After retiring from professional competition, threetime World Duathlon Champion and multiple Ironman winner Olivier Bernhard devoted himself to finding a running shoe that would give him the perfect running sensation. In doing so, he crossed paths with a likeminded Swiss engineer who had an idea for a new kind of running shoe. And it was this ideal symbiosis of running experience and engineering expertise that allowed this original idea to be steadily refined over the following years.
Dozens of prototypes were developed, but the basic concept — cushioned landing, firm take-off — remained paramount throughout. It was this unique running sensation that convinced Caspar Coppetti and David Allemann to come aboard too. Together with Bernhard, they formally established the On company in Zurich in January 2010 to develop a product range fully engineered in Switzerland using the latest technology. After that, things started to move swiftly. In February 2010, the prototypes won the ISPO BrandNew Award, one of the most important prizes for innovation in sports. Test runners were enthusiastic and spoke of running on clouds. In July 2010, the first running stores had the On shoes on their shelves.