Sports business // 10/04/2022

Innovative Products Tested with a View to the Alps

Image credit: Michael Mayer /
Dr. Regina Henkel
Dr. Regina Henkel

First a paragliding flight, and then into the ISPO Award jury meeting with a fresh mind: This time, sports experts from three countries judged the most innovative products. From the app for individual performance improvement and new recycling ideas to completely newly developed sports products - there was a lot to be amazed at during the two-day meeting. there was plenty to marvel at, laugh at and test even more.

Rarely has a jury meeting for the ISPO Award better illustrated the enormous creativity of the sports business: "At this jury meeting, I was particularly impressed by the diversity of the products and digital services submitted. From highly specialized sports equipment to innovations that provide access to sports for a broad target group," explains jury member and Editor at Large, Andi Spies, at the end of the event. More than 40 products had made it into the final selection and were recently presented to the international jury of experts in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Impressed by the variety of products submitted: Editor at Large Andi Spies (second from right).

Above the Roofs of the Town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

With a view of the city and mountains, namely on the roof terrace of the award-winning Moun10 Youth Hostelthe products and services submitted had to be examined in detail. Climbing scaffolds were set up, avalanche backpacks were released, apps were loaded and tested, and jackets, pants, shoes and backpacks were tried on. Even a new bike wash was among the nominated products and could be tested because a local bike rental company already works with it.

ISPO sports expert Martina Wengenmeir at the climbing frame

Trends: Mobile Power Generation, Digitalization and Individualization

In view of the current energy situation, the products submitted for mobile, solar power generation proved to be highly topical. The megatrend of sustainability was not as obvious this time as in previous rounds, but of course still resonated with almost all products. This was mainly due to the fact that less clothing was submitted overall and more hardware - or digital services. For the first time, several new apps and digital devices were among the nominees. For example, an application that uses artificial intelligence to offer consumers products that are precisely tailored to their needs.

The sports experts take a close look at every product

However, products that have simply been convincingly developed further also stood a good chance; these include new hydration bladder systems, high-performance headlamps or bike towing systems that also make cycling uphill fun for children.

"With established products, it's been fascinating to see how product developers specifically improve the performance of sports equipment by making changes to small details or using new materials."
Andi Spies

Expert Jury of Professionals and Consumer Experts

In line with the new award concept, the jury was once again made up of two groups of experts. The three ISPO experts, who also pre-select the products that may be submitted to the jury meeting, include magazine maker and snowboard veteran Andi Spies, the outdoor journalist and and professor of sports journalism and digitalization in sports, Martina Wengenmeir, and textile expert and longtime trade journalist Regina Henkel.

Andi Spies
Martina Wengenmeir
Regina Henkel

They were assisted by three sports enthusiasts and members of the ISPO Collaborators Club. Pedro Moutinho, a shoe designer and passionate biker, came all the way from Portugal. Sebastiano Giampiccolo from Italy, a multi-sportsman and enthusiastic mountaineer, skier, and mountain biker, was not quite as far away. On the other hand, David Stiehler, a multi-active mountain and outdoor sportsman from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, had a home match.

Pedro Moutinho
Sebastiano Giampiccolo
David Stiehler

Jury Meeting with a Lot of Adrenaline

Of course, this meeting was not without sports and adrenaline. On the very first day it went with Fly Garmisch first up to the Kreuzeck and then by paraglider tandem flight back down into the valley. The wind conditions were treacherous, not every take-off was successful at first go. The flight was all the more beautiful for it, with a magnificent view over snow-covered peaks and the bustling town. For most of the jurors, the paragliding flight was a premiere. Accordingly intoxicated, with beaming faces and above all a lot of energy for the next product evaluations, all landed safely back on earth.

Grandiose view of snowy peaks: Tandem flight premiere at ISPO Award jury meeting

The next jury meeting will take place in November

The jury meets four times a year, and brands can enter their products for the award throughout the year. Part of the award concept is that each winning product is presented in detail on, whereby the brand itself can determine the time of publication. In addition, the products can be exhibited at one of the trade fairs as part of the award presentation. A large number of previous winners will be presented at the ISPO Award Exhibition at ISPO Munich from November 28-30, 2022. The next time the jury will meet in November to test innovative products, the application deadline for this is October 18, 2022.

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Dr. Regina Henkel
Dr. Regina Henkel
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