Action heroes | Monocle

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Ispo is the undisputed king of sportswear fairs. At the start of each year more than 2,000 outdoor heavyweights, ski specialists and upstart running brands congregate in Munich’s high-ceilinged, glass-fronted Messe München to parade their latest lines of cutting-edge clothing, footwear and equipment. Exercise gear and technical clothing have been fashion’s major winners in recent years with the relaxing of dress codes and the blurring of boundaries between streetwear and sportswear.

If Ispo’s 2017 addition is anything to go by, the sector is stronger than ever. Over four chilly days the Bavarian capital hosted 85,000 visitors – 4,000 more than last year – from 110 countries, with Italy, the US, Russia and China posting the biggest leaps in attendance figures. From the 2,732 vendors that presented this year (the highest number on record) we’ve selected the standout brands that should be on your radar. Prepare to get kitted out in the best outdoor sportswear for your next ski holiday or alpine hike.

Highlights from Ispo

Elan, Slovenia

Military precision

Elan, the 72-year-old ski brand, has worked with the Slovenian army to develop a pair of folding skis similar to those used by soldiers in the Alps.

Amundsen Sports, Norway

Walking the walk

Jørgen Amundsen has created the first technical knickerbockers, which he tested during a five-week trip to Antarctica. The waterproof knee-length trousers are designed for hiking and skiing and are best paired with gaiters or high socks.

Poc, Sweden

Strong performance

Jonas Sjögren, the Stockholm company’s new CEO, presented a white helmet containing a technology called Spin, which protects against sideways blows.

Vibram, Italy

Brace yourself

Italy’s shoe-sole manufacturer unveiled a high-performance model that is made from a rubber compound and is designed to grip on ice.

Falke, Germany

Not spinning the same old yarn

New creative director Dina Van Eupen is reinvigorating the 122-year-old German knitwear label. She presented an attractive collection of thermal sweaters and brightly patterned socks woven from polyamide yarn.

Thule, Sweden

Raising the roof

The Swedish company best known for car roof racks has expanded its luggage offerings with the RoundTrip backpack: a 60-litre bag with a waterproof ski-boot compartment.

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