We spent 8.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Many people claimed that they felt no skin irritation while wearing the On Cloud; the inner sleeve was apparently smooth.
  • The lightweight build of this running shoe was appreciated by many testers.
  • The in-shoe experience felt snug yet accommodating, according to most consumers; they didn’t feel as if their movements were restrained.
  • A lot of runners stated that it was effortless to slip the foot in the foot-chamber of the On Cloud.
  • The aesthetics of this product were lauded by those who wanted to have a nice-looking shoe for their daily activities.
  • The cushioning system felt like standing and moving on actual clouds, as stated by several purchasers.
  • According to a handful of consumers, the grooved configuration of the underfoot platform permitted natural movement through the gait cycle.
  • This product felt steady and comfortable when taken to workouts at the gym.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Stones and other outdoor debris didn’t work well with the On Cloud; people complained of pebbles getting lodged between the spaces of the cushioning ‘clouds.’
  • A few people noted that the back portion of the upper was a bit stiff and that it caused some skin irritation.

Bottom line

The response for the On Cloud was positive. People were generally happy with this road companions performance. They welcomed its flexible and lightweight design, the unique aesthetics, and the versatile construction as they were able to use it for activities other than running. The cloud-like cushioning system apparently evoked the feeling of standing on a soft surface. On the other hand, there were complaints about the midsole’s ‘cloud’ elements retaining stones in the holes of their façade while other issues stemmed from its apparently irritating collar.



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Expert Reviews

83 / 100 based on 27 expert reviews

  • 75 / 100 |

    ON Running "The Cloud"

    More photos


    The shoe is classified as a lightweight performance trainer that can be used for races. The heel-to-toe offset is supposedly 6mm according to ON Running’s website. However, it is measured at 9mm at Running Warehouse. It weighs in at 198g for US Men’s 8.5. This shoe is the lightest running shoe that ON Running has manufactured.

    Upper and Fit

    The Upper is made from breathable mesh reinforced with suede overlays throughout the shoe and a cotton fabric material at the rear. The suede overlays, although stylish, posed as a concern for me as I doubted its durability.



    The structure in the shoe provided adequate support, giving it a secure fit. It provided a nice sock-like feel without a hint of roughness, allowing me to stay abrasion and blister-free when I wore it barefoot during triathlons.

    The tongue was comfortable, not to thick yet not too thin. It provided a decent lockdown of the feet in the shoe when laced up while not compromising on protection from possible pressure points from the laces.

    The heel counter, despite being rather low, offered enough support for longer runs when my running form started to get sloppy. The straps seen on the back half of the shoe supposedly contribute to the structure of the shoe, though I did not notice any increase in support.



    The shoes are true to size, although having a slightly narrow fit. The narrow fit may disallow toe splay. Runners with wider feet may prefer going half a size up.

    The Cloud came with elastic laces and conventional laces. I vastly preferred the elastic lacing due to two reasons. Firstly, I have wider feet and hence I did not feel like I needed that much lockdown in the forefoot. Secondly, the conventional lacing was too thin and long, which was rather messy and unsightly.

    Midsole Technology

    Starting with the Midsole, the Cloud features the 16 CloudTec pods designed to cater to individual running gaits. The pods deliver a rather unique feel. The landing is firm yet cushioned. I don’t feel like my legs get beat up even after running distances up to half-marathons.

    As a runner that prefers a more cushioned ride, I switched the stock insoles with a more cushioned insole which greatly increased the comfort of the ride.

    I intentionally tried heel striking and I personally feel that the transition from heel to toe felt better than when I landed on my midfoot. This is due to the thicker CloudTec elements at the rear of the shoe.



    The Cloud also features a Speed board. The Speed board is a mildly flexible full-length plastic plate that stiffens the sole and converts energy from landing impact to forward propulsion. This translated to decent stability with a light snappy toe-off.

    Outsole Durability

    As for the outsole, high abrasion rubber patches are placed at the front 5 pods and the back 3 pods for increased durability at high impact locations.

    However, I would prefer if the rubber patches were more generous, as I worried about the unprotected midsole that was exposed to the harsh conditions of asphalt.


    The sole after 50km

    Types of work out

    The Cloud excels on both the track and the road. It is best used for speedwork, aerobic intervals and for tempo workouts ranging from 5-10km. Personally I would prefer a more cushioned shoe for longer distances such as half-marathons to marathons.


    The Cloud is not recommended for trail running; small stones get stuck in the pods, firming up the ride and causing uneven pressure points. This is especially so for trails that are wet. Mud get caught in the pods which adds significant weight to the shoe.

    • Traps stones, mud
    • A little on the narrow side
    • Conventional laces too thin



    The cloud is a light and casual-looking shoe for runners who want a cushioned and responsive ride without sacrificing comfort or speed.

  • 91 / 100 |

    The On Cloud adventure begins!

    More photos

    I have been a fan on the On running shoe brand for almost two years now. I started with the basic On Cloud shoes when I first saw their shoes at the Charleston Fleet Feet booth in the Cooper River Bridge Run Expo.

    The Fleet Feet rep was very helpful and made sure I tried out the Cloud shoes in the right size. Last year, I upgraded to the Cloudflyer at the same expo 12 months later because Fleet Feet had a pretty good discount going on during the Expo’s hours. 


    The On adventure begins


    Since I signed up for On’s mailing list, I received advanced notice of when they would release a limited edition shoe, the Cloud Edge, and I had the opportunity to purchase them before the rest of the public. 

    First impressions

    A few months ago, I had the fortune to do a demo run with the On Cloudace and they were amazing. Needless to say, if you like a brand, it pays to watch what they do and see what promotional events they run (no pun intended).

    Over the holidays, On again had a sale happening, but on their website. As much as I would have liked to try the Cloudflow or the Cloudsurfer, I decided that I should stay with a shoe I am familiar with because I am shopping online and I knew, or rather thought I remembered, how they felt on my feet.

    I still plan on trying out those two at some point, though. The shoes arrived relatively quickly, but I didn’t get a chance to put them through the ringer or at least start breaking them in until recently. 


    Side view of the On Cloud and the Cloudtec pockets


    They felt fantastic when I slipped them on my feet. I love my On Cloudflyers, but putting on a new pair of shoes is akin to climbing into the latest model of a never sold vehicle and inhaling that brand new car smell. But it’s the comfort and freshness of the shoe aligning with one’s feet.


    The On Cloud shoe weighs 8.1 ounces, or 230 grams when it is a size 9 shoe. I wear size 10, so that fraction of an ounce extra doesn’t matter to me.  

    They have a 6-millimeter drop from heel to toe, which in theory puts it halfway between what minimalist runners want (0-4 mm) and what a traditional running carries for a drop (11-12 mm). 


    The sole provides quite a bit of support. The On Cloud shoes are a neutral running shoe, but while I am more of a stability shoe runner, I absolutely love having these with me.  


    On Cloud running shoe in action


    That may not be the case for everyone, but On touts the Cloud shoes as footwear for an active lifestyle. Meaning you would wear them for activities other than running.

    In fact, one of my friends who works at a running shoe store prefers to wear the On Cloud while working and moving about in the store and use Asics or New Balance for her mid to long term running.

    I can definitely wear my On Cloud shoes while moving about during work, but these will be my go-to shoes for any running less than 10 kilometers. I only put that 10 kilometer limit on them because I want to reserve On’s other shoes for any half marathon races I might sign up for later this year.


    As much as I love On shoes, they have notorious outsole (almost all their shoes), for picking up rocks, large seeds, and debris if you are not careful. That restricts my running to roads and paved trails.

    You need to be cautious not to run across a rocky path and it’s almost a guarantee that a rock will wedge itself within the sole. It’s not a pain to pluck them out, but it is bothersome to stop and pick the debris out while running.


    Pointing out where rocks tend to wedge themselves

    Final thoughts

    The On brand also doesn’t always go on sale in shoe stores. I’ve seen more Altra and Hoka shoe sales in the last three months than I’ve seen any On shoes with a discount in the past year.

    That being said, I did manage to get my On Cloud shoes at about a third off at the tail end of the holidays. Keep an eye out for discounts and sales with On.

    They are definitely worth getting if you see a sale. If not, try them out at a shoe store, and I highly recommend starting off with the On Cloud shoes because that is their basic brand and the most inexpensive of all their shoes. The On Cloud will give you a great indication if On is right for you.

  • 95 / 100 | Triathlon Taren | | Level 2 expert

    I've got no hesitation to say that this is the best all-around running shoe of 2016.

  • 83 / 100 | Swim Cycle Run Coach | | Level 1 expert

    Effectively light and minimalist they also offer cushioning.

Become an expert

- The On Cloud running shoe is designed for the neutral pronator. It is one of the premier options from the brand, having the distinction of being the precursor to almost all of the products within its roster. The façade of the Cloud may look different to some consumers; it is actually an updated version of the initially-released Cloud model, with updated seamless upper configuration, redesigned CloudTec® cushion-and-traction system, and revamped interior foot-accommodation to welcome natural performance and heightened comfort.

- A bevy of color schemes is available for this On Running neutral shoe. Such visual variance permits stylistic modifications, especially when embarking on casual strolls around the cityscape. Also, a lightweight, close-to-the-ground construction welcomes athletes who desire a minimalistic approach to their chosen footwear.

The On Cloud was designed using the standard measurements; therefore, consumers are encouraged to get a pair using the usual sizing preferences. When it comes to width, the available variants are D – Medium and B – Medium for men and women, respectively.

This shoe has a semi-curved shape that welcomes the natural curvature of the human foot. The interior lining outlines the topmost dimensions, bringing a non-irritating wrap.

The outsole unit of the On Cloud is made up of the CloudTec® elements, foam pieces that have been integrated seamlessly to the platform to provide cushioning and traction. The malleable construction of these pillow-like units is meant to cushion the landings and energize the liftoffs. The tips have tread-patterns that provide grip.

Rubber layers are placed on areas of the outsole that are more susceptible to ground contact. These sections prevent wear-and-tear whole also heightening surface control.

High-grade ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is used to immediately cushion the underside of the foot. It is ready to mitigate impact shock but also prepared to last long as it has a durable construction. The Nike Air Zoom Streak 7 possesses a platform with a closely similar height with the On Cloud; both shoes are designed for fast-paced runs.

The Speedboard is a layer that’s placed between the midsole and the outsole. This extra piece is meant to improve the durability of the platform. It also acts as a pressure distributor that responsibly tones the equilibrium regarding the individual ‘cloud’ elements.

The upper unit of the On Cloud is made up of engineered mesh, which is a cloth-like material. It has an open construction that accommodates air into the foot-chamber. It also has a form-fitting capacity to help the natural swelling and bending of the foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe. It is lightweight, as well.

The interior lining of this road shoe is comprised of a non-slip material, which means that it is able to hold the foot in place and prevent it from exiting the interior chamber unexpectedly. It’s designed to be soft and non-irritating to the skin.

A wraparound saddle covers the sides and the heel. This single-piece add-on connects to the lacing system, tightening and loosening in conjunction with the adjustments made to the shoelaces.

Reflective strips are placed on strategic areas of the façade. These elements are meant to make the shoe more effortless to see in low-light, thereby increasing usability for those who desire running or going out at night.

The On Cloud uses a speed-lace system which is comprised of durable and stretchy securing cables that zigzag across the instep. One aglet is located on the topmost eyelet on lateral side while the other is on the first eyelet on the medial section. This unique lacing design aims to alleviate pressure while also emphasizing that there is no need to loop both aglets together.

Extra eyelets are placed at the edge of the collar, and they’re meant to allow the option to secure the heel more appropriately. Such a mechanism locks the foot in place even more because the holes that are nearest to the collar tend to pull the rest of the upper towards the instep.

Many athletes and running enthusiasts are leaning more towards minimalist performance on the roads. The near-to-the-ground and uncluttered nature of today’s minimalist running shoes gain more favor from those who want to have more manual control and ground feedback. The On Cloud running shoe for men and women is one such model that strives to provide a stylistic yet functional approach to urban adventures.

But the On Cloud is not the only one to capture the attention of consumers. Here are some of the other neutral running shoes that are similar to On Running’s flagship product:

Asics Kanmei

Asics is one of the premier brands when it comes to providing shoes that are meant for functionality and style. The Kanmei road shoe breathes functionality but from within a spick-and-span silhouette. It doesn’t have a bevy of bells and whistles. In fact, this model is lauded by consumers for its lightweight and ‘fun’ design, which meant that they were able to use it for casual walks and as part of their daily attire.

The technologies that are present in this running shoe serve the most fundamental of purposes, shaving off the bulk and retaining a sleek form-factor in the process. Industry-standard foam offers underfoot cushioning while seamless mesh and printed overlays make up the upper unit.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon

Speed training and sprinting competitions may require running shoes that have sufficient cushioning. But strong midsole performance doesn’t mean that the platform itself has to be heavy or laden with features. Many running shoes are weighed down by extra elements in the midsole. But the Fresh Foam Beacon from New Balance isn’t such a shoe. Though this product has a bulbous midsole outline, the material used for it doesn’t have a lot of weight. Runners were genuinely surprised by the lightweight configuration of the cushioned platform, stating that it was responsive yet long-lasting.

Rounding out the Fresh Foam Beacon’s features are strategically placed rubber nodes on the outsole, an engineered knit upper that offers breathable support, a set of thin and sparingly-used printed overlays, and a padded yet form-securing tongue and collar.

Topo Athletic ST-2

Grippy performance on both wet and dry surfaces is the promise of the ST-2 road shoe from Topo Athletic. It utilizes a rubber outsole that generously doles out traction to handle even slippery ground. The external pad also has several flex grooves that welcome the natural bending capacity of the foot as it transitions through the gait cycle.

The forefoot design of this product is spacious. It permits the toes of the wearer to splay naturally when standing idly or when gearing towards the toe-off. The freedom to spread the toes offers a lot of advantages to movement and balance, mainly when running for long periods. The wideness of the toe-box may also serve individuals who have broader foot dimensions and those who just don’t want their feet to feel cramped while inside the shoe.

The upper combines the functionality of woven mesh and printed overlays. Working together causes these rudiments to be breathable, flexible and durable. The heel area has stretchy Lycra to embrace the ankles and Achilles tendon while also staving off skin irritation.

New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz

Just like the On Cloud, the Fresh Foam Veniz from New Balance is a daily speed training shoe that can pass as an accouterment of casual attire. Some of the colorways that are available for the Veniz channel the black-white-gray color scheme of On’s flagship model. Breathable mesh grants a well-ventilated coverage while a mix of printed and stitched-on overlays contribute to a snug and secure fit. The sturdy-looking yet orderly façade is visually similar to the Cloud.

A near-ground midsole made of Fresh Foam is used for the Veniz. New Balance’s proprietary single-piece cushioning unit offers a luxurious yet responsive ride throughout the running session. Blown rubber, which is a traction-ready yet malleable material, covers the midsole, protecting it from wear-and-tear while also providing additional cushioning and bounciness. The ridged and grooved tread-pattern of the external pad heightens both flexibility and traction.

On Cloudflow

Like its in-brand counterpart, the On Cloudflow doesn’t have a lot of features on its façade. What it has is a sock-like interior environment, an external cover system that is highly breathable, and a set of non-intrusive overlays that ultimately help in achieving a secure yet accommodating fit. Furthermore, people have welcomed this shoe’s treated upper, a feature that staved off bacterial buildup and odor.

The ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) topsole and the CloudTec® cushioning nodes are also present in this road running shoe. They are a duo that provides relentless cushioning whether merely standing or going through the gait cycle. The same rubber pods that protect the original Cloud model’s contact points also shield the Cloudflow’s external pad, thereby decreasing material breakdown and wear.

It was the year 2010 when three Swiss friends worked together to realize a dream that they’ve been cooking: to provide a set of performance running shoes that are sure to keep the performance as agreeable as possible and as equally effective. They believed that the natural biomechanics of the human foot can be supported without restricting ground-feel and full flexibility.

So, Olivier, Caspar, and David went on a journey to make a company that would focus on providing runners with quality products to take across their myriad active adventures and kinetic activities.

One of the most essential innovations done by On Running is the CloudTec®, a cushioning technology composed of several ‘cloud-like’ nodes that support the underfoot platform. These pillow-shaped protrusions are exposed to the ground, though high-wear-areas are protected by rubber.

People became curious about this unique-looking midsole design, so they flocked to this new company from Switzerland with hopes of getting a pair of shoes that featured these new-wave cushioning elements. After all, aside from being mechanically fresh, especially regarding performance, the intricately placed ‘clouds’ also look like nothing on the running shoe market.

Though mainly focused on functionality and the athletic side of footwear performance, On Running made various colorways for their shoes, eventually offering eye-catching hues that are evocative of urban styles and casual trends.

On continues to create high-quality products to this day, churning several versions of the same family of shoes, whether for the roads or the trails. Sometimes, they don’t change the name; instead, they take their original designs and make some improvements or modifications to suit the needs of runners.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.