When I am not consulting, I also run another company that produces and sells a winter sport product called Zipflracer . So of course once a year I get to trek through the vast halls of ISPO MUNICH, the leading international sports business trade show.
There are over 2,300 international exhibitors there presenting their selection of sporting goods ranging from outdoor, ski, action to performance sports. I guess I was one of the 80,000 visitors from one of the over 100 countries the trade show says attend every year. While we used to be exhibitors ourselves, the last few years we have used ISPO more to research trends and opportunities (and for lots of inspiration).
One of my first stops is always ISPO BRANDNEW, where young start up entrepreneurs present their innovations. A jury of experts selects from several hundred entries, only a few get to exhibit and even fewer get the sought after newcomer awards. For me, two companies stood out: Skora and Aetem – and none of them are winter sport products.
Skora produces running shoes and they not only stood out with their innovative design, but with their philopspohy and vision. Their running shoes are built to encourage biomechanically correct running performance i.e. running using whole foot and not only the heel, resulting in less impact and force shock. The shoes not only look cool, they are light and flexible minimal cushioning but with enough support. They were still looking for a distributor in Germany, but I will definitely order some online from Portland, Oregon for now.
I am not a diver or a big snorkeler myself, but I do love sailing, swimming and spend a lot of free time on the water. The Munich-based company Aetem is a big fan of seatrekking, a combination of snorkeling diving during the day with nights spent on land. Their Premium Sea Pack is a waterproof backpack that can be used in and out of the water and functions as a bodyboard, backpack and even trolley when you hit that plane home. Really cool.
I wish I had more time at ISPO. There is always so much else to see and explore. People to talk to or just feel the vibes in the different halls ranging from the high fashion luxury feel in Hall B1 to the craziness of the A1 and A2 with all its boarders and hipsters. I did feel that this year there were less snowboard companies present than in previous years (are people going back to skiing?). Their space seemed to be taken up but a whole myriad of camera technology companies (and many of them pretty bad quality). I did like the “Soloshot” though which is basically a camera on a tripod that can follow a subject automatically and follows its move. How does it work? The camera has a motor with a receiver, the athlete wears a transmitter. Now you can film yourself while surfing the big waves in Hawaii. And I was taken back to the 80’s when it was “cool” to ski in your tight blue jeans (but your Mom told you not to cause you would catch a cold) when stumbling upon Urbanus who have developed some pretty cool denim boardpants (I want!). And for all those that like to wear hoodies as much as I do in my free time AND love to listen to music, you need to check out Hoodiebuddie . They feature cool hoodies that contain a standard headphone jack in the front pocket which allow you to plug in any device of your choice. Once plugged in, the audio travels up embedded cables to your headphones that are built into the end of the drawstrings. How cool is that? The hoodie including the headphones is even machine washable.
So I have had lots of inspiration through innovation. Feels good. Looking forward to ISPO MUNICH 2014 already!