It was more than a little surprising when, a little more than a year after his multi-decade partnership with Nike ended, tennis icon Roger Federer teamed up with shoemaker On. After all, the company shares Federer's Swiss heritage...but it didn't make tennis shoes. With the recently revealed Roger Pro, though, that seems to be changing.
On is primarily a running shoe company, though it has recently expanded into hiking and trail footwear that employs its trademark feature, CloudTec — a sole design made up of springy pods. Shortly after Federer came on board, it revealed its first shoe that, at first glance, didn't (the pods are still there, they're simply covered up), The Roger, — which is "tennis-inspired" but really more of a lifestyle sneaker than a performance one.
Despite speculation about when the 39-year-old player will hang up his racquet, Federer is still swinging — so it was only a matter of time before On shod his feet for matches. Federer debuted the inevitable shoes at the Qatar Open, and On subsequently opened up the hood on its website.
Dubbed the Roger Pro, the shoe is a first for the company in that it apparently doesn't feature CloudTec. It does have a carbon fiber plate, though — a feature that's become a staple in high-end marathon shoes. It also has an engineered mesh upper, a high-density midsole, a soft heel, and varied, squeak-limiting grip patterns.
On's designers crafted every element of the shoe for Federer's style of play. In fact, the design's starting point was a 3D scan of his foot, according to On's site.
The catch is, that when On says it made a tennis shoe for Roger Federer, it means that literally. As in, only for Roger Federer. On isn't selling the Roger Pro, and doesn't have any apparent plans to. That said, it's hard to imagine the company invested so heavily in a new category for one guy...even if he is one of the best tennis players to have lived.