Edit: May 2017 Please note this review is of the Essentials 1.0. This has since been discontinued and replaced by the V2.0
As all my friends can testify I am a bit of a gi addict. But recently work and life has gotten in the way of my addiction by making me spending money on boring stuff like bills! However, I was on the look out for a new travel or competition gi that would meet my needs as well as suit my pocket. This is where I came across Sanabul.
Sanabul are a new (ish) company that launched earlier this year in the states. They sell all of their stock via Amazon but do have their own website. In terms of BJJ Sanabul has an exclusive gi contract with Rigan Machado who is obviously a bit of a legend so I figured with that type of endorsement they may be worth checking out further.
As you know gi companies make different promises and have their own unique blurb. This is taken from their website and Amazon page regarding their Essentials Gi:
- Ultra light weight Pearl Weave fabric perfect for a summer training, competitions.
- Tapered athletic cut without all the excess gi material and bagginess of a tradition gi.
- Reinforced stitching in the jacket and pants
- Lightweight pants with contrasting gusset, Rope drawstring
- IBJJF approved
- Antimicrobial and Anti Odor treatment helps to prevent the spread of bacterial and fungal infections.
In terms of price point it sells on Amazon.com for between $64-$79 depending on size. Although the real beauty with Amazon.com is that it does all the shipping, currency conversion and import tax calculations up front for you making it great for a British buyer. My A1 gi including shipping and import tax costs me £60.54 making this a very competitive priced gi that I just had to try.
As with all Amazon orders I got regular updates on my shipping etc and I have to say I was really pleased when my gi arrived sooner than expected! It is a beautiful lightweight gi instantly comparable to my current competition gi (Do or Die Hyperfly) weighing in at approx. 1.5kg.
It has nice blue contrast stitching, tasteful embroidery and lots of space to still look like a clean minimalist gi even with team patches on. I was very quickly falling in love with it when I tried it on. The jacket fitted really well straight out of the bag and in terms of pants they were also just right (long enough but with space for slight shrinkage).
I did have a couple of issues with the pants though. Firstly the knee reinforcements seemed to high up for me (they don’t cover me knees and are more on the thighs). Secondly there were a couple of issues with crotch. Firstly the contrasting colour which whilst looking fantastic might not get past an eagle eyed gi checker (gis are supposed to be of one colour so this is on the board line of what is legal at an IBJJF competition – not something you want to risk in a competition gi!). Also the crotch appeared to hang really low which just felt odd. Although my husband did inform me that its actually not unusual in male cut gis and I just notice it more due to my lack of “box”!
However when I put the jacket on it did cover the “crotch issue” and several of my team mates comments on my new gi both because it looked good and because I’d gotten hold of brand they hadn’t seen before (an achievement in itself!).
In rolling the gi performed really well. It is a very soft gi which meant that whilst there was no nasty friction for me it was incredibly huggable and more importantly grip-able. Grip breaking isn’t one of my strongest areas and when people had hold of this they certainly weren’t letting go! I also tested it during an unusually warm period in the UK. It was as promised a very lightweight and cool gi but as it got sweatier it did soak up the moisture like a sponge adding to its grip-ability.
So how did it wash and wear………
Gi Vital Statistics
|Out of the Bag||After 3 Washes|
*3 Washes = cold wash, tumble spin and air drying. For Gi Map click here.
As you can see there was reasonable shrinkage on the gi. Whilst it still fits it is now very much on the borderline for a competition gi checker. Although it looks perfectly fine for training. I must add that on their website it does cover that they are not pre-shrunk and that they can be custom shrunk. I would just advise potential buyers to look at the sizings carefully and potentially buy the next size up if unsure so that they can shrink it to size.
I also found after wearing it and washing it just the once that some of the stitching had come a little loose. Now a few loose threads does happen but I was gutted to see that the main embroidery on the chest had come away. Whilst not major it resulted in a quick email to Sanabul to raise the issue and to see what they suggested.
I have to say the customer service was brilliant. I not only did I get a vey quick response email but I was also given a number options including a free refund. Everything is was dealt with professionally and I really wouldn’t worry about buying from this company from a customer services perspective (this is also backed up by a range of reviews on Amazon).
Considering the high grip-ability of this gi and the potential queries regarding it being IBJJF competition legal this isn’t the next competition gi for me. For me it is a fantastic travel and summer gi that I simply love having in my current rotation. Whilst I was disappointed with the fault my gi developed the customer service was first class and with its current price point I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a gi to add into your collection.
Edited (24th May 2017) – I have been messaged by Sanabul asking me to remove this blog due to the version 1.0 being discontinued which is why I have added the amendments above and below this post. Whilst I appreciate their opinion that this review may not be helpful to their customers I also believe in leaving it to my readers to decide for themselves. As i advise with all gi purchases please check the suppliers own sizing guide before ordering as my blog only ever refers to my own size and experience at the time.
For information on their latest gi range visit Sanabul Sports.com