French sporting goods retailer Decathlon says it still has “progress to make” and that it will continue to increase the “diversity” of its cycling clothing range – after a cyclist pointed out on social media that the new pockets on the store’s Rockrider women’s bib shorts are just about big enough to hold a small cereal bar.
Earlier this week, cyclist Pauline posted on Twitter a photo from Decathlon’s website of the women’s Rockrider Race mountain bike bib shorts and their snack size bar-shaped pockets, alongside an image of the retailer’s Van Rysel men’s bib-less shorts (complete with pockets seemingly large enough to store a mobile phone).
Sérieusement @Decathlon vous faites enfin un cuissard pour femmes avec des poches... pour avoir la contenance d'une barre de céréales pendant que les mecs peuvent mettre leur téléphone dans les modèles hommes pic.twitter.com/K2YaXYvJjL
— Pauline (@pokiloo_) March 3, 2023
“Seriously Decathlon, you finally make women’s shorts with pockets... to hold a cereal bar, while the guys can put their phones in the men’s models,” Pauline tweeted.
Referring to Van Rysel’s replica Cofidis pro team bib shorts, which are also sold by Decathlon and only available in men’s sizes, the cyclist continued: “I’m not even talking about the fact that the models for the Cofidis team don’t exist for women, but frankly the difference in pocket sizes is a joke at this level.”
Pauline later posted another pair of men’s cycling shorts stocked by Decathlon, this time from Riverside, writing: “I just discovered the cargo model from Riverside and THERE ARE POCKETS IN THE BACK AND ON THE THIGHS! Meanwhile, we can put a tampon in our micro pocket.”
Je viens de découvrir le modèle cargo de Riverside et IL Y A DES POCHES DANS LE DOS ET SUR LES CUISSES !!!!! Pendant ce temps là nous on pourra mettre un tampon dans notre micro poche pic.twitter.com/ZtygUP2wQi
— Pauline (@pokiloo_) March 3, 2023
While some responded to the tweet (which has been viewed over a million times since Friday) by posting vile, misogynistic comments, others noted that Pauline was comparing shorts designed by different brands – prompting the cyclist to respond that there nevertheless remained a “slight disparity” between Decathlon’s range of men’s and women’s cycling shorts and trousers.
For example, on the chain’s UK webstore, of the 57 bike shorts, tights, and trousers sold by Decathlon, only 17 are specifically designed for women.
Même si ces 2 cuissards ne font pas partie de la même gamme, vous avez raison de nous interpeller. La diversité de l’offre femme augmente chaque année, mais clairement, on a encore des progrès à faire.
On en parle dès lundi à nos équipes de conception.
— Decathlon (@Decathlon) March 4, 2023
Responding to Pauline’s complaints, a spokesperson for Decathlon agreed with the cyclist’s concerns and revealed that the issue will be discussed with the retailer’s design teams tomorrow.
“Even if these two shorts are not part of the same range, you are right to question us,” Decathlon said.
“The diversity of our women’s offering increases every year, but clearly, we still have progress to make. We will talk about it on Monday with our design teams.”
The retailer’s social media team also responded to an accusation that Pauline’s complaint was a mere “cry for pockets” by arguing that women “want to have products that are as practical as those for men, with as many choices. It seems quite legitimate as a request.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.