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On, the brand of running shoes is gaining momentum. The new partner, Roger Federer, wants to help. | News and analysis

Zurich, Switzerland – It has been 17 years since Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon Championship. Now the 20-time Grand Slam winner commemorates the date with the launch of his first sneaker for the Swiss running label On.

Called “The Roger,” Federer’s debut is inspired by a tennis shoe, but it’s designed to be much lighter and intended for everyday use, rather than professional sports. As with On’s more performance-oriented trainers, the shoe features the “CloudTec” technology (a special sole designed to enhance the running experience) that On is best known for. The company’s first ‘Cloud’ performance sneaker, launched in 2010, quickly got to grips with the running community.

Federer’s bond with On is much more than the typical ambassador-brand relationship. To begin with, he invested an unknown amount in the company last year, consulting the brand before signing up to co-develop the product. As the tennis star suggested to BoF’s Imran Amed in an exclusive interview for the BoF Podcast, he wanted to see if it would be possible to “create a deal and partnership beyond the pay-to-play deal.”

The Roger sneaker is made by Roger Federer and On | Source: courtesy

Close collaboration between high-profile sports stars and brands has a proven track record. Perhaps most successful is the relationship between former NBA player Michael Jordan and Nike, who also started out as a running shoe company. First introduced in 1984 and powered by the stardom of Jordan himself, the Air Jordan franchise has been a great boon to Nike in recent decades and continues to have a cultural impact. For the fiscal year ending May 2019, the Air Jordan brand raised $ 3.1 billion for Nike, 8 percent of the sports apparel giant’s total sales.

The first drop of The Roger – the Center Court 0 Series – is limited to 1,000 pairs, for sale through a lottery draw on the brand’s website or in the store at Dover Street Market outposts worldwide. But Federer strives for longevity, not a quick hit.

“I know the first pairs that fall will disappear – we know that. The question will be, “Where are we going in a year?” ‘, He said. “We’re going to try to work as hard as possible to make it a cool product for people to wear. For me, I measure success when I see people wearing it. ”

Federer has made lucrative deals with Nike, Uniqlo and more throughout his career, but this is his first time putting both his own money and his star power in an upstart like On. Founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs Casper Copetti, David Allemann and former elite athlete Olivier Bernhard, the company declined to share its sales figures but said it has been profitable since 2014. The signature Cloud sneaker model, which profiles itself as “the world’s lightest running shoe”, is a hit with celebrities and professional athletes. Today the brand also sells clothes and walking shoes.

I know the first pairs that fall will disappear – we know that. The question becomes: “Where will we be in a year?

Something of a rising star, On finds rapid growth in a market long dominated by giants Nike, Adidas and Asics. “On certainly has the potential to become a major player in the athletic footwear world,” said Matt Powell, senior advisor in the sports industry at The NPD Group, noting the company’s rapid sales growth in the US.

But in the $ 135.5 billion sports shoe market – dominated by Nike and Adidas, which hold 23.3 percent and 15.5 percent of the world market, respectively, according to Euromonitor International – it’s not easy to significant part.

Outside of athletic circles, On remains a nickname. Sales growth more than doubled this year in the US, but the market share of performance-enhancing running shoes in the country is still only 1.6 percent, NPD said. Nevertheless, brand awareness is high in parts of Europe. In Germany, On controls 10 percent of the running shoe market, while in the home country of Switzerland it is 40 percent, Swiss news center SWI reported last August.

“On Running has surpassed the market before and during the pandemic. I expect that trend to continue, “said Powell. ‘[It] offers a unique product, both in appearance and ride. ”

The Roger sneaker | Source: courtesy

Federer also has high expectations.

“It is a Swiss company that wants to grow worldwide,” he said. “They’ve already made great strides, and maybe I can help them with this last push.”

Federer’s status as one of the most famous tennis players in the world can give Unprecedented worldwide fame. He has 7.7 million and 12.6 million followers on Instagram and Twitter respectively, generating significant value for brands he mentions in his feeds. For example, between 2016 and 2018, he generated $ 3 million in “ earned media value, ” a measure that quantifies the dollar value of digital content for Nike, according to marketing technology company Tribe Dynamics.

There is also the range he has on the tennis court. For the time being, the tennis star is still wearing Nikes, a brand he worked with for 24 years, while playing. (He left that approval in 2018 and signed a reported $ 300 million deal with Uniqlo – but since the Japanese clothing company doesn’t make sneakers, he can wear any shoe he wants to play.)

That could change if On developed a performance tennis shoe.

“The thing with performance shoes: it has to fit perfectly[ly]Federer said. “I think I will probably play with a tennis shoe someday. That should be the goal, I believe. Whether it will still be while I’m still active or not? We’ll have to see if we make it on time. ‘

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