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12/17/2020

First Look: Swiss running brand opens tech-enhanced flagship in New York

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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A Swiss brand that counts Roger Federer as one of its investors has opened its first-ever physical store.

On has opened a sleek, 1,630-sq.-ft. flagship in downtown Manhattan. It boasts a “Magic Wall” that, at 62 x 9 x 3 ft., spans nearly the length and height of the store. The wall features hidden “gait-cycle analysis” technology — shoppers need to only run a few strides to get instantly matched with the best shoes for their individual running style. Combined with a custom-built invisible foot scanner with depth cameras that achieve an accuracy of +/- 1.25mm, shoppers also receive the perfect size.

The back of the wall, which is freestanding in the middle of the store, features drawers filled with every model and size of On’s shoe collection and in every color. At checkout, an employees brings out a fresh pair and enables a seamless, contactless purchase.

 Dressing rooms are available where shoppers can try on On's apparel collection. The rooms are designed to transport shoppers to the Swiss Alps with a signature Alpine scent and complementing sounds. 

In another nod to On’s outdoor roots, a life-size, 3D-printed boulder is located near the store entry. The piece was scanned directly from the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps. 

To find out more about any touchpoint or product in the store, including how the boulder was made, shoppers can hold their smartphones to the object for instant access to more information using NFC technology.

“Ten years ago, we set out to revolutionize the running experience,” said On co-founder David Allemann. “Today, we've reinvented the retail experience. With design and technology at the forefront, On NYC will empower shoppers to engage with our products in an entirely new way. This year more than ever, people have found solace and joy in running.”

On, whose running shoes sell for about $150 to $200 a pair, has made its shoes available in Nordstrom, REI, JackRabbit and other high-end specialty stores for a decade, according to the New York Post.