A long time ago, the guys at MMAOutlet.com sent me a pair of Kikskin grappling pants to try out and review. After about 2 years of regular use, I figure it’s time to weigh in.

No-gi grappling leggings (AKA spats) are marketed as helping with high/rubber guard by adding friction so you can cling to your opponent better. Honestly, I’ve never really noticed that much of a difference once things get sweaty, but I suppose there is truth to the claim if you measure it against the lengths Eddie Bravo goes to look like a scuba diver when he trains.

The biggest benefit I have enjoyed from wearing the spats is not getting mat burn on my knees and being protected from the little cuts and scratches that come from sparring. I have an old scar in my knee shaped like the front tooth of the white belt that tripped and fell and bit my leg, and while I doubt there is an epidemic of white belt vampirism, protection like these leggings would have prevented it.

Examined for wear and tear, the only noticeable change is that the knees have gotten a little “nubby,” i.e. rough and bumpy. I think I’ve made this worse by wearing the leggings under gi pants and washing them in the same load as my gis. (It could be that I just made the wear more apparent when the white lint got rubbed into the material.) This is minor though, and otherwise they have retained their elasticity and have not faded from washing and they have no tears or runs. High marks here.

People have wondered if they make no-gi training too hot, and the answer is no. Gi pants are much worse if you are worried about overheating. I’ve noticed an opposite effect since the leggings are so quick to dry off and don’t hold any heat, so they can actually become chilly if there’s a breeze (I do train in a warehouse with two bay doors and no A/C.)

Overall, I am happy with the leggings: they do what they are supposed to do and they haven’t fallen apart despite a lot of use. You can’t ask for more than that. The $40 price tag is a little steep for me personally (but I am very stingy) and wish they were closer to $20-30, but to be fair you’re going to be paying $50-70 if you buy Under Armor compression leggings, so all things considered it is a fair price for a specialty sports item that will withstand constant use.

Pros

  • You feel like a ninja.
  • No more mat burn or ingrown hairs on knees.
  • They dry off quickly.

Cons

  • You look like an interpretive dance instructor.
  • You’re paying $40 for tights.

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