"It’s really nice to see people in the flesh and not as a 2D image." Mark Held, None Executive Chairman of the European Outdoor Group, summed up the mood on Sunday at the OutDoor Press Conference on the first day of the show. At 9 a.m., the outdoor trade show opened its doors at the MOC Veranstaltungs- und Ordercenter in Munich's north after a three-year forced break from Corona in the morning.
"For me, this is a heartwarming and very emotional moment that the outdoor industry can come together again at OutDoor by ISPO after three years of almost continuous lockdown," said Klaus Dittrich, CEO of Messe München GmbH.
Already in front of the entrances to the exhibition hall, the highlight exhibition in the foyer offered a foretaste of the latest developments in an industry in constant flux with 25 innovative products ranging from the denim tent from Nordisk to the urban collection from Marmot and the sustainable sleeping bag with integrated mosquito net from Grüezibag.
A total of 300 exhibitors will present their new products on around 30,000 square meters - on the exhibition stands in the four halls, their own showrooms, atriums and the chill hang-out area under the open sky.
"The location is perfect. It's bright, cozy and has a family flair. You can tell how happy everyone here is to finally meet again," says Held.
The industry presented itself as one that can face the challenges of the future from a position of strength. This was shown by the EOG State of Trade Report, which was presented in the morning. The good news from it: The outdoor industry even emerges stronger from the Corona years 2020 and 2021. The European outdoor industry grew by 18.7 percent. The industry also saw growth of 18.2 percent in the number of products sold last year.
"However, the outdoor sector is fundamentally in robust shape and can address these challenges from a position of relative strength," said study director Pauline Shepherd.
At the Adventure Tourism Conference held as part of OutDoor by ISPO, keynotes and workshops focused for a whole day on the question: How can unique outdoor experiences and adventure tourism be combined with sustainability? Players from the industry presented best practices - whether in the field of vanlife, mountain bike tourism or slow adventure.
Sara Mair Bellshaw from Slow Adventure - a company from Scotland that is dedicated to sustainable adventure tourism - kicked off the event. Offers in Scotland, Sweden and Italy are already part of the offer. Iceland will be added soon.
"Change is needed," Bellshaw cautions, describing the guidelines as "travel less, stay longer, use the off-season," and give back to the region being traveled.
Launched in April 2022, the tour operator partners with local guides.
Running and trail running are booming. At the Runner's World Run & Trail Summit, sustainability in trail running was discussed, as well as what makes runners tick and how trail running will develop as a trend. "Trail running is the main driving force behind the growth of the running industry," says Urs Weber. The development in the shoe market towards more hybrid models also plays a role here.
Overall, he says, the market has become more heterogeneous. Many newcomers to running who started during the pandemic have stayed with it. At the moment, the majority of them experience trail running individually and on shorter distances, but in the future, more and more participants are expected at events and competitions.
Neuroathletics trainer Lars Lienard dealt with the fundamental problem of endurance sports, namely that they are strenuous. This is because, in addition to muscles, bones and tendons, the brain is primarily responsible for ensuring that movement works. First and foremost, the brain is designed for survival and also controls how much effort we can handle. "The best endurance runners in the world are the ones who can say: You're not dying yet!"
From the brand side, Icebug's sustainability strategy was presented, the UYN trail running team was on hand, and Sidas provided insights into how specific equipment can lead to a sense of success on the trails for both beginners and professionals.
In the afternoon, the textile trends for the Spring/Summer 2024 season were presented at the ISPO Textrends Award Exhibition. "People want more than just a sports or outdoor product. Durability and sustainability are the most important factors today," said Textile Trend Consultant Louisa Smith, summarizing the requirements for the outdoor textiles of tomorrow.
For example, many of the nine award-winning textiles are biodegradable. All textile trends for 2024 are available in the ISPO Textrends Trendbook, which is available for digital download.
At the end of the first day of the trade show, the outdoor industry came together once again on the outdoor area under the summer sun. At the OutDoor by ISPO party sponsored by Keen, Rab / Lowe Alpine and Vaude in the outdoor area, invited exhibitors, trade visitors and the trade fair team celebrated together into the night.
On Monday, the first highlight is already on the agenda at 7:30 a.m., when the EOG invites you to its European Outdoor Group Industry Breakfast with joint discussions and debates on the most important topics of the outdoor world.
The next highlight in the conference program begins at 10 a.m. with the OutDoor Conference.