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Sabo Deadlift Shoe Review + Pics

Dropping a Sabo Deadlift shoe review here incase anyone’s keen or if someone googles it up looking for info. Bought the updated/newest version from MaxBarbell (great service btw definitely recommended for US or international), in black because its sexier and looks something like the metal powerlifting shoes, to sumo deadlift.

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Features/Performance

  • Flatness/Insole: Flat, hard and close to the ground as per most other reviews. Removable insoles which were negligibly thick/cushioned but pulled them out anyways. Won’t exactly replicate a barefoot/sock pulling feel for conventional deadlifters used to that way so maybe slippers would be more appropriate, being a bit flatter however imperceptibly so and perhaps more importantly cheaper.

  • Traction/Outsole: Underwhelming but nevertheless good enough especially when placed under load. To clarify the outsole has little tackiness to it as opposed to say the gum rubber of the Asics Matflex but will do the jump all the same.

  • Lateral Stability/Reinforcement: When driving out/spreading the floor in sumo you want no doubt in your mind that your footwear can hold up to it, transfer that force efficiently and ultimately allow you to finish the lift. I’ve heard of people busting out the sides of their chucks though this does sound a bit far fetched to me. What I can tell you is that you won’t be busting out the sides of the Sabos.
  • Metatarsal Strap: one of the main deciding factors for me in purchasing these shoes. The straps sucks your foot into the shoe/ground. If you’ve felt metatarsal straps on the Romaleos and you like it then the Sabos will offer a similar feel albeit not as secure as the former. If you haven’t tried a metatarsal strap then you’ll probably (99%) like it anyway.

Durability:
Called into question by several reviews. Can’t say these are completely false claims especially compared to the construction of something like the Nike Romaleos 2 (in hand are heavy, built like a tank and will probably last a life time). However the Sabos aren’t all that bad. Synthetic leather, suede and double stitched reinforcement especially on the outside make the Sabos plenty tough albeit not to the level of the Romaleos.
Tradeoff of this perceived flimsy construction is the you get a light a flexible shoe that can get you into any sumo position you choose without being restrictive.


Aesthetics:
Personal preference mostly and unimportant to some but goddamit I give a shit. In the words of his holiness the Brofessor, Dom Mazetti, “I go to the gym to look good and I look good to go to the gym”.

Seriously tho Sabos look like they mean business. IMO the white detailing looks gaudy af so painted it black using acrylic (see pic below). As close as I can get to a pair of Metals minus the $200+ price tag.

Sizing
As far as shoe reviews go sizing sections always seem to be subjective and not that helpful to prospective buyers. You’ll get one guy saying go true to size and another say up or down 3 sizes or wear the shoes on the wrong foot.

I’ll attempt to give as much useful information as I can but there’ll be a bit of subjectivity sprinkled in. To orient us a bit: I’m a 7US. That’s my go to size, the size I’ll try first and state anytime I’m asked (Big dick tho lel). Width wise… I’ve no idea so I’m normal width. Also I tend to prefer my shoes snug with as little wiggle room as possible. e.g. my Nike Romaleos 2 size 7US. Snug fit. Perfect fit

If you are looking to find your Sabo size the first step is to check out the official size chart and measure your feet. Sabo uses EU or Russian sizing or something like that so this is a must. Some sites recommend adding 5mm to your measurement but I my experience this will throw off your sizing. When I measured my feet they were somewhere between 250-255mm depending on how bad my tracing was or RUS 39 to 40.

I bought the size 39 and found it looser than I’d like (keep in mind I like my shoes snug). From my experience I would recommend you measure your feet, DO NOT ADD 5mm TO THE MEASUREMENT and purchase the smaller size in the range you end up with (if you like a comfy fit or have wide feet) or the next size down if you prefer a snug fit. That is to say that if I could be bothered I would swap out for a size 38 RUS.

On Maxbarbell there’s also an approximate US to RUS sizing chart but I can’t speak for its accuracy.

Keep in mind that the insole can be removed/new insoles inserted allowing for some customisation of fit but given the Sabos mostly synthetic construction the shoes will not stretch much and will fit as out of box.

Summary
Would recommend for sumo tho not for conventional. Sabo Deadlifts aren’t much better if at all then other shoes on the market e.g. Metal Powerlifting Shoes, Mark Bell/Reebok Power Shoe, Various brands’ DL Slippers, Chucks, Asics Matflex 5s etc.

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The Mark Bell shoe is awesome. Just switched to them from chucks.

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Anyone else know about the sizing on these? My old shoes are falling apart and I ordered a pair, size 42 which is supposed to be the equivalent of size 11 but in terms of length they just barely although they are way too narrow. I think I need size 45-46 or so but I’m not sure how much difference there is between Euro sizes, any ideas? I wear size 11 US but my feet are wide, I could wear a wide 10.5.

I’ve got a pair of these. I used to use Chucks, but they kept on slipping.

The Sabo’s do slip a little on the deadlift platform at my gym when pulling sumo, but they’re better than a lot of other shoes I’ve tried.

You got yourself some Uk 8’s there, which I think are US 9’s. My understanding is that the increments are the same, so a US 10 would be a EU 43, and 11 would be 44.

This is assuming ofcourse that Russian szing is the same as EU.

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For reference, Im a UK 9 / US 10 and my Sabos are a 43 and fit perfect, despite wide feet (similar to you I could happily wear a half size down if it was wide)

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I looked at some online size conversion charts and they say that 11 is 42, but looking at my Nike Romaleos which are 11 US it says they are 45 Euro size. I guess I looked at the wrong chart, what can I say. Exchanges are free, so I will get a pair of 45’s.

@chris_ottawa do you know of the Bearfoot Ursus (Chris Duffin’s company). Heard they have a wide toe box.

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Never heard of it but I already sent the shoes back and asked for size 46. My Romaleos are 45 (so it turns out) and it wouldn’t kill me if they were slightly larger, plus the Sabos look like they are more narrow anyway.

Duffin’s stuff is all hype and not a whole lost of substance, I think Kabuki stuff is overrated. Good ideas but not always living up to expectation.

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Ye some gimmicky stuff there though the shoulder rok probably be a good mace for self defence lel. I think his shoes are legit though at least going off all the endorsements by lifters. For lifting you don’t need anything too crazy anyways so not hard to put something good together.

Kabuki bars are definitely overpriced for what you get even though the gen 2 transformer bar looks very very cool. Another cool story is early in lockdown me and a friend came very close to splitting for a kabuki squat bar that someone interstate was selling. When we contacted him he said he changed his mind about selling.

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The transformer bar is alright, the main issue is the pad is shit and breaks down fast and I don’t care for the long handles. It was right around the same price as the EliteFTS and Rogue SSBs so I went for the transformer.

I hear their squat bar is very whippy compared to others, not really an issue until you have 700+ on it but for the price they charge it better be worth it.

Only used it a few times but their trap bar is pretty cool, having a built in jack makes it like 4x better than other trap bars, by default.

Thats the thing for kabuki prices theres nothing extra a bar could have over a 3-400 bar that would make it worth it. Even if they were the best bar on the market in every way a bit extra stiffness or other features we wont even feel aint worth a few hundred. That applies to Kabuki’s whole line.

The new kabuki transformer bar is a great concept though. The settings can be quick changed and pad is upgraded.

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What did they do about the pad? I don’t see anything in the video. If they have a better one I will ask them to send me one.

Fook linked the wrong vid. Briefly mentions the upgraded vinyl on outside and padding inside.

The new bar looks only slightly better, the biggest thing is the way you adjust the bar angle but it’s not like that was a major issue before. That was the whole selling point in the first place.

As for the pad, the issue wasn’t the “feel” of the pad, but the fact that after a while it just split apart. They say nothing about this one being more durable. With the original version they were saying something about how the pad is better than other SSB pads because it’s not carpet (maybe it should be?) and they even said it was “indestructible”. I think they took that part out after I complain that mine had been destroyed.

I think I will ask for a new pad and see what they say.

Just put a pool noodle on it u bum

Thats’ all it is anyway. Duct tape will hold it together better.

So I got my Sabo DL shoes on Friday night, size 46 which is a bit bigger than a 11 US but the width is just right so I think if I had gone smaller it might be a bit tight. I already deadlifted on Friday morning and I’m not deadlifting again until next Friday so I didn’t really get to try the shoes for what they are meant for, but I wore them for a bench workout and they feel good, they really stick to the floor too. They do what they are supposed to do, no complaints.

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