Roger Federer’s involvement with On Running has come under scrutiny following an investigation by Swiss television channel RTS. The investigation focused on the production conditions of the “Cloudneo” sneaker, a product of On Running, a company in which Roger Federer is both a shareholder and ambassador.

In 2022, On Running announced the release of the “Cloudneo” sneaker, which boasted an innovative concept of being fully recyclable, with a circular system in place to reduce waste. Through a subscription service, runners could return their worn-out pair every six months and receive a new one made from the old pair.

However, the RTS investigation uncovered the hidden realities behind this promise by tracing the entire production chain. The sneaker is made from castor oil, converted into plastic at a facility in Marseille, classified as a high-risk Seveso site, posing dangers to nearby residents. Subsequently, the shoes are manufactured in Vietnam, where workers are reportedly paid below a living wage.

Despite the claim of being 100% recyclable, On Running has admitted that they are “on track to begin the recycling process,” even though the shoe has been on the market for two years. Some scientists interviewed by RTS have highlighted the challenges of recycling this type of plastic, potentially undermining the sustainability of the shoe concept.

A total of 28,000 kilometers are traveled in the production of a “Cloudneo” sneaker, despite being marketed as a sustainable shoe by the brand. On Running, a major player in the Swiss market, has the support of Roger Federer, who remains silent in response to these revelations. In reaction to the investigation, the environmental movement Campax staged a protest outside On Running’s headquarters, featuring a fake bloodied figure of Federer.

The findings of the RTS investigation raise questions about the true sustainability of On Running’s products and the ethical implications of their production processes. As consumers become increasingly conscious of environmental issues, transparency and accountability in the fashion industry, particularly in the realm of sportswear, are crucial for building trust and credibility. It remains to be seen how On Running and Roger Federer will address these concerns and whether changes will be implemented to ensure a more sustainable and ethical approach to their products in the future.