4.08.2010

REVIEW: STORM KIMONO


INFO:
BRAND: Storm Kimon Review
SIZE: A3
COLOR: black
WEAVE: pearl
PRICE: $159 USD
RETAIL CONTACT & SPONSORSHIP: info@stormkimonos.com

FIRST IMPRESSION:                                                                
Out of the bag, the first thing I noticed about the gi is it’s got a nice weight to it which is especially nice since I am partial to heavier gis. Not that it’s anything like a double weave but with the surge in popularity of summer/light-weight gis, this was nice to see. The weave is a pearl as far as I can tell and the construction is solid. Upon further inspection, there were no loose threads or unfinished parts as it’s all lined with a sturdy twill cotton. The other details of the gi will be elaborated later on. Overall very impressed with the construction and am confident it will survivce a good beating on the mats.

from official site:
The Typhoon is available in traditional colors : black, blue and white. The Typhoon is constructed of pre-shrunk light weight 100% cotton fabric – what is commonly call “single weave”. The jacket is designed with a single piece of fabric. The suit has been treated with a softening agent for ultra comfort, and features triple reinforced stitching for durability combined with antimicrobial treatment to avoid transmission of fungal diseases such as ringworm that is becoming a regular occurrence at any dojo.

The pants are constructed of 100% cotton twill with reinforced knee padding for ultra comfort that won’t obstruct physical movement. The pant drawstring is fed through one inch oversized loops that are ultra tough to prevent tearing from the main body of the pant – as it often happens. An additional feature is a small pocket inside the pants for holding a mouth guard prior to sparring or competition.

The combination of these elements results in the most comfortable, anatomically correct gi available on the market. In addition to these features all the Typhoon branded logos are embroidered in super high definition for a professional competition ready look. This uniform has both reinforced cuffs on both jacket & pant.

FIT:
I always try on the gi before washing to see how much I will have to shrink it down. My body type can fit either A2 or A3 depending on the brand as I like my pants and sleeves to be a tad short. Within IBJJF regulations but certainly no more than needed. So, before washing, the gi leaves plenty of room and covers very well over the chest which is another plus for me. I will say that the gi would be a perfect fit for a broader/thick chested person because of this but that’s not the say a slim person would like this. I make this a point since brands like Keiko tend to open up so easily and that’s something I’m not into. As for the sleeve and pant lengths, I would need to burn the gi in dryer quite a bit to get it to my liking.

After several washes the gi surprisingly didn’t shrink as much as I thought it would so the weave must already be pretty tight or have been pre-washed. Wasn’t sure of this detail so after a few weeks, the sleeves and pant lengths came in at just an inch or so. The gi top I can live with but the pants will need to be hemmed but that’s not hard to do in Bangkok. Still leaving plenty of room in the shoulders, the shrinkage didn’t hinder my arm movement at all.

The collar is especially thick and strong and of course with the sturdiness there was no warping or shortening. I would liken this detail to a Gamness collar in its width and hardness but not as thick as an HCK.

I had a hard time comparing the gi’s cut to other brands. It’s most def a BJJ cut gi but if I were to compare it to any of the brands that I have previously owned, I would say it most resembled my KF gi since this offers a certain roominess of a Judo gi but without the excess  material in length nor would I consider it baggy. But unlike the KF, this is a single-cut gi where there is no back-seam.

MATERIAL:
My best guess for the fabric is a pearl weave given how comfortable the gi is but with a decent weight. Heavier than my gold-weaves but really soft. A number of my gis turn to cardboard after a wash but not this one. I don’t have much experience with black gis but I know how much the color can fade with my blues gis but this one has held up pretty well. I machine wash and dry so the cleaning ain’t delicate.

I will also note the black dye doesn’t rub like I’ve seen with other black gis. I did wear this once in training without washing to see how it would fair in that respect.

While it’s a comfortable gi for sure with no restriction in movement, the pants are made of a thick cotton twill which all together makes for a  warmer gi to train in which can be an issue here in Thailand. These days I wear a rashguard and rashguard tights but even without, I break a good sweat quickly with this one.

Contrasting the black, the trim and inner lining is in red which gives it a nice look. So the interior of the cuffs and hem are in red and same material quality as the pants.

DETAILS:
The patchwork is of high quality with each logo being embroidered into the gi. The weaving is very tight and I don’t forsee this coming undone for some time. There are three large ‘storm’ logos over the chest, arm and pant. Some brands may iron on an embroidered piece with stitching but no short cuts here for sure. Another nice detail in the branding is the rubber label at the tail end of the collar. A red lighting bolt on a black rectangle. While it doesn serve any functional purpose, the label is just one of those details that sets itself apart from the rest.

A great functional detail, especially for those who train with mouthguards, is a small pocket at the inner-pant-waist. I’m sure you can put any variety of things in here but it looks to me to fit prefectly a mouth-piece or perhaps your ID if you’re competing at a large IBJJF event where it’s required upon entering the mat. A simply addition that adds to the overall value.

Another point of interest is the padded knees. Now I’m not sure if there is anything more than reinforced material added but it has definitely promoted an added comfort when fighting at the knees.

TRAINING:
So on to the training. I’ve been training with this particular gi for the past couple of months, mostly in Bangkok with no problems besides the length of the pants. I have to roll the waist once after tying but no problems otherwise. The gi is warmer than most that I have in rotation these days but given how strong the construction is and the quality of the fabric, I feel far more comfortable in this gi than similarly priced but lesser quality summer gi. I’m getting old and these days I prefer to be hot/sweaty than cool too soon, hahaha.

While the body is kept covered, the collar does tend to hood up just a bit since the collar is a stiff. In some instances this may allow for an easier grip when standing but it can also depend on how you play and what you’re grip-game is like. Overall I don’t see this as negative but just something I noticed. On the flip side, because the gi does cover the body well, it’s a bit harder to pull the gi open with the belt on for lapel-chokes.

With the embroidery over the chest being of such nice quality and tough, it does slightly effect the ability to grab the lapel without having to fight the stitching. Perhaps this will relax over time.

THE LOOK:
Personally, I’m not a fan of embellishments or heavy branding but that’s just me. Not to say the folks at Storm Kimonos haven’t done an excellent job but I much prefer the more suttle details they’ve included on the trim and inner reinforcements of the gi. Even if I were to do away with the chest and pant embroidery, I’d def keep the rubber label since it’s something you don’t see from other gis. More and more, people are looking for these little details or functional additions that give the buyer greater value, performance and comfort.

CONCLUSION:
The quality in construction and detailing makes this an excellent buy for the discerning BJJ practitioner. The cut/fit allows for a variety of body types with no hinderance in movement both in the top and pants. It’s sturdy while exceptionally comfortable and soft. While I prefer a plainer looking gi, it offers all the bells and whistles people have come to expect from brands such as Lucky Gis while still offering at a reasonable price. 

***note: I will adding photos and specs shortly to complete the review.  

RENZO GRACIE WILL BE SPORTING THE STORM KIMONO IN HIS ENTRANCE AT UFC 112 THIS COMING SATURDAY (APRIL 10, 2010)!!!!

2 comments:

Albert said...

I'd definitely get one if it was possible to buy without the big "STORM" logos, especially on the gi top. But I'm told they only come like this.

I wish they'd went for the understated route (like a gameness pearl weave), because the lightning bolt motif on its own would be really sweet, especially that rubber one.

Silvio looks really sharp rocking that gi though.

STORM KIMONOS said...

For info, we have a new design coming up in a few weeks which is more quiet, you will like it.