How to Choose Your BJJ Shorts
What are BJJ/MMA shorts?
BJJ shorts, also known as grappling shorts, are synonymous to MMA shorts. These types of shorts are often interchangeable as they serve the same purpose, and both are important to have if you're a practitioner. It may seem like unnecessary gear, but what makes these different from any other regular pair of activewear shorts is the material. These shorts are designed to be breathable, absorb all the moisture your body produces, and are intended for rolling around on the mats without causing friction or skin irritation. These shorts also allow you to move freely without worrying about the fabric rolling up or tugging down, and at the same time are incredibly comfortable and don't pinch the skin.
What's the difference between BJJ/MMA shorts and compression pants?
Simply put, compression pants are more focused on alleviating muscle strain during and after you train or compete. These pants also give you the added benefit of protecting your skin from potential rashes and infections and can help make you feel more comfortable while training, giving you an added layer of protection, comfort, and warmth. There are plenty of BJJ/MMA practitioners who wear compression pants underneath their BJJ/MMA shorts because it gives them all the benefits they need when they're on the mat, and it's advisable for you to wear both as well, especially if you participate in competitions.
Are there different kinds of BJJ/MMA shorts?
Currently, there are three types of BJJ/MMA shorts, classified as so:
Board Shorts – These shorts are the most used kind in the market. As the style suggests, these shorts are designed after traditional board knee-length shorts that give you a more comfortable feel. These traditionally feature an internal drawstring with an elasticated waistband to ensure that they won't slip off during training.
Vale Tudo Shorts – Vale Tudo shorts are essentially compression underpants with multiple benefits. These shorts are designed so that you can move faster and make you less resistant to friction while you're on the mat. However, they're very short and border on looking like regular underwear. If you prefer a more modest design or you feel self-conscious, you can accompany your purchase with a groin cup.
Hybrid Shorts – As the name says, hybrid shorts are a combination of Vale Tudo shorts and board shorts. They feature a mix of the compressing properties of Vale Tudo shorts to ensure maximum movement and ease while adding the more modern and comfortable design of board shorts. These give you the best of both worlds and are typically more expensive.
What should I look for when I shop for BJJ/MMA shorts?
There are a few things to consider when you're choosing your shorts, and here are the most important aspects to take note of:
Type – Are you more comfortable with board shorts, Vale Tudo shorts, or hybrid shorts? You have to take into consideration what kind of BJJ practitioner you are, whether you're a casual practitioner or if you intend to compete in tournaments. The shorts you choose have to reflect the amount of activity you'll be putting your body through, and you should prioritise comfort and skin protection. Read our article on how BJJ Rash Guards are protecting your skin.
Quality – Once you've chosen the type of shorts you're most likely to use, you should now consider the material of your shorts. Be mindful in choosing brands that make shorts with high-quality fabric that won't feel like a nuisance against your skin after long periods. Your shorts have to stretch right and allow maximum flexibility, absorb moisture, and fit just right—it shouldn't drastically expand when your wear them often nor should they drastically shrink after you put them in your washer.
Size – You're prioritising the ease of your movement, so your shorts should be a proper fit and not cinching your skin, or they're getting tugged down the more you grapple and roll. Different brands have different size charts, and it's vital for you to know your exact measurements. If you want to air on the side of caution, it's preferable to wear shorts that are form-hugging, rather than shorts that are a little loose.
Price – Lastly, you should always take into consideration what you can afford, and to align that with how often you participate in BJJ and for what reason. There are multiple brands out there that offer a bang for your buck, and it's important to note that you don't have to purchase luxurious clothing. Of course, quality is essential, but you should also find a brand that caters to your level of activity and expertise.