27 Nov 2014

Review: Adidas 'Contest' Gi

Big name brand carrying big name expectations. I found that the Contest did indeed live up to the Adidas high quality. I also liked the very eye-catching three stripe branding down the sleeves (though some observers hated it) and the fit was pretty decent for an A1, if erring slightly towards the baggy side.

UK Adidas BJJ gear can be bought from the CIMAC website.
The Contest costs £99.99

I have no personal or business connections with Cimac or Adidas. I was sent this gi for review purposes. All views expressed in this report are my own.

Adidas are one of the largest sports clothing and equipment manufacturers in the world so it would seem natural that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu would be a sport they stock product for. Over the years they have made a somewhat patchy appearance on the jiu jitsu market - but they have at least been around for a long time. This book, published in 2003, shows JJ Machado wearing an Adidas gi and since then, the brand has appeared in various guises with not a whole lot of consistency in availability or styling. But that all seems to have been put aside recently, with Adidas making a vigorous marketing push with three new gi models and a high profile sponsored athlete fronting the brand in Clark Gracie.

The models that Clark endorses include the Contest (my one), Response (ultra light ripstop) and Quest (heavier 580gsm) gis. The label on the jacket states that the gis are 'made under license' and further snooping around on social media would suggest that it is a third party that is actually responsible for making these gis. The brand name Doubled Martial Arts seems to pop up in connection with the Adidas martial arts uniforms including judo uniforms. My judo friends tell me that Adidas have a good reputation among judoka. Whatever the business background of these BJJ gis, they are the only official ones carrying the Adidas branding as far as I can tell and with that, would have to uphold to the high standards that Adidas are known for.

Size in centimetres and weight in kilograms. For reference, I am 59-60Kg in weight and 167cm in height. I am used to wearing A1 or A1L size gis though I do have long arms. First figure brand new, second figure after x3 mild temperature washes and then air dried.

A 157 / 154
B 80 / 78
C 57 / 57
D 16.5 / 16
E 53 / 49
F 99 / 97
G 22 / 21


Discussion - The jacket on the Adidas is a good average fit for an A1. The sleeves come up a wee bit short on me (I do have long arms remember) - 154cm wingspan is still acceptable but not as perfectly long as the Tatami Estilo v4 for example (measuring 157cm). Jacket length is a wee bit longer by contrast hovering around the 78-80cm mark, most A1 users may find there is a bit more excess material below the belt area compared with other brands. Body width is also a little wider than I normally get with A1 gis - consequently it has the slight feeling of bagginess under the arm region.

The pant length is perfect for me and the weight of the whole gi, at 1.7Kg, is normal for a mid-weight gi in A1. It would be interesting to see how much lighter their Response ripstop gi is compared with this model.

The Adidas Contest gi is made from a pearlweave fabric - the blurb states it is made from cotton and is rated as a 450gsm weight gi fabric. The most obvious stand-out feature for the jacket are those trademark three stripes running down the lengths of each sleeves.

Another notable feature is the rashguard style lining along the inside yoke of the jacket. This is patterned with Adidas branding. The collar lapel itself is unremarkable. It is not thick, nor too thin and is covered with plain drill cotton material.

The stripes are stitched in a perfectly straight line all the way along it's length. The upper end is tucked under the collar lapel and the lower end is tucked under the seam tape. Although they seem like a fragile accessory on a gi designed to be pulled and tugged with force, they seem to have held up without issue so far. My only concern would be to know if these stripes are legal under current IBJJF uniform rules. I suspect not, though others can perhaps clarify.

The inside cuffs are protected with two layers of non-scratchy and solidly applied seam tape.

One very small and oddly placed Adidas piece of embroidery sits just askew on the left hand back shoulder.

Branded taping runs along the length of the base of the jacket skirt.

The trousers are 280gsm drill cotton. It comes with a very thick elastic drawstring which is housed within six belt loops.

That rope string is really awesome I have to admit, once it is tied, it stays tied, yet is a cinch to undo.

The cotton pants are roomy, soft and comfortable. Top marks here.

Rolling Performance
Something very unusual happens when I walk in wearing this gi in the gym where I train. Other members come up to me to inspect the gi. This very rarely happens as everyone knows I review gis and I wear a different gi model pretty much every other week. But the response from team mates over the Adidas has been interesting to say the least. Some thought it was wicked and instantly wanted to own one while others considered it resembling a cheap tracksuit so beloved by the 'chavvy' classes.
For me, I love the design. Of the big three sports brands, Adidas is my favourite over Nike or Reebok. I would happily wear Adidas trainers, joggers, tees or whatever.

The gi itself is roomy in some areas and less well fitting (on me) in others. The sleeve lengths were just a shade too short for my liking. This won't probably affect you - the average A1 wearer - but for me with my long arms, I prefer the longer armed A1 gis of the Tatami Estilo. Yet by contrast, the gi jacket was a bit too roomy under my armpits and there was a tad more gi skirt material wafting away beneath my beltline that I would prefer. It all adds up to a gi that is less than perfect fitting (what gi ever is??!!) but damn, that branding just keeps bringing me back.

The pants however are perfect. I love them. Great fit, length, comfy, soft, well secured. The only niggle would be the way the double lined knee area does not extend all the way to the bottom. And...is it too much to wish for the triple stripes to extend all the way down the pant leg too? It annoys me that they just stop halfway down the thigh. But that's the OCD designer in me I guess.

Overall, this is a fine gi to roll in, the fit isn't perfect and it won't be my number one go to gi, but I really like the design and it performs perfectly well when rolling. The quality of the manufacturing is very high and I couldn't see any faults or out of place stitching etc.

Adidas are attempting a big push with this gi model and their other two models. At under £100 for a premium price gi with attractive branding, high quality materials and a reasonably decent cut and fit, I'd say you would get a good gi for your money.


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Anonymous said...

That shoulder embroidery definitely looks like it has been misplaced...like the gi slipped a little on its way to the embroidery machine

Meerkatsu said...

I just assumed it was intentional...a moment of designer flair?

MikijoLaw said...

The weave is stated as hyperfly weave on a couple of sites that are selling it.

Rachel Green said...

They had these on sale at Nottingham Open. I'd never wear an Adidas gi. I see Adidas and I think "Saturday night thug".

Cason Roberson said...

Overall the Gi seemed nice but I could do without the stripes going all the way down the sleeves. I'm also not sure about the shoulder embroidery I would understand if it was on the front of the jacket but on the back of the shoulder is odd to me...but then again I'm not a gi designer.

Lennon said...

Ya it does look like the embroidery has been misplaced haha though this gi seems to be a step up from there older models gis. But still this has nothing special. I'd expect more from a big billion dollar corporation. This is a disappointment.

Mike D. said...

Hello man,
thanks for the review - it's 100% spot on. As Creative Director for adidas combat sports, I'm also responsible for the training apparel design - I'm going to have a "Champion" sent out to you. You will love it.
PS. the logo detail on the back of the shoulder is 100% intentional.

All the best,
Mike D. (Ludwig Van)

Anonymous said...

Did you get this because it goes with the three stripes on your belt :D

Stuart said...

I'm not a fan of the stripes coming all the way down the arms, I think they should have just been shoulder flashes.
With regards to the Adidas Judo gis, most Judoka I've spoken to seem to think they are over priced and shrink too much, especially in the arms.


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