On November 23, Roger Federer, 38, made a major foray into footwear. The 20-time Grand Slam champion announced in The New York Times that he now is an investor, a contributing designer and the new public face of On, a growing niche sneaker brand based in Switzerland, the tennis great’s home country.
Federer announced the partnership to his Instagram followers after the NYT story was published. He captioned his post, with several images of himself in the company offices, “ONward, this will be a fun run!!” with a runner and smiling face emoticons appearing before the exclamation points.
Best known for its Cloud shoes, the under-the-radar label has increasingly gained a cult following over the past few years. The shoe uniquely features a cushioned rubber sole designed with CloudTec, the company’s patented technology that is designed with a runner’s performance in mind.
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Federer and the fast-growing sneaker brand have been building a relationship for some time. When speaking about his discovery of the sneaker label, he said: “They were impossible to ignore because everyone had them: people on the street, my friends, my wife.” The tennis champion started to wear On shoes for his sprints in training sessions, and, even before officially signing a contract with the sneaker company, he started traveling to the On offices to give feedback on product designs when he was in Zurich.
According to the story published in The New York Times, Federer’s designs for the Swiss sneaker label are already in the pipeline for next year. He will be representing the company publicly in addition to other responsibilities.
While he may have earned his main achievements as an athlete, Federer is no stranger to the fashion world. The tennis star is a self-proclaimed sneakerhead and claims to own at least 250 pairs of the shoe style. His long-standing partnership with Nike ended in 2018. Since then, he has signed an apparel contract with Uniqlo reportedly worth $300 million, in addition to contracts with brands such as Rolex and Rimowa.
On was established in 2010 and has reportedly been profitable since 2014. With the global demand for sneakers rising at an ever-quickening pace and a trend towards greater concern for self-care and improved health and wellness, this partnership comes at an evolutionary point for both Federer’s career and the next stage of On’s business.