Thilo Alex Brunner for On

The running shoes of the young Swiss company On are based on a completely novel idea - with a soft landing and hard push-off. On's patented technology combines comfort with performance. The product unites the advantages of a soft training shoe with those of a tough competition shoe. This is achieved by means of hollow elements in the sole, which respond to ground impact by expanding towards the heel to guarantee a soft landing, at the same time closing and meshing together internally to reconstitute a hard support. In this way the shoe enables the foot to push off powerfully from the ground. The design of the running shoes serves to make this fundamentally simple technical idea intuitively accessible and visible to the eye. The upper shoe, on the other hand, is formally restrained, being limited to an intelligent support of the shoe's functionality.

Comments by the jury:

The market for running shoes is overcrowded and hotly contested - so when a new brand comes along and takes the market by storm, the innovation behind it must convey a promise which it manages to keep - a shoe with qualities never heard of before. In this case a clever design idea has proved capable of competing against the million-strong budgets which the big brands in the industry assign to research and marketing. The straightforward design of the shoe deliberately refrains from indulgence in stylistic frills, and is wholly consistent in focusing on the basic functional requirements. The attention is drawn to the sole, which here constitutes the crucially important element.

Comments by the Nominators:

This is a running shoe that does not just adopt the industrial standards of the big established manufacturers, but represents a completely free approach starting from scratch. The innovation has already met with a positive response from many top athletes, and has been consistently realised in the product as well as in in the development of the brand.
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