Sports discount warehouse, Decathlon, are launching their first Wed’ze branded ski and snowboard gear for 2019 in Australia, including hardware with skis and boots.
If you haven’t heard of Decathlon or Wed’ze (pronounced wedzee) then you’re not alone. We hadn’t either, until this year. The warehouse style discount sports store was founded in France in the late 1970s, is big in Europe and landed online in Australia in 2016 before opening their first warehouse in Tempe in Sydney in 2017 and three stores since.
Like Costco, you have to be a member to purchase products. Unlike Costco you don’t have to buy in bulk. Like Aldi, they offer affordable outerwear, unlike Aldi they are also offering hardware with skis and bindings in the offerings.
The better news is membership is free and gets you all sorts of benefits such as a 365 day return policy and a seven day product test experience for free. So you could go and test that Wed’ze ski gear then bring it back after your snow holiday if you don’t love it. Theoretically. Though the fine print reveals you can only do this for one product at a time. But still.
Refreshingly, Wed’ze outwear comes in XS to 3XL for men and women, though 3XL won’t be available in Australia this season and available sizing will depend on product. Plus their retail store delivers to Australia and New Zealand and, according to their press release, they are all about both quality and value. But then who isn’t outside of Chanel and Gulfstream?
We certainly can’t vouch for the quality of any of the products as we are yet to see them or test them – this is the first year they are offering snow and ski outerwear and hardware in Australia. There are tech specs on the site for outerwear including breathability, warmth and more so you can see what you’re getting. Although there is also some alarming copy – “to check that it is waterproof, this jacket was placed in a special shower reproducing the conditions a skier has to cope with.” Guessing the shower was crowded then.
We can vouch, however, for the prices being ridiculous. Aldi has more than a contender with Wed’ze adult ski jackets and pants for under $100; adult ski gloves for less than $40; kids ski gloves for less than $20, neck warmer and beanie for $10, and ski/binding packages for under $500.
We know, from experience, how much this is going to excite entry level skiers and boarders or those once a year snow sports lovers and infuriate the name brands and distributors of higher quality products with only a few months a year to make their dollar.
Truth is, also in our experience, people will buy what they can afford or save for brands they covet and more people trying skiing due to cheaper prices means a growing customer base for those with brand names to sell. Quality does always tend to shine through for those who return regularly to the snow.
But these Wed’ze guys do utilise technical fabrics and they know snow because their headquarters are in Mont Blanc. They also work with athletes such as X Games medalist, Marie Martinod, on product development.
The hardware range available in Australia this season will apparently be limited with a view to introducing the entire European range dependent on demand from 2019.
However over 100 ski and snowboard products will be available from May 13 with many online now.
And for the naysayers, again from experience, we have not been paid for this post.