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The Place Where Excuses Don’t Exist

Bergen, on the west coast of Norway, is among the wettest places on the planet.  Yet you’ll find the locals outdoors. Sounds like the perfect place to test our new waterproof running shoes...


Welcome to the city where excuses don’t exist. 


Tossed across the shoreline as if washed in by the North Sea, Bergen first emerges as rows of pointed roofs. Their shape is more necessity than aesthetic, there to channel away the unrelenting rain. It’s a hopeless task in one of the planet’s wettest cities. Raindrops fall here for up to 240 days of the year. Once the rain didn’t stop for 85 consecutive days.





The weather has shaped not only the architecture, but the resolve of the people here. In a city overflowing with reasons to stay inside, the people of Bergen are out there, hiking the surrounding mountains and breathing the sea air. If anyone needs waterproof running shoes…




The Rain Runner

Espen Roll Karlsen, pictured, has spent his whole life in Bergen. A Computer Science student at Western Norway University, he runs to “reset the brain" after coding.


Referencing a 5k best of 15:08 and a 10k P.R. of 31:52, Espen reveals his calibre as a runner. And his ability to take on the elements. You don’t hit numbers like that by staying indoors. 





After years on the track, Espen has turned his attentions to the trail. A silver medal at the Norwegian cross-country championships shows the transition was a smooth one. But he admits that training in a rain-drenched Bergen is not without its challenges.


“I have good days and bad days. Sometimes it rains every day for a month. It can be a little depressing because everywhere you go you have to consider the rain. But it becomes routine." 


The Cloudventure Waterproof
The shoe for storming the mountains in all conditions. Espen: “Most impressive with On waterproof running shoes is that they don’t get heavier when wet.”



"When you're born and raised here you get hardened to the rain. You don’t notice it in the same way, it just makes you appreciate the sunny days."




"The rain doesn’t stop us getting outdoors. We are outdoors people in Bergen. 


"I feel like there’s more oxygen in the air when it's raining. The first minutes of a run in the rain are always the toughest. But after a while, you just get used to it, and it kind of rolls off you.


"I find the rain gives me more energy on a run." 

The Cloudflyer Waterproof
The lightweight support shoe for long road runs in the wet. Espen: “There is skepticism around waterproof running shoes. But not with this kind of quality and responsiveness."


"We had a really nice summer this year. But now it’s been raining for 10 days. And it will probably rain for the rest of the year..."


“In winter the darkness is just as present as the rain. I train in the morning and it's dark. For the second session in the evening it’s also dark. When I run in the winter it's always dark."




“Actually we had a really great winter too; we had a lot of snow. I also run in deep snow as a kind of strength training.” 


For those who find it difficult to strike through their excuses for running in the rain, Espen prescribes a dual dose of team spirit and race-day responsibility. 


“There's a big running community in Bergen. Training together makes it easier to get out of the door in bad weather. We push each other to show up and improve. And now almost every beautiful mountaintop has its own race. There’s plenty of motivation to be found here.” 








The element-proof explorer

Thea Årrestad grew up in Bergen, but now lives in Switzerland. It was particle physics rather than perennial rain that triggered her move away. Thea, pictured, is currently working on a PhD at CERN. 


“The weather was not a factor in my move at all. If anything, I think life in Bergen has given me mental constraints on how far south I’m be willing to live." 


"I need the rain and the cold to be comfortable." 




"Sometimes I feel fierce and want to defy both myself and the elements; water streaming down my face, ten kilometres of taking on the elements."



We have a saying in Norway: "Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær”, which roughly translates into "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”


When I think of waterproof shoes, I think of green boots or trail shoes with weird patterns. The On waterproof collection is black, sleek and minimalist. I can keep dry while nurturing my vanity. And I also don’t mind doing the taking-on-the-elements thing without 200g of rainwater in each shoe."


The Cloud Waterproof
For urban exploration in all weathers.

We are testing our new waterproof collection with runners in some of the wettest locations on the planet. Next up, Yakushima, Japan, an island of fairytale forests where it’s said to rain “35 days a month." Sounds like they’ll be happy to see us. Eliminate your excuses with the On waterproof collection