Roger Federer Invests In, Designs Shoes For Swiss Brand "On"
Roger Federer has "become an investor in, as well as a contributing product designer and representative," for Swiss running shoe brand On, according to Elizabeth Paton of the N.Y. TIMES. While one "may not recognize the name immediately," the brand has a "cult range of Cloud shoes, which feature an 'On' light switch logo, a little Swiss flag and an odd-looking multi-globular cushioned rubber sole." After "growing by word of mouth among endurance athletes and Olympians, and in running specialty stores," the Zurich-based shoe brand is "gaining ground as the underdog rival" to Nike and Adidas in the performance sports shoe category. On co-Founder Olivier Bernhard said, "Fans seem to think of us as an athletes' insider secret." Paton noted in Germany, the Cloud has become the "second most-sold sneaker after Nike's Air Max 270." In the U.S., now On's largest market, the shoes are a "mainstay of gym floors." Federer had "originally met the On founders over dinner" two years ago, "several years after he had first noticed how many people in Switzerland were wearing their shoes." Federer: "They were impossible to ignore because everyone had them, people on the street, my friends, my wife." Before anything was signed by him or agent Tony Godsick, Federer said that he had been "going to the On office every time he was in Zurich to give feedback on product colors and cuts, growth ideas and marketing." Federer-designed products are "already in the pipeline for next year" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23).
BRAND BUILDING: NBC's Savannah Guthrie told Federer, “We’re used to seeing you have an endorsement deal and be the face of a product. But here’s a situation where you’re actually an entrepreneur.” Federer: “I’ve invested in the company, and I’m a partner with them too now. … We’ve been chatting about what could we do together or does it makes sense. They are one of the fastest growing sneaker companies right now out there and they got me on board. I thought it would be a perfect time for me to be part of that. I love my fashion, as you know, and I love the shoes. I’ll help them wherever I can.” He added, “This is not about retirement. On doesn’t want me to retire. They want me to play as long as possible" ("Today," NBC, 11/25).