This is the rainy weather edition of On’s most popular walking shoe. The Cloud 5 Waterproof inherits most of the well-loved characteristics of the original. It is amazingly light, comfortable, and easy to put on, making it perfect for daily wear and traveling.
- Perfect for all-day wear
- Super light for its kind
- Easy on-and-off
- Amazing in-shoe feel
- Sustainable materials (40%)
- Regular laces are added
- Reflective elements
- Catches rocks and debris
- Can get smelly
Who should buy the On Cloud 5 Waterproof
This weatherproof On Cloud shoe is a solid choice for the following:
- wet, rainy, and colder climates and seasons
- all-day wear including long hours of standing and walking
- a good-looking shoe for the urban conditions
- a light and easy-to-slip-on shoe for traveling
Who should NOT buy this walking shoe
If you don’t think you’ll get caught in the rain a lot, then you might be better off with the regular breathable version of the Cloud 5.
And if you’d like to expand your options of waterproof shoes, have a look at our selection of the best waterproof running shoes. Some of them have more cushioning like the Brooks Ghost 14 GTX, others are more rugged to be used on the trails, like the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX.
Waterproofing is excellent
This On Cloud shoe received praise from people who live in cold and wet climates.
For example, one person wore the shoes for several really rainy days in NYC and was elated that he “never felt damp and they still look nice and clean.” Another tester has worn it in the slush with their feet remaining dry. A rainy area resident is also happy about “having something other than rain boots” to walk her dog.
In the video below you can see the comparison between the Cloud 5 Waterproof and its breathable counterpart. We use a smoke-pumping machine to check how much smoke is able to pass through the shoe's upper material. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable, we rated the waterproof version as 1 out of 5.
On Cloud 5 Waterproof (left) vs. On Cloud 5 (right)
To further support the statement, we put the shoe's upper against a source of bright light. As you can see, there is no shining through the fabric whatsoever.
Looking at the textile through a microscope only confirms the fact that the Cloud 5 Waterproof was made for keeping you dry and warm.
The fabric is extremely tightly woven.
For reference, this is what a breathable (5 out of 5) mesh upper look like.
The only downside of impermeability is the unpleasant odor that might occur if some water gets inside over the collar edges or if the foot perspires. To prevent the odor buildup, a wearer recommends sticking balls of paper inside the shoes to help them dry more effectively.
On Cloud 5 Waterproof is astonishingly light!
The shoe weighs 10.2 oz (288 g) in a men’s US size 9 which is below the average weight of walking shoes (11.3 oz / 319 g). This is impressive given that most of these walking shoes are not waterproof.
“They make me feel so light on my feet!” exclaims a happy owner of the shoe.
Keeps you comfortable all day
The shoe offers a good amount of cushioning which keeps your feet supported as you go about your day.
According to the brand, there is an 8-mm heel-to-toe difference in the midsole, meaning that the heel receives extra cushion.
Measuring the shoe's stack height with a pair of calipers, we found that the drop is actually lower, at 6.5 mm. This doesn't necessarily mean that the shoe feels flat but it definitely won't feel like there is an extra pillow under your heel.
In the heel, the shoe's midsole is 28.9 mm thick and in the forefoot, it is 22.4 mm. Provided that the average of walking shoes is 30.9 mm and 21.4 mm respectively, this is a good amount of foam for all-day wear.
Disclaimer: We take our stack measurements with the insole included.
We found that the footbed is 4.7 mm thick in the Cloud 5 Waterproof. This is a little thinner than the average 5.5 mm across walking shoes.
Now let's dive into what the shoe's cushioning feels like underfoot.
A few wearers describe the foam as bouncy and “with a good amount of spring in each step.” As one reviewer points out, the shoe is supportive and soft, yet structured and “not a hunk of material on your foot.”
Disclaimer: We take the durometer measurements four times and then calculate the average for our final result. The photo above shows jus one of the takes.
A mix of support and softness is indeed the best description of this shoe's cushioning. Our durometer measurement shows that the Cloud 5 Waterproof is 10% firmer than walking shoe foams on average. However, it is still not enough to be on the firm side. "Balanced" is a good word to categorize this shoe.
In any case, a bit of firmness doesn't seem to bother the shoe's wearers. Some of whom include the following:
- an ER nurse who is on her feet for 12-16-hour shifts
- a busy person who runs around at work for 10 hours
- a senior traveler planning a trip to Europe
All are happy with the way their feet feel after spending a day in a pair of On Cloud 5 Waterproof.
A little on the stiff side (like most On Clouds)
It can be hard to believe given that the shoe's entire sole is made of separated pods and deep flex grooves. And yet, our flexibility tests show that the On Cloud 5 is nowhere near Skechers' level of bendiness.
To check the shoe's forward flex, we bend it to a 90-degree angle while measuring resistance with a digital force gauge. Higher resistance translates to higher stiffness.
Disclaimer: We repeat the test four times and then take the average measurement. The video above shows one of the takes.
And in the case of the Cloud 5 Waterproof, it is 18% stiffer than walking shoes on average. It is also 15% stiffer than the original Cloud 5. But when compared to other shoes from On (renowned for their lack of flexibility), the Cloud 5 Waterproof is actually 12% more flexible than the brand's average.
To support our lab findings with personal assessment, we bent and twisted the shoe with our own hands. We rated the shoe's longitudinal flexibility as 2 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest) and its torsional flex as 3 out of 5.
In addition to the lack of flex, there is not much rocker in this On Cloud shoe either. The heel-to-toe transitions feel basic (but it's a matter of personal taste).
Nice and stable underfoot
No time to wobble.
When walking through puddles in the rain, you definitely want all the stability you can get in a walking shoe. And the Cloud 5 Waterproof nails it.
This is where the shoe's stiffness and firmness come in handy. But the added value also comes from the shoe's wide footprint.
In the widest part of the forefoot, we measured the sole at 104.6 mm (3.2 mm wider than the Cloud 5).
And in the heel (83.7 mm), the shoe is also a good 3.7 mm wider than the OG.
Gets tougher in cold temperatures
Given its waterproofing characteristics, there is a high chance that you will be wearing the Cloud 5 Waterproof in cold weather too. Do keep in mind that low temperatures don't help to make this shoe softer.
To mimic cold weather, we put the shoe into the freezer for 20 minutes. We then repeated the flexibility and softness measurements to see what's changed.
The Cloud 5 Waterproof got significantly firmer (38% more) but it is within the average across walking shoes (40% more).
We were pleasantly surprised with the flexibility department: the shoe only stiffened up by 15% whereas most shoes get as much as 70% stiffer! Luckily, the already stiff shoe doesn't get that much denser.
Cloud 5 Waterproof is a snug-fitting shoe
According to the brand's official product page for the On Cloud 5 Waterproof, the shoe is true to size.
But those who have owned other pairs of On shoes generally agree that the On Cloud 5 Waterproof runs smaller and fits narrower. Someone with three pairs in the same size mentions that it is “visibly much smaller than [her] other Clouds.” Another person complained that the shoe ended up giving blisters on the heels in their regular size.
For most people, going up by only half a size was enough to achieve a perfect fit.
Having measured the widest part of the toebox (94.7 mm) as well as the area near the toes (74.3 mm), we can state that the shoe is medium-to-narrow.
In-shoe comfort guaranteed
On did a fantastic job with the shoe's upper. There have been no complaints about hot spots, rubbing, or blisters. There see,s to be enough padding in all the right places.
The collar is well-padded around the edges and there is an ample stretch to the upper fabric.
The shoe's tongue is a little thicker than the average (by 2 mm) which contributes to the in-shoe comfort and warmth.
Super easy on and off
The no-tie design of this On Cloud is highly appreciated by the wearers as the shoe can be slipped into really quickly. No need to bend down and tie laces.
At the same time, there is no need to worry about the heel slipping out of the shoe. There is a good level of stiffness in the heel counter that keeps the ankle in place. Based on our assessment, it is 4 out of 5, where 5 is the stiffest.
And if you are a fan of the conventional lacing or need to get a more fine-tuned fit, a pair of regular laces is also included with the pair.
Sole catches stones
This is such a common problem for On shoes and it is also present in the Cloud 5 Waterproof. According to the wearers, small rocks and debris tend to get stuck in between the CloudTec pods. However, it’s not that catastrophic as you only need to step on a rock of a certain size that could fit into the gap.
Durability looks promising
Despite not having a full-length rubber outsole, the Cloud 5 Waterproof is equipped with strategically-placed and thick rubber pods.
These rubber pieces (3.3 mm) are notably thicker than the average (1.7 mm). It means that wearing through these is going to take much longer.
In addition, the rubber itself is 16% harder than average. This also means that the rubber is not that prone to abrasion.
Environmentally-friendly design of the Cloud 5
Just like the original Cloud 5, the Waterproof version contains 40% of recycled materials in total. The highest concentration of sustainable components (90%) is found in the polyester upper fabric.
Appealing design for various occasions
Quite a few reviewers shared that the shoe gains them lots of compliments from the bypassers. Even though it looks a lot like many other On shoes, it still turns heads on the streets because it is something different from the commonly seen Nikes, Adidas, Skechers, New Balance, etc.
Their semi-casual appeal also allows the wearer to dress it up or down, depending on the occasion.