Best BJJ Rash Guards (2022): Bought & Tested On The Mats!

November 11, 2022

New BJJ rash guards for a practitioner is like getting an early Christmas present, sitting giddy at work, and waiting for your phone notification to confirm your rash guard delivery. But you know what kills that joy instantly? When you receive a rash guard that doesn’t fit properly or is made of low-quality materials.

I went through precisely that when purchasing the rash guards in this review. I've also tested all of these rash guards on the mat, so I can provide the most informed opinion to give you the best BJJ rash guards available.

Header
XMartial Mens Rash Guard

Best BJJ Rash Guard

Sanabul Essentials Cheap BJJ Rash Guard

Best Budget BJJ Rash Guard

Best Womens BJJ Rash Guard

Best Women's BJJ Rash Guard

Brand

Material

80% polyester, 20% spandex

85% polyester, 15% spandex

80% polyester, 20% spandex

Waistband

Anti-slip gel waistband

No anti-slip feature

Anti-slip gel waistband

Stitching

Flatlock

Flatlock

Flatlock

Fit

True to size

True to size

True to size

Price

Best BJJ & MMA Rash Guard

XMartial rash guards are absolutely epic. Honestly, I was initially skeptical, as straying away from major martial arts brands can sometimes end in issues. But XMartial are fast becoming a major brand, especially within BJJ.

In almost every BJJ class, I see someone wearing a rash guard, shorts, or spats of theirs. For a good reason too. The material is high-quality and durable while allowing enough stretch to be comfortable. Whereas some rash guards like the LAFROI brand feels like a beach rash guard for surfing.

While that is how the BJJ rash guard originated, the unique blend of 80% polyester and 20% spandex with XMartial create a different, more comfortable feeling. Compared to budget rash guard options like Elite Sports and Sanabul, XMartial rash guards are thicker because of the higher quality material.

The stitching isn’t heavily exposed like cheaper rash guards where they start to unravel quickly and, instead, use a flatlock stitching design. I have had rash guards like that in the past that come apart. But what makes XMartial Rash Guards unique is the anti-slip gel panel around the waist. It means it doesn’t ride up while you’re rolling.

This is a problem I've experienced with the other rash guards on this list, except for Hayabusa. Honestly, this feature should be on all rash guards.

Regarding their fit, they fit true to size. I'm a size L for all my tops and bottoms, and the same with XMartial. Their size chart puts me slightly into XL, but L fits best for me.

When talking about XMartial, it’s hard to go past their vast crazy designs. If you’re looking for something funky, they’ve got you covered. From Santa to Dragon Ball Z, to being a Hill Billy, you can be as creative as you like.

Their designs are sublimated, so you don't need to worry about cracking or fading of the design. You can also create your custom design with them. To top it all off, they offer a one-year warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. That's how much they back their rash guards.

I was so impressed that Sweet Science of Fighting partnered with XMartial to release a Sweet Science of Fighting rash guard (coming soon)! You can also read my in-depth guide with more pictures in my XMartial Rash Guard review.

Pros:

  • Anti-slip gel panel inside the waistband, so it doesn't ride up or twist while rolling.
  • Epic designs, including making custom designs.
  • High-quality material with the right amount of stretch, making it extremely comfortable.
  • Flatlock stitching so it doesn’t come apart.
  • Fits true to size.
  • One-year warranty.
  • 100% money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Not IBJJF legal if you compete in that federation.

Get 10% OFF any XMartial order using code "SWEETSCIENCE"

XMartial Mens Rash Guard

XMartial Rash Guard

Best BJJ Rash Guard

Best Soft BJJ Rash Guard

Iron Neck SoftAF Rash Guard

Iron Neck BJJ Rash Guard

Iron Neck nailed the material combination to make a genuinely soft rash guard. Hence the term SoftAF is part of their rash guard name. I have a previous rash guard from an older BJJ club I trained at, which is made from the same material combination: 85% polyester and 15% spandex.

This seems to be the sweet spot for a soft and cooling feeling on the skin. My favorite color is the olive green, and the designs are straightforward, which I'm a fan of. They have flatlock stitching, so they won't unravel easily with use, and they fit true to size.

I'm a size L, and you can see the fit in the photos of me wearing the rash guard. You may be skeptical about a neck training device company getting into the rash guard game. But they have a considerable combat sports fan base, so it makes logical sense. I'm glad they've taken the same quality of work from the Iron Neck to the rash guards.

Pros:

  • It is SoftAF and feels cool against the skin.
  • Simple designs for the minimalist.
  • Flatlock stitching so it doesn’t come apart.
  • Fit true to size.

Cons:

  • Not IBJJF legal.
  • No anti-slip waistband, so it can ride up when rolling hard.
Iron Neck BJJ MMA Rash Guard

Iron Neck SoftAF Rash Guard

Best Soft BJJ Rash Guard

Best Budget BJJ Rash Guard

Sanabul Essentials Rash Guard

Best Budget BJJ Rash Guard

For a budget BJJ rash guard, I am very impressed. The stitching is well done, and the material doesn't feel cheap or poorly manufactured. It is made from 85% polyester and 15% spandex. This budget rash guard by Sanabul is also IBJJF legal, so you can buy your belt color to compete.

It fits true to size as I'm a large, and it fits me perfectly. The designs are great for anyone after a minimalist rash guard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an anti-slip waistband so it rides up during hard rolls.

Further, the waistband is loose which is a feature in rash guards I don’t like.

But for the price, some key features will be missing, which is understandable. You're paying for an entry-level rash guard. You can see this when you hold the rash guard up to the light. You can see through it slightly, showing relatively thin fabric.

However, it’s still a solid rash guard to have in your wardrobe for low-intensity BJJ training days where you are mainly drilling.

Pros:

  • Great quality for the budget price.
  • Simple designs for the minimalist.
  • IBJJF legal.
  • Fit true to size.

Cons:

  • No anti-slip waistband and is loose so it rides up when rolling hard.
  • Thinner see-through fabric.
Sanabul Essentials Cheap BJJ Rash Guard

Sanabul Essentials BJJ Rash Guard

Best Budget BJJ Rash Guard

Best Women’s BJJ Rash Guard

XMartial Women’s Rash Guard

XMartial Women's Rash Guard

Lucky for us, the best BJJ rash guard company Xmartial also does women’s rash guards. Many brands on this list only manufacture unisex rash guards. However, women's body shapes are different from men, so a women's cut fits better.

The main difference is the women's sizing and the outward taper toward the waist, so it doesn't sit baggy around the midsection. You get the same great features as the men's XMartial rash guard, such as sublimated designs, anti-slip gel waistband, strong fabric, and flatlock stitching.

Pros:

  • Women's sizing and cut, so it tapers outward toward the waist.
  • Anti-slip gel panel inside the waistband, so it doesn't ride up or twist while rolling.
  • Epic designs, including making custom designs.
  • High-quality material with the right amount of stretch, making it extremely comfortable.
  • Flatlock stitching so it doesn’t come apart.
  • One-year warranty.
  • 100% money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Not IBJJF legal if you compete in that federation.
Best Womens BJJ Rash Guard

XMartial Women's Rash Guard

Best Women's BJJ Rash Guard

Other BJJ Rash Guards Worth Mentioning

Hayabusa Fusion Rash Guard

Hayabusa Fusion Rash Guard

Hayabusa is well-known for high-quality martial arts equipment. They've taken that reputation into their rash guards. I did not doubt that I would love the quality of this rash guard before purchasing, and that was confirmed when putting it on.

It is 94% polyester and 6% elastane band. While it is much less elastic, it still stretches adequately where it feels comfortable to wear. It has reinforced flatlock stitching and an anti-slip waistband like the XMartial rash guards.

The Hayabusa Fusion Rash Guard fits true to size, so buy your normal shirt size. The design is damn epic, too, with the combination of blue and green changing depending on your viewpoint. Overall, you won’t be disappointed having this rash guard in your closet.

You can read my full in-depth review with more pictures in my Hayabusa Fusion Rash Guard review where I state this would be my second choice rash guard for the high-end quality.

Pros:

  • Reinforced flatlock stitching so it won’t unravel after use.
  • Mainly polyester material making it very strong.
  • Anti-slip waistband, so it doesn't ride up while rolling.

Cons:

  • Only has a long sleeve design.
  • Not IBJJF legal.
Hayabusa Fusion BJJ Rash Guard

Hayabusa Fusion Rash Guard

Gold BJJ Rash Guard

I'm going to come out the gate with a minor complaint about the Gold BJJ Camo Rash Guard. It runs small. I purchased a large and couldn't take it off without help (or get it on, for that matter). So, if you like this rash guard, buy a size up.

Besides that, I like the design and feel of this rash guard. They even have camo designs in your belt color. However, this isn’t IBJJF legal if you compete in that federation.

The material feels cool against the skin and feels very light. Further, the design is sublimated onto the rash guard so it won’t crack, peel, or flake. Finally, the stitching is a smooth flatlock design, so you don't feel it while rolling, and it won't come apart with use.

Pros:

  • Reinforced flatlock stitching so it won’t unravel after use.
  • Mainly polyester material making it very strong.
  • Sublimated design so it won’t crack and peel.

Cons:

  • Not IBJJF legal.
Gold BJJ Camo Rash Guard

Gold BJJ Camo Rash Guard

Elite Sports BJJ MMA Rash Guard

The Elite Sports BJJ/MMA Rash Guard feels like its cost… budget. That doesn't make it a bad rash guard per se. But if you're looking for something that will last longer and is more aesthetically pleasing, go for XMartial.

It's made from 90% polyester and 10% spandex. It seems the amount of material they use is less than other brands, as the rash guard feels thin compared to XMartial. Interestingly, they state they have an anti-slip waistband. But there’s no gel pad to make it anti-slip.

Instead, it’s a thick elastic waistband that keeps the bottom of the rash guard tight. After training in this, the anti-slip waistband only partially stops the rash guard riding up. Instead, it folds up and still needs readjusting.

But for the price, it's a great beginner rash guard that you can use to compete in the IBJJF.

Pros:

  • IBJJF legal.
  • Simple minimal designs.

Cons:

  • The anti-slip waistband doesn't stop the slipping.
  • Feels lower quality than other rash guards on this list.
Elite Sports Rash Guard

Elite Sports BJJ Rash Guard

LAFROI BJJ Rash Guard

It must be the material combination that makes the LAFROI rash guard feel like a surfing rash guard. It’s 80% nylon and 20% spandex which is different from the other rash guards on this list. That doesn't make it bad per se, and you can still use it for BJJ.

One thing they have going for them is the epic sleeve design. Wear one of these if you want to see how you'd look with a tattoo sleeve. It's comfortable, fits true to size, and stretches well. It does not have an anti-slip waistband, but you can't expect this feature for the price.

The fact that a kid was wearing this at the pool in Cobra Kai confirms my suspicions about the LAFROI rash guard being more of a surf rash guard.

Pros:

  • Awesome sleeve designs.
  • Comfortable and lightweight.

Cons:

  • No anti-slip waistband to stop the slipping.
  • Not IBJJF legal.
  • Feels like a beach rash guard.
LAFROI Rash Guard

LAFROI Rash Guard

How To Pick The Right BJJ Rash Guard

Material

I recommend going for a polyester spandex or elastane mix. These material combinations feel best on the skin and are sweat-wicking. 85% polyester and 15% spandex seem to be the sweet spot for the soft and cool feeling but 80% polyester and 20% spandex is also a great blend that XMartial uses.

However, other combinations give the rash guard a thicker less stretchy feel such as Hayabusa. Avoid material blends like 80% nylon and 20% spandex, as they can feel like beach rash guards.

Short Or Long Sleeve

Wearing short or long sleeves is a personal preference. If you live in cold or hot climates, that may dictate wearing short or long sleeves. With most BJJ gyms now having air conditioning, you can wear long sleeves all year round if you please.

When competing, I recommend wearing short sleeves. It reduces friction, making it harder for your opponent to control certain positions or submissions.

Waistband

Only a couple of brands I have seen have an anti-slip gel waistband. I would opt for these brands as their rash guard quality is typically better since they went the extra mile for this feature. It saves you from pulling your rash guard down during a roll that you don't want to worry about during competition!

Design

You’ll be hamstrung by design if you compete in IBJJF. Here is what constitutes an IBJJF legal rash guard:

  • Both genders must wear a shirt of elastic material (skin tight) long enough to cover the torso to the waistband of the shorts, colored black, white, or black and white, and with at least 10% of the rank color(belt) to which the athlete belongs. Shirts 100% the color of the athlete's rank (belt) are also permitted.
  • Note: For black belts, a small red area will be tolerated but must not decharacterize the athlete's rank color.

But, if you're training or competing in other BJJ tournaments, the world is your oyster regarding rash guard design. Of the many brands in the BJJ sphere, XMartial has the greatest number and coolest-looking designs I have found.

Brand

Trusted brands are always a safe option when buying rash guards. XMartial has catapulted themselves into this position boasting 4.7/5 stars on Trustpilot. You also can’t go wrong with other well-known brands like Hayabusa.

Some brands are known for creating budget fight gear, like Sanabul and Elite Sports. This doesn't make them bad. They can be great for beginners getting into the sport who are still determining how long they will pursue it.

Frequently Asked BJJ Rash Guard Questions

Are Tatami Rash Guards Good?

Tatami is a well-trusted brand that makes high-quality fight gear. However, I have yet to try the Tatami rash guard, so I cannot say whether they are good. Typically, most rash guards serve their purpose, with cheaper rash guards often being thinner than higher-quality rash guards.

Should A BJJ Rash Guard Be Tight?

A BJJ rash guard should be tight. But there’s a difference between tight and suffocating. I had this problem with the Gold BJJ Camo Rash Guard as it didn’t fit true to size. The large was much smaller than other brands leading to not being able to take it off without help.

You're good to go if the rash guard is against your skin without any loose areas like a t-shirt would have.

Should A BJJ Rash Guard Be Loose?

A BJJ rash guard shouldn't be loose. That'd be like wearing a t-shirt. The problem is getting hands, fingers, and feet caught when rolling. Be a good training partner and wear something skin-tight.

Why Wear A Rash Guard For No-Gi BJJ?

Many submission grappling competitions don’t require you to wear a rash guard and allow you to compete topless (if you’re a male). However, it’s typically best to train in a rash guard out of courtesy to your fellow training partners.

Further, you need to check with your gym owner if you're allowed to train with no shirt. But a rash guard reduces skin-to-skin contact, potentially reducing your risk of infection. Further, if you are a hairy human, it will stop your body hair from being pulled!

And don't forget mat burn. You don't want to feel that on your shoulders and back.

Does BJJ Rash Guard Color Matter?

Rash guard color only matters when it’s IBJJF legal. It should correspond to your belt color when competing and training. So don’t wear a brown IBJJF rash guard as a lower belt.

If you aren't competing in IBJJF, rash guard color typically doesn't matter. But it still doesn't make sense to wear an IBJJF legal rash guard with the belt color you're not. When it comes to design, you can wear anything when training, depending on your BJJ school.

You must check their rules when competing in submission grappling or other BJJ tournaments to see what is permitted. Often, anything goes, so get as fancy with your designs as you like.

What’s The Best Material For Rash Guards?

Rash guards are predominately made from polyester or nylon and spandex. Typically around 80-95% polyester and 5-20% spandex. This gives the stretchy attributes while ensuring it doesn’t rip.

Summary

I recommend your next rash guard to be an XMartial rash guard. They are of excellent quality and have many epic designs to fit your personality. Added features like the anti-slip gel pad and sublimated designs make them worth the price.

XMartial Mens Rash Guard

XMartial Rash Guard

Best BJJ Rash Guard

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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