Sprawl is best known for being the pioneer of fight shorts, starting out way back when nobody else was doing it. Now, they’ve come up with their own gi pants! It borrows some familiar features from their Fusion-S series of fight shorts, which makes for an interesting departure from the traditional BJJ gi pants.
- A real adjustable waistband system with a drawstring, fly and Velcro closures.
- Our Channel Lock inner waistband providing stability in the most demanding training and competition situations.
- A Flex Panel crotch to enhance performance and flexibility.
- Mesh lined legs keep the pants from sticking to you while sweating.
The Gi-Flex comes only in white, which is surprising given the wide variety of colour choices Sprawl usually has for its shorts. It’s a pity for those of us who have coloured gis, and while I have no qualms mixing and matching my gi tops with my pants, there are those of us who prefer to have matching coloured tops and bottoms.
The pants features the full Sprawl logo embroidered on the front of the right pant leg. There’s also another embroidery of the text ‘Gi-Flex by Sprawl’ at the bottom of the left pant leg behind. And of course, Sprawl across the front of the waistband. Nothing wild and fancy in the design, just something plain and simple.
One oddball thing is the black stretch panel at the crotch though. While stretch panels look perfectly fine on fight shorts, the way they form a sort of triangle on the crotch here and stand out in the black contrast just looks really weird. I’ve gotten at least one funny look when playing the open guard.
Form & Fit
The Sprawl Gi-Flex comes in S, M, L and XL sizes, and the sizing chart is as follows.
On the sizing page, Sprawl mentions that its gi pants runs a little longer than traditional gi pants to allow customising of the length through shrinking and hemming.
Initially, I was considering going for a Medium after my experience with the Fusion-S series. The new Channel Lock system makes for a much tighter system than the traditionally forgiving Sprawl waistbands, and I usually like to hang my shorts/pants closer to my hips. However, the 7cm difference in pant length made me reconsider as I didn’t want to drown in them.
Fortunately I went for the Small too, as the pants somehow measures to be longer than what is on the chart, coming out at 99cm for me. It could be due differences in measuring methods, but either way, it’s still slightly too long for my height of 169cm. The pants comes up to my heels when I wear it at my waist, so hanging it at my hips is a no-no.
That said, Sprawl does say that it can shrink a further 3 inches through drying, although I’m not inclined to try it at the moment since I don’t have a dryer. Hemming is another option, as there’s still some room before it cuts into the Sprawl logo.
While the waist fits snugly, the pants is a little baggy around the legs for me. Again, this can probably be fixed by throwing it into the dryer.
The first time I put the Gi-Flex on, I was impressed by how soft and comfortable it felt, unlike other thicker and stiffer cotton gi pants that I had. It feels smoother on the skin too, which makes it all the nicer to wear.
The waistband does an awesome job at keeping the pants in place, and it hardly ever shifts or needs adjustment. If you’ve tried the Channel Lock system in the Fusion-S fightshorts, then you’ll know how well it works. Besides having a wider elastic band, there’s a strip of grippy rubber material that holds the pants in place to prevent it from slipping.
Continuing the adaptation from their fightshorts, the drawstring is on the inside, and there’s a velcro strap for further adjustment of the pants. Together with the waistband, that’s 3 separate things to tighten your pants, compared to just the drawstring in most other BJJ pants. Come to think of it, it’s funny that no one thought of elastic waistbands for BJJ gis when I’ve seen it on my Aikido gi.
The pants also features the aforementioned flex panel, and there is definitely a greater feel of mobility and freedom when playing guard positions. There’s also an extra layer of knee padding that’s lined with mesh to prevent the pants from sticking to sweaty legs. Personally, that’s not really an issue for me, but some guys may find that a useful feature. It also comes with a mouthguard pocket for convenience.
So far, the gi pant has help up pretty well. The only complain is how quickly it gets dirty. It seems to pick up dirt and dust a little faster than my other gi pants, and looks a little grayish old already in terms of colour. That said, stitching is still solid and nothing has come apart yet.
You can get a pair of these for US $74.50 (SGD $95) on the official website, though the Gi-Flex isn’t exactly the cheapest gi pants around. International shipping will set you back another US $17 (SGD $22). However, it does provide a much better grip than a traditional gi pants, and that alone might be well worth the cost.
Alternatively, you can get a pair from Budovideos.
The Sprawl Gi-Flex is a great pair of gi pants to come from Sprawl, and it’s definitely refreshing to see something beyond just traditional drawstrings. If you find yourself constantly irritated with the need to adjust and pull up your gi pants, this might just be what you’re looking for.
All comments in the review are my own personal opinion. Prices provided in brackets are merely for reference and are based on exchange rates at the time of writing.
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