The latest footwear trade fair to be postponed due to the coronavirus is Germany’s Orthopädie Schuh Technik, which - along with the congress of the International Association of Orthopedic Shoe Technicians (IVO) - will be held in Cologne on Oct. 14 and 15, 2022, one year after the originally planned date on Oct. 22 and 23, 2021, the organizers said. Starting from 2023, the trade fair will again be held every two years. 

The organizers expect it to be highly likely that strict distancing and hygiene rules will still apply in the fall this year in a bid to stop the spread of the pandemic, and it cannot be ruled out that events will outright be barred. “Even if the (German) chancellor promised that all citizens will receive a vaccination offer by September, we must assume at the moment that not all restrictions, especially for events, will be lifted in the fall of 2021“, said Carl Otto Maurer, managing director of C. Maurer Fachmedien, which organizes the fair. 

Sticking to the 2021 date could result in a limitation of the number of visitors allowed, hampering the opportunities for communication that are key for a trade fair. In addition to the significantly lower number of visitors, the higher sanitation and stand construction costs for exhibitors would also weigh. 

The IVO Congress, an important meeting place for orthopedic shoe technicians from around the world, also supports the postponement decision, on fears that international guests would be reluctant to travel, or that travel restrictions may still apply. 

In 2019, over 4,000 people from 40 countries visited the fair, mostly orthopaedic shoemakers, but also professionals in related areas including medical specialists, orthopaedic technicians and retailers of medical supplies. A hundred and seventy companies from 10 countries participated in the event.