Back in March, Roger Federer made his much-awaited comeback on the tennis courts of the Qatar Open. At the event, those with a keen eye for shoes noticed him wearing a pair of never-before-seen footwear. Those shoes would turn out to be the On Roger Pro, a special footwear created for the athlete by On Running. Yes, those guys that make those fancy running sneakers.
Originally conceived as a one-of-a-kind custom for the tennis stud, the shoes have, apparently, generated enough casual interest that they’re making it available for the world at large. Will it make you a better tennis player when you hit the local hardcourts? We doubt it. Will it make you feel good knowing you’re wearing the same kicks as the 20-time Grand Slam title winner? Probably. Plus, it’s probably time to add another tennis shoe to your style rotation, so your Stan Smiths can get a well-deserved break.
The On Roger Pro is, basically, a consumer-friendly version of the silhouette the athlete wears during tennis tournaments. While the product page doesn’t exactly list the differences, we imagine the shape is a more generalized one to fit a wider swath of individuals, as the original shoe’s starting point was a 3D scan of Federer’s feet, so it was tailored to fit him and him alone. Beyond that, though, we’re guessing the rest of the shoes are the same, which is to say, it has all the performance elements that they’ve tailored to support Federer’s preferred style of play.
That would include an engineered mesh upper that delivers equal amounts of support and breathability, a midfoot cage for better stability, and a carbon fiber plate, which, we’re guessing, provides the same energy return as it does in conventional running shoes. There’s a high-density midsole, a soft heel, and an outsole with grip patterns designed to limit squeaking (because, let’s be honest, that’s distracting as heck), along with a TPU heel counter, toe cap reinforcements, and mesh lining.
Is the On Roger Pro a worthy alternative to other tennis shoes for competition? Unless you’re Federer, it’s probably not. While it does appear to be designed for comfort and lightweight performance, the lack of rubber, the absence of a tougher toe guard, and just the general lack of bulk means it probably won’t hold up as long for serious tennis players the way other tennis shoes would. But… but… Federer wears it. Yes, he does and he probably has dozens, if not hundreds, of pairs of this thing. That won’t be the case for regular dudes who play tennis on the weekends.
For a pair of sneakers to add to your streetwear rotation, though, this thing definitely looks fit to play the part. It’s a good-looking shoe, after all, and should wear with casual outfits just as well as any $200 sneaker. Oh yeah, it’s also the only shoes On has ever made that don’t have their signature CloudTec outsole, so it’s also a nice change of pace for folks who are fans of the Swiss footwear brand.
The On Roger Pro is available now, priced at $200.