Buying a dogi

You’ve been coming to class for a few weeks now.  You’re really enjoying yourself, but there’s one problem.  You feel so… underdressed.

Everyone around you has these snazzy white suits, with cool belts.  And there’s you, in your tracksuit bottoms and old t-shirt.

It’s time to level up!

So where can you get a dogi of your very own?

If you’re tight on cash, ask around at your dojo.  Perhaps someone has an older one that they’re looking to replace, and you could help them by “recycling” the old one.

If you’d rather have a new one, your choices are vast.

Most big cities have a martial arts shop or two. For example in Bristol we have Enso. This is a good choice if you want some advice, or to try on your dogi to make sure of the sizing.

Alternatively, you can buy online.

Recently I bought a dogi from Blitz, and the experience was generally a good one. Service was speedy (I ordered on a Friday, it was delivered on Monday). The dogi is a good quality, and reasonably priced for what I got, too. They have a wide variety of options, from a simple “good first dogi” to thick ones suitable for competitions and demonstrations.

My one issue is that the sizing is not great.  I’m 163cm tall, and I ordered the smallest adult size – which claims to fit people in the range 160-169cm.  When I tried it on… well, let’s just say I sent it back to be replaced with a child sized dogi.

On the one hand, this is annoying, but on the other hand it means I can report that their customer service respond quickly to questions (such as “how much should I expect this to shrink when washed?”, to which the answer is “not much” – although see below).

Also, the returns process is simple and as speedy as their sales process. You tell them you want to return it, they send you a pre-paid postage label. You send it, they refund you. Easy.

I now have two different dogi from Blitz; a “Zanshin” and a “Kokoro”. Both claim to fit 150-159cm. After shrinking in the wash, the Zanshin is on the large end of perfect fit, and the Kokoro is on the small end of perfect fit. Remember, I’m 163cm tall. The Kokoro definitely shrank more than the Zanshin, but I’m happy with both of them.

EDIT: Three Years Later… I’m not entirely happy with how the Blitz dogi are wearing. They’ve gone all crinkled around the seams and they seem to be acquiring a bit of a grimy look no matter how I wash them.

On the other hand I heard recently that they’ve fixed their sizing issue.

Another good option is Shogun. Their website looks like something from the 80s, and their stock control is interesting, but the dogi are excellent quality and the customer service is impressive. For example: I ordered some dogi and they didn’t have the size I ordered, so they phoned me and asked if they could send me better quality ones at no extra cost.

All in all, getting a dogi shouldn’t be a chore. You’ll really start to feel a part of the club once you’re dressed like the rest of us. Just good luck tying your belt!

Published by Nicola Higgins

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something* martial artist, Girlguiding Brownie and Ranger Leader, and actuary. She somehow also finds time to read, fuss her cat, and occasionally spends time with her husband. [* please note that "ten or more" is still something.]

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