28 Dec 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Best Gi for Fat Guys? Review: Gorilla Gear Husky Silverback

    This Article comes from Utah Judo
    To see the full original article click here

    Okay, so before I start this review I just have to get it out on the table:  I’m fat.

    I’m not huge, but I am a large man (6 feet tall, 260 lbs.)  But I’m guessing that there are a fair number of you out there that live the same pains that I do.  I am tired of not being able to buy a shirt at Kohls, the Buckle, or Target because my shoulders are too broad.  I’m tired of Walmart thinking that 3XL means a shirt as wide as a tent that’s made for a person 5’9″.

    I am also tired of Gi’s that don’t fit.  It seems like every Gi review I read has a section on “fit”, and the answer seems to always be “just fine.”  Well, I’m not built like a GI Joe action figure, and I am tired of buying gi’s that don’t close good in the front, or that hang down too long in the arms in order to get one big enough in the torso.  For me, most Gi’s don’t score well at all in “fit”.  So, if this is you, read on:

    Today I will be reviewing the Beefy Cut Silverback Gi from Gorilla Gi’s (out of Canada.)  This Gi is specifically designed for us big guys, but they have several other models for different body styles which I would assume are of similar quality as what I have experienced with the Silverback.


    I traded several emails with Mike over at Gorilla Gear in arranging to get a Gi for review.  He was great to work with.  Not only was my interaction with them very personable and friendly, but very timely as well.  Any questions I had, Mike would get back to me right away.  Even beyond answering my questions, I found Mike proactively getting ahold of me to update me on the status of things.

    I have spoke n to several other Gi companies recently, either about reviews, or about reselling their products, and I have found that this level of responsiveness is unfortunately not the norm for many other companies.  I was very pleased to deal with Gorilla, and would not hesitate to do so again.


    In looking at the Silverback for quality, I found that this product is far superior to other products I have looked at.  Several things jumped out at me immediately:


    It’s not uncommon to see contrast taping in a Gi.  Generally you’ll see this inside the cuffs of the Gi top, and inside the legs around the ankles.  It adds a nice visual effect, and it can help with comfort as well.

    Gorilla took this several steps further than other Gi’s I have seen.  Not only are the cuffs on both pants and top done with a gray taping that contrasts nicely against the black Gi, but this same taping runs along all of the seams inside the Gi top, and throughout the stitching in the seat of the bottoms as well.  The seams are already triple stitched for strength, but this additional taping adds yet another level of strength, as well as comfort.  This type of attention to detail is found all over the Gi.

    Unfortunately however, this does give rise to the one and only problem that I did run into with the Gi.  The piping throughout this gi adds nicely to the look, and makes it stronger.  The piping around the inside of the collar however, really isn’t needed for strength… it’s more cosmetic.  That would be fine, but I found that for me the piping tore a little with a hard choke.

    I spoke to Mike over at Gorilla about this, and he says that they have only had this problem once before.  But since the piping there really is cosmetic, and they have now had this problem twice, he says they will likely not keep it in the collar on the next batch.  Additionally, he let me know that they replaced the other gi that had this problem, and would happily replace any gi that had such an issue.

    If it were not for this one minor issue I would have scored the Gi a perfect 5 stars, which rating I assure you I do not issue lightly.

    Double thick knees:

    The front of both legs on the Silverback is double thick, and done with rows of gray stitching that contrasts nicely against the black.


    The Silverback has five loops along the front of the Gi to feed the high quality bungee roping through.  This is a really great design for a Gi in general, and especially for a big guy, the addition loops mean better support, and the thicker roping means a gentler experience that a thin cord.

    Unfortunately, although the bungee was super comfortable, after wearing and washing the gi I found that it didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped.  I will likely head over to Lowes and grab another cord to replace it with. 

    Comfort patch:

    I nice little addition that Gorilla Gear did on this Gi is what I like to call the “comfort patch” ( in reality it’s a gusset, but I prefer comfort patch :) .  For both comfort, and for long-term durability they took a big patch of the same gold weave material they use in the Gi top and put it right into the crotch area of the pants.  All of the seams around it on the inside are also covered with the cloth taping for strength and comfort as well.  This Gi really is covered with various cool attentions to detail like this.


    This gi has gray stitching contrasting against the black all over.  I am stickler on stitching.  I have had some Atama rip stop pants that were coming un-stitched all over the place.  Since then, I really inspect the stitching for any such problems.

    I’m pleased to say that I can spot no such issues on my Gorilla gi.  This gi is solid and tough.


    Okay, now this is where this gi really jumps ahead of the competition.  Gorilla makes Gi’s special cut for us big guys (this Beefy Silverback) but they also make special cuts for the smaller guys as well.  As soon as I slipped these pants on I know I was hooked.  They fit me sooo nice.  They didn’t slip down during practice.  they didn’t feel like a cinched up gunny sack.  They weren’t too long on me.  They just felt good.  I really can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

    As for tops, I think it’s important to contract it to a normal fit.  Thus far, I have been forced to wear A5′s in order to fit around me.  I have been working a lot lately in a Gameness, as well as in my Atama Mundial #9.  On both of these other gi’s  I find that they hang far too long on my arms (regardless of how many times I wash them in hot.)  These other gi’s also leave too much slack under my armpits.

    Right out of the package the Silverback was a nice change (I would never be able to fit in a normal A4.)  The sleeve length is nice, and the sleeves are a bit roomier than a normal Jiu Jitsu Gi (about halfway between Jiu Jitsu and Judo sleeves.)  It feels nice in the chest, without the extra slack of an A5.

    The skirt length however is just long enough out of the package, and a bit on the short side after wearing and washing it.  Some folks in class tried it on, and I find that it fits really great for someone a couple of inches shorter than me (One of them is online ordering one right now.)  I think that the combination of my height, as well as having a big gut in this gi is just a bit more than makes for a great fit.

    It appears that although the pants are a DREAM, in the top rather than an A4X I need to find an A4XX-Tall (which breaks my heart, because I LOVE this gi.)

    If you’re 5’10″, or maybe closer to 230 rather than 260, my guess is the fit should be amazing.




    Again, I tend to get frustrated with this section of most gi reviews.  Appearance is so subjective.  What reviewer is really going to say, “This gi is ugly as hell”?

    You can see the pictures.  You decide.  I think this is a good looking Gi.  I tend to like a little more patchwork on a gi, so I will be adding a few patches to this one.

    On thing I do really like however, is how the brand sells the look.  There are not too many things you can print on a Gi that says “fat guy gi” but in a flattering way.  I gi that says Gorilla expresses that I am big, that I know it, and that I’m proud of it.  I think that’s important.

    I don’t intend to rate any gi on appearance… But you can tell what my opinion is :)

    Would I buy another one?

    Okay, so all of this information is nice, but where the rubber really hits the road is this: If I were going to buy another gi, would it be this one?

    Unfortunately, this isn’t just a simple yes or no on this one.  Let me start with the first part of my answer: I would absolutely recommend this gi for purchase by someone else.  For someone 5’10″ or shorter I think this A4X is one of the best gi’s I’ve ever seen.  For someone taller I’m sure the A5x would help with the broadness that other A5′s just don’t address.

    Would I buy another for myself?  Well, let’s start with the pants: These are my favorite pants I have worn.  I really like the lightweight rip-stop of my Atamas, but the quality and fit of the Gorilla gi pants is just far superior.  I love these pants and will likely be ordering more over time.

    The top: Well, if I can manage to lost some weight I might consider ordering another.  If I can convince Make to make me a gi a little longer in the torso, and a tiny bit bigger around, I will order one without hesitation.  At my current height, and current weight however, the fit just isn’t quite right.

    I have however, spoken to Mike, and I may well be purchasing an A5 top and having the arms shortened.

    Summary: Great gi.  Really impressed with it and the company.  Very nice for broader folks.  Take your measurements and contact them though… I think the sizing chart doesn’t work for everyone.  I plan to customize one if needed to make it fit, since I like it so much.

    Update: For a full review of several Gi’s and how well they work (or don’t) for folks of our build, please read: best-and-worst-gis-for-big-and-tall-or-fat-people 

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