Skip to Content

What’s a BJJ Rash Guard? (Is it Better to Wear One?)

bjj rash guard

What is a BJJ Rash Guard

A BJJ rash guard is a tight fitting shirt usually made from polyester and spandex that is worn during Brazilian jiu jitsu training. 

If you’re wondering why wear a rash guard for bjj:

  • it is moisture wicking
  • assists in blood flow
  • it is used to protect your skin against scrapes and burns
  • also used to protect you from skin infections
  • finally, since it is tight fitting it will avoid getting in the way of training as opposed to training in regular, loose fitting t-shirt

In this post we will go over some common questions regarding bjj rash guards such as:

  • how should a bjj rash guard fit
  • how do you wash a rashguard
  • what’s the difference between a rashguard vs a compression
  • should you wear a rashguard for gi training
  • our recommendations for bjj rash guards
  • as well as some related questions on rash guards, gear, and Brazilian jiu jitsu

Link >>> Our list and full guide on the best bjj rash guards here

Rash Guards for BJJ – Highlights

  • A bjj rash guard is a tight fitting shirt made from polyester and spandex that is worn during Brazilian jiu jitsu training
  • Some gyms may require you to wear them for both no gi and gi training – however, its always best to check directly with your gym
  • As opposed to a regular T-shirt and rash guard is meant to stay tight to your body, wick sweat away, and not ride up.
  • When comparing a rash guard vs a compression shirt:
    • a rash guard isusually thicker and more durable. It may also have some added benefits like a rubber waist liner, higher quality designs, or breathable armpit fabric
    • however, if you prefer to go with the more affordable route there’s no reason you can’t train in a compression shirt

Do You Need a BJJ Rash Guard to Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

While you don’t need a bjj rash guard to train Brazilian jiu jitsu, it is highly recommended. Plus some bjj gyms may require you to wear a rash guard or even to wear their specifc gym bran rash guard.

However, if your gym doeson’t require one, you can train in a T shirt or compression shirt.

The issue with training in a T-shirt is that they can get in the way of training jiu jitsy by:

  • riding up
  • absorbing sweat
  • getting caught by hands/feet of your training partner

Overall, its not recommended to train Brazilian jiu jitsu in a T-shirt. A rash guard is always recommend for any bjj training, but if you want to go the more affordable route there’s nothing wrong with training in a compression shirt.

BJJ Rash Guard vs Compression Shirt

Garment ConstructionSix PanelFour panel
Stitch Flatlock Will depend on the manufacturer 
Durability Lasts 4-5 years Lasts 1-2 years 
Flexibility More flexible (flatlock stitch)Less Flexible (type of stitch can vary)
Waist LinerMay have rubber waist linerLikely doesn’t
Breathable Arm Pit FabricIncludes breathable armpit fabricDoesn’t
Sublimated DesignsYesNot Likely
Price RangeAve. $35-$80 Ave. $15-40

Some people may think that a bjj rash guard is also a compression shirt but that is not exactly the case. Although very similar, there are differences in their composition, making the bjj rash guard the best type of gear for bjj practitioners. 

Let us start with the material, bjj rash guards are made from six-panel material as compared to a compression shirt which is made of only four. This means, a bjj rash guard is more flexible, allowing you to move freely despite being body fit. 

Another detail that makes a bjj rash guard different is the type of stitching used which is a flatlock. This type of stitching makes the bjj rash guard extremely durable and ready for the tugging and pulling that is part of the sport. Therefore, it can last longer compared to a compression shirt. Now typically, a compression can last around 1-2 years. But a bjj rash guard can last around 4-5 years because of how it was designed and made. 

Now when comparing the price range, you can say that a compression shirt can somehow be cheaper to a bjj rash guard. But in the long run, the bjj rash guard is more practical because of its durability.

Check out this video of Neil Melanson, talking about why it is important to wear a rash guard/compression for MMA, grappling and Nogi jiu jitsu.

Reasons Why You Need a BJJ rash guard

We all know that BJJ is a full contact grappling sport. Therefore the reason why you want to wear a bjj rash guard is because it is your protective gear and it serves you a lot of purpose while training. Here are some of the reasons why: 

  • Improves grip – After several drills and rolling sessions, you are definitely bound to sweat causing you to have poor grip and making it hard to move. Now, your rash guard can help you with moisture control. This will allow you have firmer grip against your opponent and more traction. 

The History and Origin of the BJJ Rash Guard

The inception of rash guards can be traced back to the surfing community in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Surfers used rash guards to shield their chest and ribs from the abrasive contact with surfboards, enabling them to avoid painful rashes caused by friction close to their bodies.

However, it wasn’t until the evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that rash guards found their place in the world of martial arts.

BJJ pioneers and practitioners recognized the potential benefits of incorporating rash guards into their training gear, primarily as a means of protection against skin-to-mat contact and prevention of skin infections.

The use of rash guards in BJJ competitions quickly became the standard, leading to the development of specialized rash guards crafted explicitly for BJJ and other grappling martial arts.

What is the purpose of a rashguard?

The primary purpose of a rashguard is to provide a protective layer over the upper body during BJJ)training sessions or competitions.

This protection serves multiple functions, including

  • shielding the skin from mat burns
  • reducing the chance of bacterial infections
  • and increasing the participant’s overall comfort

Wearing a rashguard, made from specialized materials such as spandex, polyester, or nylon, also prevents excessive sweat accumulation, ensuring that the practitioner remains relatively dry and comfortable throughout the session.

How Should a Rash Guard Fit

A bjj rash guard should fit well on you. This means, it should serve as initial protection of your body against outside forces, like the mats and your opponent.

Therefore, we can say that a correct fitting bjj rash guard fits tightly against your torso. Moreover, it should be able to provide you the flexibility required for bjj and not have your clothing get in the way – which is one of the main points of wearing a rash guard.

Your bjj rash guard should serve as initial protection of your body against outside forces, like the mats and your opponent.

In order to check if it is the right fit, you should always make sure that you are able to stretch it about an inch when you pull away from your body. 

Moreover, make sure that it is not too loose. Why? Well, by having a loose bjj rash guard, you will be prone to possible injury and bacterial infection. On the other hand, having a bjj rash guard that is too tight can cause potential injury and blood flow restriction which is bad

What Size Rash Guard Should I Get

Your BJJ rash guard is not just like any other sports or casual piece of clothing. Therefore, ensuring that you have the correct size is a must. 

But what size rash guard should you get? Well, choose that is not loose. If you have a loose bjj rash guard, it will be hard to grapple. Moreover, you will put yourself at risk for possible injury.

Now, for tightness, make sure that it is not too tight. This means that you are able to move your limbs comfortably and its not tight on the neck. Thus, your blood flow is not restricted despite the tight hugging material. 

If you are purchasing your bjj rash guard in the store, ask if you can try to compare sizing with your body and check elasticity to see it stretch. But if you are purchasing your gear online, make sure to measure yourself and compare your size to their size chart.

What’s a Rash Guard Made of?

A BJJ rash guard is made from different cloth materials that gives you a certain level of comfort, stretch, moisture protection and breathability. Typically it is made from the combination of different fabrics such as: 

  • Nylon
  • Polyester 
  • Lycra
  • Neoprene
  • Spandex blend
  • Others 

Apart from the material used in your bjj rash guard, another garment construction that makes the rash guard stronger, thicker and has increased mobility compared to other garments is the use of six panels. Typically, in garment construction, a four panel is used.  

Lastly, a bjj rash guard is made of flatlock stitches, wherein there is no additional fabric at the seam. A flatlock stitch is a reinforced stitching method. Thus making it extremely durable and ready for action.

Should You Wear a Rash Guard for Gi Training

Although not required in most gyms, it is still best to wear a bjj rash guard for Gi training.

This is because there are several advantages that you can gain from doing this. So, why wear a bjj rash guard of Gi training? Here are some of the reasons: 

  • Blood flow – Even though you are training in Gi, it is still necessary to have excellent blood flow. If you wear a rash guard underneath your Gi, you are giving your body that light hug it needs that helps with compression and blood flow. Thus, making your oxygenation better while training or sparring. 
  • Skin protection – One thing to know about your Gi uniform is that it has a rough material. Now, with that being said, there will be a high probability of friction during your mat sessions. Therefore, by wearing your bjj rash guard, you get to protect your skin against possible injury and bacteria. 

Related: Best BJJ Gis for Beginners (Full Guide with Reviews)

Should You Wear a Rash Guard for Nogi Training

If you are training Nogi then know that it is very important for you to wear a bjj rash guard. We all know that bjj is a full contact sport and your bjj rash guard is the layer of protection you have against the mats and your opponent. 

Why? Well, we know that there is extreme risk for you to get rashes and mat burn from the sport. This is due to the high intense friction that can be created from certain positions and movements. You are also prone to getting in contact with your partner. Thus, your bjj rash guard serves as a skin barrier of protection. 

Moreover, even though your gym or facility is extremely clean. You must still prioritize protecting yourself. You have to think about the germs left behind on the mats from previous use. Thus, using a bjj rash guard for Nogi training is essential.

Note: If it is your first time training bjj, or at least new to the gym, try to contact/confirm with them first their requirement for training.

Why do Jiu Jitsu Practitioners Prefer Wearing Long Sleeves?

Commonly, Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners opt to wear long sleeve bjj rash guards compared to short sleeve ones.

Well, the most common reason behind is that a long sleeve bjj rash guard offers full coverage of the arms. Therefore, there is a bigger coverage of protection and compression for the practitioner. 

How To Choose The Ideal BJJ Rash Guard For You

To select the ideal BJJ rash guard, consider factors such as material, fit, design, and compliance with competition regulations.

Make sure the rash guard is specifically designed for BJJ, offering the best blend of durability, flexibility, and comfort. BJJ-specific rash guards have reinforced stitching and are made from the most effective combination of materials like polyester and spandex.

Best BJJ Rash Guard Brands

Although several companies have emerged as leading suppliers of BJJ rash guards, a handful of brands have established outstanding reputations in this domain.

Three notable brands excelling in rash guard design and quality are Elite, Sanabul, Gold BJJ, Phalanx, Tatami, Scramble, and Venum.

Tatami has gained recognition for its collection of exclusive, licensed designs, with collaborations that include artists and iconic franchises like Marvel.

Scramble, a UK-based company, offers BJJ and MMA gear with a distinct aesthetic, inspired by Japanese culture and street art. Aside from their appealing artwork, Scramble rash guards are known for their strong construction and durability, providing ample support for athletes during demanding training sessions.

Venum, a French brand credited with producing premium combat sports gear, offers a selection of rash guards durable enough to withstand the rigors of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They stand out through their striking designs and commitment to balancing functionality with visual appeal.

Best BJJ Rash Guards

Before you start finding the best bjj rash guard that can make your bjj training a great experience, it is highly important for you to check out and compare different brands. 

Aside from the characteristics they have, you would want to find reviews that can help you more. Luckily, you stumbled upon this read because HeavyBJJ have several bjj rash guard recommendations for you. 

Also, we want you to know that these best bjj rash guards are reviewed based on our first hand experience wearing and training with them.

Best All Around BJJ Rash Guards: Xmartial, Nation

Best Affordable Rash GuardsSanabulElite Sports

Best Ranked Rash Guards: Gold BJJFuji

Best Higher End Rash Guards: Nation Athletics, Phalanx

Best Standout Designs: Xmartial, Raven Fightwear

Here are the top 5 brands that definitely earned a thumbs up from us: 

  1. Sanabul
  2. Elite
  3. Hayabusa
  4. Gold
  5. Fuji

Click here to see the full post on our favorite Amazon bjj rash guards that have been proven and tested by us first hand.

What Are Some Loose Fit Rash Guards for BJJ?

If you prefer looser fit rash guards, I recommend rash guards from these brands:

Also I always recommend sizing up if you prefer your rash guards more looser fitting. Rash guards are generally meant to be tighter around your chest, shoulders, and arms so even if you size up it should still stay snug around your upper torso and looser around your waist.

Fuji – Lightweight and Breathable Rash Guard

If you prefer an ultra light rash guard that if very breathable this rash guard from Fuji is our top recommendation.

extermely breathable and lightweightSome reviews mention poor stitching
ibjjf legal
minimal design

Elite Sports

Elite sports bjj rash guard is another one of my favorite rashguards – It was actually the first rashguard I ever bought and I continue to buy them as I move up through the ranks.

affordablevery common
great qualityruns small
reinforced flatlock stitching
rubberband waist liner

Raven Fightwear

Raven rash guard designs are legit.

If you dig nordic or dragon theme rash guards I’m sure you may oven one of these already.

Also if you’re a fan of the elastic waist band, you can rest assured since this rash gaurd does have one as well.


Another decent buy for beginners, this rashguard fits great and is a solid option. This is also one of the more lighweight rash guards that I’ve worn.

excellent fitalso very common
great qualityruns tight around shoulders / loose in stomach

What Are Some of the Best Women’s BJJ Rash Guards?

My wife is pretty picky with her rash guards so here are some of her favorites that she believes are the best women’s rash guards:

  • xmartial (good fit, excellent designs)
  • goldbjj (great quality, simple designs)

Just like rash guards for men, women’s rash guard should serve the same purpose by not getting in the way of training by not riding up or absorbing sweat like a regular t shirt would.

Best Places to Buy Rash Guards Online

Here are some of the top online retailers that specialize in BJJ rash guards, providing excellent selections:

1. BJJHQ does daily deals from single items from rash guards to bags to soaps. If you see an item you want on their daily deal I strongly recommend going for it.

2. One of the most popular online stores for BJJ practitioners, BJJ Warehouse boasts an extensive range of BJJ rash guards from major brands like Tatami, Venum, Scramble, and more. With reliable customer service and frequent sales, it’s an ideal place to look for your next rash guard at a great price.

3. A reputable and well-known source for BJJ gear, RollMore offers a vast selection of premium-quality rash guards from renowned brands. In addition to their wide range of options, they have a unique 60-day, no-questions-asked return policy, assuring you can shop with confidence.

4. MMA Warehouse caters to a broader range of combat sports, but their BJJ rash guard collection does not disappoint. With an assortment of styles and designs from top brands, you’re sure to find a rash guard that fits your taste and requirements. Keep an eye out for their seasonal sales for unbeatable deals.

5. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon offers an enormous range of BJJ rash guards in various styles, sizes, and price points from well-established brands. While Amazon may not be a BJJ-specific retailer, it provides the advantage of convenience with a vast selection and fast shipping, especially for Prime members.

6. Although it may take more time to sift through the listings, eBay can occasionally present exceptional deals on both new and used BJJ rash guards. It is an excellent platform to find unique, limited edition, or even custom-made rash guards you might not find elsewhere. Just make sure to double-check the seller’s reputation before committing to a purchase.

What to Look for in Quality BJJ Rash Guards?

One of the most used gear that you have as a bjj practitioner is your bjj rash guard. This piece of clothing will be used both in Gi and Nogi training every time. Therefore, it is very important to find a quality bjj rash guard that you can use for a long time. 

Of course, comfort will be your priority, but note that aside from the right fit and comfort there are other different factors to look into, to make sure that your gear of choice will last you a long time. 

Although, top quality is what you are looking for in a bjj rash guard, this does not mean that you have to buy the most expensive one. The important thing is for you to know what you should be looking for.

Although, top quality is what you are looking for in a bjj rash guard, this does not mean that you have to buy the most expensive one. The important thing is for you to know what you should be looking for. 

First thing is of course the material used for your bjj rash guard. This will be the main composition of your gear. Therefore, it is important to select a bjj rash guard made from great protective fabric. To add to that, choose those that have been tried and tested when it comes to durability.

Since you will be spending your money on your bjj rash guard, find something that will be with you in your martial arts journey for a long time. Another thing to consider is your body reacts to your bjj rash guard. Since bjj is a full contact sport, expect a lot of heat and sweat. Therefore, selecting a breathable quality rash guard is important.


Ideally, the perfect bjj rash guard fit is that you feel comfortable in it. Therefore, it offers compression on your body but not too tight or too restricting that can limit or restrict your movement. Other than that, it should also not be loose or floppy because this can become a hindrance in how you play your game. If this is the case, there is a possibility of skin exposure which can result in mat burn, bacterial infection, etc. 

Moreover, if you are opting for a long sleeve bjj rash guard, purchase the one that also covers your wrist. Thus, offering full upper body coverage. 


There are many different materials that can be used for a bjj rash guard. This is not limited to being polyester, spandex blend, lycra and neoprene. Although it is recommended to choose a bjj rash guard made 100% from these materials or at least a mix of them, you must still choose something that you are comfortable in.


Since your bjj rash guard will be your long term gear for the sport, you must select a durable one. Aside from the material used for it, you must also take into consideration how it was put together. Typically, a bjj rash guard was stitched together with a flatlock stitch. Therefore, making it extremely ready for the full contact sport. One thing you can do is make sure that you are looking into a reputable brand (this does not expensive, but those with history of great wear and tear based on 1st hand reviews)


Another factor to consider is the breathability of your bjj rash guard. Breathability is extremely important due to many different reasons. We all know that bjj is a full combat sport that requires exertion of effort. Therefore, you must prevent your body from overheating because of the exertion. Your bjj rash guard should be able to help you not to feel too stuffy, and prevent too much sweat.

Related: What Do You Need for Jiu Jitsu? – My Top Items That I’ve Used for Years

Why Are Rash Guards So Expensive? (Are we overpaying for rash guards?)

The price of BJJ rash guards may appear steep, especially when compared to regular sportswear like t-shirts. This is due to several factors that contribute to their production cost and product quality.

The first reason is the specialized material used in rash guards, which typically consists of a blend of polyester, spandex, or Lycra. These fabrics are carefully selected for their durability, flexibility, and moisture-wicking properties, setting them apart from generic sports clothing.

The second factor that influences the cost of rash guards is the manufacturing process. Rash guards are painstakingly crafted to deliver maximum protection, comfort, and performance during BJJ training. This level of detail includes the incorporation of flatlock stitching, which reduces chafing and enhances the garment’s longevity.

Additionally, the process of sublimation – a technique that fuses the design into the fabric itself – ensures that the print will not peel or fade over time, unlike traditional screen printing.

Finally, the relative niche market for BJJ apparel contributes to the elevated price point of rash guards. BJJ is a specialized sport, and the demand for dedicated gear is narrower when compared to mainstream athletic clothing. As a result, the cost of producing high-quality BJJ rash guards is spread across a smaller consumer base, translating into higher individual prices. Despite their cost, investing in superior rash guards can enhance your overall training experience and provide long-lasting value.

How to Wash Your Rash Guard

One of your responsibilities as a bjj practitioner is to make sure that you come into class with a clean uniform. Read on as we provide you with instructions and tips on how you can wash your rash guard. 

  • Read care guide – Of course your bjj rash guard will come with an instruction on how you should be washing them. Therefore, making sure that you read it before doing anything is the best way to go. Each brand and material has its own way of care and by making sure you do these correctly, makes your bjj rash guard last longer. 
  • Turn it inside out – More often than not, your chosen rash guard most likely has your print of choice. Therefore to protect that sublimation, we recommend that you turn it inside out. 
  • Dry on low heat – Although it will depend on the rash guard care instructions, we recommend using low heat. The reason behind this is that you do not want to break the small polyester material used in your bjj rash guard by overheating it. 

Other tips: 

  • If you have a delicate wash bag, then you can use that also for more protection. 
  • You can use fabric conditioner if you like. This all boils down to your preference. Just always make sure you read product labels.
  • Once you get home, make sure to take out you bjj rash guard out from your bag.

Related: How to Wash and Dry Your BJJ Gi (Tips I Wish I Knew When I First Started)

Can you put BJJ rash guards in the dryer?

It is generally not recommended to put BJJ rash guards in the dryer.

However, if the rash guard is pre shrunk and you feel that it comes out cleaner when put in th dryer after washing, you may proceed at your own risk (I actually put some of my rash guards in the dryer since they end up smelling cleaner).

The heat generated by dryers can weaken the fabric’s elasticity and cause it to lose its shape, negatively affecting the overall performance and durability of the rash guard. A safer option is to air dry your rash guard to ensure it retains its original form and fit.

To air dry, gently shake out excess water and lay the rash guard flat on a clean surface, like a towel, or hang it on a drying rack. Keep in mind that direct sunlight may cause colors to fade, so it is best to dry your rash guard in a shaded area with proper air circulation.

IBJJF Rash Guard Competition Regulations

How long does it take to learn jiu jitsu

According to the latest rule book of IBJJ, these are the requirements for Nogi shirt and Rash Guards: Both genders must wear a shirt of elastic material (skin tight) long enough to cover the torso all the way 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. 

For black belt Nogi competitors, one thing to note for black belts is a small red area will be tolerated, but must not decharacterize the athlete’s rank color.

Tip: Make sure that when you are purchasing a bjj rash guard that you will be using for competition is to select one that is IBJJF approved. Typically, you can read that it is approved in the description of the item.

If you are interested in joining a BJJ competition, we have a guide on the different weight classes required for IBJJF and other organizations, just click here.

How to Find the Right BJJ Rash Guard for You

Before you spend your money on your bjj rash guard, make sure you have read reviews or videos about them. But more importantly, you should know what you are looking for.

Research! Before you spend your money on your bjj rash guard, make sure you have read reviews or videos about them. But more importantly, you should know what you are looking for. 

Just like you, reading this article, this can serve as a guide on what you should look for and what brands are highly recommended that have been proven and tested already.

Hope this has been a great and helpful read!

Catch ya next time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Rash Guards So Expensive?

Rash guars are so expensive due to quality of materials used, durability, and features.

While rash guards are quite expensive compared to regular T-shirts and compression shirts, it is recommend to wear rash guards for bjj training due to the benefits they have and comfort they offer.

How Long Do Rash Guards Last?

Depending on use, care, and maintenance, rash guards should last 2-4 years. With consistent washing and care, a rash guard should last quite a while especially compared to T-shirts and compared to how much wear and tear they go through during jiu jitsu training.

Do BJJ Gyms Require You to Wear a Rash Guard?

Some bjj gyms require you to wear a rash guard and some others will require you to wear their specific brand of bjj rash guards too.

If you’re gym doesn’t require these stipulations you may be able to even train in a T-shirt.

My gym which is a 10th planet gym doesn’t require students to wear a rash guard for most of the bjj classes. However, for the advanced classes they require you to were a ranked rash guard that denotes your belt color and rank.

Again, rash guard requires will vary heavily from gym to gym so always check with them directly.

Can You Train BJJ in a T Shirt?

While it is technically possible to train BJJ in a regular t-shirt, doing so is not recommended for several reasons.

1. T-shirts are typically made from cotton, which can absorb and retain sweat, making the shirt heavy, uncomfortable, and prone to the growth of bacteria and odor. This creates an unhygienic training environment and can pose health risks to both yourself and your training partners.

2. T-shirts do not offer the same level of compression as rash guards, which help to reduce muscle fatigue, promote blood flow, and minimize the risk of injury. The compression effect of rash guards is essential for aiding muscle recovery and enhancing overall performance during training sessions.

3. The loose fit of t-shirts can create safety hazards on the mat, as fingers or toes can become entangled in the fabric, potentially leading to injuries. In contrast, BJJ rash guards are specifically designed to fit snugly against the body, thereby reducing the risk of accidental entanglement during grappling.

    As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details.