Choosing your dogi
How to Choose the Right Dogi
A luxury dogi from one of the manufacturers here is an investment in yourself and your karate. So choosing the correct dogi is extremely important.
I assume that most customers who are considering these dogi have karate experience, and are looking to replace, upgrade or try another brand of dogi.
If you are a beginner (or child) then I recommend starting off with the beginner dogi on this site and then investing in a more expensive one, once you have decided to continue your training long term.
1. Think about your needs
Think about what the dogi is going to be used for. Purposes include:
- Top level competition i) kata or ii) kumite
Kata specific practice
Kumite specific practice
General purpose for everyday training
Summer training in hot climates
Winter training in cold climates
Dogi can be generally divided by weight:
Good for Kata, instructors, demonstrations, cold conditions, heavy contact training
Good for general purpose everyday training and where comfort and good mobility are required.
Usually beginner suits but also suitable for kumite practice or hot climates
Ideal for fast action kumite and hot conditions.
They can also be divided by material type:
Traditional material used, has advantage of durability, breathability and natural comfort. In my opinion, cooler in summer
The new age material of dogi offer increased comfort, mobility, sweat absorption / diffusion and easier care.
Please note that the material grade or type used may vary between the manufacturers, but please rest assured that the manufacturers all use the highest quality products.
2. Decide which brand
Factors to take into account are:
Recommendation of others
If you are not sure, please read the description for the products and if you cannot decide or need further advice, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
3. Decide the size
The most important point here is to read the size charts carefully. Do not just go by your old dogi size, especially if it is a different manufacturer or cut.
Also bear in mind that if your current dogi size is now too small, the same size will likely meet the same fate sooner or later.
Remember all dogi shrink to some extent (Please see here for dogi care) so you need to take this into account. (100% Cotton dogi shrink more than poly-cotton dogi .) These recommendations are based on you following the manufacturers care instructions.
Here are my usual general recommendations:
For thin (skinny) people
Please choose the size closest to your height. Then look at the size chart and the size down and see if the sleeves and pants are long enough for you on the dogi to allow you to go down to that size.
Please choose either the size closest to your height (above), or half a size bigger, especially for 100% cotton dogi.
For "big-boned","muscular" or "well-fed"
Please choose at least one size bigger though this will depend on how big you are for your height.
(Note: going up sizes will likely mean sleeve and bottoms length adjustments will be needed)
Excessively heavy/large people may need to consider full tailoring.
The safest and most reliable way to choose the size is:
Look at the size chart for the dogi you want and compare the measurements to your current best fitting dogi and decide based on that. You will need to measure your current dogi and decide the best size based on those measurements and how they fit you.
My philosophy is that since it is likely going to shrink, it is always safer to go a bit bigger than smaller as something (adjustments, shrinking) can be done about a bigger dogi, but if it is too small then it will make a set of very expensive dish-cloths.
If you have any doubts, please contact us giving your height in cm and weight in kg as well as your build type (eg muscular, well fed, lanky etc) and we will help you decide the best size.
At kuroobiya we already supply dogi larger than standard sizes made especially for us but If you require a size bigger than those sizes, we will likely be able to get them for you. Please contact us.
NOTE: Mixed sizes are also available for some dogi.
4. Decide if you need adjustments or tailoring
As mentioned above, getting a bigger size is always safer, however as the arms and legs may be too long, I recommend getting them professionally adjusted by the manufacturer. They make a small charge for this (Tokyodo Int. is free) , but it is worth it as they will make the stitching perfectly the same as the original.
How to measure:
Please use a current best fitting dogi that you have and measure from the seam to the tip of the cuff for sleeves and from the top of the waist to the tip of the cuff for bottoms. Then make your adjustments based on that. Please see our "how to measure" chart for guidance. Remember to indicate if you wish for the manufacturer to add for shrinkage ( to be added by manufacturer) or if you have done so yourself (already accounted for).
Full tailoring is available for almost all the dogi and you can see that some are available tailor-made dogi only (though you can request them to be fully tailored to the specifications of a standard size dogi).
Points to consider before getting fully tailor made are the extra cost, the extra time it takes and the possibility of errors from your measurements (though we will work with you to minimize these as best as possible). I usually don't recommend this option to the average karate-ka unless they have a very disproportionately sized body. However, for the elite world level competitor, master or instructor then this will be the best choice.
To get the measurements for a fully tailored dogi please use your current best fitting dogi and make adjustments where you feel necessary to make the best possible fit.
(i.e. Wear the dogi first and try to judge weather you would want a little more here or a little less there and how much. Some words of wisdom though, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"!)
Please use our how to measure guide to help you:
The sizes shown for fully tailored dogi are for pricing and are the "base size" (which refers to the amount of material needed to make your dogi).
In order to determine the "base size" for the tailor-made dogi, please look at the relevant size chart (click the link on the order page) and choose the smallest size in which all your major measurements (A,B,C, G,H) fit into.
Remember to indicate if you wish for ※ the manufacturer to add for shrinkage ( to be added by manufacturer) or if you have done so yourself (already accounted for).
Shrinkage varies considerably between dogi. As a rough guide though, according to the manufacturers:
100% cotton dogi tend to shrink about 2% to 5% (over a period of 2 years) depending on the material. This measurement is given based on the assumption that you do not hot wash or tumble dry (commercial dryers) and only cold wash as instructed.
The poly-cotton blends tend to shrink about 0% to 1.5% (over a period of 2 years) depending on the dogi. This measurement is given based on the assumption that you do not hot wash or tumble dry (commercial dryers) and only cold wash as instructed.
Please see caring for your dogi for further advice. Please note that if you plan to ignore the care instructions with a hot wash or tumble dry, then I recommend getting bigger sizes, especially for heavyweight cotton dogi.
※ When shrinkage is requested to be added by manufacturer, they will add a certain predetermined amount depending on the dogi. They do not calculate it accurately based on the measurements you request or the size.
5. Decide if you want it personalized
Most people who invest in a top of the range dogi tend to have it personalized with their name embroidered on. This goes just above the label on the Jacket and next to the label on the bottoms. Embroidery is available in Alphabet, Katakana and kanji. Please see here for policies.
Not only does this give your dogi a personalized, unique touch, but it looks incredibly good. It also gives it a security feature, should anyone try to claim your dogi!
6. Order your perfect dogi
We want you to receive the perfect dogi and be 100% satisfied, so if you have any doubts or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us before ordering.