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Fight for the Swiss Cross – The Brand On Misuse of Swissness

The brand On, where Roger Federer is a minority shareholder, manufactures its products in Vietnam. Customs documents show that On pays just under 18 francs for the “Roger Advantage” there, while consumers pay 190 francs for them.

Zurich-based On AG advertises its shoes as top Swiss products on which you can run like on “clouds” thanks to “unique” cushioning technology. The company’s aim is to “develop the most powerful shoe of all time” and “revolutionize running”. Running shoes cost at least 190 francs in On’s Swiss online store, hiking shoes from 240 francs, and the new “Cloudtilt Loewe” sneaker even costs 445 francs.

These are proud prices for cheaply manufactured products. The Zurich-based company has almost all of its shoes made in Vietnam – in the same factories as its competitors. The brand On does not disclose how much it pays the Asian producers for the finished shoes. K-Tipp knows the figures. It analyzed confidential customs data from July to October 2023 for 30 current On models and 20 shoes from other manufacturers.

The calculation

The On “Cloudaway” sneaker costs CHF 200 at On. The Zurich-based company procures the pair in Vietnam for just CHF 20.73. Added to this are freight and customs costs of around CHF 1.70. Swiss VAT amounts to CHF 14.99 for a retail price of CHF 200.

On charges CHF 220 for its “Cloudsurfer” running shoe. The brand On buys it in Vietnam for CHF 19.76. The “Roger Advantage” is also expensive. Roger Federer himself is involved in the shoe company and allegedly helps with product development with his “unique experience” – for example, with the “Roger Advantage.” In Vietnam, On buys the pair for CHF 17.86 and sells them in its online store for CHF 190 – more than ten times the factory price.

The most expensive On shoe, the “Cloudtilt Loewe”, even costs 445 francs in Switzerland. On manufactures it in Vietnam by Freeview Industrial – for CHF 20.80 per pair. In Switzerland, you, therefore, pay more than 20 times the factory price.

The brand On has higher margins than other brands

High mark-ups are common for sports shoes, but the brand On generally charges Swiss customers even more than other manufacturers.


  • A comparison of hiking boots from On with those from the Bavarian manufacturer Meindl shows that, according to customs documents, On adds an average of eight times the purchase price, while Meindl “only” adds five times. The shoes come from the factories of the same Vietnamese producer, the Fulgent Sun Group.
  • Adidas and Puma add less to the factory price than On. The On running shoe “Cloudsurfer” costs 220 francs in the On store. The Adidas running shoe “Ultraboost DNA 5.0” is available from the Adidas online store for CHF 140, and the “Magnify Nitro SP” from Puma from Running-Point.ch for CHF 111.90. The shoes from the Vietnamese manufacturers cost CHF 30.56 (Puma), CHF 28.42 (Adidas), and CHF 19.76 (On). So, the brand On pays the manufacturer the least and charges the customer the most.

Two different standards

When Roger Federer travels abroad wearing the brand On sneakers – such as the “The Roger” model – a small Swiss cross can be seen on the back of the shaft. However, if the same sneaker is presented on Swiss soil, the white cross on a red background is missing. The model – co-developed by the On partner and tennis star – is sold abroad with a different look than at home.

This is not due to chance. There are legal reasons behind this. Since the Swissness legislation came into force in 2017, there have been strict regulations as to when a Swiss cross can be affixed to a product. These criteria are not met in the case of On running shoes produced in Vietnam. But because Swiss law only applies domestically, the brand On shoes sold abroad are still decorated with a Swiss cross.

swiss made the brand on

The Swissness Enforcement Association denounces the shoe manufacturer. The association is a joint initiative of the private and public sectors.

They communicated the concerns to the brand in November 2022, but so far, they have received no response. Therefore, the Swissness Enforcement reserves the right to take legal action.

What is the legal situation? 

Anyone who wants to use the Swissness seal of quality for advertising purposes and market their product accordingly must meet certain criteria. These conditions vary depending on the type of goods. When it comes to industrial products, there are two criteria: First, at least 60 percent of the manufacturing costs must occur in Switzerland. Secondly, the steps that give the product its “essential” properties must also take place in Switzerland.

The brand On, therefore, avoids the Swiss cross on shoes that are sold domestically. Not only are the shoes made in Vietnam, but the “essential” production steps also took place in the low-wage Asian country. What these steps actually mean varies depending on the product. 

Why is this example important for you, our dear Swiss Made Direct customers?

This is the prime example of the misuse of Swiss Cross/Swissness legislation. For a product to be called Swiss-made (and to put a Swiss cross on it) – they have to meet certain criteria.

That’s why we at Swiss Made Direct are so careful about it. More importantly, that’s why we created a special category called “Almost Swissmade” for all products that don’t fit into Swissness legislation 100%.

All the other products in our online store belong to the Swissness rule and, therefore, are truly Swiss-made. We are super proud to keep the high quality of our products and never spread misinformation about them.

We can guarantee you, our dear customers, that we’ll uphold our standards and always keep you informed about each product in our store. And we’re super proud about it since, as you can see, even big brands are intentionally abusing and misusing the Swissness rule just for profit. Such acts in our store are forbidden forever!

Sources for the article: Ktipp and NZZ.

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