This review almost didn't get written. We've received products for review before that were pretty bad, and it just seemed like rather than take up space in the newsletter with a negative review we'd put them on the shelf and hope the manufacture did a better job with the next product. Some people will argue with this philosophy and say that we should do more negative reviews, maybe they are right. We'll have to formulate an official position on this and when we do we'll let you know what it is.
The SFC Pearl Weave went straight to the do not review shelf based on in initial impression that wasn't really fair to the gi. When Shakib from Submission Fight Company heard that we weren't going to review it, he wasn't happy, but asked me to provide him with some constructive feedback about what we would change.
When I went back to the gi to really look at it in detail, it turned out that it wasn't nearly as bad as I first thought. There were a few things that stood out as negatives. The most overwhelming one was the cut of the sleeves.
The sleeves are very long and the cuffs measure 8” across the bottom (unwashed) compared to 6.5” on my Shoyoroll comp 350. When I first took the gi out of the bag and slid it on, they felt like wizard sleeves, and I have to say that this really biased my first impression of the gi. Shakib has told me that they addressed the pattern for the sleeves in newer batches so this might not be an issue with the current models.
The logo and patches we really, really bad. Like so bad. Again, Shakib tells me that the patches have been much improved in the current model.
The fabric of the pants is very soft, and feels and looks more like a heavy duty dockers material than the more canvas like material of standard gi pants. My guess is that they won't be quite as durable, but since I haven't rolled in them long term, I can't say whether or not that's true. On the positive side, they are quite soft.
While we are on the subject, the jacket is also quite soft. This is definitely different from my current favorite gi, a Koral that literally stands up on its own after being washed and hung dry.
A detailed look at the construction shows that the quality of stitching and reinforcement details are actually quite good. The gi is extremely well made.
The pants have doubled fabric from above the knees to the ankles for padding.
The price is super affordable.
Submission Fight Company is targeting this gi at someone who wants a basic affordable gi. It's not intended to be a designer gi or a high end competition gi. While it has some problems out of the bag, the fact that it is priced at under $75 and that Submission Fight Company appears to be taking customer feedback into account as they continue to develop the product mean that you may want to put this on the radar as an inexpensive practice gi.
I'm still undecided, we'll beat it up on the mat for a while and come back with a long term review in a future issue.
- Bill Thomas