I’m late for the bus. Not the first time this has happened to me, but the sinking feeling of panic never goes away. I abandon my breakfast on the countertop, fling my books over my shoulder and run down the driveway. Just as the bus begins to pull a way, I pound frantically on the door. Breathless as I run up the stairs, I stomp the snow off my shows and turn to face the bus full of my classmates. Then it happens. A cold draft of air wafts up my leg. From the back of the bus, someone yells “Hey, he’s not wearing any pants!”
But I’m not worried. I’ve had this dream before, and this time I came prepared. I’m rockin’ my Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts, and I own this dream.
For any of you who still have dreams like this, where you’re the victim of some humiliating situation, buy some Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts and wear them to bed. These babies keep you so secure that there won’t be any room for paranoia.
First questions first: what is the difference between a vale tudo short and a traditional fight short?
The biggest difference it is that vale tudo shorts are form-fitting. They hug your body and flex with you. They do not hide bulges and curves, like looser fight shorts would. In other words, they cover your butt, but they don’t hide it!
My biggest question when Aaron from BJJHQ sent me these was how to accurately review a product meant for cage fighting. I was definitely not going into the octagon just to test these babies out.
Aaron saved me on this one: “Many people wear them under their gi pants. You need big…wait…you need a lot of body confidence to rock them alone.”
Well, I have only moderate…uh…body confidence. So that solved it. I would wear and test them under my gi pants.
I soon discovered that Venum shorts are just too intense to be covered up. The want to be seen. Unless you have a thick (or black) pair of gi pants, the striking VENUM branding across the butt will shine through boldly and declare your badness for you. Which is OK. Because the truth is, these bad boys are fun to wear.
Fit and Comfort
Made with a material called Supplex (which feels somewhere between cotton and neoprene) Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts are soft and comfortable on the skin and breathe well.
As I said, these are basically a thick compression short. Compression shorts in general help keep that middle section feeling solid and safe. These shorts multiply that feeling by 3, because they’re at least three times as thick. That said, the thickness means they’re not as subtle as compression shorts. They don’t just hang in the background and cover your butt; they feel like they’re up front and part of the action even when worn under a gi.
The shorts fit very well around the waist and glutes. The waist is elastic enough to hold the shorts on, but not suffocating. A durable drawstring keeps the shorts securely around your hips during rolling. They are a little tight around the thighs…not so much that it cuts off circulation, but very snug.
There are some pretty thick seams on the inside of the waist and legs, but they are soft and did not bother me in the least. The seams going up the legs are cleverly hidden so there is no friction at all. What did annoy me though was the tag, which I cut out after the first night of rolling. Something this form-fitting should not have a scratchy tag right down the middle of the backside.
The first thing I noticed about the Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts is that unlike many other fight shorts I’ve seen, they are not lower thigh length. They converge around your upper thigh like a short boxer-brief.
At first I was nervous about the added exposure. But the Venums soon won me over. The shorts are a sinister black, boldly emblazoned with the snake logo on the front left leg and “VENUM” across the backside. I’m not used to wearing a logo across my butt (something I associate with pink sweat pants for some reason), but something about the aggressiveness of the Venum branding coupled with the novelty of fight shorts made these a lot of fun to wear. I recommend reserving judgment until you try them on, because for me the appeal increased once I was wearing them.
Construction and durability
I’ve spent probably close to 30 mat hours wearing these, and so far the only wear and tear is couple of stitches that have come out. Unlike gi seams, all seams are surged inside, so a couple loose stitches on the outside is not a problem. The shorts are not coming apart.
The drawstring is heavy-duty yet not too thick, so you can trust it to hold up your shorts without giving you rope burn.
To add to the sweat of practice, I wore the Venum shorts swimming and hot-tubbing. Between sweat and chlorine, I expected some degradation. But the chlorine didn’t phase the color or the material. They are solid and they feel solid.
For the most part, I really enjoyed wearing the Venum shorts while rolling. I’m a big fan of the added confidence offered by compression shorts, and the Venums are this times three. The only complaint I have is that when the legs start to creep up (as all compression shorts do during BJJ), it’s more noticeable because of the thickness of the shorts and the aforementioned snugness of the legs. It didn’t bother me too much, but I can foresee some people being annoyed enough to stop and pull the legs back down where they belong.
The Venums are thick and tough, but if you are actually fighting, a cup would be a must. They’re fitted, but there’s still room for some extra protection.
All in all, I’m glad Aaron surprised me by sending me something I’d never have considered buying otherwise. I don’t wear these every time I roll (mostly because they need washing after every class) but they are just plain fun to wear. If you end up changing in front of people, these are great because they don’t look like underwear. They’re vastly superior to wearing a pair of basketball shorts or even fight shorts under the gi, which I’ve seen people do. I recommend them to any BJJer looking for that added bit of security and style.
I’m not just saying this as a favor to Aaron…I’d wait for them to come around on BJJHQ, where you can pick them up for a good price. BJJ gear is not cheap. BJJHQ is a fantastic site with some great deals, but you have to keep tabs on it since they use the 1 deal per day model.