality and composition of the fabric from which it is made.

Undoubtedly, a kimono with impurities of synthetics has the best characteristics, in particular, with regular use: it holds its shape and color better (that is, it does not fade and deform so much). Plus, manufacturers claim that a kimono with synthetic impurities wicks moisture better and dries faster.

But a kimono made of cotton, in our personal opinion, is much more comfortable to use, because:

  • cotton is a natural fabric that allows the body to breathe;
  • natural fabric dries more slowly, but at the same time (due to its density) it absorbs more moisture;
  • and causes less irritation.

It is worth remembering that a kimono is not a special compression garment, which is also made from synthetic fabrics, but still has some peculiarities. You can read more about this in our article Compression clothing, its features and use in martial arts.

To understand which fabric is better, here’s a simple example: which T-shirt or shirt would you choose for a walk on a hot day? Natural or synthetic? We are sure that the majority will stop at using natural materials such as linen or cotton. Even taking into account all these “breathable” inserts, located in the appropriate places, in order to improve air circulation and influence perspiration, you must agree that natural fabric is a natural fabric.

Yes, it will lose its original appearance faster: it is no secret that natural fabrics lose their brightness and color saturation much faster, but you must admit that in everyday life the natural composition wins over synthetics.

And now just imagine what a child will feel when he is actively engaged in training and, accordingly, receives significant physical activity. Therefore, when choosing a kimono for a child, be sure to carefully study the composition and take into account all the features of each type of fabric.

To do this, you need to decide what is priority for you:

  • characteristics that natural fabric provides, with all its disadvantages in terms of appearance;
  • wear resistance, elasticity and the ability to maintain their original condition, with the peculiarities of using synthetic materials.

Sometimes the question also arises regarding the strength of the fabric and its ability to withstand the stress during training. From our own experience, we can say that even an ordinary cotton kimono perfectly fulfills all of the above tasks. But at the same time, synthetic fabric is more elastic and can withstand pulling moments more easily. Therefore, in terms of strength, the question of what to choose: synthetics or natural fabric can be called “controversial”.

Another indicator that is worth paying attention to is the density of the fabric itself. Most models use a standard figure of 200, 240 or 300 grams per square meter. It is a fairly dense fabric that is able to simultaneously withstand stress and provide comfort during training. Moreover, this density is ideal for the entry-level, since the balance of “price / quality” in this case is optimal.

More professional and, accordingly, more expensive specimens can have a higher density – about 400, or 450 grams per square meter. Basically, professional gi only use high-density cotton, which provides significantly more endurance to the kimono. But, it is worth noting that this is relevant for people who have been practicing for a long time and are ready to shell out a larger amount than usual in order to purchase a gi, that will last more than one year.

But once again we note that in our practice, both cotton kimonos and kimonos with impurities of synthetics provided a sufficient level of endurance and were used for several years. Although, do not forget about the possibility of factory defects or outright defects (for example, seams), which can lead to damage even to a new kimono.

Cut features

Another point worth paying attention to is, of course, the features of the kimono cut. Most manufacturers offer very similar specimens, but still with some differences. We will not argue that they have a fundamental difference, but there are details that are worth paying attention to:

  • First, all karate kimonos have a spacious fit. They sit freely and do not hinder movement.
  • Secondly, quite often you can see the difference in the length of the sleeves. Some manufacturers offer a full length sleeve, some offer a three-quarter sleeve. Which one to choose depends on the style of martial arts that you are doing and here it is better to consult with your coach.
  • Third, always pay attention to the length of the top of the kimono, or, as it is sometimes called, the jacket itself. Depending on the manufacturer, it can be quite short. During active training, this can lead to the fact that the top of the kimono will constantly “knock out” from under the belt, and this will not please everyone.
  • Fourth, some manufacturers immediately make the top of the kimono with ties, which helps him to keep closed during active activities, which is very convenient for training.
  • The fifth aspect is trousers. Be sure to pay attention to how they are captured. If a kimono for judo (for children or adults) is mainly completed with trousers with ties, then most manufacturers of kimono for karate make pants immediately with an elastic band with an additional rope inside. In the case of children’s workouts, this is a more reliable option and helps to hold the pants well. But this is not important. And undoubtedly, this detail (when purchasing) will not be decisive.

All of the above points are exactly what you should pay attention to when buying a kimono for karate.


As for the manufacturers, here there is a huge choice, but it is not always possible to go and see (touch) what you plan to buy yourself. Therefore, we will share our impressions of those kimonos that we had to deal with during training. Some are our own experience, some are those that our students bought.

Well, and one more important point: we can compare and testify in favor of one or another kimono, share our experience and frankly tell how it looks after a year, two, or three active use, however, what to choose depends entirely on you. Moreover, now there is no problem with the delivery of purchases to any corner of Ukraine. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you want to buy a kimono for a child in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro or Lviv. The main thing is to study the issue, choose a kimono, and then just order on the Internet, or visit any sporting goods store.

So manufacturers:

Kimono for karate Matsa – one of the most affordable and optimal options, in our opinion. The perfect combination of price and quality. Comfortable fit, does not hinder movement. The presence of ties on the “jacket” will help it to hold on even with very intense loads. The trousers are completed with an elastic band and a drawstring inside, which allows them to hold well.

It is made of 100% cotton, it serves without problems for several years, but the ties on the jacket from the kimono can come off if you pull it hard. After a while, it loses its original appearance and at the same time is still ideal for training, thanks to the natural composition of the fabric. Has an optimal balance of the length of the jacket and trousers. But it shrinks when washed.

Another good budget option that has the perfect combination of price and quality is the Wolf kimono for karate. It costs literally a little more than the previous manufacturer, but it is also made of 100% cotton, has a proportional cut, due to the correct patterns. Therefore, the length of the sleeves and trousers is proportional and during washing “coincides” also proportionally.

Ideal for beginners as well as advanced. Reliable, high quality and convenient. And you can be sure that, depending on the intensity of the load, it will last for several years.

If you decide to buy a kimono for karate Kamakura – you can rest assured that this is also a good option at a fairly low price. But be sure to pay attention to the composition. Here the kimono is made both from 100% cotton and with admixtures of synthetic fabric. The cut allows you to exercise freely, but at the same time the jacket is not always equipped with strings, therefore it can be knocked out during active exercises.

Trousers, depending on height, can be either on a rope, or equipped with an elastic band and a rope. The length of the jacket and trousers is proportional. Serves for several years. Depending on the composition, it either loses its original appearance (100% cotton) and shrinks during washing, or then remains without significant changes (in the case of using synthetic fabrics in the composition).

You can also buy a kimono for karate Green Hill – this kimono, also made of cotton, but at a higher price than the previous two items. The cut is traditional. All the same reinforced seams in places of loads. It can be of high density and high quality, which makes it more dense and strong.

The service life is several years, depending on the level of loads. The length of the trousers and jacket is proportional. The trousers are completed with an elastic band and a braid, which provides a secure fit.

Kimono for karate Adidas – is also a fairly common option, but has its own characteristics and cost: average and above average. Depending on the model, it can be characterized by a shorter length of the jacket itself – with sufficiently long sleeves. Due to this, there is a possibility of “knocking out” from under the belt during active training. Or have a proportional length.

Depending on the model, it is completed or not completed with ties on the jacket. Some models have ventilation mesh inserts on the back, under the arms and on the trousers. Elasticated trousers with extra rope. The composition, as a rule, consists of synthetic fabrics, which allows the kimono to dry quickly, maintain its appearance during use and do not shrink during washing. Can be made from fully synthetic materials. The service life reaches several years, depending on the load. The appearance does not change much.

Children’s and adult kimono for karate Demix is often made with a predominance of polyester in the composition. Due to this, it keeps its shape well and almost does not shrink during washing. The fabric is elastic at the same time, which allows it to withstand the corresponding loads, but also lightweight, which is important, for example, during training in hot summer.

In this case, the jacket can be somewhat short, with the usual length of sleeves and trousers. Additional ties are not completed. The trousers come with elastic and additional tape for optimal fit. The price category is medium.

Kimono for karate Bad Boy, depending on the model, is also made either from cotton, or from a mixed fabric (a combination of natural and synthetic materials). The cut allows for free movement, but the sleeve may be slightly shorter than other manufacturers. Ties on the jacket itself are not completed, but the length is quite sufficient so as not to “knock out” from under the belt.

Comfortable trousers. Fixed with an elastic band and additional tape. The service life can be up to several years, depending on the intensity of training. The performance characteristics depend on the composition of the fabric. Price category – average and above average.

For those who choose the products of the Ukrainian manufacturer, we advise you to pay attention to the kimono from Muri Oto. Despite the rather high price, this manufacturer offers kimonos for children and adults made of 100% cotton. And it is distinguished by an almost canonical version of kimono making. Reinforced seams and additional fabric overlays in areas of greatest stress. A peculiarity of the cut is a somewhat shortened sleeve, but a rather long jacket hem without strings. The trousers come without elastic and are fixed with traditional ties. The service life is several years, depending on the level of loads.

In general, you and only you decide which kimono to choose for yourself, or for your child. We are just sharing our experience. And remember that the most important thing is that there is nothing to do, but how to do it, and any of those kimonos, which were discussed in the article, are quite suitable for training in our Club. All contact information, as well as the training schedule and addresses of the dojos, you can find here.