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These Sneakers Were the Real Stars of Challengers

I’m not going to spoil Challengers for you, but I am going to spoil which sneakers are worn in the tennis drama. The final ten minutes of the movie are undoubtedly the most intense and important, and as I teetered on the literal edge of my seat—torso pitched forward, elbows on my knees, intently focused on everything happening onscreen—I noticed something. A flash of white amid the chaos of a life-defining tennis match. There they were, right on the feet of Mike Faist: a pair of Roger Pro sneakers by Swiss brand On.

I’d know the On logo anywhere. I see it hundreds of times a day on passersby in the city, and I’m well aware of the fact that fans love the brand for its comfortable, cool, high-performance sneakers. So I’m not really surprised that they had such a big moment during the most pivotal part of Challengers, worn by Faist’s Art Donaldsonduring the final moments of his match against best-friend-turned-enemy Patrick Zweig (played by Josh O’Connor). Because let’s face it: These shoes are stars—and they come in women’s sizes.

On The Roger Pro

The Roger Pro

On The Roger Pro

If you weren’t certain whether to buy On’s Roger Pro sneakers before Challengers, the movie will surely sway you. Aside from the fact that they’re designed in collaboration with tennis superstar Roger Federer himself, Challengers makes a hell of a case for these shoes.

Let me set the scene. Art Donaldson is one of the best American tennis stars, married to one of the other best American tennis stars, Zendaya’s Tashi Duncan. He’s super rich. He can buy and wear anything, so he buys and wears the best of the best, especially to play tennis. So for him to be wearing On Roger Pros? Well, that just goes to show how high-level these kicks are—good enough for a tennis star, and good enough for us.

And when the camera dramatically flicks back and forth between close-ups of Zendaya’s face, and O’Connor’s, and Faist’s, and then to Faist’s shoes—I mean, clearly Luca Guadagnino is trying to put On up for an Oscar. The heat of the moment, the drama of it all, and the Roger Pro shoes sharing screen time with the trio of movie stars? It was beautiful, to say the least. When the movie ended, I was thinking about a lot of things, but mostly—as evidenced by my immediate text to my editors upon leaving the theater—I was thinking about these shoes.

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