I first learned about Oiselle at the 2013 Penn Relays. My first impression: “Wow, someone didn’t pay attention in French class.” French lesson of the day: you can’t make all nouns feminine by replacing the ‘eau’ at the end with an ‘elle.’ Yes, “oiseau” is actually a masculine noun, but there are obviously female birds in France. They’re still “oiseau.” The website used to have something about how Oiselle is the French word for bird or something. No need to be annoying about it by making it all feminine and stuff. Whatever. B for effort though.
Flash forward to 2014 — I started doing some trail running and track workouts near my house. I usually drive there, and storing my car keys during the run is a pain in the butt. Literally. I have a bajillion pairs of Nike tempo shorts that I got for like $10-15 throughout the years, but the pocket isn’t big enough for my car keys, so I decided to look around for some shorts that have zipper pockets. Alas, I stumbled upon the Nike Rival shorts. I bought two pairs as a splurge for my birthday and am in loveeeee with them.
But because I wear them so often (already, I know), I ordered a pair of Roga Shorts from Oiselle to add to my shorts rotation. Yay: 1) they have a zip pocket 2) they were on sale. Woohoo.
They arrived today, and they look like this:
If you’re charging $46 (full price) for a pair of shorts, at least make the quality live up to its price tag. Ugh. In addition to those orphan seams, the shorts felt stiff and scratchy because I’ve been spoiled by my Nike Rival shorts, which were around the same price.
I never liked the Oiselle brand that much from the beginning (can I please just call it Oiseau? GENDER EQUALITY), and getting sub-par shorts didn’t help. I also found out that they have this little exclusive club called “The Flock,” where you basically pay $100 to join, wear their singlet to races, and write hashtag Oiselle, hashtag TheFlock on every social media channel ever. It’s a brilliant idea, really. Get a bunch of wealthy white women to pay to join a cult so that they can continually funnel their money towards the brand. You PAY to market them. Absolutely brilliant. But this is a company that claims to empower women.
If you really want to empower people through running, check out Back on My Feet and Black Girls Run. I know the comparison isn’t completely fair because these two organizations are non-profits, but my point is that buying a pair of $46 shorts is not empowering at all, unless you think that flaunting wealth is empowering…
I personally love running because it’s something that can connect people regardless of age, gender, nationality, income level, heritage, culture, hair color, you name it. You can run a 4 minute mile or a 14 minute mile. It really doesn’t matter because, above all, you’re a runner. It pains me to see a company make this sport seem so divisive and cliquey.
Anyway. I could elaborate more on the last part, but I don’t want to seem so negative. I’m just really disappointed. To summarize: 1) Oiselle is not a French word 2) Oiselle Roga shorts are of mediocre quality 3) Oiselle is the opposite of empowering
As for my new Roga shorts… I’m kinda tempted to keep them for the back pocket, but I’d rather not. Does anyone have suggestions for running shorts that have pockets big enough to store car keys? Or any other creative solutions?