You know it’s coming. All those articles, promotions, and TV programmes telling you how to get your post-festive season body back into shape. You could chose to fight it but more than likely you really should just take the advice and plan your return to the gym. A snazzy, new kit it will make all the more bearable—exciting even to pull on such fashionable sports wear?!—you’ll also stand out like a newbie but go with it; at least you won’t be the only one. While you’re still eating mince pies Marie Teather does the hard work for you and finds the five best sports stores in London.
1 Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty rely hit the nail on its head when it opened its first store in 1998. Finally sexy, feminine clothing that fitted the need of women’s bodies in the gym was available. Eleven years on Sweaty Betty has created a lifestyle around its stylish boutiques and trendy sportswear. Today you’re just as likely to see the sportswear on the school run before mum’s dash off for their yoga class as you are in the gym.
There are 11 stores across London. See www.sweatybetty.com for details.
Head out of Oxford Circus and it’s almost impossible to miss the largest Nike store in the world. As the name suggests, the shop is a concept ‘town’. Buildings, each housing a specific sport, surround a central square, the store’s focal point. In its centre sits the core, a three-storey high, 360° projector screen, which springs to life every 20 minutes; as window blinds are snapped shut, customers are barraged with a menagerie of sporting images. Since it’s relaunch in November 2011 there is now an entire floor dedicated to women’s ranges.
236 Oxford St, London, W1N 9DS
020 7612 0800
A landmark on Piccadilly Circus, the iconic Lilywhite has been there 1925 since it first opened to cater to the elite who played croquet and tennis. Today the range of sportwear on offer is much more diverse but the shop has always prided itself on being able to obtain items for even the most obscure of sports. Housed in a beautiful early Victorian building the shop has attracted the greatest sportsmen, celebrities and royalties for well over a century. Unrivalled in its service and quality, the shop is just as much as an attraction as a working example of an old English department store as it is a place to buy sporting goods.
4 King’s Road Sporting Club
This store does not have the sexiest of sportswear on this list, neither does it have the largest range but with such a great location and a huge range of gear for running, yoga and pilates, gym, and swim wear it’s worth dropping by. You’ll be able to create a full sports kit as well as getting a few dumbbells, treadmills and multi-gym kits too if you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic.
38-42 King's Road, London SW3 4UD
020 7589 5418
5 Adidas Originals Covent Garden
Ok, to what extent the sportswear here is really designed for doing sports in is debatable but hey, we all need a something a little trendy to at least get us to the gym. London's first Adidas Originals store showcases a range of exclusive product lines from footwear to track pants that wouldn’t look out of place on the Black Eyed Peas and blinging accessories.
9 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9LL
0207 379 4042