Shoyoroll Black Star Gi Review
The Gi – Picking One Up
These gis were released back in 2009 as batch #4 from Shoyoroll. They are no longer available to buy through any vendor. The only way to pick one up now is to find one on an auction website such as eBay or if you know someone with one than you could bug them to sell it to you. Chances are, however, that they will not want to sell it, but it is worth a try. When these gis were released, they were set at retail for $164.95 (BudoVideos) and only 200 were made available (of each size I believe) in the U.S. I had seen this gi and knew it was one that I wanted. I attempted to pick one up several times on eBay but my efforts proved futile. Then, finally, I was able to get on through an auction and for a reasonable price. Every time I have seen one on eBay, if it is in any kind of good shape, then it generally goes for somewhere on the lines of $300 + and I ended up getting mine for just over $200. Now, if you can find one on eBay or some other auction website, don’t be surprised if it is in the $250 – $350 range.
I mentioned this when I did my last Shoyoroll Golden State Gi Review, and that the best way to get a Shoyoroll gi is when they go on pre-sale. Once you get your purchase, now it is a simple waiting game. However, for this gi, this no longer holds true because they were released close to two years ago.
The Gi – Jacket
The specifications that Shoyoroll released on the gi are given as:
- Light Pearl Weave Fabric
- Contrasting Color Stitching and Taping
- Ripstop Cotton Pants: Guesseted w/ gi material.
- Rope drawstring w/ extra loops
- Pearl weave knee pads
- One piece jacket with no back seam
- Heavy reinforced seams
- Tailored fit
The gi jacket is, much like other Shoyorolls, very light. It is made from their signature light pearl weave fabric. Because of this, the gi is also extremely durable and strong. Unlike some of the newer, and perhaps lighter models, the sleeves on this gi do not stretch hardly at all when they are sweaty and have been pulled on. Everything is triple stitched and therefore extra strong. The jacket is also one piece and therefore has no back seam.
As for the aesthetics of the gi jacket, this gi is by far one of the sharpest looking gis out there. The black with red contrasting stitching is an excellent contrast. Also, as with most of the Shoyorolls, the patches that are on the gi are in great positions and there are not too many or too few of them. Shoyoroll does a great job of not over patching their gis. Also, the griffin logo as well as the “IN GUARD WE TRUST” patch are great add ons to the gi. A few more pictures of the gi jacket are shown below.
Overall the gi jacket is one of the best that I have ever owned. It is both strong and comfortable. The fit is perfect and it is completely competition legal. Not only is the gi jacket extremely comfortable and durable, but it is also one of the best looking gis that has ever been produced. I give the gi top a 5 out of 5 stars.
The Gi – Pants
The pants are on the heavier side of the pants spectrum. They have all of the standard features that you can expect from Shoyoroll. There is a six belt loop system as well as a stretchy rope draw string. Also, the knee pads are reinforced with pearl weave material and they also have a pearl weave guesset. All of the stitching on the pants are triple stitched and therefore very strong and durable. Upon putting these pants on, the first thing you will notice is how big the knee pads are. On these pants, the knee pad take up the majority of the leg. This makes the pants extra strong as the entire knee pad is pearl weave reinforced. However, this is also what makes the pants on the heavier side of the spectrum.
As for the aesthetics of the pants, again, Shoyoroll did an outstanding job. The contrasting black, red, and yellow just “pop” so to speak. There are a few patches on the pants as well. One embroidered logo on the upper thigh is a “Black Star” logo, much like on the jacket. Then there is the griffin patch on the bottom left pant leg and a small Shoyoroll logo on the right pant leg. These pants are very stylish much like the rest of the gi. Also, the bottom of the pants also has the multicolored lining on the inside like the sleeves. There is also an ID pocket on the inside of the right pant leg. The ID pocket is a great idea, however this placement just seems hard to get to when the pants are tied. The only other major downfall of the pants, and the whole gi for that matter, is the rope drawstring. The drawstring on these gis has been known to come apart quite a bit. It is not an overly large deal, as the drawstring still works and serves its purpose, but it would be nice to have a clean and intact drawstring. I have seen where others have just replaced it, which is also always an option. A few pictures showing the qualities discussed are shown below.
Overall the pants are still some of the best pants out there. They are incredibly durable and strong as well as very aesthetically pleasing. They have all the qualities that have been made standard with Shoyoroll pants. The only drawbacks to the pants are that with the strength and durability comes a little bit more weight. Also, the drawstring will fall apart eventually so replacing it is a major possibility. Overall, I would give these pants 4.5 out of 5 stars. Shoyoroll yet again has made a great product.
The Gi – Overall Fit and Sum Up
The fit of the gi is spot on. The tailored fit really makes the gi very clean and comfortable to wear and train in. I am now 5’8″ and come in at 170 pounds and I wear and A2 and it fits perfectly. The gi would pass for IBJJF competition. As for the weight of the gi, the overall gi both pants and jacket tips the scale at 4.4 – 4.5 pounds. Still not supper heavy but it is getting out of the supper light regime. Overall, this gi is a statement maker. Shoyoroll really put together a gi that was very exclusive and hard to get. The Black Star was released before Shoyoroll blew up in popularity. The distributors said that there were only 200 of each size released in the U.S. Not only is the Black Star rare, but it is also very stylish and it is a gi that will stand out anywhere it is worn. I guarantee that if you have this gi, you are probably the only one in your academy with it and everyone has or will make a complement on it at one point or another. The gi is very comfortable and extremely durable. The Black Star appears to have been designed with hard training in mind. Due to the heavier set pants, competing in the gi may be a bit harder to do but the pants will be able to withstand the hardest of training sessions.
Overall, I give this gi a 4.75 out of 5 stars. The only thing keeping it from being the perfect gi is the slightly larger than necessary knee pads adding extra weight and reducing mobility and also the rope drawstring that will eventually fall apart. Shoyoroll did it again with the Black Star in creating one of the best gis on the market. If you have the opportunity to pick one of these gis up (though it will either be used or for a hefty price or both), I strongly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.