Last week Robin traveled to Munich for a one-day sprint around the fair’s 2,800+ exhibitors. ISPO Munich focuses heavily on the spectacular world of Outdoor, Snowsports, and Urban sport. Multiply your excitement at visiting a sporting good store by a thousand, and you might get close to the giddy feeling of a Robin at ISPO. Here you can discover the products and trends that will hit the market next season, surrounded by tiny future pro-riders landing back-flips on their scooters, hipsters carving longboards and factories presenting their latest mermaid-style mono-fins.
Robin started attending the trade fair years ago, in his pre-TOKAY days working in the sporting goods innovation industry. He was glad to attend this year with our good friend Antoine, the man who designed TOKAY cleats, to feast their eyes and be inspired by the many innovations and trends in attendance. Having already sampled Bavaria’s finest beverages on a previous visit, Robin could focus instead on meeting with technical suppliers and trying on hats he pretended not to like.
The most impressive booth, by far, (at least for a shoemaker), was the FitStation where they had basically installed an entire shoe factory in the middle of the fair! The shoe factory was part of an inspiring project that aims to automate the production of custom-tailored running shoes. The project still has a ways to go, but has already had some impressive results. At the fair they could scan someone’s feet and gait to calculate and directly inject a custom outsole, tailored on length, width, drop (the height difference between your heel and forefoot once wearing the shoes) and dampening (injecting different kind of foams depending on your gait).
a few shots of this super custom shoe factory
What makes this innovation so crazy impressive? (more so than just the crazy awesome act of installing a shoe factory into a trade fair?):
- Biomechanically, most customization projects so far could only only be based on a static foot, not a foot in motion.
- Technically, the customizable injection molds are also quite a nice puzzle challenge.
The next steps could be able to also customize the upper. The future of footwear is exciting indeed! (If that is one too many technical footwear terms, check out our article on how shoes are made for more insight).
Some of the innovations on show are better explained with a video, just like this water repellent product. The product, sprayed onto a coffee filter, prevents water from going through in one direction while still allowing air injected by the pump to pass through in the other direction.
Magic trick or straight up magic? You decide.
Once we had walked past all of that excitement, we also visited the supplier portion of the trade fair. This portion does feel a bit less impressive, but it serves a crucial basis for any quality product. There you can see machines like this one. This particular machine tests the abrasion resistance of transfers, to verify that images like the TOKAY logo on the cleats don’t disappear after one training.
It was really inspiring to see so many projects and the caliber of the innovation present at ISPO Munich. We brought back many ideas that we hope to infuse into TOKAY and its products. If you have any ideas you would like us to realize or improvement suggestions for the cleats, get in touch!