10 Best On Running Shoes in 2021

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best On Running Shoes in 2021

They may be new to the running scene, but On running shoes have got what it takes to compete against established brands like Adidas and Nike. Whether it’s for the road or the trail, these running models are set for performance. 

We’ve carefully screened different models from On in five different categories to help all runners. Through our own shoe testing lab, we gather data that solidify our decision to choose the shoes on this list.  

 

How we test On running shoes

Apart from having our independent RunRepeat shoe testing lab, we also buy all the running shoes from On we scrutinize with our own money. This is to make sure we give you a 100% honest review. 

To be more objective, we also carry out the following: 

  • Run in each shoe for 30-50 miles to see how they perform and how sturdy they are
  • Slice the shoe into pieces to see what’s inside
  • Measure them in 30 different parameters like breathability, softness, thickness, weight, etc. 

And to find out how they stand up against other running shoes, we also collect expert and user reviews to come up with a CoreScore. It’s a rating that ranges from 0-100, showing how good or bad the shoe is. 

Best overall

If we can only pick one On running shoe, choosing the Cloudswift is a no-brainer. It’s the superlative of sexy and durable, we can’t get enough of it! 

Want to turn heads in your next run? This shoe can do the job. Hammering it on the pavement wasn’t enough for us to examine its strength. We had to see the numbers.

Through our lab tests, we can confirm, it’s built like a tank. In our durometer test, we’ve gathered that it’s 45% stiffer than the average running shoe. 

Yes, it can take a beating. 

And if it’s grippy traction you’re after, this shoe is stellar. No cap, it can bite any surface. On asphalt, cement, gym floors, and more, it’s been the absolute best. 

True to its name, the upper has been cloud-like in comfort. It’s so plush, it’s one of the best-feeling uppers we’ve tried. We didn’t even want to take it off! 

At 9.9 oz, the On Cloudswift is not the lightest shoe on our roster (average is at 9.4 oz), but with the unmatched comfort, sturdiness, and not to mention, looks it gave us, it’s the kind of heft we can move past.

See our full review and facts

The On Cloudflow 2.0 is so light, it felt like we were literally “flowing” through our runs. It didn’t drag us down. Even better, it felt as light as air. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true On without the brand’s signature fluffy comfort. It’s so soft underfoot, our feet remained cozy from step-in down to the last stride. Our feet and legs didn’t even need recovery after. 

What’s great about it is that it’s not the mushy kind of plush. The Cloudflow has some spring to it, making the ride very fun and energetic. Heck, we can even run fast in it! 

Just when we thought it couldn’t get better, the upper was there to prove us wrong. The padding didn’t just bring comfort, it also upped support. Our feet were wrapped snugly, we had NO issues with slips at all. 

And the traction only made everything even better. On both dry and wet surfaces, it’s been nothing short of amazing.

See our full review and facts

Best for flat feet

Falling in love with the Cloudflyer is easy. It supported our feet, and above all, it paced us. 

As nitpicking kings, we just can’t find one thing that we don’t like about it. 

When we slipped it on, we were awestruck with the plush comfort it delivered. From the upper down to the midsole, it was like heaven to the feet. And if we had to describe what luxurious feels like, this is IT. 

Even more, the upper’s padding didn’t just provide top-tier comfort, it also gave us all the lockdown we craved. Heel slips should be the least of your worries. 

Despite it being a stability shoe, it wasn’t overbearing, which is why it tops this category. It’s not stiff at all. If anything, it was a couch to our feet. 

And wow, what a ride! Apart from it being supportive, it was also very propulsive. We didn’t have to push forward, IT launched us forward. Hands down, one of the best speedsters we’ve ever come across. 

To top it all off, all the amazing features we’ve mentioned are loaded in a featherlight package. It’s so dang light, we found ourselves zooming through the blocks.

See our full review and facts

As a stability shoe, the On Cloudstratus is awesome. As a protective shoe, it’s more than terrific! 

Right off the bat, it’s a solid support shoe. It’s stiff, giving our feet ample stability for a strain and slip-free ride. Complementing it is the snug-fitting upper. It held our feet in place so well, we were able to maneuver corners and sharp turns with confidence. 

And because it’s a tad rigid underfoot, the shoe effectively muted out all the harsh elements on the ground. Protection level: a solid A+. 

The upper isn’t just fantastic for its support. It’s also fantastic for the amount of room it gave our toes. With the generous space up front, it’s hard to feel uncomfortable in the Cloudstratus. 

Ultimate heel lock? This is THE shoe. It’s got just the right amount of ankle and collar padding, our feet hit the sweet spot between cozy and locked in. 

The outsole is also to die for. More than grippy (it clings on both slick and dry surfaces so well), it’s also insanely durable. After clocking up 80 miles of rough wear testing, the outsole came out looking untouched.

See our full review and facts

Best for speed

It felt great during our easy runs, was comfortable during high mileages, but it showed us its true colors in tempo efforts. The Cloud X is crazy responsive, it felt like we were bouncing from one step to another. 

Now this is what we call fun! There’s so much spring underfoot, running sprints was an easy feat. 

And unlike all the other speedsters in our arsenal, it’s not rigid to the feet. Its midsole is the epitome of comfort, we can run in it all day long. 

What made us go even faster is the shoe’s lightweight design. At 8 oz, it’s not just light on paper, it’s also practically weightless on the run. We completely forgot about it! 

Sharp turns? Don’t worry. This has got all the support you could ask for. The upper provides a locked-in fit, it’s hard to lose your step in this bad boy. 

Cementing the On Cloud X’s position on this list is its durability. After 150 miles of heavy pounding on the pavement, the outsole still looks and sticks like brand-new.

See our full review and facts

If you want a shoe that can outrun the competition during race day, we can’t recommend the On Cloudboom enough. It’s so good, it’s hard not to love it. 

As a racing shoe, it’s one of the snappiest we’ve ever put on. Even better, it’s not the type of racing flat that will tax the feet. When we laced it up, the instant sensation was cozy and plush. And when it was down to our last stretch, it remained consistently comfortable. 

Even better, it’s one hell of a featherlight shoe. Blazing through the competition does not require that much effort. 

Bang for the buck experience? Get this shoe. The Cloudboom, apart from being a racer, can also be your speed-day trainer and walk-around-town shoe. It’s not only fast, it’s also sexy. 

Like the rest of the On running shoes on this list, it smashes it in the traction arena. It’s beyond excellent, it clings like claws on slippery, uneven surfaces. 

At $200, the On Cloudboom may not be the most affordable option on the market. But for all the perks it comes with, it’s worth every penny.

See our full review and facts

Best for trail

The Cloudventure from On is the superlative of grippy. On exceedingly slippy and muddy terrain, steep uphills and downhills, it blew our mind! The outsole clutched onto the ground exceptionally well, not once did we find ourselves slipping. 

It doesn’t cut corners on traction, and it also doesn’t cut corners on durability. It’s a solid tank! From the bottom up, your feet are protected. And after pacing it through some of the gnarliest terrain, it remained unscathed. 

Want to log serious miles in the great outdoors? This shoe can do the job. And if your feet start to swell after quite some time, there’s plenty of space in the toe box. 

The Cloudventure, as a whole, is a solid ace. But it took our breath away with its lightness. Despite its “chunky” appearance, it’s nowhere near heavy. Not once did we feel it weighing us down.

See our full review and facts

Whether you’re running long miles on the road or the trails, you don’t have to switch gears in the On Cloudultra. Regardless of terrain, it can take you the distance.

Apart from its versatility, it’s also a standout for its comfort. The typical trail shoes we test tend to lean to the rigid side, but NOT the Cloudultra. Like its name, it’s got cloud-like comfort, we didn’t want to take it off. 

Even better, it’s got a ton of bounce. It may not make you run fast, but if you want an enjoyable ride, this shoe delivers with flying colors. 

The combination of the shoe’s cushion and outsole has been the absolute best. The foam kept our strides steady, and the outsole made our runs confidence-inspiring. So much so, rugged surfaces felt like flat roads. 

The shoe’s lockdown only takes everything up a notch. It tucked our feet in place, we never felt tippy. 

Like a true Ultra shoe, it crushes it in the weight department. It’s extremely light, our legs and feet never felt strained nor tired. We even felt like we could run another mile in the Cloudultra!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

At $130, the On Cloud stunned us! It didn’t just deliver its job, it excelled at it. And for such a pocket-friendly price, it’s got the makings of an expensive running shoe. 

If you want proof that quality and performance don’t always come at a steep price, this is the shoe. It’s crazy bouncy and responsive, you can set and beat PBs with no sweat. 

The ride is not just amazing for its snappiness. It’s also great because of its stability. There’s a hint of stiffness underfoot, our feet were very supported. Even more, the upper wrapped so securely, our feet never slid out of place. 

To keep everything cozy, the stiffness of the shoe is coupled with ample cushion. This helps absorb the impact, and promotes a nice and comfy sensation. After some miles, our feet and legs remained fresh AF! 

To wrap it up, the On Cloud is made to last. After putting it through the wringer, the outsole is still as solid as it was when we took it out the box.

See our full review and facts

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Author
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.