One of the first things people ask when they arrive in Rio (apart from “Where can I get some açai?”) is where they can buy a kimono. If you’re going to train BJJ intensively while you’re in Brazil, then having at two or three BJJ gis in rotation is a must.
BJJ gis are big and bulky and take up a lot of space in a suitcase, so most travellers arrive here with the expectation they can just pick one (or two, or three) up at a corner store.
Believe it or not, it’s not that easy.
Where to buy them
There aren’t that many places to buy a BJJ gi in Rio. You may see some for sale in a few major sports stores, but they’re almost always ridiculously expensive; almost double the price of what they should be.
There ARE a few smaller fightwear stores tucked away, but they’re hard to find and you’d never stumble across one while walking the streets.
Sometimes it’s possible to buy gis within gyms, and this is a popular method for getting your hands on new training gear. If the gym itself doesn’t sell kimonos, then there is often someone within the club who acts as a sales representative and can get them for you.
How much will I pay?
Kimonos range in price from approx R$220 for an average gi, to R$300 for a good quality gi from a decent brand.
Stores often put a mark-up on gis: major sports stores will often charge as much as R$350 or R$400 for a kimono you could buy from R$100 cheaper elsewhere. Smaller stores don’t hike the prices up so much – maybe only R$20-30 more than you see them for sale on Brazilian websites.
Be advised: BJJ gis in Brazil are made here, and as such are more expensive than the cheaper Pakistani or Chinese-made gis that everyone sells in Europe, North America and the rest of the world. Everyone expects them to be substantially cheaper and the reality is very different.
If you see a cheap gi for sale on an American or European website and you’e thinking of getting it sent over to Brazil, be warned that custom charges can be very expensive, sometimes as much as 100% of the value of the item. We’ve had experience of ordering gis from US sites at low prices and they’ve somehow bypassed being slapped with an import duty, but this is the exception and not the norm.
Stores in Rio
There is a galleria in Copacabana, a building that contains many small shops, that has an unusually high concentration of shops selling BJJ and MMA gear. Located just around the corner from De la Riva’s academy, you’ll find 5 different stores in this 10-floor building each selling different brands. You can buy everything from rashguards and board shorts to old school vale tudo trunks, MMA gloves and gis.
Rua Santa Clara 33,
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
4th floor Survivor
5th floor KF (Kimono Fighter)
5th floor Hunter
8th floor Gracie Sports
11th floor Rip Dorey
Barra da Tijuca
There are a few fightwear stores scattered throughout the many mega malls that make up Barra da Tijuca, though usually they’re supplements stores just looking to cash in on the MMA craze.
Atama have an outlet in a mall called ‘Midtown Shopping’, near to the universally-known Barra Shopping. You will be able to go and try kimonos before you buy, important if you need to double check sizes.
Loja 139, Midtown Shopping Mall,
Avenida das Américas nº 5001,
Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Tel: (21) 2179-6941
Open: Segunda à sexta das 9:00 às 18:00, Sábados das 9:00 à 13:30