On hit the court for the first time this year with the On Roger Centre Court. Its first limited edition iteration fronted by namesake Roger Federer sold out faster than a Wimbledon roof cover during a rain stop. Following swiftly on the more premium coat-tails of the Centre Court is On's latest silhouette in the Roger Franchise the Clubhouse.
What the Centre Court has in sleekness the Clubhouse makes up for in day to day wearability. All the technological treats you would expect from an On offering are here for you. Cloudtec- check, Speedboard- check. The comfort doesn't come into question when you try an On. What the Clubhouse is doing differently is its more casual, fit friendly form and silhouette. White Vegan leather forms the textured and layered upper and combined with the gum finish to the outsole the On Roger Clubhouse falls into the same category as previous tennis sneakers that have been able to successfully make the jump from the court to the street.
Whilst your Stan Smith's and Club C's of this world have pretty much stayed to their tried and tested form and function the Clubhouse brings a bit of freshness to the landscape. It sits somewhere between the aforementioned styles and OG basketball silhouettes like the New Balance 330 and the Nike Dunk which are both receiving a resurgence in 2020.
The Clubhouse hits at just the right time too. In a time in sneaker culture that has been threatened by a post-sneaker world of mules, birks and loafers, the minimalness and adaptability of the tennis and low profile retro basketball models have risen to the challenge of falling into the current rise of prep style.
Maybe its the fall season kicking in, maybe it's just me spending too much time on Throwing Fits 'Fit Check Fridays' or maybe it's my desire to own every piece in the new FW20 Aimé Leon Dore collection. Either way, something in the air is whispering that prep (in some form or another) is back- if it ever left at all.
There is something that grates with the word prep or Ivy style though, the same with tennis and clubhouse culture as a whole. It's that elitism it is associated with. That upper class, if your names not down your not coming in vibe. But you know- fuck the man.
What is great about prep, Ivy, tennis and even golfs forays into street culture is that we, the people, we give it new meaning, we flip it on its head, and everyone's invited. From the Japanese Ivy obsessed in the '70s, the Lo-Lifes who rocked Ralf Lauren for the betterment of the brand in the '80s, UK garage ravers in Gucci loafers and Burberry prints in the '90s and more recently the Black Ivy photo series by Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs of Street Etiquette. Ivy, prep, tennis club whatever you want to call it style- is better off not worn by the 1%, it always outgrows it's originally intended market and its legend lives through the fits of those that re-invent it for the many, not the few.
Today we see Tyler the Creator doing his thing for Lacoste and brands like Aimé Leon Dore and Noah following that same Ivy meets streetwear blueprint, mixing heavy knits and cardigans under long tweed car coats with fall toned houndstooth slacks. There are not a lot of sneakers that can fit this flex, but that's exactly where the On Clubhouse comes in. It has the lux feel of the vegan leather, the OG look of a tennis shoe and the fact that it only comes in white at the moment is a major middle finger to your average fall fit in itself. Shining out from under the cuff of brown cord or grey wool trouser and you're ready to get that degree in pulling off a fit.
The Roger Clubhouse is not stuck up, whilst at home on a tennis court, its made for the streets, and it's going to look just as good if you Crep protect the hell out of it and keep it looking crisp or wear them to death. What the Clubhouse plays on is the success of tennis shoes aesthetic versatility. But this doesn't happen by default. Many have tried and failed. On have managed to make a sneaker that fits a multitude of different looks. Credit where credit's due, the Clubhouse achieves what the classics in the past have accomplished but added a layer of tech without any unnecessary bells and whistles. On this current evidence, we can look forward to seeing what On has instore for the Roger franchise in the future.
We got illustrator and sneaker connoisseur Anders Schans to take the Roger Clubhouse on a wear test which you can check above.
The On Roger Clubhouse will be on general release from Spring 2021. Find out more about the new sneaker here.