Have you ever shopped at a Decathlon store? Ever heard of it? If you live in the USA, probably not.
But if you are interested in good quality, innovative, durable, functional, and sustainably produced sportswear and equipment – AT AMAZING PRICES – you should get to know this company.
Full disclosure: we get nothing for this post. This is an independent blog. In fact, it’s a bit weird writing about a retailer. But honestly, we feel obliged to tell people about this company’s business model and prices.
Decathlon is called the “Trader Joe’s of sporting goods.” It currently has a location in Emeryville, California, in the San Francisco Bay area. A second superstore in the Bay area is due to open by November 2019. There also is a small ‘lab store’ in San Francisco. Decathlon offers nationwide shipping to the continental U.S.
People in much of the rest of the world are quite familiar with Decathlon and its ‘in-house’ brands. It’s the largest sporting goods retailer in the world. The French company has over 1,600 stores in more than 50 countries. And they are growing fast.
Decathlon recently expanded into Bangladesh, announced plans to build more stores in Canada, and plans to use retail technology in the U.S., including mobile checkout and an in-store robot for “click-and-collect” shopping.
Decathlon store bargains
We discovered Decathlon in late 2018 when looking for a pair of prescription swim goggles. While living in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia, a web search led us to one of their 5 KL locations. (The prices in these pictures are in ringgits, not dollars.)
We were thrilled to find the goggles we were seeking for far less cost than other retailers were advertising. We were so impressed, we bought other items on that trip, and returned the following year for more supplies.
Decathlon stores are ‘experiential’ superstore types of locations. They stock thousands of items: clothing, shoes, sports equipment, toys, accessories, etc. But you won’t find Nike or Columbia or Oakley or other popular brands. Every item in a Decathlon store is produced by Decathlon.
Here’s how the company describes their merchandise and processes:
“Each sport or group of sports has a Passion Brand, created and owned by Decathlon. Team members are athletes dedicated to their sport and to developing the best products for everyone to play sports. Today, 40 Passion Brand teams are charged with imagining the future of their sport.”– Decathlon website
I don’t really care how they explain it. What got my attention is the extremely reasonable pricing.
Prices we paid in a Decathlon store
As a long time purchaser of active wear and sporting products, I’ve often wondered why a ‘quick-dry’ T-shirt costs $40+? Or cross-training shoes $150+? Or a travel backpack $250+?
Basically, I’ve refused to pay those prices to companies like L.L. Bean, The North Face, and Under Armour.
We are now traveling with sandals, pants, shirts, eye wear, and other accessories from Decathlon. And while I can’t yet report my long-term satisfaction with their products, thus far, they seem to perform as well as any brand mentioned above — at a price point that is at least 50% less than other brands!
- Mens sports sandals: $21.25
- Prescription swim goggles: $13
- Pants: $18.86
- Quick dry shirt: $3 (on sale)
Those were store prices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We checked prices on Decathlon’s U.S. website. They were higher than the prices we paid, yet still cheaper than name brands.
As early retired budget travelers, stretching our dollars is a primary concern. It’s our JOB! It is really pleasing to find a company like Decathlon that helps makes our slow travel lifestyle more enjoyable.
Bottom line, I would highly advise putting Decathlon on your ‘shopping radar’. No matter what your personal situation, there is nothing better than good merchandise at more than fair prices.
We are an independent blog – we get nothing in return for product reviews.