(SGI) As usual, an independent jury has selected the winners of the Ispo Awards for this year’s Ispo Munich. The most innovative products in outdoor, as well as in snow sports, running, fitness & team sports and sustainability, were chosen from a large number of high-quality entries. While the titles “Winner” and “Gold Winner” have been treated in somewhat inflationary ways in recent years, the title of “Product of the Year” is ultimately the highest achievement in each category. This year, ProteGear and The North Face managed to take home this award in the outdoor category.

While being evaluated as a distinct segment, sustainability and ecology overall proved to be prerequisites for winning an award this year. A case in point was the Veja Condor, the world’s first “post-petroleum running shoe,” which was named Product of the Year in the running category. Alpina’s Prolan Vest back protector also managed to convince the jury with its ecological concept: this snow sports Product of the Year uses European sheep’s wool instead of polymers for the vest and protector plate, without compromising safety, according to the company. The Summit L3 50/50 Down Hoodie from The North Face came out on top in the outdoor apparel category. The judges appreciated the pullover’s combination of breathability and a light, compact package. 

The outdoor equipment category was won by the ProteGear A*Live SmartSafety Tool, a digital rescue assistant designed mainly to detect emergencies and independently call for rescue. According to ProteGear, this can reduce the reaction time of emergency services by up to 90 percent. The A*Live uses both the available mobile phone network and the Iridium and global satellite networks. In areas without mobile coverage, it can also be used as a satellite hotspot for smartphones. 

The strategy of combining existing materials – a windbreaker lining with breathable Polartec Alpha insulation – in a completely new way for the new R5 Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket for runners earned Gore the Product of the Year award in the running apparel category. In the fitness & team sports category, an inflatable surfboard from Tripstix received the highest accolade. The light board provides stiffness and shape and can still be packed down to a very small size. Tripstix is a company in Munich that was founded in 2010 by a group of river surfers looking for a more comfortable way to travel across town to their favorite surf spots. 

Judged by a separate jury of specialists, the sustainability category has developed into one of the most interesting segments of the Ispo Awards. With a completely new circular economy approach, Bergans of Norway received the “Sustainability Achievement” award for its “Collection of Tomorrow,” represented by a backpack made from a recycled/ recyclable material. As “owners” of the fabric used in the product, consumers can decide at any point to return the backpack and order a jacket, pant or any other item made with the very same material. The Collection of Tomorrow was developed in collaboration with Spinnova, a Finnish producer of bio-based materials for the textile industry. Jan Tore Jensen, chief executive of Bergans of Norway, said that while the Collection of Tomorrow is currently at the prototype stage, it provides a glimpse into future product development. 

In addition to the Products of the Year and the Sustainability Achievement Award, the Ispo jury assigned several Gold and Winner Awards to products across all categories. The complete list of all winners is available at www. ispo.com/en/awards/ispo-award. Dynafit won two awards, including a Gold Award, in the ski touring segment. The same honors wer granted to Salewa, another brand in Oberalp’s portfolio. POC Sports won three Ispo Awards with its 2020/21 snow collection. Base Armor, a cut-resistant racing base layer made with Dyneema fiber, is a Gold Winner. The Cornea Solar Switch, a snow sports goggle that changes its tint automatically to adjust to the ambient light, is an Ispo Winner, as is the Loft Parka, a down jacket for all a full experience on the slopes – before, during and after skiing. 

New, internal Ispo Award team

Messe München announced this month that the Ispo Textrends, Ispo Brandnew and Ispo Award product platforms, which had previously been organized by external service providers, will now be coordinated and managed by a new internal team. For more than 20 years, a Munich-based agency, Pascher + Heinz, has been responsible for the conceptual development, coordination and management of all award platforms in close cooperation with the former head of awards & innovation, David Badalec. Badalec left Messe München in January after eight years with the company to be appointed country manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Private Sport Shop, an online shopping club based in Montpellier, France. 

With the OutDoor trade show moving from Friedrichshafen to Munich last summer, the Ispo Group’s award portfolio has expanded with the addition of the “Outstanding Outdoor” range of products, which will enter its second round at this year’s OutDoor by Ispo on June 28 to July 1. Ispo’s new internal team, now responsible for all awards, consists of the new head of the awards & innovation department, Franziska Ziendl, and three product managers, Jacqueline Eskandar, Susanne Reinthaler and Stephan Barth, all of whom have professional experience within the Ispo Group.