On was born in the Swiss Alps surrounded by mountain peaks to conquer, vast valleys to explore and endless trails to run. Adventuring in natural landscapes is at the very core of who we are. We want to protect this precious environment, so we’re committed to continuously innovating for a more sustainable future.
“Growing up in the Swiss Alps gives you a special appreciation for the natural world,” says On Co-Founder Caspar Coppetti. “Nature is not only where we play, it’s also our source of inspiration and above all, it’s our home. So of course we always wanted to protect it.”
Protecting the environment we explore
The first step is knowing where to start. The material manufacturing process accounts for up to 80% of a product’s footprint – that’s why we’re focused on increasing the recycled content in our gear. At the same time, we’re working to phase out virgin plastics and reach 100% recycled polyester and polyamides in all our shoes and apparel.
We’re on track to have more than 50% recycled content in all our shoes by 2021, and 30% in our apparel.
We’re also investing in new, innovative processes to improve how we use dye, which can account for up to 30% of the environmental footprint during production. Improving the manufacturing process of materials significantly reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
As we continue to commit to more sustainable practices, we never want to lose sight of maintaining the highest standards of performance in our gear. We believe sustainability and high performance are intrinsically linked. That’s why we started to challenge ourselves with bigger questions.
What if we could create a 100% recyclable running shoe? And, what if it’s possible to create a fully recyclable ultralight running shoe with elite performance?
The answer as we discovered, is yes it is possible. So we did it.
But we didn’t stop there. We also wanted to solve one of the biggest challenges our industry faces.
A different destiny.
Today, a linear model exists for most products. That means Make-Use-Dispose. When products have a one-way ticket to become waste, that has harmful effects on our planet.
Our solution to this is Cyclon.
Cyclon is a subscription service ready to challenge everything you thought you knew about performance and sustainability. We engineered a high-performance running shoe to elite standards. It’s one of the lightest, fastest shoes we’ve ever engineered and it can be recycled as part of an infinite, circular system.
This circular system we call a backloop. Instead of throwing out your shoes, we want them back. When we’re able to use 100% of your used shoes as raw materials, remember that linear line? It’s now a sustainable circle. Less waste. Less fossil fuel.
With each cycle, we’re able to protect the earth’s resources.
Creating a continuous backloop cycle meant we had to rethink how you own this shoe too (or rather, don’t). That’s why the Cyclon running shoe is only available on subscription. You run in them, return them, and we use 100% of your used running shoes to create new products. And we make sure you’re never without a pair.
To be able to recycle a running shoe in a backloop system requires materials of unparalleled quality. Some of the best things come in twos – fist bumps and finish lines, a new pair of shoes… In this case? Two incredibly powerful materials that not only matched our high expectations for performance, but exceeded them.
Let’s talk about beans.
The primary material used to engineer the Cyclon running shoe is derived from castor beans. We know – when you think of running shoes, beans don’t usually come to mind. But through an advanced synthesis process, we are able to cultivate a high-performance bio-based polymer from the castor beans.
Castor beans are harvested through a heating process to extract castor oil. The castor oil is transformed into a molecule called Amino 11 (bear with us) and finally, a special heat and pressure process creates the bio-based polymer called PA11.
The characteristics of PA11 mean it’s incredibly durable and tough, yet flexible and ultra-lightweight. We’ve already been using PA11 in our Speedboards® since 2016. That carbon-infused Speedboard® in the Cloudboom? Engineered with PA11 power.
This unique material possesses all the key ingredients to engineer a seriously high-performance running shoe and it’s 100% recyclable. Pretty neat.
The quality, performance and recyclability of PA11 wasn’t the only reason we chose it. Growing castor plants and harvesting their beans doesn’t compete with the food chain. We’ve committed to responsible sourcing with Arkema, our innovation partner and supplier. Arkema follows sustainable agriculture practices, certifying farmers and creating opportunities to better use otherwise limited land. The sourcing and production of PA11 is responsible to its very core.
Introducing: game-changing material number 2.
The sole of the Cyclon running shoe is engineered from a close relative of the castor bean polymer. It’s called Polyamide 12 or as it’s more commonly known, Pebax.
Pebax is a high-performance polyamide compound that’s – you guessed it – 100% recyclable. It’s also up to 20% lighter than other performance polyamides. You may have already heard about this material before. It’s a popular performance material loved within the sports industry for creating protection wear like ski boots and helmets. So it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that it possesses highly durable and resilient characteristics.
The nature of the material means it’s challenging to create a soft light foam. But we’re athletes and we love to be challenged. Through groundbreaking engineering methods, we’ve harnessed the power of Pebax into an ultralight, highly responsive foam.
An upper engineered from high-performance PA11. An ultralight, powerful sole from Pebax. The result? The Cyclon running shoe. An elite-level shoe that’s high-performance, 100% recyclable and zero waste. You can read more about how we harnessed all that performance in our Tech Profile Article.
Cyclon is a service ready to challenge what was previously thought about sustainability, performance and ownership. Making real change to positively impact the planet is only possible if we’re all committed together. And Cyclon is no different.
We can only make this happen with you. That’s why we’re launching the project now. For Cyclon to be as sustainable as possible, we need to know who’s in, so we can plan based on demand and stick to our goal of zero waste.
When you subscribe to Cyclon, you’re not only subscribing to an elite-level running shoe. You’re subscribing to a more sustainable future for our planet.