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Where to buy sports gear in Brussels

16:19 31/12/2017
Shorts and supplements, trackers and trainers: is it time to give your gym kit a makeover for 2018?

Sportswear used to be about throwing on any old shorts and T-shirt and wearing them till they wore out.

Sports brands have changed that. From Nike’s swoosh and Adidas’s three stripes to Puma’s, well, puma, there are kits, shoes and accessories for every sport in the Olympics, as well as many more that aren’t. And they can all be found easily enough in Brussels.

The two big players are Decathlon and SportsDirect. Both have kit for just about every discipline, and their accessories range from golf clubs to heart rate monitors. Indeed, electronics are taking up a growing chunk of sports stores, including gadgets like the Garmin and TomTom running and cycling watches, and fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit.

Decathlon is the bigger store with huge, warehouse-style spaces in Anderlecht and Evere. The largest sporting goods retailer in the world, it stocks familiar names as well as its own brands, like Kalenji running gear, B’Twin bicycles (its high-end range includes carbon fibre frames and disc brakes), Aptonia nutrition and Quechua camping and outdoor equipment. A third Brussels store recently opened in the refurbished shopping centre on Place de la Monnaie.

SportsDirect also stocks a mix of the big names, like Slazenger, Firetrap, Kangol and Lonsdale. It’s also more likely to stock your favourite replica football kit, Star Wars hoodie or Superman swimming trunks. It has stores across Brussels, notably in City 2 and Dockx. Their shops are more cramped and noisy than Decathlon, but their rock-bottom prices are very persuasive.

Running enthusiasts tend to go to dedicated stores. As the name suggests, Jogging Plus in Rue de Luxembourg focuses on jogging. So does Training 7, in Auderghem, although it has added swimming to its range. Many running cognoscenti head for places where clients are filmed on a treadmill to find the best shoe for their running style and gait. The first to offer this was Watermolen in Overijse, and it has been followed by Trakks with stores in Uccle and Schuman.

Big-name brands are getting in on the act too, with their own dedicated stores. Asics, which mainly makes sports shoes and running gear, has a shop on the Toison d’Or, while Nike’s shop is on Rue Neuve, in the city centre. Adidas’s Originals Store – which is mainly about its casual and fashion brands – is in Antwerp. Indeed, the fashion side of sport is now growing in popularity: Fresh, on Rue du Midi in the centre of Brussels, is devoted to streetwear by sports brands, including for skateboarders.

Beyond clothes and accessories, there are also specialist stores dealing with sports nutrition and supplements, from carbohydrates and whey proteins to creatine and glutamine. They include Sports & Nutrition on Rue du Lombard in the centre of Brussels, Workout on Chaussée de Charleroi in Saint-Gilles, and Vitamin Shop on Place Dailly in Schaerbeek.

This article first appeared in The Bulletin winter 2017. Browse the magazine here, pick up a copy in newsagents or subscribe today...

Written by Leo Cendrowicz