ON THE intersection of innovation, design, creativity and sustainability

Back in 2010, Swiss running shoe brand ON unveiled its first prototype. More than 10 years later, the brand born from garden hose experiments — which now counts tennis superstar Roger Federer as a co-owner and collaborator — continues to revolutionize the sensation of running with its CloudTec® technology.

On the occasion of Art Basel 2022, ON invited designboom to discover art, both in the city and outside, and offered us to test the shoes, which we must say, lived up to the high expectations. 

walking around art basel 2022 with ON running
images by ON unless otherwise stated

A BIT ON ‘ON’

ON was founded by six-time Ironman champion Olivier Bernard and his friends David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti with one simple mission—to create the ultimate running shoe. After making a quite primitive prototype with a cut-up garden hose, Bernard asked Allemann and Coppetti to try the shoe. Both saw the potential of the design, and the three men began building the first ON business plan while hiking in Engadin. In January 2010, the company was officially founded.

From the initial hosepipe prototype, the ON team developed their innovative CloudTec® technology, creating multi-directional cushioned soles for soft landings and explosive take-offs. ETH Zurich confirmed the effectiveness of the technology in a 2011 study that demonstrated test runners wearing ON shoes ran at significantly lower pulse rates and lower blood lactate levels.

walking around art basel 2022 with ON running

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT SHOES…

But ON doesn’t stop at developing impressive technology. In fact, the brand continuously reinforces the idea of the incomparable impact exercising outdoors has on our wellbeing. On different occasions, ON has stated that its mission is to ignite human spirit through movement.

‘We feel that when you move, not only something happens to your body, but something happens to your mind. The human body, of course, is a spectacular thing, but probably an even bigger force on our planet is the human spirit.’

walking around art basel 2022 with ON running
image © designboom

WALKING AROUND ART BASEL? ON HAD US COVERED

During Art Basel 2022, ON amplified this statement by hosting two different activities where movement was always involved. Called Art Walks, the first activity allowed us to discover the highlights of Parcours, Art Basel’s public sector for site-specific works situated throughout Basel’s historic Old Town. The meeting point was the ON check-in area on Messeplatz where we changed shoes and began the city tour.

walking around art basel 2022 with ON running
image © designboom

DISCOVERING PARCOURS, ART BASEL’S SITE-SPECIFIC WORKS

Led by independent curator Gianni Jetzer, the Art Walks were the perfect activity to enjoy art, discover new places in Basel, and hit the sweaty streets, not just comfortably but also in style. Highlights from the walks included Maria Loboda’s The Year of Living Dangerously — a kind of readymade mix-media installation occupying a strip on the banks of the Rhine featuring a series of renowned sculptures thrown in the water and surrounded by the usual rubbish; and Simon Starling’s A-A’, B-B’, which was installed in an underground parking, where the white walls resembled those of a gallery. The artwork is at its core the collision of two very different sliced objects — a car and a painting. The connection between these two, seemingly unrelated, is the former Fiat boss, Gianni Agnelli.