28 Oct 2010
I present a small roundup of rash guards produced by British fightwear companies.
Good old rash guards. Not just the preserve of surfer type water people, but now the athletic under-armour of choice for many a full contact sportsperson. For us grapplers, a good rash guard will prevent gi burn, keep you cool or keep you warm and most of all, make you look like and feel like a lycra clad superhero. But there are a dizzying array of choices, plus there's the decision of whether to opt for long sleeves or short sleeves.
So here are a bunch of rashies that have recently landed on the desk of Meerkatsu HQ, let's take slithery peek...
Scramble 'Be Water'
Material: 85% polyester and 15% elasthen (spandex)
Thoughts: Damn this is one sexy rash guard! It is adorned top to tail with huge, bold, Japanese characters and fat slashes of red printed Hokusai waves. It is just so distinctly Scramble and right up my strasse. The sizing is a little small for a medium, so it’s very snug on me (and I’m a 58 kilo weakling) and the arms are a bit short. It’s also noticeably thinner than the other rash guards. But it’s just so damned cool, wearing this rashie instantly transports me to a different era where I fight off badass ninjas intent on ruining my awesome Samurai-ness.
Material: 80% Polyester + 20% Lycra
Cost: £29.99 (either short or long sleeve)
Punchtown kindly sent both a long sleeve rashie and short sleeve version. Both mediums fitted me pretty nicely, a little snug, as you would expect, but not too small. The design is smart, but minimal and fuss-free and it feels comfortable to wear. A nice rashie, nothing more to add really.
Material: 80% polyamide & 20% spandex
Cost: £29.99 (short), £34.99 (long)
New fightwear company Masaru, which is Japanese for 'victory', kindly sent me both long and short sleeve versions of their rash guard. I really liked the long sleeve rashie. In fact, I really loved these rashies full stop. The material is extraordinarily soft and comfortable, the printwork is very nicely executed (although I’m not a huge fan of the brand design) and the size is a touch bigger than snug - which I actually prefer. Overall, an outstanding rash guard.
Grab and Pull
Material: Nylon/spandex blend
This rashie differs from all the others in this review by using screen printed ink. The Grab and Pull logos sort of feel jelly like and sticky, which is a bit weird. Overall though, a decent enough rashie that fitted me well, nothing outstanding but it’s okay.
Faixa Rua 'Fight or Die'
Material: not specified
I was actually sent this rash guard ages ago and have been using it a lot. It’s simply beautiful in every way. I like the perfectly printed design and I love the very excellent way the material handles. It is superbly comfortable, fits like a second skin and the bottom portion simply refuses to ride up (a common problem with many rash guards). It’s a shame they only do white, more colours would be really cool.
Back in the day, no gi training was literally just that...no gi...and no top either. Since then, modesty, skin infection awareness and perhaps the general desire to wear something cool has meant that pretty much everyone who trains no-gi these days wears a rash guard.
Rashies have come a long way since even when I first started BJJ. As you can see from the photo below, the printed logo on this Evolution rashie has cracked and peeled off badly. Plus the surface of the fabric is all bobbly and worn away. I love it though. It’s a little bit of my personal history and I will wear it even when there are holes and all the print has come off.
These days, rashies are either dye-printed so the ink soaks into the fabric and doesn’t peel or crack, or they are screen printed with more flexible, crack resistant ink, such as the Grab and Pull rashie. I think with the dye-printed rashies, the colours you can produce are limited, since you can really only print dark on light. In contrast, the rubbery print ink used on the Grab and Pull can be printed on any colour rash guard. The Masaru gets around this problem by dye printing the entire rashie but masks out the logos,hence the illusion of white ink on dark background. It’s neat and works beautifully.
Most rashies are around £25-£35 and I recommend every grappler owning at least a couple. They are useful not just for no gi training, but for working out in strength and conditioning classes and as a comfortable, and cooling, layer under the gi.
As for the question on whether to go long sleeve or short, that’s down to you I’m afraid. I personally like to have both - short for summer, long for winter.