Grips Athletics is a company that for me…came out of nowhere with their Grips Secret Weapon 2.0 kimono. I was browsing the interwebs a few months back and just happened to see them. Had no idea about them but saw their gi’s and thought they looked pretty awesome. Subtle on the outside but some amazing art on the inside. The stay coolmax technology also intrigued me quite a bit.
COOLMAX® , an innovative padding design, reinforced for high-impact protection. Shoulder blade and knee padding prevents injury for key placement areas during martial performance. GRIPS™
Lets move on to the Grips Secret Weapon Review
When opening the box the kimono came in I saw it was packaged in this nice little zip up package. It’s a nice addition instead of the usual gi bag or clear plastic packaging.
***update*** I used the bag one time and the zipper broke off completely sealing the bag shut. I had to open it like I was opening a bag of chips. No bueno.
“In the new production, the bags have been fixed and we are also making a bag that’s functional and not just for display purposes.” – Tom Atencio
The kimono itself was pretty awing after pulling it out of the zipper package. The artwork and embroidery on the gi was very well done.
These tags were on the jacket explaining the design and technology of the coolmax feature
- 100% 520 GSM Pearlweave Cotton
- Antimicrobial, Anti Odor treatment
- Steamed and Pre-washed
- Shoulder Blade Padding with COOLMAX®
- EVA Foam Collar
- Black Contrast stitching
The jacket seems to be made very well with no loose threads or weave. It feels rather light and the artwork on the inside of the gi is pretty awesome and even though people won’t see it, it does add a nice aesthetic to the kimono. I don’t expect to have any troubles with the quality of the jacket and look forward to seeing how the shoulder padding works with the coolmax technology.
Here is an interesting detail, on the outside cut of the jacket along the side split. Here is a Quote from Tom Atencio, Director of Marketing with the North America operations, explaining why the jacket is like that.
This is the first tailored gi! It’s more of a slim fit gi, NOT your traditional boxy cut gi.
For me it’s not that tailored, it’s rather loose in the upper back/shoulder area and the jacket opens up wide.
The taping that is all around the gi inside and out is a soft woven taping and is not scratchy like most tapings. Even the edges are very soft and that is unusual for taping on kimonos. The small tag on the back of the collar has scratchy edges but that’s on the back of the collar where you would never feel it anyway.
- White 250g, 8.8185 oz Ripstop Poly Cotton -65% Polyester / 35% Cotton Ripstop
- (Pants Lace) Grips High Definition Woven Foam Lace
- Antimicrobial, Anti Odor treatment
- Steamed and Pre-washed
- Knee Padding with COOLMAX®
Even though there was one thread coming out of the knee padding, the pants are put together well. With the added padding of the pants next to the ripstop, which seems to be a good feature, I’m a little worried at the durability of it. Where as it is thicker than ripstop, normally when a gi has contrasting materials like this it usually rips at the seams where they join together due to the different weights.
The extra padding is nice but we’ll see how it progresses over time. The rope is something that I haven’t seen before, and by the looks of it are pretty promising as far as not busting loose like most chords do.
How Does it fit
It says that this gi is the first tailored gi of it’s kind but I don’t really find it that tailored at all.It’s a decent fit, although I wouldn’t call it tailored for me.
The pants are looser than usual but it adds for extra mobility. No real stiffness and the material is pretty soft. The pants do fit like dress pants so if they mean tailored like that then I guess that’s tailored.
Like I said above, the jacket is rather loose in the shoulders and upper back area which leaves a lot for my opponent to grab. The jacket opens up pretty wide as well.
I have become sort of a stickler for pants and the fit of a gi here lately. I guess you could say I’m a gi snob.
I couldn’t really tell the difference in the cool max technology with the jacket. Also, I don’t know what it was about the jacket but I could not break sleeve grips for the life of me. Even when drilling spider guard breaks it was more of a challenge to break the grips. The collar on the other hand slid off nicely.
The Jacket didn’t come open anymore than any other gi would so there’s no complaint there.
I did notice the pants were cooler but it could be because they were wider in the legs. I’m not exactly sure how the coolmax technology came into play. The pants are also super light feeling. On the contrary though, they were so light that when someone got a hold of them I couldn’t break the grips on them either.
This was an every roll/drill situation so I can’t chalk it up to I was having a bad roll that day. I normally have no problems breaking grips but there is just something about this gi I am having problems with.
I’ve used the gi twice a day three times a week just for clarification. After the first three weeks I used it in a normal rotation and I have had the gi for 57 days at the time of this review being published.
The Secret Weapon 2.0 has a unique feature in the coolmax technology that no one else has done to my knowledge. GRIPS has explained how the technology works but I haven’t really experienced it. The extra packaging is also a nice feature and is definitely a “Luxury” type of add on that most people will enjoy. Unfortunately for me the bag’s zipper broke and I can’t really use it anymore so it’s not really that much of an extra feature for me.
Mr. Atencio, the marketing man in the US for GRIPS has offered to send me a replacement bag for my defective bag and has answered any and all questions in a timely manner when I have asked them. Great customer service on his part and is duly noted as highly satisfactory.
As for the gi, the artwork speaks for itself honestly. It definitely stands out among most kimonos and gets people asking who makes it. Almost “upscale” you could say. It is sublimated very well and I know it won’t peel or crack off for the life of the gi. The embroidery is also top notch on the kimono.
The bad part in my opinion, is that the Grips Secret Weapon 2.o is on the higher end of the kimono buying scale (no matter which color you purchase). It’s priced at $188.95 from budovideos and when you factor in shipping as well, it’s at the $200 mark. That is a pretty high price for a brand that hasn’t established itself in the kimono market yet. Most companies are selling their kimonos from $130-$170 so it’s not that much more expensive when you add in shipping to the other companies but it definitely is more.
They do offer a basic gi as well with a price of $109.95. That model is called the Primero and you can find it on budovideos.
Don’t get me wrong, while I feel that the gi is a nice luxury kimono and has some great extra features, I’m not sure if it warrants that high of a price. The gi itself is made well and has a great design to it, but the cost of the gi is the main factor for me (and most others) when deciding to purchase a kimono.
I think if they threw out the bag that would help the price a little bit but that would change what they’re trying to accomplish at the same time in striving for a luxurious and fashionable kimono. If the Primero has the same quality as this gi, minus the artwork, it would be a steal and I would highly suggest you grab it.
In the near future training with this gi I could very well change my mind about the cost. Only time will see and I will definitely let you know about the durability of the gi and how it’s holding up with the follow up review.
There is our Grips Secret Weapon Review.