The outdoor retail juggernaut announced it will now carry apparel up to women’s size 20 by the end of 2021.
In a move toward increased inclusivity, REI announced this week that it will expand its apparel sizing. The retailer will soon offer up to women’s size 20 in some lines, initially launching it at REI.com. Men’s sizes up to 4XL are already available.
The move is part of a groundswell across the outdoor sports world. Brands like Columbia, The North Face, and prAna have all expanded their sizing options recently. REI will feature new sizes from each brand, and several others including its store brand, in product lines from apparel to footwear to backpacks.
REI Launches Inclusive Sizing
REI will begin by offering more apparel sizes in a core group of activities. Yoga, hiking, snow sports, running, fitness, swimming, and cycling are at the top of the list. Not only will it offer gear in a wider range of sizes, but it will also commit to featuring more people of all shapes in its content.
Additionally, it promises to feature athletes with different body shapes in its Expert Advice articles. It’s a key commitment from the brand — the articles help orient and advise new or inexperienced athletes, and spread important information.
Expanded sizing won’t land on REI’s sales floors overnight. Because of the design complexity involved, the rollout will be procedural.
“Developing inclusive size runs correctly takes much more than just sizing up or down,” explains April Zito, REI general merchandising manager for apparel. “To fit a broader array of bodies, manufacturers must invest in various tools to build new designs and bring quality inclusive sizing to market.”
What does that mean for consumers? More inclusive sizing for women, up to apparel size 20 in some products, will launch on REI.com and at 34 stores nationwide by the end of 2021.
By the end of 2022, the brand promises to land expanded sizing at all stores. It’s unclear whether it intends to build on its existing plus-size options for men.
What to Expect
Though REI is starting its sizing inclusivity initiative gradually, it intends to expand to a wide range of sports and products. REI has already begun adding more size options to its backpacking packs and bicycles. It’s in the process of including Zize bikes, for instance, which can carry riders up to 550 pounds.
As the outdoor sports world’s capacity for acceptance and inclusivity expands, gear capability has to expand with it. REI takes a step in the right direction by expanding its apparel sizing.