New year, new hobbies – one thing we can bet is that lots of people are trying to get fitter this 2023. But with the GST hike and inflation affecting even the littlest things like bubble tea, investing in equipment may not be financially practical.
There is one beacon of hope for affordable sports equipment, and that is Decathlon. Though cheaper, their products are just as effective and make a good launching pad for those who want to try out a new sport. We made a trip down to Decathlon and tested out some alternatives to sporting items that have become cult favourites. Here are our recommendations:
1. Decathlon Domyos leggings – Breathable material with pockets
$18.90 alternative to Lululemon Align leggings ($128)
Image credit: Lululemon
There’s always that one friend who takes every opportunity to wear their Lululemon Align leggings out and we can’t blame them – these leggings are comfortable. They also have pockets that can fit your phone and keys while you’re on the go.
These leggings have pockets that can fit your phone and keys as well.
If you’re not ready to fork out some $100+ for a pair of good leggings just yet, check out Decathlon’s Domyos at just $18.90. These leggings are made from 87% polyester, which makes them more durable. To top it off, Domyos’s leggings have a mesh portion behind the knees for breathability.
Original product: Lululemon Align high-rise pant with pockets 25″
Price: $128-$138, depending on the design
Decathlon alternative: Domyos women’s fitness leggings with phone pocket
2. Decathlon Simond chalk bag – Affordable with easy use
$10.90 alternative to Moon Climbing sport chalk bag ($32.50)
The Moon Sport Chalk Bag has an adjustable belt buckle for a perfect fit.
Image adapted from: Moon Climbing
Indoor climbing has been all the rage the past few years, and most climbers would be familiar with chalk bags. Alas, such bags don’t come cheap, with most going for more than $30. A cult favourite amongst climbers is The Moon Climbing sport chalk bag, which comes in vibrant colours and has a popper lock for easy opening and closing of the bag.
If you’re not ready to splurge on a chalk bag, consider Decathlon’s Simond chalk bag. It goes around your waist with a belt buckle and the opening of the bag can be closed swiftly with a drawstring to prevent chalk from spilling out. The bag also contains a brush holder for the climbers who carry it with them.
For an even more affordable alternative, look for the Simmond Climbing & Mountaineering Chalk Bag ($4.90). We highly recommend this for first-timers who want to try climbing without blowing all their money on gear. Even though this bag comes with a string instead of a belt buckle, it serves the same purpose of keeping it secure as you climb.
Original product: Moon Sport Chalk Bag 100%
Price: £20.00 (~S$32.80)
Decathlon alternative #1: Climbing & Mountaineering Chalk Bag Simond Size M
Decathlon alternative #2: Climbing & Mountaineering Chalk Bag – Red
3. Decathlon Simond climbing shoes – Vibrant & muted colourways
$84.90 alternative to Evolv climbing shoes ($121)
The material is breathable and has an antimicrobial liner to prevent strong odours.
Image adapted from: Evolv Sports
So you’ve got your chalk bag, what now? Another necessity for indoor climbing is a good pair of shoes. Unlike regular sport shoes, climbing shoes have to fit snugly – with arched soles – to optimise your climbing experience. One of the go-to shoes for seasoned climbers is the Evolv Defy, favoured for its comfortable yet secure fit.
If you’re not ready to invest $120 into a pair just yet, Decathlon has its own climbing shoes under the Simond line. It has velcro straps, which enable you to slip them on and get right into the action. The shoes stay on securely, too, so you won’t have to worry about them falling off mid-climb. On top of that, there are 2 cute colourways to choose from – turquoise and grey.
Original product: Evolv Defy
Price: €85.00 (~$121)
Decathlon alternative: Climbing & Mountaineering Equipment Rock Climbing Shoes Simond
4. Decathlon BR190 badminton racquet – Beginner-friendly
$20.90 alternative to Yonex AstroX 77 ($226.90)
Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi, wielding the Yonex AstroX 77.
Image credit: Yonex
If you’re training to be the next Loh Kean Yew, then you’d know that Yonex has some of the best badminton racquets on the market. Their Astrox 77 model has a shaft made with Namd graphite, which gives it more flexibility and allows stronger hits. Another plus point is that it’s lightweight and sturdy.
It weighs 85g, making it a lightweight racquet.
We know splurging $226.90 on a racquet can be a pinch if you’re just starting out. Luckily, Decathlon has its own line of racquets that even avid players vouch for.
The BR190, for instance, is more beginner-friendly – and can boost your smashing ability even if you haven’t trained much. More of the weight is placed towards the head to give your strokes more power, so you can do strong smashes during games to beat your opponent. There’s also a set of 2 BR190 racquets with shuttlecocks for $39.90 for your badminton kakis.
If you want a better racquet, try Decathlon’s BR500. This one is a little heavier than the BR190 at 90g, but allows for even more powerful smashes. Unlike regular cheaper racquets, Decathlon’s have heads that taper towards the top, rather than a fully rounded shape. This enlarges the space on the net for the shuttlecock to land on.
Original product: Yonex Astrox 77
Decathlon alternative #1: Badminton Racket BR190
Decathlon alternative #2: Badminton Racket Perfly BR500
5. Decathlon Tarmak BT900 – Suitable for indoor & outdoor use
$35.90 alternative to Molten BG5000 basketball ($144.98)
Image adapted from: Molten
When it comes to basketball and volleyball brands, Molten often comes to mind. Their BG5000 basketballs are a popular pick despite their retail price of US$144.98 (~S$200). Of course, this is justified as it’s made with genuine leather which provides an enhanced grip. It’s so popular it’s currently sold out on Molten’s website.
For an expense you can definitely bounce back from, consider the Tarmak BT900. It’s FIBA-approved and suitable for both indoor and outdoor play, which ensures that it’s hardy enough for a street basketball session. This ball also has a higher Butyl percentage of 80%, a type of rubber which helps the ball retain air much longer.
Original product: Molten BG5000 basketball
Decathlon alternative: Basketball Ball Touch Tarmak FIBA Approved BT900 S7
6. Decathlon Domyos fitness shorts – Zip pocket with covering
$18.90 alternative to Kydra Adept 7” shorts ($62)
Image credit: Kydra
While asking around for recommendations for a solid pair of shorts, Kydra’s linerless shorts is often a popular choice. The Adept 7” linerless shorts ($62) can fit an entire phone in the side pockets without obstructing your running. Its quick-drying material also means you’ll stay dry and comfortable throughout your workout.
No need to worry about your valuables falling out of your pockets during your workout sesh.
If you just want a simple yet effective pair of shorts to exercise in, Decathlon has a similar one for $18.90. The Domyos men’s fitness shorts offer easy mobility with their loose fit. Similar to Kydra, it’s made of quick-drying material and can fit an entire phone in the side pocket which can be zipped up. However, note that these pants are longer in length, with a simple waistband compared to Kydra’s drawstring one.
Original product: Kydra Adept 7″ Linerless Shorts
Decathlon alternative: Domyos Men’s Zip Pocket Breathable Fitness Shorts
7. Decathlon high support zip-up bra – Comfortable & good support
$25.90 alternative to Nike Swoosh zip-up sports bra ($69)
The quick-drying material and breathable mesh keep your chest area dry during workouts.
Image credit: Nike
Athleisure can be super flattering to wear, but a common struggle ladies face is wrestling to get out of our sports bras. Well, we thank whoever invented zip-up bras, because it’s a lot more convenient. Nike has a popular line of zip-up bras also called the Nike Swoosh zip-front sports bra. The zips even have a semi-auto lock that helps prevent flashing accidents.
The sports bra is padded to flatter the overall shape of your bust.
If Nike’s price point is too steep, opt for the high support zip-up sports bra. It provides support for your girls and holds them in place even during intense workouts. Besides the quick-drying, breathable material, it also has adjustable straps for a comfy fit. These come in pink, black, and grey.
Original product: Nike Swoosh (zip-front sports bra)
Decathlon alternative: High Support Zip-Up Sports Bra
8. Decathlon Quechua men’s hiking t-shirt – Affordable alternative
$6.90 alternative to Under Armour Men’s UA Tech 2.0 t-shirt ($35)
Image credit: Under Armour
Head to any gym or park, and you will find a guy wearing a specific Under Armour t-shirt. It’s like a sign of solidarity among gym bros, especially due to its smooth, quick-drying material. The streamlined fit gives a flattering silhouette, yet it doesn’t obstruct your movement.
The t-shirt comes in red, blue, olive green, carbon grey, and light grey.
If you’re trying to stretch your dollar, you can get 7 lightweight and comfortable t-shirts from Decathlon for the price of 1 Under Armour t-shirt. The Quechua MH100 men’s hiking t-shirt is made from recycled polyester, with mesh panels in the underarm area so your pits will be well aired during a cardio sesh. Plus point: it’s just as comfy.
Fun fact: There’s a loop on the label you can use to bundle your shirt up neatly.
Original product: Men’s UA Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve
Decathlon alternative: Quechua MH100 Men Mountain Hiking Short-Sleeved T-Shirt
9. Decathlon Allsix volleyball knee pads – For the rougher players
$15.90 alternative to Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Knee Pads ($43.61)
Image credit: Gym Rats Volleyball
Those who play volleyball would know that it’s important to take steps to protect our knees to reduce the impact it takes over the years. For maximum protection, volleyball players often make a beeline for Mizuno’s LR6 kneepads. These bad boys are an all-rounded product with both flexibility and protection.
The Allsix VKP500 volleyball knee pads are an alternative loved by regular players. It’s flexible with protection that covers the front and sides of your knees so you’ll be safe if you get hit or fall on your sides. This kneepad is also made of durable material that won’t tear easily from constant wear.
Decathlon alternative: Volleyball Knee Pads Allsix VKP500
10. Decathlon Tarmak ankle support – Affordable option that comes in black
$15.90 alternative to Bauerfeind ankle support ($89)
Image adapted from: Bauerfiend Sports
Ankle supports are a must-have for athletes who train regularly. Bauerfeind is a well-known brand of compression socks and supports to help you rehabilitate ASAP. Their sports ankle support dynamic is made of different knitted fabric to give your feet a customised compression. This way, you can recover faster and more effectively.
If you simply want something that does the job, the Tarmak ankle support soft 500 bears some similarities with its Baurfiend counterpart. It also has targeted compression to properly support your sprained ankles. It also comes in black, great for those who like to stay lowkey.
Original product: Bauerfeind Sports Ankle Support Dynamic
Decathlon alternative: Tarmak Ankle Support Soft 500
11. Decathlon Kipsta football boots – Reliable for only a little over $20
$20.90 alternative to Adidas Predator Edge 1 ($320)
Image adapted from: Adidas
For footballers, it’s all about the fit of the feet. One of the most notable models you’ll see gracing the fields is the Adidas Predator Edge 1, which boasts a woven fabric that is snug and flexible. Another striking feature – one that actually boosts your strikes – is its weighted forefoot that helps deliver powerful kicks.
If you’re a beginner or a casual player, these boots are suitable for you.
For only a little over $20, you can get a pair of Kipsta Agility 100 FG football boots. These bad boys are sturdy, yet fit well enough to give you some agility. These boots come in 2 versions designed for different terrains – one for turf grass and one for natural grass. So do read the labels for the right pair of shoes.
Fun fact: You can get your name or jersey number printed on the shoes at workshops located in Decathlon stores.
Original product: Adidas Predator Edge.1 Firm Ground Boots
Decathlon alternative: Kipsta Football Boots Agility 100 FG
12. Decathlon Forclaz trekking backpack – Convenient front flap
$149.90 alternative Deuter Aircontact Lite 50L + 10L ($343)
Image adapted from: Deuter
Deuter is famously known among regular hikers for their backpacks. Their Aircontact Lite 50+10 litre hiking backpack is lightweight and comes with extra support for your back. You can also slip your phone and snacks in the stretchy pockets by the side – important for those who get hangry.
The Forclaz backpack has multiple compartments of up to 10 pockets.
For about half the price, the Forclaz trekking backpack is a great alternative, boasting the same volume as the Deuter one. While it may not feature supportive back padding, it does have its own perks such as aluminium bars in the back that help relieve some of the pressure on your back.
Most Decathlon hiking bags have a front flap you can fully unzip, which helps you pack and unpack more effectively.
The front flap makes this backpack similar to a conventional suitcase.
Original product: Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10
Price: €240 (~S$343)
Decathlon alternative: Forclaz Trek 900 Symbium 50+10L Trekking Backpack
Save your earnings & opt for Decathlon alternatives
Naturally, we’d want to splurge as little as we can – especially if you’re saving up for that BTO or just want to tide through the inflation. Not only does Decathlon offer affordable options, members also get a lifetime warranty on all Decathlon products. Now that is value for money, and we’re all for it.
More for fitspos:
- The best Decathlon buys under $30
- Best places to enjoy free workouts
- The best mountain bike trails in Singapore
Photography by John Lim.
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