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22 October 2021

Rashguard Review: XMartial Pokemon Evo

Short Review:
A colourful, well-fitting rashguard with a broad range of sizes, though I found that it does tend to ride up more than others I've worn. You can currently buy the rashguard for $45 from the main XMartial website. 

Full Review: As I've mentioned before, it is rare that I do reviews these days, both because I tend to be busy with Artemis BJJ, along with the mild bipolar thing I have going on. However, when I got an email from XMartial and saw their Pokemon design, I couldn't resist a rashguard that colourful. I asked if it was officially licensed (surprisingly often not the case, in my experience), to which XMartial replied they had written approval from The Pokemon Company, who are the copyright holders for all things pokemon. 

I was a little old for pokemon when it first came out, but I remember playing some of the original games: as I can recognise most of the characters, it looks like XMartial have mostly stuck with the classic selection, rather than the numerous updates. 

XMartial was founded in the US by Joe Gosselin, a brown belt with a decade of BJJ experience. The company dates back to 2016, with a number of sponsored athletes on its books. The best known to the BJJ community is probably Roxanne Modafferi, who has been around both BJJ and MMA for many years and well known for both her impressive skills and cheerful disposition. There are also guys like Breck Still, who often pops up on r/BJJ and elsewhere with instructional vids from his Leviathan Academy. 

The rashguard is made in China, the main alternative to Pakistan (the same is true for gi production). A majority of rashguards tend to be a combination of polyester with either spandex or lycra. In the case of the Pokemon Evo, it's 90% polyester and 10% spandex, which is a fairly standard mix. By comparison, the BJJ Globetrotter rashguards I have are 85% polyester and 15% spandex, while Gamma Fightwear went for 80% polyester and 20% lycra. I found that the Pokemon Evo was a good fit on me (for reference, I'm 170cm/5'7" and around 68kg), though the sizing is unusual. With other rashguard companies, I wear a Medium. 

For XMartial, when I sent over my measurements, they suggested an XS. It's comfortable, in terms of the chest and armpits (two of the potential problem areas for rashguards). The thickness is in keeping with most other rashguards I've worn, to which my BJJ Globetrotters rashguards are the main exception. They are notably heftier, which makes them a great choice for Winter training. 

The only disadvantage I could find with the Pokemon Evo is that it does ride up if you raise your arms, or at least the XS size does so on my body. That's mainly due to length. I prefer a rashguard with plenty of length, to prevent the riding up issue, especially as I'll often wear rashguards for kettlebell workouts and the like. 

Hence why I'm a fan of Gamma Fightwear (sadly no longer operational) and Valor (where I go for my club rashguards), as both of them have fairly long Medium. The other useful addition to prevent riding up is anti-slip waistband. That's present on both the BJJ Globetrotters and Gamma Fightwear rashguards, where the waistband is elasticated and also has small ridges to try and keep it in place. 

The XMartial waistband is elasticated, but it's smooth, so I found it less effective at preventing riding up. The XS is also shorter than the Medium I was contrasting it against, unsurprisingly (it would be interesting to compare the XMartial version of a Medium), which again means it is more prone to riding up. The sleeve cuffs are tight, which I prefer, as that means they stay in place, without being so tight that it's difficult to take on and off (like the one I have from Raven Fightwear). 

XMartial offer their Pokemon design in various formats, with options for longsleeve, shortsleeve, men's fit, women's fit and a kid's size. The size range is extensive, with the XMartial men's size chart running from 55kg and 160cm all the way up to 110kg and 200cm, meaning all but the most atypical body types should be catered for. You can currently buy the rashguard for $45 from the main XMartial website.

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