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When buying fight gear, it’s hard to find the good stuff. Here’s a quick guide to ethically made combat sports attire.

Training is hard. It breaks your bones, strains your tendons, gives you concussions, makes your ears look all crunchy and weird, and it requires specialized, expensive gear to do it right. Some of this stuff takes a whole skill set to even put on. My first year of boxing was spent trying to figure out how to keep my hand wraps from wadding up in my gloves. The first YouTube video I looked up in jiujitsu was on how to tie my belt (Rener Gracie has an expert video on how to do this). I still don’t fully understand finger tape. It’s hard enough to get dressed, let alone think about where this stuff is made. This is why I was surprised when I found out that some of my favorite brands of MMA and jiujitsu gear used less than ethical methods in their manufacturing.

Most jiujitsu gis come from China or Pakistan, which means they’re not governed by laws that will stop sweatshops and slave labor. Same goes for boxing and kickboxing gear. Some of my favorite Muay Thai brands, I recently found, utilize slave labor in their production.

I need to add a disclaimer before I go any further. Yes, I’m writing this on a MacBook. I don’t exhaustively research every purchase I make, and I don’t want to come across like someone who judges others for not doing homework before they buy things. I try to make somewhat informed decisions about what I buy and from where. If I have a choice between the slave labor product and the ethically made product, I tend to shop for the ethically made product. Here are a few brands that hit the mark for ethics in fight gear.

This is going to be your gold standard for durable and ethically sourced jiu jitsu gear. By the time I’ve had my first cup of coffee, Jocko Willink (co-owner of Origin) has already gotten a workout in, rolled ten rounds, saved the American middle class, and broken John Dudley’s neck. The fabric for their gi’s and rash guards are sourced in America and manufactured by hand. Not only can you feel good about supporting a company that takes care of its workers, but they are exceptionally made and very durable. The first gi I bought from them still looks like it was unwrapped yesterday and every compression short, set of spats, and rash guard I’ve owned has never frayed a stitch. They also make other clothing like jeans, boots, and camo hunting gear. If they made 16oz gloves, mouthguards, and hand wraps, I’d get everything from them.

Prolast Boxing
This company has a variety of boxing equipment, from cheap gloves to entire boxing rings. They have moderate to luxury priced gloves, bags, and protective gear. You can buy or rent any kind of fight ring you want from this company. For almost $12,000 they will build you a boxing ring. They have $100 Muay Thai bags and $450 luxury boxing gloves, everything manufactured in the USA. If you want a 30’X30’ octagon cage, they’ve got it.

Vanguard Kimonos
Currently, Vanguard Kimonos is the only other company that makes gi’s in the US. They have something called a “Selvedge Denim Jiu Jitsu Kimono.” It’s the Canadian tuxedo of American made Japanese fight wear. Their regular kimonos look sleek and well made. They have a narrow selection of clothing in stock, but what is there looks very nice. For what it’s worth, I’ll be looking towards this brand next time I need to buy a gi.

Nazo Boxing
This is an LA based company that boasts brand sponsorships with Ronda Rousey, Gennady Golovkin, and Floyd Mayweather. All of their equipment is made in the USA and strictly made for boxing. They boast some pretty expensive but well made gear, and have a brick and mortar store in Sherman Oaks, California.

This is just a short list of companies to check out when trying to make informed purchases when it comes to fight gear, in no means meant to be comprehensive. Hopefully this gives a little opportunity for choice when it comes to fight gear.

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