Ronin Brand NYC 5 Boroughs Gi
Ronin Brand is a brand that is based out of Brooklyn, New York and is also one that is known for having great quality kimonos and have been pumping out some amazing designs in the past year or two as well. (You can see their full line of kimonos HERE)
Ronin has teamed up with NYC based artist John Smalls to re-design their logo and provide artwork for this release titled NYC 5 Boroughs, and has graciously agreed to let us review their white one.
One thing I would like to start off by saying is Doug, the owner of Ronin Brand, told me first hand that the kimono I was receiving was one that customs had opened and “inspected” when they cracked open his container at the port. Most companies would inspect the gi they are sending me to make sure nothing was wrong with it, but Doug on the other hand is so confident in his product and customer service that he would rather send me one blindly like this.
This was a limited edition kimono and Doug said he wont’ be bringing it back, so you can purchase what is left of the 5 Boroughs or any Ronin Brand kimono at Kinji San.com, Fightersmarket.com, & GrapplersDelight.com (UK). (all of those are NON REFERRAL LINKS)
- 425gsm Pre-washed Crystal weave (Lightest produced pearl/crystal weave on the market)
- Thick EVA foam collar
- Blue contrast stitching and accents
- 5 borough’s artwork by John Smalls screen printed on the inside
- New Embroidered Logo
- 10oz. 100% cotton
- 6 belt loop System
- Stretchy Rope
- Blue Contrast and accents
- Woven patch
The 5 Boroughs jacket is white with blue contrasts and one that was made very well and has some great artistic design to it having commissioned John Smalls to redesign the logo and add artwork to the inside of the jacket, it really sets the pace for the kimono.
The 425 pre-washed crystal weave is soft and feels very durable. According to Ronin, this is the lightest produced pearl/crystal weave on the market at this time.
The embroidered logos on the shoulders were done fantastically and have no missed spots or hiccups in the threads. There is also an embroidered “5 Boroughs” text on the lower left lapel of the jacket.
The collar is super slick and thick at the same time. There are some wonky stitches though, as some threads are doubled over in places and makes it look messy.
The cuffs and bottom of the skirt are triple stitched and have a thick material for reinforcement on them. The jacket cuffs feel very sturdy and hard to grip
Initially the jacket looked dirty on the outside but that was the screen printed map on the inside showing through with the light.
The 5 boroughs map was done very well but the screen printing looked a little off on the inside of the left lapel letters, but after seeing the initial design for the jacket though I realized that was just how it was created by John Smalls.
There was some bleeding over from the screen printing but it went away after a few washes.
The pants on this kimono are thick but not thick at the same time if that makes sense. Even though they are made from 10 oz cotton they feel heavier than that. The blue contrast on white material really stands out and makes the pants pop. There are three places of design to the pants. A brand logo patch on the right quad area, a five boroughs patch on the left thigh and one piece of embroidery, a “5 Boroughs” text on the left ankle. Subtlety is key here.
The 5 boroughs pants are featuring 6 rows of stitching on the pant cuffs, but the cuffs feel flimsier than the jacket cuffs even though they have the same design to them (except the jacket cuffs don’t have 6 rows of stitching), knee pads with an extra layer of material (knee pads stop 7.5 inches away from the bottom of the pants) and six belt loops to help keep your pants up.
There are a few strands of doubled over stitching on the knee pads and cuff stitching that is the same on the lapel. I don’t doubt that the quality is good on the stitching, but it does give it a messy look. I’ve been seeing a lot of this from Pakistan here lately, I don’t know what’s going on over there but somethings amiss.
There was one small spot on the inside of the pants where the material wasn’t folded over properly but I don’t think it will effect the pants structurally. You can see that in the pictures above
I would like to add that the navy version of this kimono comes with rip stop pants instead of the normal cotton.
Fit & Rolling Performance
In a day where a lot of kimonos are very slim fitting everywhere, Ronin Brand has decided to not go that route with their 5 boroughs gi. It’s a looser fitting kimono and while it does fit me, I think it would be more suited for someone with a bit more muscle than I have. I’m not saying it’s a bad fit at all as I do like it, it’s a good change from a lot of the “form fitting” kimonos I’m used to if that makes sense.
Rolling in this kimono is spectacular minus one thing. Due to the light weight crystal weave, the sleeves do stretch out a couple of inches. Other than that though the kimono delivers a nice roll. The collar is a beast and rips grips off like a mofo and the gi is very comfortable to wear while rolling.
Due to it’s roomier construction, it breathes well and isn’t overly hot. The screen printed map on the inside DOES NOT stick to your skin which was a big concern of mine when the kimono first arrived.
Overall, I really like rolling in this gi even though the sleeves stretch a bit more than I like.
I gave this kimono to a training partner to test out, and he loves it. He’s built more top heavy so it fits him perfectly and he uses it about three days a week as well. It’s holding up extremely well. It’s been about two to three more weeks since I’ve written this review and he’s been using it.
The Ronin Brand NYC 5 Boroughs Gi is a kimono that is super competitively priced at $139.99 for white or $149.99 for the navy blue/royal blue color. Even though there were some cosmetic issues with the kimono, I still feel that the quality of the rest of the kimono is well worth the price. It was made extremely well and the construction is on par with any other top company and to last quite a while.
The design of the 5 boroughs is something you really need to see in person to truly appreciate though. While it looks good in pictures, online, and everywhere else you see it….when you actually look at it up close and in the flesh you get to see how well the design really is. Ronin Brand wanted to pay homage to the legend of NYC and in my opinion, did it very tastefully.
You won’t go wrong with a NYC 5 Boroughs Gi from Ronin Brand, the price is good, the quality is good, and the design is excellent. Go check them out, if the 5 Boroughs isn’t your thing then they have a few other models that might fit your taste more.
On a separate matter, The Ronin Brand Black Legacy gi is out, you can see that below…
Ronin Brand, in my opinion, is a company that goes the extra mile to ensure that every customer is happy no matter what. Doug Lee, the owner of Ronin Brand is always quick when responding to messages and is always willing to talk shop whether it be gear, the art we all enjoy, or just a history on his company Kinji San Martial Arts Store which has been in business and the same location since 1976. You won’t find a store owner as rooted in the Martial Arts culture than Mr. Lee.
Ronin Brand NYC