The N26 guide to online sports equipment stores
Our online sports store review explains the ins and outs of buying sports equipment, sneakers, and other sportswear from the websites of Decathlon, Intersport, Nike, and Adidas.
6 min read
With most gyms closed for the time being, we’ve all had to seek alternatives to our weekly spin class or volleyball practice. Jogging and cycling have seen a surge in popularity, and sales of at-home sports equipment such as kettlebells and resistance bands have skyrocketed across Europe.
To help you find what you need to stay fit, we’ve reviewed four of the largest online athletics and sporting goods retailers. Here, we explain what kind of gear they sell, what services they offer, and how they handle shipping and returns.
Adidas wears its sustainability credentials on its sleeve
This German multinational is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe. Adidas sells online in 20 European countries and offers a decent range of language options, too. Adidas and Nike clearly keep a very close eye on each other’s business models—the design, offers, and conditions of their online stores and apps are remarkably similar. Like Nike, Adidas is all about clothing, shoes and accessories—so you won’t find any sports equipment or outdoor gear here.
Yet unlike Nike, Adidas offers a range of sustainable footwear and sportswear products. Under Brands in the main menu, you’ll find a variety of vegan sneakers, sportswear, and Stan Smith sneakers featuring Primegreen—a textile made from recycled materials—as well as Primeblue clothing and shoes, made using Parley Ocean Plastic and zero virgin polyester.
Product pages offer size guidance, customer reviews and ratings, links to shipping and returns information, plus plenty of photos. You can even personalize your Stan Smiths by having letters and numbers stitched onto the sides.
“Click and collect” is free, but isn’t available in some countries right now due to lockdowns. Standard shipping costs vary between countries, but are free if you spend over a certain amount—or you’re a member of the Adidas Creator’s Club. Returns and refunds are free as well, and you have 60 days to make up your mind.
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Decathlon—the Ikea of sports equipment
This French retailer is well on its way to conquering the world. Decathlon operates in 49 countries and sells sports equipment and clothing for 85 different sports. Its app and online stores are slick, professional, and largely identical—no matter where you are. The main product categories are Sports, Menswear, Womenswear, and Kidswear—although some markets also feature categories such as Accessories, Nutrition and Body Care, Fitness at Home, City Mobility, Bestsellers, and Sales Items.
Once you’re on the website, click on Sports to start your journey. Choose from a variety of athletic activities—including Running, HIIT Training, Fishing, Darts, and more. You can then work your way through the subcategories to narrow your search (e.g. Yoga > Yoga Equipment > Yoga Mats). The product pages have filters for size, price range, and color—as well as customer reviews and ratings, a size chart, a Q&A link, a sustainability rating, and a tool for checking online and in-store availability.
As soon as you’ve decided what you’d like to buy, you’ll have to create a customer account before you can make your purchase—or you can simply log in using Google, Facebook, or Apple. Standard delivery starts at £5.99 in the UK and €3.99 in Germany. “Click and collect” is free—remember to take a photo ID with you—and returns or refunds are accepted for 365 days after purchase.
Want to shop sustainably? Just head to the menu and select Decathlon’s Eco-design range. Their sustainable sportswear is made from materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester sourced from old textiles or plastic water bottles. The UK site also offers discounted “second-life” products that have been slightly damaged in transit or tested by customers in stores.
Intersport—home to sports equipment, camping gear, and outdoor clothing
The Intersport corporation was founded by 10 European sports retailers in 1968 and is a patchwork of businesses operating in about 50 countries globally. Unlike the highly uniform Decathlon sites, Intersport’s online shops vary widely when it comes to variety and quality. Some countries only have a basic website instead of an online store.
The Austrian Intersport web shop, for instance, offers these categories:
Women’s, Men’s, Kids’—clothing and shoes
Sports—sorted into biking, outdoor, fitness & running, winter sports, summer sports, and others
Brands—like Asics, Jack Wolfskin, K2, and more
Equipment—sorted into General, Biking, Outdoors, Fitness & Running, Summer Sports, Winter Sports
Outdoor—camping gear and functional outdoor clothing
Blog & Services—purchasing advice (e.g. what to pay attention to when fitting a bike helmet, or choosing a children’s sleeping bag) and in-store services like ski boot fitting or a running analysis to help you find the right sneakers
Sales—discounted or leftover stock
You’ll also find product explainer videos and an online tool that helps you select the right sports bra.
Shipping starts at around €5 to €6, and it’s free if you spend over a certain amount (e.g. €70 in Austria, €49 in Spain). “Click and collect” is free too, and depending on the country, you’ll have between 14 and 30 days to return items for a refund. There are no wish list or product comparison functions, but you can place orders without having to set up an account.
Kicks and threads are what Nike does best
With a total of 45 online stores in 29 European countries, there’s a good chance that Nike speaks your language. The US giant has taken pains to accommodate multilingual nations. Nike also offers an official app that lets you shop, browse Nike news, or chat to customer service representatives. Plus, if you become a NikePlus Access member, you’ll gain early access to new products, exclusive collections, and invites to special events.
Nike is first and foremost a footwear and sportswear company. The only sports equipment you’ll find here are accessories like hats, armbands, bags, water bottles, and knee braces. You won’t find any golf clubs or tennis rackets, and certainly no camping gear.
Nike keeps its navigation simple with the following categories: New Releases, Men, Women, Kids, Sale, and Special Collections. The shoe collections are grouped into themes such as Trending, Lifestyle, and Running—so you can quickly narrow down your search. Product pages have a wish list function, customer reviews, and links to a size guide—plus their shipping/returns policy.
You can pay by credit card, PayPal, iDEAL, Klarna, or gift card—or Apple Pay on the Nike app. Delivery is free for NikePlus Access members. Non-members will have to pay a shipping fee (e.g. €5 in France and Belgium, €10 in Slovakia) unless they exceed the minimum order amount, ranging from €50 to €150 depending on the country.
If the shoes don’t fit or you change your mind, you’ll have 60 days to return them for a refund, provided they’re unworn and unwashed. Returns are free and managed online, regardless of whether you’re a NikePlus Access member.
Shop securely and get active with N26
When you buy sportswear or fitness equipment online using your N26 account, you can rest assured that your card details and money are well protected.
N26 is a 100% mobile, fully licensed bank, which means that we provide the same level of security as traditional banks with added convenience. Two-factor authentication protects your account from fraud, while 3D Secure technology encrypts your personal payment information when you shop online. So, when you join the Nike club or create a customer account with Decathlon, you can do it with full peace of mind with N26.
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