It's been a few years since we made it out to the ISPO sports show, so this year we traveled back to Munich to see the latest in European outdoor, action sports and fitness gear and innovation. As usual, the "world's largest sports trade fair" didn't disappoint, with more than 2,800 exhibitors showing all kinds of hard and soft goods aimed at adventurers and athletes of all types. Beyond the Swedish electric dirt bikes, Land Rover smartphones and dialed-in donkey bikes, the show had dozens of interesting equipment and accessory innovations to see and show.
We'll be looking at a few of the standout product launches and new innovations in the days to come, but we thought we'd get the greater photo tour out first and provide a full taste of what this year's show was all about.
Icebug Walkabout Bugrip GTX
Traction enhancement on slippery winter surfaces tends to be a big focus at ISPO, and there was certainly no shortage of crampons, snowshoes and strap-on traction aids throughout the show. For nearly two decades, Swedish brand Icebug has been providing a more seamless alternative: footwear with built-in traction studs that claw through ice and snow to maintain stable footing.
One of the company's latest designs, the Walkabout Bugrip GTX boot combines that signature traction technology with Gore-Tex waterproofing and a Boa closure that dials fit in to perfection. For those who don't need the full grip of metal studs, the ISPO Award-winning boot will also be available in a Michelin-rubber sole. The Bugrip is priced at €230 (approx. US$282).
Arctos Yi multifunctional hybrid down suit
Part full-body down suit, part wearable sleeping bag, the ISPO Gold Award-winning Yi hybrid suit from China's Arctos immediately caught our eye as a versatile piece of outdoor and sleepwear for cold weather.
The multi-piece combination of pants, jacket and vest can be worn around camp and trail or used as a sleeping bag. The legs of the pants zip together to create a single footbox, helping keep body heat in, while the jacket upper increases freedom of movement as compared to a traditional sleeping bag. A combination of 900 fill power goose down and PrimaLoft Gold insulation ensures warmth and comfort.
Waterwolf MPX-3 electric surfboard
ISPO isn't only about winter sports, there's also plenty of warm-weather gear strewn about the various halls of the show. The 2018 Waterwolf MPX-3 electric surfboard serves as one example that brought about visions of sunny beaches and cool, crystal-clear waters.
We first saw the MPX-3 at the 2014 Boot Düsseldorf show, and it's received an update for 2018. It features a 5.5-kW electric propeller drive and a display on deck for checking metrics. Waterwolf was also showing a wearable, smartwatch-style controller in place of a handheld. Waterwolf advertises runtime at 30 to 35 minutes, an improvement over the 20 to 25 we reported on back in 2014.
On the downside, the MPX-3 hasn't gotten any faster in the water, leaving it lagging well behind other electric boards. It has, however, gotten considerably more expensive, listing in at €11,990 (approx. $14,700). We'd definitely be inclined to go for the Radinn G2X over this one.
Still, the MPX-3 does look fun, as you can see in the video below.
Morpho Trimoor four-season snowshoes
New gear is great, but our favorite part of ISPO is when it alerts us to new sports or activities we didn't realize people were out there doing. This year, it made us aware that you can snowshoe all year long, even without any snow in sight.
French snowshoe brand Morpho attracted our attention with its Lumio glow-in-the-dark snowshoes, and it held it in place with an advertisement for four-season snowshoes that step lightly across moorlands in the warmer months.
Bog-shoeing is a popular pastime in Estonia, a key market for Morpho's four-season Trimoor. The polypropylene copolymer moor/snowshoe has a light, flexible binding designed to assist you in gliding across wet, spongy bog as easily as you do flat snowfields. Being that we don't do much bog-shoeing in our part of the world, the Trimoor proved an interesting find, and it looks like a valuable tool, come snow or mire. Pricing is €119.90 (about US$145).
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