Decathlon Soon To Conquer USA Team Handball Scene

Last November, our club embarked on a journey with one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers, Decathlon USA (1,400+ stores in more than 40 countries). The French Giant (re)established in the Bay Area in 2017 and aims at supporting local sports communities in their development goals.
In this go-round, Decathlon is also offering its exclusive private label brands across its U.S. stores and online. That includes the ATORKA Team Handball collection, which consists of handballs, indoor shoes, and full playing gear (e.g. jerseys, shorts, goalkeeper sweatshirt, socks, elbow pads, etc.). We’re privileged to be the first ones in the nation to try their best-selling products, and we must say, we’re positively surprised!
The handballs first. They come in all sizes (3, 2 and 1), in different colors and quality levels. We’ve tried the ATORKA H500 ADULT HYBRID handball, the top of the line. The design is modest, but the grip is excellent. If you do not pump up the ball quite so hard, it allows almost a perfect bounce and control. For those familiar with the Hummel Concept Plus, you’ll find the grip relatively comparable. ATORKA handballs actually manage to keep up with all the top brands on the market and are definitely a great value for money ($30 all-in). They’re excellent practice balls and adhere pretty well to the resin too. Time and use will tell us more about their durability, and, in particular, their fit to competitive games. Nonetheless, we’re very excited to have a new option on the market!
The shoes are up next for review. A couple of our players were offered to try the ATORKA H500 ADULT HANDBALL SHOES RED/BLUE, and the feedback is positive so far. “They are very light and comfortable, especially for moderate use. But, what impresses me the most is their grip!” – says our women’s team top scorer Laura Savy. “They look like badminton shoes but offer the stability and comfort of a handball shoe especially in their torsion support” says our right wing man Francis Brero. Also, the high amount of mesh allows for great breathability and makes for a very light shoe. It seems that the only downside revolves around the cushioning, perceived as too soft to endure a more intense use. “We play tournaments once a month, i.e. 4-5 games over a weekend, and those shoes might not be the best suited for those competition formats” says Laura. All in all, they seem a pretty good deal to most. “The price ($60) makes them ultimately reachable to anyone who wishes to try out the sport on a low note” says Francis.
Needless to say that we cannot wait to try more of the ATORKA line (e.g. clothing, resin). The US Team Handball scene can definitely benefit from a bit more competition in that area. Hummel has managed to successfully penetrate the market and deliver excellent products to most established teams, but all the other traditional team handball sportswear companies still lack a firm presence on the market to be viable solutions in the long run. A new and more affordable supplier, such as Decathlon, could help develop the sport at smaller clubs and schools faster and boost competition off-the-field. We need everyone behind this project!
Until then, bear with us…

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