New UK fightwear brand K2 release an outstandingly robust, thoughtfully designed and stylish pearl weave jiu jitsu gi. This gi is priced at the higher end of the gi market (£89.99) but with the large number of practical features designed to ensure longevity and durability, this gi represents very good value for money.
DISCLAIMER: I am not sponsored by any company nor to I endorse any brand. This review represents my honest, unbiased opinions. Thank you to www.k2fightgear.com for sending me this gi for review.
K2 is the second tallest terrestrial mountain in the world and also the name given to new UK based fight wear brand. This gi incorporates so many reinforcements, it's as if it was hewn from the very same rocky stuff as its namesake. Currently being endorsed by BJJ black belts Lucio Sergio Dos Santos and Adem Redzovic plus Brit purple belt sensation Omar Rashid, K2 have clearly set their sights on global recognition. I've seen their earlier gis being worn by fighters in the US and Brazil but I'm told that this pearl weave model represents their debut full production offering.
Size stats, measurements and other info
|Click for larger view|
Fabric, Cut and Shrinkage
The first thing I noticed when putting on the K2 is how snug it felt under the armpits. It was a very similar feeling to my custom fitted Fushida gi. The body is also quite long compared to most other A1 gis that I own, even after several washes. From the stats table above, you can see how little the gi jacket shrank - only a few centimetres along the sleeve length and nothing along the length and width. The trousers shrank the most but still within the accepted 5% margin that most pre-shrunk gis attain.
The pearl weave fabric itself seems a lot more substantial than some other pearl weaves - at 550gsm weight, it's not the same as the pearl weaves found on ultra light brands. It starts off feeling pretty stiff, but does soften over several washes. It's never going to be as soft as a gold weave but it's fine for day to day use.
The trousers are 12oz canvas cotton which, although thicker and stiffer than most standard issue twill trousers, feel perfectly fine for training use.
|Jacket lengths compared|
|Logo tape on lower jacket seams|
Design, colour and extras
I love the patches on the K2. The logo itself is perfectly designed and the patches are distinctive but not too loud. There is also logo'ed reinforcement tape lining the bottom hem of the jacket and side vents. It all adds to little slices of colour and branding that make the gi stand out, without being naff.
Of the three colours on offer, I think the black gi looks the sweetest. After half a dozen washes I was also impressed that it did not fade much. My black Vulkan Pro Light gi faded to dark grey very quickly so clearly not all black dyed gis are the same and the K2 keeps its colour well.
The jacket has a cute little ID pocket on the inside left lapel - just the right size for an iPod or credit card sized ID (both useful things to bring along to some comps). Finally, the uniform comes neatly packaged in a very smart gi bag.
|Inside jacket pocket for iPod or ID card|
|Comes with a handy gi bag|
The collar is covered with tough canvas cotton and the inner core made from rubbery material. The only issue I found with this gi is that the collar warped a little over several washes.
|Canvas cotton collar covering a rubber core|
The collar thickness is roughly in line with most other premium gis, not too thick, not too thin and it is pretty stiff too.
|K2 collar similar thickness to Fushida, BP slightly thicker|
The sleeves are slightly tapered, which I personally like, and the cuffs reinforced with tape and triple stitching. These babies are tough! After several washes, the sleeves are still the right length for me, which is not always the case for many A1 sized gis.
|Sleeve ends taped and triple stitched|
The sleeve openings are a fraction narrower than the other brands shownin the photo below, however the cuffs were still legal as I was able to get four fingers into the sleeve opening with the gi on.
|Fushida cuff (16cm), K2 (14.5cm), Break Point (16cm)|
The trousers are held up by a thick rope cord. I much prefer the rope compared to the flat cotton tie. The trousers also have an incredible six belt loops which pretty much guarantee the rope stays in place and does not ride up.
|Six loop system + rope tie = trouser not fall down!|
The double lining that covers the knees extends from above the knee all the way down to the ankles. I've noticed this is longer than most other gis (which stop mid way around the shin) which thus offers wear and tear protection over the whole of the lower leg, not just around the knee.
|Long knee to ankle double lining|
The ankles are reinforced with tape and five rows of stitching. This is way more than any other gi brand that I have ever reviewed. The Vulkan trousers for example simply folds over the ends and stitches is together with two rows. It would be no exaggeration to say that these are the toughest gi trousers I have ever worn.
|x5 rows of stitching plus taped seams = very tough trousers|
Fit, comfort, rolling performance and discussion
As mentioned earlier, I noted that the gi was snug under my armpits but with my experience wearing the similarly snug Fushida, it did not impede me in any way and in fact felt very comfortable.
Both the jacket and trousers combined felt reasonably thick and a tad heavier than my other gis but as I was rolling during one of our very cold wintry spells, I could not tell if this gi would be too hot to wear during warmer weather training...I suspect that possibly it would be. If, in warmer conditions, I had to choose between a light weight summer gi or the K2, I would go with the former. But currently, with temperatures in our academy hitting zero, the K2 was ideal to wear.
|x4 Meerkats, arrrrgh!|
In my opinion, the K2 pearl weave excels in two areas: strength and style. The copious and well-placed reinforcements ensure that this gi will be highly resistant to ripping in key areas, such as the lower trousers, and the cool styling will appeal to those who like gis that straddle the line between plain no-logo gis and those that are patched to the nines! The copious reinforcements, canvas trousers and dense pearl weave fabric are not without weight costs. It is also more expensive compared to other UK brands. But this gi has the potential to still be going strong long after cheaper gis have bitten the dust so in that respect, it still represents great long term value for money.
Disclaimer and Credits
I am not sponsored by any company nor do I endorse any one brand. My views are simply my own opinion. If you like this review and found it helpful, please post a comment and tell the company too - it helps me get more reviews.
Thanks once again to www.k2fightgear.com for sending me this gi for review.