It’s fair to say that Macron’s long-term deal with the Welsh Rugby Union hasn’t been hugely positively received by Wales fans, but the release of Macron’s first off-field Wales gear has caused a new issue to come to the fore – the radically different sizing the Italian company uses, and the limited options available that could mean some fans could be unable to support their team in official WRU gear.
The issue seems to revolve around Macron’s… interesting approach to sizing, which rather than offering garments in a broad selection of physical measurements, seems to offer a wide selection of sizes in a narrower range. The upside of this is that in theory at least it should enable most fans to find more accurate fit than before, but it also means that they may have to wear a very different size than normal, and may mean that larger and smaller fans may be unable to find garments in their size at all.
So let’s take a look at the men’s jerseys as an example, as that’s the most common and widely bought bit of merch – if you were used to wearing a size L in the old Under Armour sizing (42-44′ chest), you might conceivably wear an L in Macron… or an XL, or a XXL… hell if you wore an L and it was a bit of a snug fit you might even be better off with a 3XL!
We’ve heard plenty of anecdotal tales from Scotland fans, as well as Blues and Scarlets fans in the last two years, that having to size up by two or three compared to most brands is the norm. This could take a LOT of fans by surprise given that they’ve been used to ordering UA or Reebok sizing for the past 20-plus years.
And that’s before we get into the ‘height’ part of the recommendation – how many of those people previously wearing 2XL UA gear were 6’11” in height as the Macron chart seems to indicate!?
Smaller gaps between the sizes is no bad thing in the long run however – in fact it’s better once you know what your size is. But that’s not the only issue – there are fewer sizes offered than before, so some fans are going to find themselves unable to find jerseys to fit them.
The above UA size guide shows that the old sizing offered sizes from XS-4XL (in fact Wales UA gear ran all the way up to 5XL in 2019-20) and you’ll notice something straight away – the span of sizing doesn’t cover nearly as big a range.
So if you previously wore an XS jersey? You’d have to buy a small jersey and hope that the four-inch difference doesn’t make you feel dwarfed by your shirt, and things are much worse at the other end of the scale.
Fans who felt comfortable in a XXL Under Armour jersey will have to hope the smaller 5XL (!) Macron top won’t be too snug, and if they wore the 3XL, 4XL or 5XL jerseys that Under Armour produced? Well then as far as Macron is concerned, you’re out of luck.
The Welsh rugby team is often talked about for its power to unite the nation, so it’s unfortunate that the sizing of the new gear is going to exclude some fans who have previously worn their colours with pride – while we don’t imagine that the WRU sold many of these extended sizes, they were always sold out at retailers, meaning that some fans did buy these items, and it seems they’ll now miss out.
For a sport that markets itself as being for all shapes and sizes on the pitch, it’s a real shame that the WRU’s Macron gear doesn’t reflect that for all fans, especially in an age when brands are rightly being called out for exclusionary sizing, especially in regards to plus sizes.
A new kit supplier should provide a shot in the arm for a team and have fans excited about what a fresh set of eyes can have on their gear. But the Macron deal already has commentators saying that they can’t afford to put a foot wrong, and this sort of thing won’t help get fans onside
Rugby Shirt Watch has reached out to the WRU for comment on this story and will update it as soon as we hear from them.