In the 1990s, Jürg Braunschweiler, a graduate engineer at the world-famous Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, developed the first sole with horizontal rather than conventional vertical cushioning.
Jürg is a sportsman, a 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 set out 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 this.
THE PASSIONATE SEARCH FOR THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOE SOLE.
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 there that Jürg had his eureka moment in search of the ultimate shoe sole.
While walking and running on the boardwalks near the beach, Jürg noticed that some sand covering the asphalt floor provided optimal cushioning. And why? The sand absorbed the shear forces with every step, allowed the foot to slide gently into the step and pushed it straight back off the pavement. As an engineer, this immediately made sense to Jürg. The negative effects on the joints are mainly caused by the abrupt stop after a horizontal movement. Sliding into the step softens the effect and leads to a smoother movement.
An idea is brought to life
Equipped with a garden hose, a pair of scissors and some superglue, Jürg made his prototype. He cut the garden hose into 13 pieces and glued them to the soles of his shoes. The rubber hoses shear and collapse on impact, but remain firm and stable for the impact.
After ten prototypes and 12 months, Jürg was convinced that he had found the solution he was looking for. He began to give the prototypes to friends and acquaintances, who were thrilled with the shoe after a few steps. At that moment, Jürg realized that he was on the right path, a path that needed to be explored further. He patented his first idea for an open hollow body construction in 2002, which paved the way for further developments.
GNL's revolutionary 360°Walk design
Over the years, Jürg was supported by his son Eric in his efforts to revolutionize the shoe industry. They succeeded in developing a sole that glided in the direction of movement, which was perfect for running but not enough for everyday use. They therefore developed a 360° 3D cushion. The corresponding patent was filed in 2006 and is now the basis for GNL's technological vision and leadership.
The Braunschweiler family abandoned all further patent applications and sold their previous patent to On Running in 2009. Since then, their entire focus has been on a three-dimensional, holistic, regenerative approach to health and no longer on running shoes.
Since 2016, Eric has been managing all of GNL's businesses and is eagerly pursuing the goal of revolutionizing the footwear industry. The sole technology has remained the same at its core, but has been continuously developed.
In recent years, strong partners such as Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa clinic, have joined the mission to revolutionize the footwear industry.