Dear REI, I love your brand and have been a longtime member and cardholder. However, REI stores (and even online) carry a perpetually disappointing selection of women's outdoor gear; I've noticed this particularly with rock climbing gear, ski boots/bindings, and snowboard boots. Sure, you carry many entry-level versions of these products, but anything beyond that is slim-pickins or completely unavailable. For example, you don't carry several popular versions of more experienced rock shoes: the La Sportiva Kataki is not available online or in stores; the La Sportiva Katana is not available in store (at least not in Sacramento); and popular unisex/unsized shoes such as the La Sportiva TC Pros or FiveTen Moccasyms are not in store in sizes that fit most women. I've faced the same frustration in trying to buy stiffer ski boots at REI -- there are many very flexible beginner models, but very few intermediate or advanced models, and even fewer that are Alpine Touring compatible. The unfortunate result of this is at least two-fold: (1) women, like me, are stuck ordering online without the benefit of trying on for size, often resulting in multiple rounds of orders and returns to get the right size, while men can just waltz in, try on their shoes, and be on their merry way; and (2) women stop coming to REI for anything other than basic entry level gear, knowing it won't be available to women and instead opting to buy elsewhere online, either direct from the brands or places like Backcountry.com. Given REI's typical social conscience, this predicament is really disappointing and surprising, and it leaves me wondering why I should shop REI rather than other online merchants. MY ASK: Can you please support women in outdoor pursuits by carrying a better selection of intermediate and advanced women's gear? At a minimum, it would be helpful to carry floor models of the gear for women to try on in store and then buy on REI.com, avoiding the cycle of ordering/returning/ordering/returning that occurs when you have to repeatedly guess for sizing. Thanks, A chick who's trying to send it.
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