Flow Pro Series 2.0 (White / Black)
Flow Kimonos was started in 2012 as a company dedicated to promoting the beauty in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They are establishing themselves as a brand with an interest in environmental sustainability and giving back to the community – Flow has been sponsoring tournaments and other events, with special focus on lower-ranked competitors and women’s groups. Based out of Boston with strong ties in Los Angeles, it would seem that Flow is ready to make it’s mark on the BJJ scene in North America and beyond.
Their original model, the Pro Series 1.0, was a 400 gram honeycomb weave jacket with 10 oz cotton twill pants. With the Pro Series 2.0 gis, Flow has opted for slightly heavier material for the top but lighter weight ripstop pants. All of their models hold to the company’s minimalistic design mantra. Available in black or white, the Pro Series 2.0 features a very crisp and clean aesthetic, using yellow and grey embroidery to highlight their Japanese Mon-inspired crest. The grey accent stitching is striking in effect – powerful, yet understated.
The Pro Series 2.0 kimonos are manufactured in China. The jacket is comprised of a moderately lightweight 420 gram pearl weave. Flow claims that the fabric is treated to be anti-microbial and anti-odor, but this could not be verified within the scope of this article.
Straight off the rack, the jacket fits slim and relatively high in the waist, with the yoke stitching being more elongated than circular and the skirt line starting almost immediately under the armpits. The jacket features three rows of stitching and grey taping at the cuffs and hems plus extra material reinforcing the skirt slits and the armpits. One area worth noting is that collar is only 7 mm thick, making it just over half the legal IBJJF limit in thickness of 13 mm. It is covered with the same Ripstop used to make the pants.
Made from 8 oz Cotton Ripstop material, with 6 gray belt loops and a grey flat drawstring, these pants are lightweight. The double layer of knee reinforcement covers from just above the knee to mid shin. All edges of the knee panel have two lines of stitching, except for the outer edge of each leg, which seems to be an oversight. The inner edge of each panel is sewn into the main triple stitched inseam of either pant leg. Grey tape and wide triple row of stitching is used on the pant cuffs, similar to the sleeves and skirt hems.
Sizing & Pricing
Making a statement that they want customers to find a kimono that fits like it should, Flow produces the Pro Series 2.0 in the following nine sizes, offering “L” versions for taller players and “H” versions for the huskier practitioner.
A1 5′ 3″ – 5′ 5″ 130 – 150 lbs.
A1L 5′ 6″ – 5′ 9″ 130 – 150 lbs.
A2 5′ 6″ – 5′ 9″ 155 – 175 lbs.
A2L 5’10” – 6′ 1″ 155 – 175 lbs.
A2H 5′ 6″ – 5′ 9″ 175 – 190 lbs.
A3 5′ 10″ – 6’1″ 180 – 205 lbs.
A3L 6′ 1″ – 6’3″ 180 – 205 lbs.
A3H 5′ 10″ – 6’1″ 210 – 245 lbs.
A4 6′ 1″ – 6’3″ 215 – 245 lbs.
Pricing for the White 2.0 is $134.99 while the Black version tops out at $144.99, as per their website.
Wash & Wear
The company states that the preshrunk material will only shrink by less than 2% at most. Measurements of a size A1 Pro Series 2.0 prior to washing were as follows:
After 3 cycles of washing in hot water and machine drying on standard, the measurements were:
The jacket weave proved to be more resistant to shrinkage than the Ripstop cotton used to make the pants, living up to the claim that there would be less that 2% shrinkage even with mechanical drying.
The Pro Series 2.0 was taken for a roll straight out of the mailing envelope with no pre-washing and without a rashguard underneath. While the pearl weave material has a smooth feel on the outer surface, the inside of the gi was rough, particularly in the insides of the arms and shoulders. After the gi was washed 3 times, however, the roughness was no longer apparent.
The kimono jacket functioned without construction issues during the test rolls. Other than the initial abrasive feel, it was comfortable to wear. Of note, the Ripstop pants were softer and more comfortable than other pants of similar construction that this reviewer has worn in the past. Usually, Ripstop pants feel stiff and rigid while rolling. Thankfully, the Pro Series 2.0 pants lived up to the company’s moniker and moved with the reviewer’s body fluidly during test matches.
The flat drawstring stayed tied well yet came undone easily when undressing. The collar was a bit too easy for opponent to maintain a grip on, given its thin dimension and the extra friction the Ripstop cover provides. The thin material, in general, creates ample gripping opportunities for opponents. As this tester normally wears an A0, the slight shrinking due to drying was a welcome thing and created a better fit while reducing the amount of excess material that could be gripped at will.
The above is reflective of the reviewer’s personal experience with the GI. Your own experience may vary based on rolling style, body shape/size, etc.
JUST THE FACTS
• Gi top lived up to the claim of 100% Preshrunk with <2% shrinkage with drying – buy with confidence that your gi will remain the same size as the day you bought it if you wash in in cold and hang dry.
• This is one of the lighter kimonos on the market, with the A1 weighing a mere 2lbs and 14 oz., just 4.4 oz heavier than the Vulkan Ultralight Pro at the same size and over a full pound lighter than a Redstar Stamp at the same size – if you need to make weight, this gi might be your secret weapon on the scales
• An excellent list variation of sizing within the existing range, including those for longer / more heavy-set athletes – the 9 sizes available cover almost every male body size / type
• Drawstrings stay tied yet were easy to untie though flat, even when sweaty – less bulky than cord and just as functional
• Durable construction in a lightweight kimono – lightweight doesn’t have to mean flimsy and the Pro Series 2.0 is built to last with solid stitching, reinforcement and taping all around.
• Thin collar and material make it easier to grip – this is a trade off for low weight
• Abrasive jacket material – was rough to roll in without a rashguard
• No female or children/youth models in this batch – perhaps future releases will see these demographics having an option to purchase
• No A0 or A5 sizing yet – Roosters and Ultra heavyweights may be out of luck if they had their heart set on a Flow brand kimono.
The Final Word
The Pro Series 2.0 is a visually appealing gi for it’s overall lack of glitz. What graphics there are, are simply yet sharply designed. For the price point that this kimono is listed at, it is a well-constructed and serviceable gi that may be best suited as a summer option due to it’s lighter weight; long-term use may see the thinner materials wear out faster. It will definitely stand up in competition from a durability stand-point though the thin collar is something to consider as it is easier to grip.
Flow is a relative new-comer to the BJJ scene. While this reviewer noted some issues with the Pro Series 2.0, it is only their second batch of gis and they can address these in future offerings. Flow will be bringing their line of 100% hemp kimonos to market soon and if they’re anything like the Pro Series, they’ll definitely be worth taking a look at. They also make belts from a cotton/hemp blend that look great.