What Do You Wear To No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Class? | No-Gi BJJ Checklist

What to wear to no gi BJJ

Perhaps you are considering going to your first no-gi BJJ class and you are not sure what to wear. Maybe you even have some shorts and a shirt that might be acceptable to wear but you are not sure. If so don’t worry we will discuss everything I suggest my students wear to no-gi class.

For No-Gi jiu-jitsu, you will need to wear a BJJ rash guard compression shirt, grappling shorts or spats, and a mouthpiece. Many people also choose to wear spats under their grappling shorts as well.  

We will get into each of the items in more detail but the main thing is that what you wear to no-gi BJJ will help keep you and your training partners safe. For example, your partner might get a finger trapped in a pocket if you are wearing the wrong shorts. This could lead to sprained or even broken fingers and toes.

The best thing to do is to ask your professor what they require you to wear at their academy for no-gi jiu-jitsu. It might vary a bit from school to school. But in this article, I will simply go over what I require my students to wear to no-gi class, as well as a few added suggestions.

Note that some academies expect you to wear rashguards purchased from their academies. But with that in mind, let’s dive deeper into what to wear to no-gi BJJ starting with the rashguard.

What To Wear To No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu

There are several clothing items you need to purchase if you choose to practice no-gi jiu-jitsu. The most important difference between traditional and no-gi BJJ is that you cannot use your opponent’s clothing in any way in no-gi jiu-jitsu.

On the other hand, using your opponent’s gi is a huge part of traditional BJJ. So naturally no-gi jiu-jitsu clothing is tight-fitting and does not have sleeves or collars.

No-Gi Rash Guard

One of the most important things you are going to wear in no-gi BJJ is a rash guard.  A No-Gi BJJ rash guard is a tight-fitting compression shirt that fits very tight to the skin. Very similar to what you might see a surfer wearing.

Historically old school BJJ grapplers didn’t wear rash guards back in the day. Back then if they were not wearing a gi, they were likely training in a speedo with no shirt.

Thankfully, no-gi BJJ clothing has evolved since then. The rashguard is probably the most important item that has changed and is a must-have when training in no-gi jiu-jitsu. I require all my students to wear a rash guard to no-gi class.

Why You Need A Rash Guard In No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu

There are a few purposes for wearing a BJJ rash guard. The first one is pretty self-evident since the name says it all. That is of course to prevent rashes and mat burn. In addition to this, rashguards will also help protect you from other things as well such as ringworm or staph.

Rashguards can also help to keep your rolling partners safe as well. Often if someone is wearing a regular shirt it might make it more likely to spread germs and other diseases.

In addition, when a shirt becomes wet it can become loose and trap people’s fingers and toes when rolling. This in turn can turn into injuries pretty easily and is one of the reasons it is a requirement in my classes.

Rash guards come in a variety of designs and colors. There are honestly a ton of designs to choose from depending on your style. In addition, rashguards come in both long and short-sleeve options.

Though the long sleeves offer more protection, the short sleeves might work better in the warmer months.

No-Gi Grappling Shorts

The next thing you are going to need to wear to no-gi jiu-jitsu is grappling shorts. You can also simply wear spats but more on that later. Or better yet many choose to wear both spats and shorts together.

That said, it is probably a good idea to have multiple pairs of grappling shorts as well. When looking for a good pair of grappling shorts there are a few things you want to make sure of before purchasing. 

The first thing is that the shorts do not have any pockets. This is to ensure the safety of you and your rolling partners. You would not want you or your partner to get a finger or toe trapped in a pocket when rolling.

Also, make sure that there is no metal or hard plastic on the shorts as well. They should be made from slightly stretchy polyester material. If they are marketed as no-gi grappling shorts then it should not be a problem but it is good to double-check. 

Grappling shorts come in a variety of designs to choose from. Make sure that they are also velcro and will fit tightly enough to not fall off when rolling. You do not want to be wearing shorts with a zipper.

Grappling shorts without pockets or spats ( or perhaps gi pants ) are also required in my classes and will likely be required at your academy as well.

Can You Wear Gi Pants To No-Gi BJJ?

Another option some people choose to do is wear the gi bottoms to no-gi BJJ. Though maybe there is a chance your academy won’t like this, most schools are ok with people wearing gi pants to no-gi BJJ.

I do however think it is more comfortable and better to wear shorts or spats rather than gi pants in no-gi jiu-jitsu. Gi pants will make it harder to slip out of submissions by adding friction. This can be a major problem, especially with leg locks.

So even though many people wear gi pants and your academy likely allows it, I think it is safer and better to opt for more traditional no-gi clothing such as shorts or spats.

In addition, people will naturally grab onto your gi pants in no-gi BJJ even though they are not supposed to. It might just be an accidental reaction but it still happens all the time. 

That being said, it is more than likely ok to wear gi pants to no-gi class if you are in a pinch and it is your only option. But I would always choose shorts or spats over gi pants in no-gi jiu-jitsu. 

No-Gi BJJ Spats

Another option to wear in no-gi jiu-jitsu instead of shorts or under your shorts is jiu-jitsu spats. Spats are tight-fitting compression pants that offer some of the same benefits as rashguards.

Though both men and women wear spats, they are typically the preferred bottoms for women in no-gi jiu-jitsu. 

Some people choose to wear spats under thier grappling shorts for extra protection. The more skin you can cover the better protected you are from ringworm or staph. 

Today you can find no-gi BJJ spats in all different colors and designs. So perhaps you can simply get some plain black spats or maybe some awesome tiger-striped spats instead.

Either way, BJJ spats will help protect you from rashes, mat burns, and many other things as well. I would suggest that you invest in at least a few pairs of spats for no-gi BJJ.


Another must-have for no-gi grappling is a mouthguard. A good mouthguard will help you to protect your teeth when grappling. So it goes without saying that you will need one for no-gi BJJ if you want to keep your teeth protected.

In addition, mouthguards also help to protect your lips, your gums, and your tongue from injury. A mouthguard will also help aid in protecting your jaw as well.

The extra cushion between your teeth adds an extra protective layer to your jaw. My personal favorite is the Sisu Aero mouthguard because it works well but is very lightweight. 

Wearing a mouthguard is extra important when competing or when live rolling in class.

BJJ Headgear ( Optional )

Another thing you might consider purchasing is BJJ headgear. Though most people will choose not to use headgear, it is something you might consider.

Headgear will help protect you from getting cauliflower ear. Some people might like this look but cauliflower ear can have negative health consequences.

So if you want to avoid it then you might consider getting some BJJ headgear. My favorite headgear for rolling is the Ultra Soft Matman Headgear.

Unlike some headgear, it has padding and makes rolling better for you and your rolling partner. Do not get wrestling headgear with hard plastic that can cause damage to your rolling partners. 


Though you will not be wearing sandals on the mats, it is best to come to no-gi class wearing them. This will make it easier to come on and off the mats while keeping your feet and the mats clean.

No-Gi Clothing Checklist

When it comes to no-gi jiu-jitsu there are a few items of clothing I would recommend that you invest in.

The items you definitely will need are BJJ rashguards, grappling shorts or spats, a mouthguard, and possibly some headgear. Eventually, it would be wise to collect multiple pairs of each item but you don’t need to do that from the start.

Instead, buy at least a few pairs of each if you can. Of course, if you are only going to go to one no-gi class a week then one pair of each should be fine at first.

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