Whether you’re just rolling on the mats or getting ready for a competition, owning a pair of spats is essential for anyone training BJJ or MMA. Spats are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that any practitioner can own, they’re great for both grappling and striking martial arts.
“Spats” is a pretty specific term for Jiu Jitsu, but you might more commonly know them as yoga pants, leggings, or even compression pants. All of these terms are synonymous, and you’ll see athletes in any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or MMA gym around the country wearing spats during training.
Just want the best? My number one pick is Gold BJJ Jiu Jitsu Spats.
Guru’s Choice: Best BJJ and MMA Spats
Why do I Need Spats?
There are a few key reasons why you should wear spats during your martial arts training. The obvious one is to avoid mat burns and get some extra comfort, but what many people don’t realize is the benefits of the compression itself.
Compression pants are designed to maximize blood flow to your legs and provide as much oxygen as possible to your muscles. The result of this can be higher performance output and even faster muscle recovery after each training session or competition.
The benefits don’t stop there though, because spats even allow us to have a full range of motion with our legs. As any Jiu-Jitsu athlete will know, there are some Gi pants and grappling shorts that may restrict certain ranges of motion in our legs. This can be detrimental when you’re trying to apply the right submission or transition, but spats help maximize your mobility and allow you to freely move around.
For stand up fighters, wearing a pair of pants or shorts that even restrict a little bit could mean the difference from a kick that stops the fight – or a kick that puts you on the ground.
If that’s still not enough for you, then consider this one small factor. Sweat. Jiu-Jitsu is a full-contact sport which means you and your rolling partner are going to be sweating on each other. Nothing is a substituted for cleaning up after training with a good anti microbial soap, but spats act as a barrier to minimize how much sweat is actually swapped.
If you train mostly in the Gi, wearing spats under your Gi pants will help minimize the wear and tear of your own Gi by eliminating how much of your sweat is rubbed into them. Just like wearing a rashguard under your Gi jacket helps prevent it from getting super sweaty during training, a bottom layer will do the same.
Before we hop on the train of throwing our money at a pair, let’s take a moment to understand what will be the best bang for our buck. There are a few things one should bear in mind like breathability, stretch and company warranty.
Having a pair of spats that can breathe is probably the top consideration on your list. Aside from being an extra physical layer of protection, your spats are meant to help regulate body temperature – not to overheat you.
With the material compressing to your body, this can easily spike your body’s temperature and knock you out of the game quick. Good spats are typically made from a polyester nylon and spandex blend which doesn’t trap all of the heat your body expels. Instead it should allow your body to breathe through the material.
Naturally, you would think stretch is an obviously important factor for any martial arts clothing, but it can be easily overlooked.
Make sure your spats allow enough stretch to help you execute a tricky move that requires a lot of flexibility (think a berimbolo in BJJ, or a head kick in Muay Thai). If the pair of spats you are wearing doesn’t give you enough stretch, you’re going to find it difficult to pull off these techniques.
Look good, feel good. Feel good, fight good. No one wants to own a pair of pants they hate to look at! Just as the sport of BJJ has evolved, so has the apparel and gear for it. The days of wearing boring white and black are over.
Many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA brands are constantly launching new designs of their . It’s important you pick a design you like – if you enjoy putting on your gear, you’re more likely to make a habit of getting out on the mats.
If you’re a competitor, a flashy design can also help you stand out in the BJJ competition circuit. This can be particularly useful if you’re trying to secure a sponsorship or build your brand. Many athletes even emboss their Instagram handles onto their Gis and rashguards.
The Best Spats in 2021
I used the criteria above and thoroughly analyzed all of the top MMA and BJJ spats on the market. These are my recommended picks.
Gold BJJ Jiu Jitsu Spats
– Guru’s Choice –
Designed in the United States' epicenter of Jiu Jitsu (San Diego), Gold BJJ is a top tier brand of Jiu Jitsu equipment. Their spats stand to the true quality that they promise. The branding is nice and clean, and they are priced affordably.
- Unique Design
- Quality build
- Amazing company warranty
- Extremely positive customer reviews
- Only offered in black
Gold BJJ truly did pull through with their Jiu Jitsu spats. They offer not only a company warranty that is hard to compare but a quality product that has been highly rated by those who have purchased them. The design is unique and even offers simple sizing to make the buying process that much easier. The fair pricing and impeccable quality are truly the best bang for your buck.
Hayabusa Geo Spats
- Trusted brand
- Comes in multiple colors
- Company warranty up to 45 days
- There is only one design to choose from
- More costly than most
The Hayabusa Geo’s are a great purchase if you don’t mind the design. With only one design to choose from this can limit your want to purchase if you don’t find them appealing. The company has been in the combat sports equipment industry for a long time and have grown to be a trusted brand.
Sanabul Compression Base
- Spats offer UV protection up to SPF 50
- 4 way stretch design for full mobility
- Offered in multiple colors
- Basic design
- Targeted specifically to men
The biggest difference these spats offer compared to most other is their UV protection. This allows the user to train in both an indoor or outdoor environment. The price is on the lower end compared to its competitors but still has received positive feedback from people who have purchased them.
Elite Sports BJJ Spats
- Comes with an anti-slip band around the ankle sleeve
- Flatlock seams avoid unnecessary rubbing and rashes
- 4-Way stretch fabric
- One of the best BJJ spats in terms of value
- Only offered in one color and one desgin
The Elite Sports BJJ Spats are a great pick if you thoroughly enjoy the design of the pants. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to choose a different color or design, but the fair pricing is a deal you can’t beat.
Senso Roots Compression Spats
- Cool design
- Made of Ice Silk Lycra
- High quality elastic waist band
- Only offered in one color
If you fall in love with the design then these spats could be for you. But, if the color isn’t ideal then you may want to look elsewhere because they are only offered in one color. The emphasis Senso Roots put into improving the moisture-wicking of these spats is impressive with the material they used because whether you’re rolling or sparring, you’re going to be sweating a lot.
Optimal Human Jiu Jitsu Spats
- Use for more than Jiu Jitsu
- Breathable wasitband
- Flatlock seam to prevent rubbing and rashes
- Offered in only one color
- No design
What the spats lose in color and design, they make up for in quality and price. The Optimal Human spats are fairly priced compared to most of its competitors.
Zipravs Men’s Jiu Jitsu Leggings
- Many designs and colors to choose from
- Company has been in business since 2005
- Positive customer feedback
- Branding is specifically targeted for men
- Not much information offered about the quality
The Zipravs leggings offer a handful to choose from many options to choose from. The positive customer reviews have to comfort any hesitation one might have when thinking about purchasing.
DEVOPS Compression Tights
- Does have a pocket
- 2 way breathing
- Multiple colors
- Customer reviews mention sizing complications and may not be thick enough to be worn alone.
The pocket and multiple options for color are truly solid selling points since these are hard to come by in most spats. Once the sizing is picked properly these might be the best spats for the prices that are offered.
Whether you’re new to BJJ and MMA or you’re a seasoned veteran, spats should be one of the first purchases you make after your Gi. Even if they’re only worn under your Gi pants or shorts, spats can bring so many benefits to the table that you won’t find elsewhere. The best part being how versatile they are. You don’t have to be doing Jiu Jitsu or MMA in them, because they’ll help you in all the other activities you do in your day.
My Guru’s Choice is Gold BJJ Jiu Jitsu Spats because of their minimalist design, impeccable quality and company warranty – a true diamond in the rough in the martial arts industry.