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On Art Basel Miami
Courtesy of On

On takes Art Basel on a hike through Miami’s plant-singing hinterlands

Led by Naomi Fisher, the Swiss performance brand is reimagining Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park as an art-world oasis, complete with an organic orchestra

“I want to show you a side of Miami most people don’t get to experience,” artist Naomi Fisher tells a sweaty group of people swaying about on a platoon in the middle of the Biscayne Bay. It’s a humid and sticky day in Miami, but the city is buzzing. People from around the world have gathered here for Art Basel – the annual art fair that’s garnered a cult following thanks to its celebrity-littered events, subversive art, and non-stop parties. 

Away from all that, though, Swiss performance brand On has opted for something decidedly unexpected, eschewing glamour and air conditioning in favour of a more nature-based approach. Tapping Miami native Fisher, whose discipline is a veritable love letter to her “weird sunny city”, On kicked off its Art Basel Miami Beach stint with a hike to one of the city’s hidden gems.

Over the course of five hours, On, Fisher, and arts activist Dejha Carrington took everyone on a journey into the natural paradise of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. A pack of fashionably dressed hikers snaked through unpaved sections of the space, alongside crashing waves below, and up to its historic lighthouse, which once served as a beacon of hope for Indigenous people and Black slaves seeking solace on their road to freedom. 

Eventually, the hot pavement led us to something decidedly new: plants singing. Argentinian producer Iván Diaz Mathé manipulated technology to turn the electromagnetic impulses of plants into sound, allowing leaves, grass, palms and even ferns to perform like a veritable organic orchestra. Dancer, musician, and Mathé’s wife, Elizabeth Hart contorted her body to dance to the unpredictably hypnotic sounds for a 10-minute performance unlike anything else. 

History, rebellion, and the desire for something new underscores On, which culminates in the reason for this storied walk: the new version of Cloudaway – a hybrid sneaker infused with running technology, designed for the great outdoors and the streets. The group is wearing the sneaker, putting its innovative recycled materials, patented CloudTec® technology, and zero gravity foam to the test. The new, limited-edition Gemstone colourway, meanwhile, combines pioneering design with functional running capabilities, a re-engineered heel hold, secure toggled laces, and a synthetic suede mudguard to protect the wearer's ankles. Ultimately the terrain proves to be no match for the shoes, with everyone ending the electric night dancing without inhibition to Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” on the boat ride back into the city.

Since its inception in 2010, On’s founders – Ironman champion Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann, and Caspar Coppetti – have strived for more with their Swiss running shoes. It began with the goal to cushion landing and create a firm take-off. What began with experiments with the garden hose eventually led to the trio constructing a shoe that actually significantly lowered users’ pulse rates and blood lactate levels. Now they’re putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability, even making shoes out of carbon emissions.

For the rest of Art Basel Miami Beach, people can join in and experience the Swiss brand’s pioneering running shoe technology with art at the same time thanks to their latest project, On Art Walk. Every day, until December 3, people can join On at Collins Canal Park for a guided exploration of Miami Beach with arts advocate Carrington. The walks will uncover some of the most fascinating outdoor public artworks, from Lawrence Weiner and Joep van Lieshout to Abraham Cruzvillegas, and so much more. Scheduled twice a day, walks happen daily starting and people can sign up with their shoe size to try the new Cloudaway running shoes. 

Sign up for On Art Walks. On’s Cloudaway running shoe is available now.