Manila Kimonos Review – The Finesse A1
Upon opening the package from Manila’s US distributor, I was impressed. The flower on the black polyester type bag was sublimated well. When I turned the bag over to look at the other sides design, I immediately noticed that it was blurry. Almost as if they used a smaller sized file and blew it up to print. It’s only a bag but you know.
The gi itself looked fantastic, the white with subtle black contrasts was nice. Patchwork and embroidery looked great. Fit was good right out of the bag and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
- Clean design
- Great embroidery
- Good Collar
- Dirt clings easily
- Need 2x detergent to get clean
- One side of bag print is blurry
- 450gsm Pearl Weave Top
- EVA Foam Collar
- Black Lapel Piping
- Black Accents
- Standard Reinforcements
- 10 oz Rip Stop Pants
- 8 Loop Belt System
- Black Bungee Rope
- Standard Reinforcements
The design of the jacket is fairly clean and simple. White jacket, white stitching, blank back, but with two spots of black contrast. The lapel piping and the side split covers. The contrast gives it a certain pop without going with the trend of solid color and contrast stitch that is super popular right now.
There is a patch on the bottom of the lapel, and a sizing patch on the inside of the neck area. Both are tastefully simple designs, nothing too flashy. The embroidery of the Manila logos on each sleeve is remarkable. They’ve softened up quite a bit and were a little stiff at first.
The reinforcements are standard. Ripstop lining on the outside of the bottom of the skirt and inside of the sleeve cuffs. Triple stitched on the sleeves, quadruple stitched on the skirt. Ripstop material triangle reinforcement on the side splits, but no extra material patch on the inside of the armpit.
I often wonder if that little oval piece of fabric actually does anything for reinforcement though. Is it necessary? We’ll have to test that theory out.
The black lapel piping is free floating like the Prana kimonos. Another brand that does this (VHTS) has both sides of their material stitched down but this is very sturdy and doesn’t seem to me coming up anytime soon.
The collar is of medium thickness and is ripstop lined. Ripstop, to me, makes it easier to slide grips off of your lapel. This one is of no exception.
As per the jacket, the ripstop pants have the same design as their counterpart. White material, white stitching but with some black contrast to them. Black stretchy rope, black belt loops, and black side split covers are the contrasts.
The black belt loops are placed close together in pairs of two as you can see in the pictures. I believe it would have been better (maybe cheaper) had they just combined those two pieces of fabric to make one larger belt loop but this would mainly be for aesthetic purposes. They show no signs of out of the norm wear and tear. The material is quite thick and sewn on strong.
There are two patches on the pants. One on the front left thigh, a small rectangle patch that reads Manila Kimonos with their flower logo and one on the right outer thigh. A coffin like shape that is their “Refinement of Basics” logo that appears on the bag as well. This one is not blurry like the bag though.
Reinforcements are standard being the square on the side split, the small triangle in the crotch area, and extra ripstop on the cuffs. Four rows of stitching for the pant cuffs and triple stitched inseam all the way through the gusset area.
The knee pads seem to be an extra doubled over layer of Ripstop and are of “normal” length for knee pads.
Fit & Rolling Performance
The fit of the Finesse is more competition focused. It’s not quite loose but then again it’s not so tight you can’t breathe either. It’s a good in between kimono and seems to be a good daily trainer/competition gi.
The length of the gi is what I really like though. I hate excessively long pants and sleeves that are easily gripped. These go to about my ankle/wrist bone, maybe a little bit higher.
Also with the pants, if you look at the photos you can notice the back sits higher (about two inches) than the front for a more comfortable fit around the hips.
I experienced maybe half an inch of shrinkage on the kimono all around? Not very much at all really, as it’s almost not even worth noting. They even state on their site that it’s pre shrunk material, but then again every company says that.
I was very cool temperature wise when rolling in this gi. It’s light and breathable but has a certain stiffness to it as well. The material is rough on the outside but soft inside. The collar is slick due to the ripstop fabric and I didn’t notice any excessive stretching when soaked with sweat after a hard training session.
My only problem with rolling is this gi is that it seems to pick up dirt a lot faster than other white gi’s. I’m not sure why it does this but alas, it does. When washing the Finesse I also noticed it takes twice as much detergent than others to get clean. Strange but it is a gi, it’s going to get dirty.
The Finesse is a very good lower to mid range priced kimono. It’s very similar to another gi that I’ve reviewed in terms of sizing and design but this one has a little bit extra to it. Also, now that Manila has a US Distributor it will be less shipping than before when you were getting straight from the Philippines.
The only thing that might concern some people is the dirt and detergent issue as noted above. I know it’s a gi and it’s going to get dirty so it doesn’t bother me, but some people want their gi’s to stay spotless.
If you’re in the market to try out a newer company and aren’t looking for a higher priced kimono, make sure the sizing is good for you and check them out. The owner is always quick to respond back with any questions you have.
- Figure out the dirt issue
- Properly sized files for print
Manila Kimonos review