S2 Viper by Vandal Kimonos (Limited Ed)
By: Gregg King
The reason why we wanted to give this Gi a try was because we actually really like the company’s view on the sport and the way they come about building their brand and products. First off, they are from Hawaii, that is something quite different in itself. Being a BJJ Black belt, the Owner of the brand really knows what’s up in the Game to provide great gear for the Jiu Jitsu practitioner.
With VK, Quality definitely meets designs. It is not quite the flashy design type of brand. It has an islander feel to it, a warrior feel really.
They Started looking for the best Gi by testing numerous samples since 2010 and just recently came out with their first batch in 2013. Very recent yes, but they are gaining grounds fast.
Being a brand from Hawaii where it is usually hot and humid, they made a kimono light and very durable.
One major selling point for me was that it is not, as mentioned above, the “Flashy design” per se kind of Gi. It is a Gi that when you wear you feel good in it and people enjoy watching you roll in it. Clean and properly cut. Logo’s are not all over the place and lots of space for your academy and sponsor patches.
- 450GSM Pearl Weave Jacket
- Signature 10oz. Mil Spec Ripstop Pants
- Pearl Weave Gusset
- EVA foam Collar
- Ripstop covered lapel and inner reinforcements
- All major stress points are triple stitched
- All seam tape is folded under to avoid being scratchy
- A perfect combination of lightness and durability
One thing I really enjoyed when receiving the S2 was the way it was packaged and nicely folded in its custom Gi bag. Very clean and light. A little accessory you can use for various things other than putting your dirty Gi after a long session.
When you first pull it out you feel the lightness of the material and that it is made of quality fabric. If you are an experienced Grappler, JiuJitsu player, you know right away with the first touch what you are up against.
Having a closer look you can see the little attention to details and the label is neat. I like the letters that are regular and then inverted. Surprisingly the label doesn’t scratch the back of your neck like some brands do when they stitch on their labels. It comes with a nice little sticker that, We sure we will either find on the back of your car or your laptop… at least that is what I did.
The jacket is actually really good looking. Simple but just enough. As I said, my own personal preference is not something too “In your face”. This is subtle. This is a Gi that you wear and feel like the main thing you have to show on the mats is your game. This Jacket is Classy and great color combination. I also like the woven patches on the shoulders. Patches are light and if you want to save weight or if you do not like them there, they can be easily removed. That is entirely up to you. The cut is clean and the embroidery is strong. The side slits are very well cut and neither too large, neither too small nor too long. just perfect.
The inside is very soft. I love the light pearl weave quality of this jacket. Not too soft and not too abrasive. When you wash the Gi, it will always feel like the first time you pulled it out of the bag. That is a property I particularly like about this kimono. Some Gi jackets are too “cardboardy” after you wash and dry them. Not the case here. I also really enjoy the simplistic but classy design of the inner jacket lining. It is made of fabric, not of rashguard. This definitely strengthens the jacket for solid lapel grips and Uchi Mata throws. A little detail that makes this Kimono even more good looking.
A closer look at the side slits. Matching designs with the top of the jacket lining. Very clean and subtle. Again, I really like the color scheme chosen for this Gi. The reinforcements are of good quality and stitching is tight. It won’t be easy to rip the side of this jacket.
As you can see the back of the Gi has nothing other than the name of the kimono embroidered on the high section of the jacket. I like this a lot because it gives you the freedom to put anything you wish or nothing on your back. Very tight Pearl weave fabric as you can see.
The pants are really great. Super light and very strong. They seem the kind that will be highly durable. I train a lot, about 6 to 7 days a week so this is very important for me. Pants are usually what gives in the fastest. You know how it is when people grip your pants to either pass your extensive guard or to get out of that spider guard. A feature I really think is important is the back top high rise of the pants. Specially good for when you go inverted and play guard a lot. This will not bother you with the rope or pant top go too low where you don’t want it to be. The woven logo label on the top right is well placed and good size.
The higher part of the pants is very important. How you tie the rope and how it stays there is something we all look for in a Gi pant. This one, will never untie itself when you roll. Well at least, not for me. I like the Tunnel loops and the 3 loop system that keeps the pant put firmly on your hips. Again a little detail to the inside lining of the pant and the high rise. Stitching is very good. Impressed with this part of the kimono.
The inside of the pant, the crotch gusset is very strong. Made from the same material of the jacket (pearl), it is a great match. It gives you a strong feel to the pants. I don’t like when the pants are TOO light. This ads a little weight to them and it is perfectly fine. You can see the stitching detail in the closeup. It can’t go wrong. Very well made part of the kimono.
Let’s have a look at the inner side of the pants. You can see how clean it is and the cut is not too wide nor too narrow. A piece well put together. Wearing the pants is an enjoyable experience. They really feel neat and comfortable. I would wear them to the groceries or at the mall for sure…
Side view of the pants. Again, very clean and simple. I like the simplistic embroidery of the Viper. You can nearly feel it through the picture how light and soft those pants are.
Lower side of the pant, the ankle area. Great embroidery and again the lining makes it strong and no itchy feeling because of it with some of the gear out there. You now what I am talking about. I also like the woven patch on the bottom of the pant with the company initials. Subtle and good looking touch.
Here is their sizing chart for you to check what kimono best fits your frame:
All in all, my thought and experience with this kimono has been nothing but positive. I wear an A1 in VK sizing. The jacket and pants feel very good and tight. Soft and strong. Rolling in it is always a pleasure. It is always a great feeling when you tie your belt around your waist and train with it. Super comfortable. This Gi is definitely competition ready and you can fight in it at IBJJF events without a worry.
The Gi was a bit long for me maybe by 3/4 of an inch on the sleeves and pant. Washed it hot and tumble dried it for 30 mins and it came out as a perfect fit. When I am on the road traveling, I need to put it in the dryer. The Gi won’t shrink anymore. The size stays fitted.
This is a VERY good kimono for the price they offer it at. Actually I think the price is too low for the quality but at the same time if you are on a budget it is such a great deal.
Pros: Tight feel, solid, classy look, clean cut, Ibjjf approved, pants are perfectly cut, strong lapel, not itchiness from the labels, very minimal shrinkage, very light, high quality pearl weave and ripstop, Soft material. Sizes go from regular to L to H in between sizes for different body types.
Cons: In this case no real negative points at all other than I didn’t see any specific women sizes for this Brand of kimonos. But i guess women could use the smaller Gi sizes.
This is a kimono I LOVE to use everyday and you could compete in it as well. An all around great Gi that I would definitely advise you to go buy and give it a try. Perfect for white to black belt ranks. You will most likely be as satisfied as I am with the S2 Viper.
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