So that the pleasure you experience practising your sport continues to grow, or to simply allow you to discover a new sport, innovation at Decathlon is our priority.At Decathlon, innovation is pragmatic:make sports accessible to everyone, regardless of their level or the discipline.Our teams put the athlete at the core of the approach and focus on innovations in usage.They innovate with products that are ACCESSIBLE, SMART, PRACTICAL, and UNIQUE.


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1. By athletes, for athletes : Innovation driven by you, the athlete !

Our approach is user-centred. By watching athletes practice their sport, and by listening to them, our salespersons, product managers, designers and engineers imagine the products of tomorrow. The ones that will facilitate the sports activity and the athlete’s comfort, pleasure and safety.And thanks to customer reviews and continuous innovation, we can improve our existing products and envision the innovations of tomorrow.

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2. The idea

Behind every product is an idea, a need, an expectation, or an intuition... voiced by an athlete, customer or employee, that comes to life in the minds of the design teams and stimulates their creativity. Creating 2,800 new products per year on average requires a lot of ideas.It means constantly considering how the sport is evolving and how it is practised. That’s how Decathlon innovates:by basing its design philosophy on watching and listening to athletes.

innovation strategy picture

3. Observing the sport and the athletes

The close ties that Decathlon maintains with athletes is fundamental for innovation. It allows our teams to observe the athletes during their sessions, and to collect their reactions. On the Decathlon sites, in our stores and on the Internet, we exchange with them daily. The Decathlon sites fit into their environments and are designed to facilitate discussion. Around a central store where you can buy sports equipment lie vast natural spaces (ocean, river, mountains, forest, etc.) or man-made facilities (golf courses, soccer fields, tennis or basketball courts, etc.), workshops, and staff offices.

4. Creation : Giving the ideas form

The body is the first item of sports equipment. While brands focus on their users and their needs, the Decathlon SportsLab Research& Development Centre focuses on how the human body works, and its needs. Together, we design innovative products that facilitate their usage and ensure user well-being and safety.More than 50 engineers and researchers play a major role in the Decathlon R&D chain, which comprises roughly 780 persons.

Decathlon SportsLab has precise measuring and analytical tools and various fields of expertise in areas such as movement, thermal comfort, morphology, and affective science. Our teams track the causes of awkwardness, discomfort, and injury risks. Our researchers also cooperate with universities and laboratories to develop innovative projects and share expertise.


Our R&D teams form a link-chain within the company:in the brands, within the prototyping workshops, the industrial process teams, and in the SportsLabs laboratories. Everyone contributes to the product improvement programme. Each product component is studied.

Our designers give form, colour and substance to the products imagined.It is a collaborative approach based on the knowledge and expertise of the product managers, researchers and engineers. They create functional prototypes that allow them to be evaluated in action. They also make drawings and models in order to preview their final appearance and assess how users perceive them.They create an emotional bond between the product and the athlete by imagining the most user-friendly way to bring it to life.

design at decathlon

The choice of components and assembly are key stages that allow the product to be unique, relevant, and long-lasting. At Villeneuve d’Ascq (France), more than 3,000 prototypes are made each year. The prototyping workshops are made available to the teams in order to observe and test the components and finished products in real-life situations. They promote faster design and allow each employee to be an enabler and creator of the innovation. Through this approach, Decathlon and its brands are able to offer high-tech products available to large numbers of people.