Running shoes based on bike tyres?!
In 2010 Olivier Bernhard, Swiss three-time world duathlon champion and multiple Ironman winner, got together with 2 other fellow runners also engineers, to design a revolutionary running shoe.
The idea was soft landings followed by explosive take-offs. Or, as they call it, Running On Clouds, or On for short.
Anecdotal history has it that the first shoe was roughly constructed using old bike tyres to create an air pocket to absorb energy and if you look at the early patent filings you can see this in the drawings - US 9775403.
The shoes evolved and appeared to work. I first came across them in 2016 when a friend told me she could only run because of On running shoes as all other shoes led to knee injuries. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) studies also confirmed the effectiveness of On technology.
The shoes started to catch on (!) and were famously used by top athletes like Nicole Spirig.
From an IP perspective they have used patents and trademarks (registered ® and unregistered TM ) to protect their inventions e.g. ‘the clever cushioning of CloudTec® goes tougher for the trail with the addition of the Missiongrip™ rubber overlay’.
Another IP angle is to base their office where world leading sports shoe professionals are based making it easier to hire expert staff: 2013 On added to its Zurich HQ by opening a US head office in Portland, Oregon (the home of Nike).
Recently tennis player Roger Federer has got involved and has launched his range of sports shoes and clothing – The Roger!
Full disclosure my daughter (see photo) has a part time job with On as an ambassador.
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Author: John Pryor Exalt IP