As with many sports, there are specific things you can buy to make your practice more comfortable, or easier on your body.
BJJ is no different. While there is not really any equipment that you need in order to partake in the sport, there are a few things that can make your life easier when you grapple, one of those things is a rash guard.
This article will look at the best BJJ rash guards based on different needs or requirements.
We will help you find your perfect BJJ rash guard, from all-rounders to budget-friendly to the most creative patterns.
What Is A BJJ Rash Guard?
Firstly, what is a BJJ rash guard? A rash guard is essentially a skin-tight polyester shirt, they can be short or long-sleeved, come in various colors, and patterns, and even be personalized.
Rash guards are usually worn in no-gi jiu-jitsu in place of a T-shirt, but they can also be worn underneath a gi jacket if preferred.
Rash guards in BJJ have soared in popularity since the early 2000’s, and come in a huge range of patterns and styles to fit every preference.
Why Do We Need BJJ Rash Guards?
While there is no requirement for BJJ rash guards to be worn in either no-gi jiu-jitsu or jiu-jitsu, they can be a useful piece of equipment to own.
A rash guard is designed to be worn in no-gi jiu-jitsu in place of a T-shirt, the skin-tight nature of the rash guard means that there is no loose fabric for opponents to grab onto.
The role of the rash guard is to protect your skin from friction burns, and infections, and can even display your rank in place of a belt.
Some people choose to wear a rash guard beneath their gi jacket in jiu-jitsu.
The rash guard can reduce friction and skin damage from the tough, durable material of the gi.
The Best BJJ Rash Guard
If you are new to the world of BJJ or simply new to the world of rash guards, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice available on the market.
Don't worry, however, because we have put together a handy guide to the best BJJ rash guards available, complete with a convenient buyer’s guide, and pros and cons of the best rash guard options.
OUR TOP PICK
The Elite Sports BJJ rash guard is designed for comfort as well as function.
With a material composition of 85% polyester and 15% spandex, this rash guard has a high level of comfort as well as four-way stretch capabilities to allow total freedom of movement and reduced chafing and friction.
In addition to the material composition of this rash guard, the flatlock stitching along the seams adds an incredible amount of durability to this budget-friendly option.
With anti-slip bands around the waist, you can be confident that this rash guard won’t ride up in the middle of a grapple.
The most impressive feature of this BJJ rash guard is the compression that it offers.
The compression of this rash guard helps to improve the blood flow of the user, allowing for greater oxygenation of your muscles.
Not only does this help give your performance a boost with increased circulation, but it also helps promote recovery in between tussles.
Available with long or short sleeves, seven color options, and five different sizes, this rash guard can suit any preference or need.
- Flatlock stitching increases durability
- Material composition allows for comfort and functionality
- The anti-slip band keeps the rash guard in place
- Compression to assist performance and recovery
- Wide range of colors and sizes
- The material may not be as durable as rash guards with higher price points
The Gold BJJ foundation rash guard is designed by martial artists, for martial artists and the benefits of that are clear.
Not only does this rash guard feature smooth flatlock stitching for durability and comfort, but it also has sublimated graphics that will prevent cracking and peeling, helping to maintain a professional appearance wash after wash.
The Gold BJJ foundation rash guard is available in five different colors, while you can purchase your favorite color they also correspond with ranked jiu-jitsu belts.
This rash guard is IBJJF legal, meaning that you can wear it during a competition without fear of being disqualified for not featuring the color of your rank on your rash guard.
This really sets the Gold BJJ foundation rash guard apart from the rest and is an important factor if you are looking to compete.
This rash guard is available in both long and short-sleeved versions, as well as six different sizes.
The cut of this rash guard is slightly extended in the torso to avoid any annoying ride-up during a tussle.
- IBJJF legal design
- Durable stitching and material
- Good range of styles and colors
- Sublimated graphics help to keep you looking smart
- Wide range of sizes available
- Runs a little small, sizing up may be necessary
The Sanabul Essentials BJJ rash guard is another great all-rounder to provide all the protection and benefits you need.
The simple, uncluttered design of this rash guard allows you to confidently sport a classic look on your first day, or upgrade to a streamlined professional look if you are a seasoned BJJ student.
The colors on the arms of this rash guard make it IBJJF legal, perfect for those who aim to enter competitions in their rash guard.
The Sanabul Essentials rash guard offers the feel and performance of a premium product at affordable prices.
You don’t have to worry about the quality of this rash guard though as it is tested by professional BJJ athletes.
Regularly worn by black belts and legendary coaches, it is easy to see that the Sanabul Essentials has just as much grit and durability as you do.
No matter how intense your rolls get, this rash guard can keep up.
The Sanabul Essentials rash guard features underarm mesh panels and smart compression to allow ultimate comfort and total freedom of movement.
With the compression gradually increasing down the length of the rash guard, you don’t have to compromise on agility, blood flow, or ventilation.
The added UV protection of this rash guard means that you can safely and comfortably wear it during outdoor conditioning activities such as hiking too.
- UV protection allows for outdoor wear
- Gradual compression boosts performance without compromising agility
- IBJJF legal for competitions
- Proven durability from professional endorsement
- Color may transfer before the first few washes
The Fuji rash guard differs slightly from the other rash guards featured on this list in that it is made from 100% nylon.
While this may make you think that the rash guard does not fit as snugly as you would want, or that your skin will be unable to breathe, Fuji has taken their years of expertise to make this a great BJJ rash guard.
The Fuji baseline series rash guard features a minimalistic, slimline, professional look.
The block color is IBJJF approved, meaning that you can wear this for practice or competition.
It is also suitable for those who practice in dojos with strict rules around wearing rank-colored rash guards.
It is also great for wearing under any color gi.
The Fuji rash guard is available in seven different sizes, making it easier to find the right size and level of tightness that you prefer.
The increments in sizing also make it easier to stay with the Fuji Baseline Series as you gain strength and muscle mass through your training.
The composition of the Fuji rash guard is designed to offer maximum utility no matter how rough your rolls get.
The softer panels under the arms offer breathability to avoid the discomfort of unventilated guards.
- IBJJF approved for competition
- Wide range of sizes available
- Breathability built-in
- Durable material to withstand the toughest rolls
- Sizing can run small
- May ride up due to lack of anti-slip band
The Raven Fightwear brand of BJJ rash guards is great for those who prefer to have a little more fun with their rash guards.
Available with subtle Nordic artwork across the front and back of the torso as well as down the arms, this rash guard can really help to awaken your fighting spirit.
Despite the unusual patterning on this rash guard, it is still IBJJF approved and available in colors corresponding to your belt rank.
This means that there is no need to have separate rash guards for competition and practice, and no need to sacrifice self-expression for professionalism.
Despite the unusual look of this rash guard, it still features all of the benefits that you would expect from a guard.
Reinforced flatlock stitching adds to the durability of the fabric, giving you peace of mind in tough grapples.
Designed with four-way stretch and an anti-slip rubber waistband, you are free to focus on your tussle opponent without sacrificing range of movement or comfort.
The lightweight material of this rash guard keeps you cool and comfortable no matter how long your session is, and features excellent moisture wicking properties to keep you dry.
The compression of this rash guard also helps to boost your performance and aids your recovery in your downtime.
- Moisture wicking material
- Anti-slip rubber waistband
- IBJJF approved
- Fun, unusual design
- Four-way stretch and flatlock stitching
- Sizing runs a little small
Best BJJ Rash Guard Buyer’s Guide
Purchasing a BJJ rash guard may seem like a fairly simple task with few pitfalls, however, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure that you get the right rash guard to fit your needs.
With so many varying factors between rash guards and different situations to consider, it can be easy to end up feeling like you have wasted your money on an incorrect rash guard.
Below, we’ll cover some of the most important aspects to consider when looking for a new rash guard.
Taking a little extra time to consider all the specifications you need will ensure you end up with the best guard for your needs.
Long Sleeves VS Short Sleeves
One of the most basic decisions to make when choosing a BJJ rash guard is whether you want long sleeves or short sleeves.
Although this mostly depends on personal preference, there are some benefits to both styles.
Long sleeves on a rash guard obviously provide more protection from friction burns as more of your skin is covered.
However, if you are someone who overheats easily, or feels restricted by too much fabric when you are grappling, then short sleeves and a few friction burns might be worth the compromise.
It is also possible that a short-sleeved rash guard will be more durable than a long-sleeved one due to the reduced stress on the stitching around the bottom of the sleeves.
This is an important consideration if you are concerned about the longevity of a rash guard.
IBJJF Legal Or Not?
When choosing a BJJ rash guard you will likely come across some that are IBJJF approved and some that are not.
For the most part, it is not necessary to purchase a rash guard that is approved by the IBJJF, as long as you are not planning on taking part in any competitions or are looking for a rash guard to wear in practice only.
In general, IBJJF approved guards are only required during participation in competitions.
However, some dojos can be strict about the types of rash guards that you can wear when grappling inside them.
In some cases, an IBJJF legal rash guard will be required at training and practice sessions too.
To make sure that you are buying the correct type of rash guard for your dojos rules, it is important to clarify the policies with your sensei.
While most products described as BJJ rash guards will be made of a tight or compressing material, the specific composition of the material can make all the difference in whether there is ventilation in the guard.
A mix of polyester and spandex provides great compression, stretch, and moisture wicking.
This composition also creates a soft, comfortable material to have next to your skin to avoid chafing issues.
Rash guards made from a single material are likely to either be lacking in stretch capabilities which can hinder your range of motion, or they may be lacking the durability required to withstand the friction of grappling.
It is always advisable to find a rash guard made from composite material for best performance.
One thing that most BJJ students will swear by, is an anti-slip waistband.
You can’t go wrong with an anti-slip rubber or silicone band around the waist of your rash guard.
When you are in the middle of an intense grapple, the last thing you want is to have your top riding up around your chest.
When looking for a BJJ rash guard an anti-slip band around the lower hem of the top is something you shouldn’t compromise on.
While all BJJ rash guards are designed to be tight to the skin, not all of them contain compression.
Rash guards with compression built-in provide more support and increase blood flow in your upper body.
This has so many benefits in BJJ.
The increased flow of blood results in better oxygenation of your muscles, this means that your muscles will become fatigued at a slower rate, and your recovery time between tussles will be reduced.
Compression materials also often contain good stretch capabilities which can help ensure that your rash guard allows you a full and easy range of movement.
One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a rash guard is the durability of the product.
The more durable your rash guard is, the longer it will last, the better value for money it is, and who doesn’t like that?
One of the best measures of the durability of a product is customer reviews.
It is worth checking out the reviews of any product you buy to see how their durability features, such as flatlock stitching, hold up in the real world, under real, grappling conditions.
There are many options available when it comes to BJJ rash guards.
There are basic qualities to look for in a guard such as ventilation, durability, compression, and anti-slip waistbands, however, there are just as many aspects that are personal to each user.
If you are new to BJJ or new to rash guards, it may take some trial and error to find a style that works for you.
For example, while you may think you would prefer short sleeves for grappling, you may find the presence of friction burns distracting and off-putting and opt for long sleeves in the end.
Most importantly, always remember to check your dojo’s policy on whether IBJJF approved rash guards are required for practice.