Fighter Girls, the US-based designer of women’s fightwear, boasts the most extensive collection of women’s MMA board shorts. While some of the print combinations used in Fighter Girls shorts are rather flamboyant and may not be for the faint of heart, the flattering and functional cut testifies to their provenance; these shorts are made for women, by women.(1) This summer I hunted, hemmed and hawed over board shorts for my no gi training and let me tell you, I love my Fighter Girls All Around the World shorts and only wish it was easier to lay hands on further styles!
The Line Up
Sourcing fight shorts cut for women in the UK is no easy task. Over the course of 10 weeks I contacted half a dozen UK retailers, bought and returned two pairs of shorts and, finally, ordered shorts from America. I confronted two main issues. Firstly, women are not small men and shorts cut for men do not account for women’s hip to waist ratios. Secondly, lack of consumer choice; there are relatively few producers of women’s fight wear and, consequently, online UK-based retailers have unreliable levels of stock and very limited options.
Jaco Resurgence MMA Shorts
The first shorts I tried were a pair of men’s 30″ Jaco Resurgence MMA shorts. These have many admirable features, such as nice minimal styling, great stretchy fabric and a fold-over front fastening to keep drawstrings tidy. Nevertheless, these did not work well for me. While I had to shimmy and squeeze to get the shorts over my hips, once on, they were baggy and unflattering around the middle. In addition, the front fastening created a lot of bulk on the waist, the integrated ‘cup’ pocket was annoying and (for me) superfluous and, if on your back, the legs of the shorts ride up very high exposing all and sundry; I was really hoping to avoid compression shorts to preserve my modesty. Strike one.
Inspirit Girls Spec Shorts Long
The second set of shorts I tried were a size small Inspirit Girls Spec shorts (black, long). The shorts were fantastic. Made of a sturdy material with low key styling and a nice fastening system; I was really bummed when I couldn’t squeeze into these babies. The Inspirit site claims that size small fits women with waist/hip measurements of 31″/38″, this is patently not the case. Unhappily, the only Inspirit Girls Spec long shorts I could find were in a small, so strike two and move on.
Fighter Girls All Around the World Board Short
Having had such poor luck with alternative options I decided to go for the Fighter Girls shorts. While I could not find a pair of All Around the World shorts in my size in the UK (all summer, the only L/UK10 available from any retailer were the ‘Brazil’ style shorts), I was frustrated with not having good kit to enjoy training in and so went straight to the source and ordered from the US store. Base hit, straight down the middle!
Fighter Girls Features
Fighter Girls shorts are distinguished by their cut and styling. The board shorts are (very) low rise, hipster style and include arched stitching to the back designed to flatter your bottom. Fighter Girls board shorts include an internal drawstring and velcro fly with Fighter Girls logo-embossed rubber fastening. The drawstring is of the width and texture of a large shoe lace. The fabric is a sturdy, stretchy, sweat-resistant polyester. While I am very keen on the All Around the World’s straight forward black and white design, I do have some reservations regarding the drawstring which can pinch a little when pulled secure. I should note too that my training partner complained about the feel of the rubber fastening on his face during our triangle drills, but there’s no denying it is cute and functional.
Fighter Girls Fit
Fighter Girls board shorts stand out due to their great hipster fit. These shorts are a bit snug in the crotch and they ride very low, so compression sorts, a reliably long rash guard or really cute panties you don’t mind exposing to your club mates are advisable. I find the hipster fit comfortable and flattering and the legs – coming to just above the knee – and the shorts do not ride up to expose your bum when working from the guard. Over the past month, I’ve used these shorts for no gi training, bag work, running, weights, calisthenics and chillin’ on the beach; at no time did I feel them in danger of slipping off and found them versatile with a great range of motion.
Fighter Girls Size
The All Around the World shorts run small though I found the large size (US7/UK10) to be a good fit. I’ve washed the shorts repeatedly at 60° without noticeable shrinkage or colour-fading. While these shorts work well on me, I imagine that women with a curvier shape and/or very muscular legs might find them somewhat restrictive.(2) Women of more of an ‘A’ type shape may prefer the Punk Invasion shorts, which I’ve also gotten my hands on after discovering the awesomeness of FG shorts. These shorts are slightly more generously cut through the legs and appear as equally resistant to shrinkage and fading as the All Around the World style. Indeed, Fighter Girls offers three cuts of board shorts, though it is not always transparent from the product descriptions which cut any particular pair of shorts conforms to.
|All Around the World – Style 301|
|Punk Invasion – Style 302|
The All Around the World shorts are attractive, functional and well made. They hold up well to washing and training without appearing to lose shape or colour. While the drawstring might be an area for improvement, the overall cut, design and range of motion of the shorts is excellent. The primary drawback is accessibility. Stock levels are very low from UK and EU suppliers, which means orders are best placed through the US site; both my short orders were dispatched very quickly with great customer service, but ordering from overseas can mean custom duties, higher shipping charges and extra pain if a return or exchange is needed. In spite of the difficulties associated with purchasing these shorts, I feel I may be addicted to these little numbers and am seriously considering a pair of Ice Queen of Hearts…
(1) Other manufacturers of women’s board shorts I’ve run across are the UK-based Caged Steel and Inspirit out of Japan, though neither is a dedicated women’s clothing house nor do they offer the range of quality products retailed by Fighter Girls.
(2) For reference, I am what is considered a ‘V’ shape with wider shoulders than hips and thinner legs; I am 5’4.5″/163cm, 130lbs/60kgs and have bust, waist and hip measurements of 34″/86.4cm, 27″/68.6cm and 36″/91.4cm. I usually wear a 27″ jean, size 10UK trouser and extra small leggings. My thighs have a circumference of 51cm/20″ at their widest point.