Sports activities are more popular than ever. This is reflected in the strong increase in demand in the outdoor segment. Multi-purpose products are not just especially in demand and practical, they also positively impact ecological footprints. One sports brand that consistently delivers innovative products for outdoor sports fans and is a pioneer in sustainability is Salomon.
In recent months, people across Europe have taken to the outdoors to enjoy nature. Whether on bikes, e-bikes, skis or on foot, people covered many kilometres and climbed many metres. With all the variety that they offer, outdoor sports have become a mass phenomenon. For protection against wind and weather, athletes need high-quality products that can also ideally be used for different purposes – in other words, multi-purpose products. The successful outdoor brand Salomon understands its customers’ expectations and constantly responds with innovations and improvements. “Regular customer surveys and product tests provide us with important information that we include in our product development. This enables us to react to athletes’ requirements and provide the best possible equipment for all nature adventures,” explains Susanne von Hörmann, Buying Group Director EMEA at Amer Sports Corporation, adding: “we are always looking for new technologies, materials and ideas that offer both ideal protection and comfort. We want people to enjoy their time outdoors with our products while being equipped to test their own limits.”
Willingness to pay more for sustainable products rising
Selling high-quality, stylish and innovative products in specialist sports shops is no longer enough. Customers are increasingly demanding sustainability and transparent communication about the supply chain. “They want to know where the materials come from and under what conditions the products are manufactured,” says Steffen Kunz, Senior Category Manager for Outdoor/Footwear and Equipment at SPORT 2000 International. He adds: “Customers care about sustainable packaging, expect a conscious selection to have been made for the materials, and look for opportunities to repair, recycle or upcycle sporting goods. Sustainability is an all-encompassing and rightly also a very important topic that will have a serious influence on the future of sport retail.” This is also confirmed by the Europe-wide study carried out by Deloitte, an international business consulting company. Around half of those surveyed indicated that the sustainability of sporting goods was very important to them. The results also showed that more than half of those asked were prepared to pay more for sustainable sporting goods.
Sustainability without compromise
Regrowing natural materials and recycled/recyclable materials are currently dominating the outdoor sections in sport retail. “The outdoor sector is one step ahead of many other sectors in sport retail and is shouldering its responsibility,” comments Steffen Kunz. “Green” products by Salomon are not just impressive in terms of sustainability, though: they also offer perfectly developed solutions for outdoor sports. “In summer 2022, we will present new outdoor jackets, such as the breathable Outline-GORE-TEX jackets for men and women, that are made of GORE-TEX Paclite®,” says Susanne von Hörmann, adding that in addition to consisting of 100% recycled materials, the jackets are also especially light, breathable, waterproof and multi-purpose.
Salomon Footwear is particularly popular on the market. It is known for its outstanding fit, innovation and sustainability. “To gradually contribute more towards protecting the environment, Salomon no longer uses hazardous perfluorocarbons (PFCs) to make the shoes waterproof,” Susanne von Hörmann says enthusiastically. However, in this context she does add that PFC is still used in waterproof GORE-TEX items, but they are free from the environmentally damaging PFCec. Polyester made from recycled products such as PET bottles or material waste is also used for the shoes. To meet the demand for versatility, Salomon has perfected the material mix of the soles over recent years. This means Salomon’s universal shoe delivers the right grip for all uses – whether that is a light trek, a city trip or a mountain bike tour.
Achieving more together
While sporting goods without synthetic fibres and plastics were unthinkable a few years ago, all major sports brands now advertise with sustainability. As a SPORT 2000 partner, Salomon has been dedicated to sustainability issues for many years, becoming a pioneer. “Through close cooperation with SPORT 2000, dialogue with experts and our joint knowledge of the market, we are able to understand customers’ needs and develop optimised products while also doing our bit for the environment,” says Susanne von Hörmann, adding: “Only by pursuing common goals and supporting one another can we create added value for sports retail and the environment.”