I originally bought some spats because I thought they looked cool and everyone else wore them.
But after starting BJJ Equipment, I wanted to understand why they’re useful.
In this BJJ spats guide, I’ll break down multiple details to help you understand their purpose, how to size them, and my top picks based on your preferences and style.
BJJ Spats: Quick Links
- What Are BJJ Spats?
- Why Wear BJJ Spats?
- How Should BJJ Spats Fit?
- Types Of BJJ Spats
- Best BJJ Spats: My Top Picks
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Takeaway Thoughts & Discussion
What Are BJJ Spats?
BJJ spats are men’s leggings built specifically for BJJ.
They’re tight compression pants that you wear underneath your gi pants if you’re training in the gi, and underneath your shorts if you’re training no-gi.
BJJ spats are optional. You don’t need them to train BJJ. However, I’ve found that they make training more comfortable (especially in no-gi).
Essentially, BJJ spats are like thin gloves for your legs. They give them an extra layer of protection. But they’re not cumbersome and they don’t hinder your movement.
Difference Between BJJ Spats & Regular Men’s Tights
Sure, you could buy regular spats (like ones from Underarmor or Nike), and use those as your BJJ spats. There are more similarities than differences.
However, from my experience, spats that aren’t designed for BJJ don’t last very long.
My spats from Under Armor and Gymshark get torn up by BJJ mats. They also seem to absorb more sweat instead of wicking them off my legs like my BJJ spats do.
BJJ spats are usually thicker, have a more maximalist design, and cost more.
You might save some money by investing in spats for runners or gym-goers. Just don’t expect them to last as long as spats built for BJJ.
Even though they are often made of the same materials (88% polyester and 12% elastane), regular spats are about half as thick as BJJ spats.
It’s the thickness and stitching of BJJ spats that enable them to last on the mats.
Why Wear BJJ Spats?
What do spats actually do in BJJ?
In my own training, I’ve noticed 4 primary benefits to wearing BJJ spats.
1. Reduce Chances Of Skin Infections & Mat Burn
In my 4+ years of training BJJ, I’ve never had a skin infection. And I’ve barely had any mat burns. (Knock on wood.)
I credit my “luck” to wearing BJJ spats. I started wearing them for my first class of no-gi jiu-jitsu and never looked back. I used to wear them for yes-gi as well, but I find the Origin Pro Pants are so well-fitted that you don’t need spats.
The logic here is simple: the more of your body that’s covered, the less friction and contact you’ll have with your training partners and the mats.
So, if you wear a long-sleeve rash guard and BJJ spats, hardly any of your skin will come in direct contact with your training partners or the mat.
So if you’re worried about skin infections, mat burn, or having someone else’s sweat on your body, BJJ spats can help prevent all of that.
2. Minimizes Soreness & Aids Recovery
I find that my legs are always less sore after class or the next day when I wear BJJ spats. They keep my legs warm and active throughout an entire training session.
I’ve never had a leg injury while wearing BJJ spats (knock on wood, again). Of course, I do other things to minimize my chance of injury (strength training, flexibility, sauna, etc.), but I’m sure that BJJ spats help at least a bit.
So, if you find that your legs are sore after class, try wearing BJJ spats.
3. Keeps Your Legs Dry
BJJ spats also keep my legs dry when I’m training. The specific spats that I wear are moisture-wicking, so they transfer the sweat from my legs down my spats, onto the mat.
Given how many triangles I throw up on my training partners, I’m sure they’re happy I’m wearing spats that cover my sweaty, hairy hamstring clamping down on their neck. But it’s also comfortable for me not to have a sweaty groin and quads.
If you sweat a lot — and want to spare your training partners your moisture — put on some BJJ spats.
4. Show Off Your Style
Despite preferring minimal BJJ brands and styles, sometimes I want to get a little crazy with my BJJ gear.
BJJ spats are another clothing item for you to show off your unique style. Whether you want a plain pair of black BJJ spats or you want some orange Dragon Ball Z Goku spats, there are endless options for you to mix up your no-gi kit.
I recommend picking up a pair for every day of the week you train. That way, you’ll have a few different styles — and enjoy the benefits of BJJ spats with every training session.
So, if you want to reduce infections and soreness, keep your legs dry, and add some flair to your no-gi attire, BJJ spats are an excellent addition to your gear.
How Should BJJ Spats Fit?
BJJ spats should fit tightly, like a
For choosing the right size, most BJJ spats will be sized similarly to pants: based on your waist size.
For example, I wear a size 32″ pants. That typically means a size Medium pair of BJJ spats, like the ones I have from Gold BJJ:
Follow the size charts, and your spats should fit you perfectly.
Types Of BJJ Spats
There are a few different types of BJJ spats depending on your comfort and style preferences.
1. Full-Length Spats
Full-length spats go all the way down to your ankles. These are your standard-sized spats, and most BJJ spats will come in this length.
This style of spats makes the most sense for most grapplers. I prefer them because they keep my entire leg covered and protected.
There is some variation within this category. Some full-length spats come with an internal drawstring to prevent your spats from coming down when you’re rolling. However, my standard spats don’t come down when I train.
Example: Gold BJJ Spats
2. 3/4 Spats
3/4 spats come down to your mid-calf instead of your ankle. This gives your ankles some breathing room and prevents the spats from “pooling” around your ankles.
Whether you choose full-length spats or 3/4 spats comes down to personal preference. Besides the amount of your leg they cover, there’s nothing different about them.
Example: Sanabul 3/4 BJJ Spats
3. Compression Shorts
Compression shorts are spats that only come down to your knees. They’re shorts that fit like spats.
If you don’t like how the compression feels past your quads, then you’ll prefer compression shorts. Some of them also have room for a cup to keep your buddies protected.
Compression shorts are also easier to wear you need room for your kneepads or knee brace.
I wear a bigger knee brace due to my meniscus tear, and I have no problem fitting it over compression shorts. However, I often can’t fit it underneath many full-length spats.
So, if you wear a bulkier kneepad or knee brace, compression shorts are the way to go.
EXAMPLE: Gold BJJ Compression Shorts
4. Shorts With Compression Liner
Shorts with compression liners have compression shorts built into them. They’re technically not BJJ spats, but they have spats-like qualities.
If you don’t see the point of having to bring two separate items (shorts and BJJ spats), why not combine them into one product? That’s the logic behind shorts with compression liners.
Best BJJ Spats: My Top Picks
Want to invest in BJJ spats? Find my top picks below.
Best Overall BJJ Spats – Gold
These are my favorite BJJ spats and my most-worn pair whenever I’m training no-gi. Pair them with their Fight Shorts and you’ll have the perfect set. These are inexpensive, durable, comfortable, and stylish — everything you want in a pair of spats.
Best Budget BJJ Spats – Sanabul
According to the statistics, these are the most popular BJJ spats on Amazon. I don’t own them, but I’ve heard good things about them on the BJJ subreddit. They’re cheap, minimal, and supposedly quite durable. Give these a look if you’re on a stricter budget.
Best Premium BJJ Spats – RollJunkie
If you’re looking for top-of-the-line BJJ spats, you’ll feel right at home with RollJunkie’s Alpha II BJJ Spats. These ones feel comfier and more durable than most spats I’ve worn. They’ve also got a cool style.
Most Stylish BJJ Spats – Origin
Origin, my go-to premium BJJ brand (especially for their BJJ gis) offers some awesome-looking BJJ spats. I particularly liked their ranked spats, which display your belt rank. Origin doesn’t miss when it comes to their quality or style.
What’s your favorite pair of BJJ spats? Are there any particular spats you’re looking at?
Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking out for the best new BJJ gear.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can You Wear BJJ Spats Underneath Gi Pants?
Yes. When I’m not wearing my Origin Pro Pants, I like wearing spats underneath my gi pants. You can’t see them, but they do help keep your legs warm and less sore.
Should You Wear Shorts Over Your BJJ Spats?
Yes. It’s typically frowned upon for men to wear only BJJ spats to class without wearing shorts over them. However, check with your gym owner for the proper etiquette.
Should You Wear Underwear Underneath Your Spats?
Yes. Spats serve a different purpose than underwear, so wear underwear underneath your BJJ spats.
If you have any other questions about BJJ spats, drop a comment for me below.
Takeaway Thoughts & Discussion
BJJ spats prevent rashes and infections, keep your legs warm, and give you another cool style choice for no-gi jiu-jitsu.
If you’re going to invest in a pair, I recommend investing in BJJ-specific spats because they’re built to withstand the friction of the mats.
Do you wear BJJ spats? Why or why not? And if so, what are your favorite pair?
Leave a comment down below and join the discussion.
And if you have any questions about BJJ spats, I’ll answer you in the comments.
Happy rolling. 🤙
BJJ Equipment, an assistant BJJ instructor at InFighting, and a BJJ blue belt. He's a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for grapplers to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.