ISPO Munich 2015
Munich, early February 2015 – ISPO is the world’s largest international fair for sporting goods. And like every year we’ve been there, browsing the fair grounds for new and interesting products. ISPO is known for being the place where sports industry is showing off their latest products and presenting their hottest innovations. It’s always been the place where new brands are having their brakethrough and where sport trends become popular…
So, what did we see? Hmmm…good question. We literally went by every single booth of this huge fair. Watching out for products which would catch our attention. Of course, we all have our own view on what’s interesting. And so we did not have a closer look into fashion, but into hardware products and the general developments of the market.
Over all we got the impression there’s some sort of slow down in the development of new products. Not in a sense that we were missing out on new products, but more in a sense of saying “thank god”. Because before, in the past 5 to 6 years we been seeing fireworks of new developments and designs. Almost so many that we kept saying: “…who in the world is supposed to buy all that stuff ?…” and why is industry bombarding us with new shapes every year, whereas the functionality of the products is hardly improving. It seemed like everybody was just developing new designs and shapes to keep the ball rolling…
So this year we were pleasantly surprised that this development seemed to slow down a little. And that’s good, because we all profit from manufacturers who have more time to think about real developments instead of creating a million variations of one and the same product over and over again…
The over all Quality of Design
We are impressed about the over all quality of design. We are designers ourselves and we have to admit that almost all manufacturers were presenting products with a high level of esthetical design. We are really impressed. Unlike the past years when everybody tried to raise the bar of design by creating all fancy shapes. Which then wore off easily and became boring and lame after very short time. Instead, congratulation! … Good design lasts and stretches the lifetime of products. And that’s good for us and the environment.
Shape, color and style were addressed nicely – most of the times. Even many Chinese manufacturers were presenting very appealing designs. That hasn’t been always like this. And it tells us, that they will compete against the well established brands soon.
The 15th year of the Brand New Award 2015
Hmmm…how can we say this? Well, we probably would cut out the “award” and exchange it for “gadgets”. Right, it should be called “The brand new gadgets”. Simply because we think the bar for awarding something is sitting a little too low. No doubt, the “awarded” products are great. And the fact that the “Brand New Award” is offering a platform to push young companies is awesome too. But quite frankly, we’ve seen more sexy ”Brand New” innovation before!
And don’t get us wrong: Back in the days we’ve received that award too. For an action camera – at a time when GoPro didn’t exist and Steve Jobs was still dreaming of an iPhone.
Our personal impression this year:
We’ve seen a lot of electronic gadgets this year. And many times we do not really understand the benefits. Why should my glove for example be able to beam some sort of temperature data into some cloud network? So that I can download it later, or that my friends can see I’m actually out there in the cold ?…Well, that’s just an example, but you know what I’m talking about.
So, in a nutshell: For us, too much clothing products, too much bluetooth and software stuff… too few good old innovations and too little fun !!!
Well, there’s two products we think are fun and worth mentioning:
EVOC Bags – Great Brand, Great Style!
Several years ago we met the EVOC guys at a party or so. Since then we haven’t met them again. But every ISPO we walk their booth and stroll around…and we always like what we see!
We think those people are doing a great job !!! They produce beautiful bags and backpacks one after another. They grow bigger and better each year and they definitely have style. So we feel they absolutely need to be mention here at this point.
Black Crows Ski
For us, the Black Crows are always a highlight. We love their style from A to Z. From web- to product design. And of course that rotor presentation of their skis. They have been using this display forever and it’s not getting any boring at all. At the same time they never fuzz around with their ski designs. Everything is stylish and simple, clean and unique. Just have a look! We absolutely like them.
The first time we came across this brand was in 2006 or 2007, when they were displaying a few skis on an all simple booth. Same rotor display, black backdrop walls, black old leather sofa in the center of the booth and some bright colored skis leaning against the walls. Until then they have obviously grown. Today they are producing more than just skis. They produce skis, poles, hats, sweaters, t-shirts and as you can see soon jackets and pants…
Awesome Snow Shoes from Norway
Wow, this is cutting edge and absolutely beautiful. Some designers have been rethinking an existing product from scratch and have been creating some stunning innovation here.
Such products can only become reality in a perfect development process. When all involved parties can work together from the very beginning. When designers, engineers and marketers understand that they need each other to push the limits and to create something breaking new.
We talked to the people at the booth and had a very nice chat about design, marketing and engineering details. It showed us these guys are not only creating great products, they also are very nice people! That’s great and a five star rating from us.
PS In 2014 they received the famous RedDot Award for that product.
On a personal note: Too many manufacturers still do not fully understand such processes. Often enough development parties are working against each other and do not appreciate each other’s input. Rather understand it as criticism. As a result many of those companies are only able to create some innovation but will never be able to land a big hit. (We could talk about this forever but don’t want to bore anybody. If you want to know more, please feel free to email us or give us a call…)
Ercolina – The Cross Country Turbo
So, here’s some story:
Snow came in late this winter and we’ve been watching a lot of skiing events on TV rather than being out there. That’s when we came across a documentary about a top biathlon athlete and her personal training. In one scene she was using this small machine for training her arms and her upper body. The machine was bolted to a high fence and her arms kept pulling a cord out of that machine – all in very high cadence and with a lot of strength. Never seen before, but very impressive!
Well, that scene popped back into my mind a few days later. When we went out for the very first skating sessions of the year. After that session my arms hurt and my upper body was all sore from the constant push-motion of my arms.
No excuses, it’s instantly been clear: I’m missing out on some training here. Simply because cross country is only fun when you’re strong enough to pick up some speed…and that’s not possible without a strong upper body. Question was: Would sit-ups, pull-ups and push-ups be able to do the trick for me? Or would I need to start thinking of some sort of do-it-yourself machinery which does what I’ve seen on TV ?
Luckily we came across the Ercolina booth. We were pretty surprised when we realized they are the makers of that machine I’ve seen on TV – and of course I had to try it…
And I can tell you, you wouldn’t believe how realistic it feels. It’s absolutely impressive. I believe this is a “must-have” for every cross country enthusiast. And maybe for many others too. Thinking about it, I would almost say it doesn’t matter if you’re into x-country or not. It’s just a great training tool to keep yourself in shape.
Well, we are totally excited about this product and we wished we had one. This definitely would put the turbo into our arms. Like it does already with some of the world’s best x-country skiers.
In their brochure Ercolina is showing Martin Fourcade (FRA), Roland Clara (ITA), Ilya Chernousov (RUS) and Martin Jaks (CZE) as their customers. We think this simply answers all questions!
Ercolina is based in Italy. They sell to customers directly and they say pricing starts at EUR 800.00. The unit can be equipped with an electronic power meter which brings it to EUR 1200.00. This is not a bargain but we think it can be worth it. The unit looks very rugged and they told me it lasts forever. Nobody ever asked them for spare parts or repair.
The Wuffy Top Shot
We hope you enjoyed some of our writing. There would have been a whole lot more to write about. More brand more products more everything. Maybe next time. For now we just want to keep it all simple and short …
What we definitely want to share with you is our Top Shot of the fair:
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