A highlight on the ISPO calendar is the ISPO Awards, with the winners announced during ISPO Munich. In addition to the overall winner (Product of the Year) there are also Gold winners (the best product in a category) and winners (other award-worthy products) in each of the categories.
This year’s Product of the Year in the Outdoor category is TECNICA’s Forge S boot, which allows retailers to customise the boot (the fit and footbed) to the consumer’s needs – all in only 20 minutes. The ankle pads are also anatomically pre-shaped, it has an upper that removes pressure points from the ankle, and it has a self-locking lace design that offers unique foot support.
Of the 21 Gold winners, the below brands are available in South Africa:
- Backpacks: Winter Train 26 backpack from Salewa, designed for ski mountaineers, keeps the back dry through its Contact Flow Fit back and carrying system that allows ventilation and airflow. “What stands out here is the speed at which you can put your skis on your back without taking off your backpack. Also, the straps are vented like no other to avoid sweating,“ says jury-member Pierre-Oliver Bédard.
- Baselayers: Patagonia’s Capilene Air is “an ultralight all-rounder garment with a clever fabric construction,” says Italo Balestra. “Very functional, warm and breathable at the same time, easily packable and great for any occasion.”
- Camping Accessories: the lightweight Titanium Spork from Fire Maple has a moveable nail in the handle that makes it a lever to let the user punch a hole in a gas canister. Fire Maple is locally distributed by Traverse Outdoor Gear.
- Mid Layers: the Micro Puff Hoody from Patagonia provides more warmth-to-weight than any jacket Patagonia has ever built and is the brand’s lightest, most-packable insulated jacket. It features PlumaFill Insulation that lofts and feels like down, but prevents shifting, clumping and cold-spotting for the life of the garment.
- Water Sports Safety: Quiksilver’s Highline Airlift vest has four pull tabs that activate a CO2 canister to inflate an internal bladder. It can be worn over any wetsuit, or on its own. ““Finally, Quicksilver makes this safety tool available to the public. The vest helps bring a surfer to the surface in life-threatening hold-down situations after a wipeout,” says Balestra.
- Winter Boots: Thermo Rouge 8’ GTX from Merrell is a hybrid winter boot that is stripped of bulk to allow the wearer to move quickly. “This winter shoe is very light and has a soft fit. The Vibram Arctic Grip Wet Icetech sole offers great grip on snow and ice,” says Prof. Kuno Prey.
Other winning brands available in South Africa are:
- Black Diamon’s Pure Gold Chalk is scientifically engineered magnesium carbonate that absorbs 30% more moisture than other compounds.
- The North Face’s Ultra Fastpack is a light, waterproof hiking shoe with abrasion resistance in high-wear zones and a breathable GORE-TEX membrane.
Health & Fitness
FitStation powered by HP is the Product of the Year in the Health & Fitness category. It’s an in-store retail solution that combines 3D foot scans with dynamic gait analysis in order to deliver off-the-shelf shoe recommendations, tailor-made, 3D-printed insoles, and fully customised shoes with variable PU injection-moulded midsoles.
The Gold winners aren’t from brands available locally, but 361-SPIRE3 by 361 Degrees, Triumph’s Triaction and Garmin’s Forerunner 645 Music are among the winners.
- 361 Degree’s 361-SPIRE3 has a speedy design and open mesh for breathability.
- Triumph’s Triaction is an comfortable, almost-seamless padded sports top with high support.
- Garmin’s Forerunner 645 Music GPS running watch has functions that let the wearer store and listen to music.
Team & Social Sports
The Product of the Year in this category is a new handball with a unique sticky surface that gives excellent grip for use in both training and matches: Maxi Grip by Select. The surface doesn’t stick to hands and it doesn’t leave marks on the floor, and it will allow players who are not allowed to use resin (children, youngsters and players in resin-free halls) to play with a ball with an adhesive surface.
Opro’s Power-Fit mouthguard is the sole Gold winner in the Team & Social Sports category. Its Power-Cage technology creates even pressure across the entire surface that means an even and tight fit that constantly keeps the mouthguard in place. It also features OPRO’s fins and has an impact-resistant EVA outer shell.
Visit the ISPO Award page for the full list of award winners.