With all eyes on Roger Federer as he made his comeback from injury at the 2021 Qatar Open in Doha, fans soon noticed something was different.
Roger’s return marked the debut of THE ROGER Pro – the first-ever On tennis shoe, developed by Roger with the On Lab.
Two years in the making, this one-of-a-kind competition shoe was the original technology inspiration for THE ROGER sneaker collection.
Behind the design
THE ROGER PRO
The starting point for THE ROGER Pro, like for every On shoe, was sensation.
The project started with the creation of a bespoke last based on 3D scans of Roger’s feet. With the shape defined by anatomy, the details were developed through sensory feedback.
Creating a performance shoe for a new sport meant applying the On design approach in an entirely new way. But the philosophy and core principles stay the same.
Like with running, tennis is about energy and movement. When you optimize the sensation, you can enhance performance.
– On Co-Founder and Innovation Leader Olivier Bernhard.
Performance experience meets performance technology
Tennis isn’t running. It’s literally a totally different ball game.
“Tennis players put up to three times their body weight through a shoe during lateral movements,” Olivier Bernhard explains. “These high forces demand extreme agility and stability. That’s what we worked with Roger to create.”
To manage these forces, this first On tennis competition shoe features a solid midsole made from a high-density, high-performance foam.
The bottom unit extends on the outer side of the shoe, increasing the footbed to add stability.
A cage around the midfoot keeps the foot precisely in place during rapid-fire rallies.
Adapts to Roger
“When you watch Roger play you feel like he is in complete control of his technique and that’s what we saw when we analyzed his movement,” explains Kévin Dellion, Sports Science Lead at On.
“There were areas we thought we might add support, but when we watched how Roger moves, he didn’t need it. So we could leave it away and reduce the weight of the shoe.”
Curved edges on the bottom unit support a smooth roll from one part of the foot to another between strokes – ideal for Roger’s trademark fluid transitions.
“The shoe should always adapt to Roger. Roger should never have to adapt his style to the shoe.” – Kévin Dellion, On Sport Science Lead
For explosive exchanges
Like with other On shoes, THE ROGER Pro features a Speedboard® for enhanced energy return.
Made from 100% carbon fiber, this explosive plate absorbs the impact from landing before returning it for added agility. This helps Roger set himself for the next shot faster.
The engineered mesh upper is breathable and abrasion-resistant for comfort and durability in long, high-intensity sets.
The heel is kept soft for comfort. It also gives Roger freedom of movement to reach shots he has no right to return.
Always in the zone
Making the difference often means removing distractions. The shoe’s varied grip pattern and rubber compound were developed specifically to limit squeaking on hard courts.
The toe cap reinforcement not only provides protection when Roger slides to make a shot, but also sensory feedback about his body position.
Down the line
Competitive play is a new testing phase for the first prototype of THE ROGER Pro. Feedback from Roger’s return to the tour will shape future versions of the shoe.
Right now, this one-of-a-kind model is made to work for Roger’s feet and game, so is not available for purchase. But we never say never.
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THE ROGER Pro was the technology inspiration for THE ROGER sneaker series. Perform off court in all-day comfort and style developed with the champion himself.