The ISPO OutDoor show in Munich, Germany, hosted nearly 3,000 exhibitors — a whopping 748 in the outdoor segment, and 487 in the winter sports category. Brands came from all over the world to share the latest products in footwear, tech, apparel, snow, and more. And given a quieter Outdoor Retailer show stateside this year, we wanted to make sure GearJunkie was on the scene.
We saw products from plenty of exclusive European-based brands, and bigger global household gear names as well, like adidas Terrex, Anker, Berghaus, Black Diamond, Gordini, Gorewear, Helly Hansen, Icebreaker, LEKI, Lowe Alpine, Mammut, Montane, Rab, Patagonia, Smartwool, Spyder, Tecnica, The North Face, Reima, and more.
After three days of roaming the 11 halls of exhibitors, digging into the ISPO Award winners, touching new fabrics, and meeting with brands, here’s what stood out.
ISPO Outdoor Show 2023: Standout Gear
This was the most unique product I found. A snowboard with a shorter second deck bowing up in the middle where the bindings are attached. The upper deck is designed to flatten some under the weight of the rider—essentially, a suspension platform.
According to Bernd Hermann, the sales lead for Germany who showed me the board, the double deck feature makes the board easier for beginners and experts alike to ride and control the board. It’s also said to minimize (mostly beginners) from catching the leading edge and give expert riders more control in the form of being able to torque flex the board.
Allegedly, the board can go faster, and the forgiving nature of the bowed second deck also serves as a form of suspension to minimize jolts to the knees and body with the result of decreasing fatigue so the rider can ride longer. The board is available now and Doubledeck is looking for distribution partners to make it available in the U.S. in 2024.Buy Now at Doubledeck Snowboards
Alpi OC + Navatex Footwear
The problem with studded shoes is the studs themselves are, at the very least, difficult to remove — if not impossible — for when they’re not needed. This is where a third-party traction system (Kathoola, YakTrax, etc.) shines so you don’t have to remove your shoes when going inside or when crossing non-icy surfaces.
But the Alpi OC system (named for the shape of the system in the sole) cleverly allows the user to tuck the studs away with a quick adjustment. When going from an icy sidewalk to, say, a concrete street sans ice, the user just needs to release the OC inserts and hinge them into a recessed part of the sole. The moving parts and components are completely replaceable, but makers say they are also very durable, so replacement needs are rare.
At the show, the OC system was shown on a young footwear brand called Navatex, but the OC system has been licensed to brands like Chanel and Armani as well. And hopefully, more and more boots in our outdoor industry. The Alpi OC system has been around since 1998 — it’s the no-slip footwear industry’s best-kept secret!Learn More
Jack Wolfskin EXPDN 3L Jacket & Pants
Polar explorer Eric Larsen is pretty particular about his gear (I know — I’ve helped him guide his Polar Travel Training course). And, when spending weeks, sometimes months even, trekking across the Arctic and Antarctic where temperatures can push below -40 degrees, those particularities aren’t just niceties — they are about survival. Over the last year and a half, when Larsen signed on with Jack Wolfskin, he’s been working alongside its Creative Director and team to create the ultimate Polar Explorer kit.
While Larsen contributed the technical and functional specifications, Jack Wolfskin’s Director Kardos guided the design. There are lots of nitty-gritty details, but here are a few in particular. Larsen wanted large and high-contrast zipper pulls to make them easy to find and grab while wearing goggles and gloves along with a simple straight-line zipper.
For easy snack access, he wanted a dedicated pocket on the bib. The bib has full zip legs and massive armpit vents for precise moisture management. The pockets placement is to avoid sled harness or backpack straps. And, he wanted easy waist-cinching pulls because polar expeditions can cause massive weight loss and he needs to be able to adjust the waist size. The kit won a 2024 ISPO Award (like a few other pieces of gear on this list).Learn More
Dynafit Ridge Pro AT Ski Boot
Dynafit didn’t even have a booth at the show, but they did have a sneaky surprise in the 2024 ISPO Awards display: The Ridge Pro with an all-new Floating Tongue mechanism construction for ease of touring and fit.
Combined with the proven Hoji Lock as well as the blending of Grimilid and Carbon Fiber materials in the shell, the Floating Tongue promises to offer a better fit for a broader range of feet type in the way the tongue interfaces with the shell (the brand dares to say “friction-free”). And the liner, while offering an improved experience on the uphill and excellent performance on the down. All that’s to say, it’s worth a mention.
The Ridge Pro comes with a 120 flex (110 in the Women’s version), 70 degrees of cuff rotation, and only weighs 1,250 g. It will be available in fall 2024.Learn More at Dynafit
Rab Cirrus Ultra Hoody + Primaloft Thermaplume Plus
With one of the larger booths at the show, Rab continues to advance the mission of insulation. While the brand has been big on down insulation, the offering of a new synthetic insulation product from Primaloft called Thermaplume Plus inspired the Cirrus Ultra Hoody.
The Thermaplume Plus mixes different shapes of synthetic insulation into strands and swirls to better simulate down and the insulation quality. Not only that, but with the transparency of Rab’s “Material Facts” information tag — essentially an ingredients list — it’s easy to see the insulation is 100% recycled and does not contain any PFAS chemicals. The new Rab hoodie will be available in fall 2024.Learn More
Houdini + Polartec Biolon Flow Shell
There was a lot of interest in the latest material from Polartec called Biolon — a plant-based nylon announced in October at the Performance Days sourcing show here in Munich. Polartec worked with Sweden-based Houdini (which will have a 1-year exclusive) to develop the fabric.
Houdini’s Axel Lindgren told me at the show Biolon is the perfect Houdini fabric: durable, stretchy, and silent, and it’s expected to be fully recyclable. “Expected” because the brands are both still running tests to confirm the full circularity of the materials. The Houdini Flow Shell and Pant (which is still a working name) is expected to hit the market in the fall of 2024.Learn More
Sweet Protection Adapter Helmet
The all-mountain snowsports Adapter helmet has a new three-panel construction to accommodate that precarious balance between the rigidity of a helmet for durability and the elasticity for impact energy distribution, comfort, and fit. It also comes with the integrated MIPS rotational force impact technology to mitigate injury in an impact. This all comes at an impressively light weight of just 480 g (16.9 ounces).
The Adapter has a recessed goggle strap channel, a single-hand operable Fidlock magnetic buckle, and removable ear covers with Sweet Protection’s zippered audio chip pockets. Want more helmet tech? Well, look no further. Users can control the 19 vents — connected via an internal channeling network — with a single switch. The vent network includes Sweet’s Goggle vents in the Goggle Garage.
Sweet Protection has slated this for the 24/25 season; the Adapter will be available beginning in 2024 for a $200 MSRP.Learn More
It’s back! This mixed climbing-focused kit debuted in the early 2010s but was so niche it probably didn’t get the sell-through to make the numbers work. Apparently, a niche of highly technical alpine adventurers loved it, but the M10 Anorak went through a few iterations before Patagonia discontinued the shell just a few seasons later.
The 2023 relaunch of the M10 kit takes advantage of the improved materials technologies — this version of Patagonia’s H2No membrane activates at a lower temperature to start pushing moisture out of the layer sooner. The M10 series includes a new jacket silhouette — likely for broader appeal.
The more technical anorak maintains the single Napoleon pocket while the jacket sports two chest pockets and has a two-way front zipper to accommodate the harness interface. An M10 Pant is now part of the kit, which one Patagonia rep said is almost like a waterproof jogger.Learn More
Helly Hansen Bifrost Workboot With Solarcore
Most of us know Helly Hansen for snowsports apparel, or maybe as a sailing apparel brand, but they are also a strong contender in the workwear category, especially in Europe. Blend all of those categories — representing cold, wet, and abrasive environments — and they are a perfect manufacturer for warm and dry workboots. What stands out, however, is the unique use of Solarcore to insulate the boot for arctic oil rig conditions.
GearJunkie has documented the use of Solarcore in other products, but the brand takes NASA-developed Aerogel — a low-density (lightweight) and highly insulating material, but very brittle — and blends it into more durable materials like foam.
The Bifrost workboot uses a full bootie of 2mm- and 3mm-thick Solarcore foam plus a Solarcore strobel board to make it one of the warmest yet least bulky winter work boots available. The boot includes a dual-BOA dial lacing system for easy cinching in cold weather with gloves on.
Solarcore is also working with brands like Merrell, Oboz, L.L.Bean, and Cabela’s for U.S.-based products. The Helly Hansen Bifrost boot releases in Europe in the fall of 2024.Learn More at Helly Hansen
Nordisk Sol & Lodur Down Jacket
At just five micrometers thick, this ISPO Award-winning down jacket has the thinnest waterproof/breathable membrane while maintaining 20,000/20,000mm protection. The main reason behind pushing the envelope of the membrane thickness was for weight savings and packability. With the super-thin 10-denier face fabric and 95/5 900+ down insulation, this jacket hits an incredible weight-to-warmth ratio.
The men’s M is just 270 g, or 9.5 ounces. The Sol & Lodur (men’s and women’s) is based on the (also) award-winning Strato 2.0 ultralight down jacket (no waterproof membrane) and includes a down traceability code.