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Running shoe, On, 2009
Thilo Alex Brunner
Running shoe, On,
Thilo Alex Brunner,

Running shoe, On,

Thilo Alex Brunner
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • On Thilo Alex Brunner Running shoe
  • On Thilo Alex Brunner Running shoe
  • On Thilo Alex Brunner Running shoe
Listen to the text

Unlike conventional running shoes made by global corporations, the On shoe developed in Switzerland puts functionality front and center with a novel cushioning system. The design of the first models eschewed all decorative elements apart from a logo on the heel and was limited to just two colors.

The driving force behind the technical innovations in the CloudTec cushioning system is the former professional athlete Olivier Bernhard. After an injury, he set out in search of running shoes that would be easy on his feet, and when he failed to find what he was looking for, he began to experiment himself in 2005. An ETH engineer friend assisted him in the four-year process, from the initial prototype (with garden hose sections superglued to the sole) to devising effective three-dimensional cushioning. The flexible tubes ensure a soft landing; pressed flat on the ground, however, they provide a solid foundation for pushing off. Today, the so-called CloudTec system is protected by worldwide patents. In 2010, Olivier Bernhard partnered with the marketing experts David Allemann (production and marketing) and Caspar Coppetti (international market development) to establish the company On. They commissioned designer Thilo Alex Brunner (b. 1977) to design the new running shoe. Unlike traditional sporting goods brands, On makes its innovative cushioning visible as a central design element (the slogan is “Run on Clouds”) and with its formal reduction stands out from shoes by Nike, Adidas, or Puma. The shoe’s “playful post-minimalism” (Brunner) gives credibility to its functional promise, helped along by the enthusiasm of the running community. (Renate Menzi)

Laufschuh, On – Patent CloudTec, 2009
Entwurf: Thilo Alex Brunner
Produktion: On AG, Zürich, CH
Material/Technik: diverse synthetische Materialien (Polyurethan, Nylon); Sohle EVA und Gummi
11 × 10 × 27 cm
Donation: Thilo Alex Brunner
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich (Hg.), 100 Jahre Schweizer Design, Zürich 2014, S. 352.

Ev Manz, «Der designte Schlauchschuh», in: Tages-Anzeiger, 29.9.2012, S. 32.

Design Preis Schweiz (Hg.), Young Swiss Design Kaleidoscope, Langenthal 2013.

Image creditso

Laufschuh, On, 2009, Entwurf: Thilo Alex Brunner, Donation: Thilo Alex Brunner
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Laufschuhe, On, 2009, Entwurf: Thilo Alex Brunner, Donation: Thilo Alex Brunner
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Fotografie, Tegla Loroupe loves to run on clouds, 2011, Fotografie: Braschler / Fischer
Abbildung: On AG, Zürich, CH

Logo, On, Entwurf: Raffinerie AG, Zürich, CH
Abbildung: On AG, Zürich, CH

Exhibition texto

Designing shoes takes a wealth of orthopedic knowledge as well as craftsmanship. Even today, their manufacture is characterized by traditional shoemaking. With the emergence of sneakers and the development of new plastics technologies, athletic shoes became a global industrial product. But what remains crucial in the design of shoes is their social function: the ability of footwear to reflect one’s personality and to finish off an outfit with just the right touch.