Happy Trails: On the Cutting Edge of RunningRelease: 14 May 2021
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Part of our ,Issue 45 ‘Happy Trails’ expedition, On are rightly proud of their ‘Swiss Alps’ heritage, but the real story behind the running brand is less mountain-mystic than it is based on the demands of pro athletes and science-based research. The original seed was planted by Olivier Bernhard. A retired three-time world duathlon champ and multiple Ironman winner, Bernhard’s brain was fizzing with wild ideas for revolutionary ‘cushioned landing, firm take-off’ footwear. After meeting his future business partners, On was officially born in Zurich back in 2010.
Determined from the outset to forge their own path, On’s running shoes don’t just look unique, they feel radically different underfoot. Bernhard’s triathlon expertise inspired the development of On’s proprietary Speedboard sole unit – which uses a liquid-injected plate of thermoplastic polymer to cushion the foot – winning multiple design awards and a legion of pro and amateur admirers. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology tested the shoes and concluded that On reduced the pulse rate and lowered blood lactate levels, which is a substantial performance achievement.
The latest addition to On’s line-up is the Cloudultra trail runner. Designed to tackle ultramarathons, mega mountain mileage and off-road training sessions, the streamlined silhouette combines classic On heritage cues with the brand’s latest technology, including Helion superfoam cushioning and Missiongrip soles with three different patterns for advanced traction. The Cloudultra design also introduces FlipRelease, which enables runners to flick a switch and relieve the punishing pressure of swollen feet.
Up top, it’s all about adaptability, with the sock-like construction providing precise fit and twin layers of perforated ‘sandwich’ mesh made from 100 per cent recycled polyester that keeps feet breezy. Katie Schide and Germain Grangier, who both finished top ten at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc race, were given the task of wear-testing the new model in the prototype stage. Whatever feedback they gave On obviously hit the spot as ISPO, the international sporting goods trade fair, has already bestowed the Cloudultra with their 2021 award for Trail Running.
The all-new Cloudridge explorer boot is a hard-wearing high-top that is superlight, breathable and lightning fast over rocky routes. The calm exterior belies the hidden tech inside. On’s hiking-specific Speedboard sole unit takes care of stability and propulsion, while the use of MissionGrip outsoles once again ensures your feet will stay planted to terra firma over scrambly terrain. You can tie the laces in the traditional method or cinch them tight with a single pull using the On FlexLock system. Ripstop nylon, 3D mesh tongues and vegan ‘suede’ apply tactile texture and maximum ventilation. This is a modern remix of a traditional hiking boot that will get you way out of town and back home again with minimum fuss and the happiest feet on the planet. On’s colour palette for 2021 is on point and right on time…
More than a decade since they set off on their brand-building marathon, On is still moving fast, with offices popping up all over the world and constant innovation at their core. A co-sign from Roger Federer, who has become an investor and occasional brand ambassador, was the icing on this sweet Swiss cake. No terrain is off-limits with On!
Grab your copy of Issue 45 now via the Sneaker Freaker shop!