When three Swiss friends — David Allemann, Olivier Bernhard and Caspar Coppetti — founded On in 2010, there was little guarantee that they would disrupt the multibillion-dollar, sportswear industry first by winning over top athletes with their quirky-looking performance running shoes, then by capturing an even larger fanbase as the premium brand became synonymous with casualisation and the blending of sportswear with everyday fashion.
The genesis of On’s first prototype was born out of Bernhard frustration as a triathlete to find the perfect shoe, one that could provide a lightweight springboard upon impact with the ground to help him run faster but also cushioned his step to prevent injury. The eventual result is On’s patented technologies, including its distinctive CloudTec cushioning sole made up of hollow tubes attached to one another. Other innovations have ensued, including foam for shoes using materials made from carbon emissions.
A new chapter for On began in 2019, when tennis superstar Roger Federer became both an investor and collaborator to help the brand branch out to tennis and other sports and further raise its global profile. While still staying true to its core performance roots, the company has also caught the attention of luxury fashion, launching a capsule in 2022 with Loewe, the first fashion collaboration for the Spanish fashion house.
Having broken even in its early years, On has continued on a steady growth trajectory, raising $746 million in its New York Stock Exchange debut in September 2021, at a valuation of $6.5 billion.