In the 1990s, Jürg Braunschweiler, a graduate engineer at the world-renowned Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), developed the first sole to feature horizontal rather than traditional vertical cushioning.
Jürg is an athlete, fitness and health fanatic and a former officer in the Swiss Special Forces. A man who leads a very active life, but the years of sport and military service have also left their mark on Jürg. Plagued by knee and back pain, Jürg went in search of better footwear. He has always been determined to strengthen and protect his body while regenerating his joints and muscles, and his struggles have only reinforced that.
Jürg's wife Patty grew up in Florida, so the couple and their son Eric spent a lot of time in the Sunshine State. It was also there that Jürg had his eureka moment in search of the ultimate shoe sole.
While walking and running on boardwalks near the beach, Jürg noticed that some sand covering the asphalt floor provided optimal cushioning. Why? The sand absorbed the shearing forces on every step, smoothly gliding the foot into its step and directly pushing it back off the pavement. As an engineer, this immediately made sense to Jürg. The negative impact on joints is mainly due to an abrupt stop after a horizontal motion. Gliding into the step softens the effect and produces more fluid movement.
Equipped with a garden hose, scissors and some superglue, Jürg made his prototype. He cut the garden hose into 13 pieces and glued them to the sole of his shoes. The rubber hoses shear and collapse on impact, but remain solid and stable for the push-off.
After ten prototypes and 12 months, Jürg was convinced he had found the solution he was looking for. He started giving the prototypes to friends and acquaintances who, after a few steps, were thrilled with the shoe. At that moment, Jürg realized that he was on the right path, a path that needed to be explored further.
Swiss engineering - GNL's revolutionary 360° 3D shoe cushioning system
Over the years, Jürg was joined by his son Eric in an effort to revolutionize the footwear industry. They managed to develop a sole that slides in the direction of movement, which was perfect for running, but not enough for everyday life. Therefore, they developed a 360° 3D cushion. The corresponding patent was filed in 2006 and today it is the basis for GNL's technological vision and leadership.
The Braunschweiler family abandoned all further patent applications and sold their predecessor patent in 2009. Their entire focus since then has been on a three-dimensional, holistic regenerative health approach, not on running shoes.
Since 2016, Eric has been running all of GNL's operations, eagerly pursuing the goal of revolutionizing the footwear industry. The core sole technology has remained the same, but has been continuously developed.
In recent years, strong partners such as Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning Spa Clinic and Swiss Sliding joined GNL on a mission to revolutionize the footwear industry.