18 Apr 2012

Gi Review: Shoyoroll Maeda 1878 Edition

A beautifully designed and well fitting gi that was super comfortable and light to roll in. Shoyoroll excite huge debate among the BJJ community, on this model, they ticked all the right boxes.

Credit and Disclosures
I was sent this gi from UK based webstore www.grapplersdelight.com. I regularly provide design work to a large number of fightwear companies on a freelance basis. I have no personal or business connection with Shoyoroll.

Woohoo my first ever Shoyoroll! No other BJJ fightwear company excites as much debate as this company. For those who are not familiar with Shoyoroll, they are a US based company who issue several strictly limited edition pre-order only gis a year. Each release is received with huge expectation from their large and passionate fan base. They also attract a fair amount of criticism regarding the long production times and occasional quality control issues. This thread here on Sherdog is typical of the variety of reactions to Shoyoroll.

My review here will ignore all the hoopla and concentrate on the gi as a stand alone entity. It's moot whether this review serves any long term purpose as you cannot buy the Maeda anymore. But second hand and resell Ebay trade among Shoyoroll models is ripe so hopefully this report will provide some useful data for those contemplating a purchase...

Size, Stats, Shrinkage and Other Info for A1L

Sizes in centimetres brand new v three 40 degree washes
A: 168cm / 162cm
B: 76cm / 75cm
C: 59cm / 58cm
D: 16.5cm / 16.5cm
E: 53cm / 51cm
F: 97cm / 93cm
G: 22cm / 21.5cm
Jacket Weight = 1.0Kg
Trouser Weight = 0.5Kg
My stats: Height 167cm, Weight 59Kg
Made in: Pakistan
Price: $164.95 (USA via Budovideos.com) / £139.99 (UK - via Grapplers Delight)
Website: http://www.shoyoroll.com
PLEASE NOTE: This gi is no longer available.

With a wingspan of 162 centimetres wide, the Maeda has sleeves much longer than an A1 gi - it is much more within the usual A2 size chart. This suits me perfectly as I have monkey long arms. The jacket length is within the same range with models such as the Tatami Fightwear EstiloKingz Kinonos and Gameness Elite.  The trouser length hits the sweet spot for me, measuring 93cm - comparable to the Estilo for example (96cm), or the Bull Terrier Limited Edition (94cm).

Overall the Maeda is cut perfectly for me  - it is basically an A1 gi with long arms, exactly what I want in a gi. With a weight measuring just 1.5Kg  it is very light and great for hot weather or weight cutting comp use.

The jacket is made from 450gsm pearl weave cotton. Most pearlweaves are quite stiff when new but the Maeda was soft and pliable the moment I took it out the bag.

The collar is the basic EVA foam that forms the core of most gis on the market and is covered by twill cotton. It isn't particularly thick but not weedily thin either.  Below you can see, it is exactly the same thickness as the Tatami Fightwear Estilo 3.0 (review coming soon).

The inside of the jacket features a square logo patch. I found the edges of this patch very scratchy which I found annoying and unnecessary however the irritation was remedied by wearing a rashguard.

The inside also features strips of branded tape linking the main portion of the jacket with the collar and lapels. The strips seemed to serve no constructive purpose other than decorative.

Patches on the exterior of the Maeda are small and very discrete. Yellow and grey embroidered Shoyoroll sleeve patches dominate while smaller Maeda themed woven patches are stitched on the base of the front flaps. The overall feel is of quiet and respectful reference to the man who introduced jiu-jitsu to Brazil.

Curiously, the armpits do not feature a double lined reinforcement patch. I noticed this absence also on my previous review of the Do or Die Hyperfly gi. I doubt it affects much in the way of long term strength as I have never known a gi to rip in this zone, however it is a noticeable omission compared to most other gis I have sampled.

Something else slightly different with the Shoyoroll gi compared to most other gis I have sampled is the very low placement of the front chest panel. I last saw this on the Competidor gi and the Do or Die gi. Again I doubt it affects the fit or feel of the jacket, rather it is probably just a style of cut that their factory employs.

Side vents, stitch colour and other trim regions are coloured a dark cool grey. The side vents are reinforced with a  triangular patch.

Inside sleeve cuffs and base of jacket feature multistriped tape which was very soft and comfortable - unlike some previous gis I have reviewed that have used very irritating and scratchy cuff tape.

The trousers are made from 10oz twill cotton fabric. These are light, soft and very comfortable. The rope drawstring is much preferred over flat cords and the contrasting grey trim, belt loops and stitches are a nice touch.

The knee region is lined with gi material between the inner and outer fabric layers. It is a shame the reinforcement does not extend all the way down to the ankle, stopping just below the patella bone.

The crotch region features a pearlweave gusset panel.

The ankle openings are quadruple stitched and lined with multi-coloured woven tape.
Each leg is adorned with very small logos and kanji.

Rolling performance and Conclusion
I wasn't sure what to expect of the Shoyoroll Maeda - mainly because I was not sure if the A1L would be too big for me. After several washes the gi shrank to pretty much the perfect size for my long arms.

During training the gi felt superbly comfortable, soft and light. It was a genuine joy to wear.

It is very rare that I cannot find fault with a gi - and even with the Maeda, I did notice some sloppiness over stitching (a few overruns that did not affect stitching strength) and the embarrassing blunder over their gi bag printing error. There is also the very long wait (5 months) for the product and relatively high price compared to a lot of other equally outstanding premium gis. But these seem minor complaints once the gi is on and doing the job for what it was intended for - having fun rolling on the mats.

Regular readers here often assume I have a penchant only for outlandish and bling gi designs. This is not entirely true. I love gis that have good design - this includes gis both loud and quiet. The Maeda may not be one of Shoyoroll's more daring designs, but it is beautifully put together and anything more would seem out of place. I will be happy to wear this gi as part of my regular rotation of training gis.


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Anonymous said...

Pretty much how I feel about the americana. It fits perfectly, I like both the jacket and the pants, its been my go to gi.

BraMycket said...

I have 2 shoyorolls and have mixed feelings about their Gi's.

The stitching in the Compadre is flat out bad and the Americana is better but not of the industry standard. The fits are great and they're light and comfortable. The compadre's sleeve ripped within a week of purchase, not ideal.

All in all im not sure if id get another. Very tempted by the fushida.

Dake said...


I also love my Maeda. After a couple rolls and training sessions in it, my one complaint is that once everything gets sweaty, the knees get more abrasive than any of my other gis. I actually had my knees rubbed raw in spots after training this Wednesday, and my only explanation is that the gi material reinforcements makes for a harsher knee surface.

That said, it is still such a joy to wear that I will just deal with it.

Meerkatsu said...

Try spats/tights Dake.


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