Our verdict

The On Cloud Waterproof offers an exceptional experience in cold, wet conditions, with top-notch build quality and ample reflective details for safety. However, in our testing, we found its firm midsole and limited stability make it less ideal for running. Its upper also lacks breathability, making it unsuitable for warmer days. Based on our experience, it's a unique, high-quality shoe ideal for cool, wet conditions, but you'll need an alternative for running or walking in warmer weather.

Pros

  • Truly waterproof
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Winter-ready
  • Amazing reflective details for nighttime safety
  • Looks cool and it's comfy for daily wear
  • Provides good traction in wet conditions
  • Light and flexible

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • The upper is excessively narrow
  • Insufficient stability

Audience verdict

87
Great!

Who should buy

The On Cloud Waterproof isn't your typical running shoe. In our minds, it's tailored specifically for:

  • Casual runners who prefer a firm cushioning and are in the market for a waterproof running shoe.
  • On fans residing in colder climates where constant rain is the norm and dry feet are a priority.
  • Runners who don't focus on cushioning but need a waterproof shoe that can also serve as a walking shoe.

On Cloud Waterproof

Who should NOT buy

If you're after an On running shoe and don't require waterproof features, we think you're much better off with the On Cloudswift 3. In our experience, it doesn't have the major drawbacks of this one, and its only downside compared to this one, based on our tests, is the lack of water resistance.

On the other hand, if you need a waterproof shoe but prefer a softer midsole, you might want to overlook the On Cloud Waterproof due to its extremely firm nature. Consider going for the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX or the Hoka Challenger 7 GTX instead.

On Cloud Waterproof

Breathability

Waterproof membranes like the one used by On in this shoe, or the famous Gore-Tex, work by allowing air and moisture vapor to pass through the upper while denying water from entering, due to their microscopic pores that are smaller than water droplets but larger than vapor molecules.

Unfortunately, those tiny microscopic pores limit breathability. After our breathability test, we had no choice but to give the On Cloud Waterproof a 1/5 rating.

The light test confirmed its poor airflow, blocking all light from the other side.

On Cloud Waterproof

Under the microscope, we found a beautiful multi-layered engineered mesh that effectively blocks water, keeping feet dry, but it barely allows for transpiration.

On Cloud Waterproof mesh

And if you're curious to see how those multiple layers look, we dissected the shoe for you to take a look.

Test results
Cloud Waterproof 1
Average 3.8
Compared to 204 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

One of the best things about the waterproof membrane is its improved durability with a multi-layered engineered mesh.

After conducting our Dremel test, we gave it a rating of 3/5.

On Cloud Waterproof Toebox durability
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 3
Average 2.3
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Unfortunately, the heel performs poorly.

We subjected it to the same Dremel test, and it barely held up, forcing us to give it the lowest possible score: 1/5.

On Cloud Waterproof Heel padding durability
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 1
Average 3.1
Compared to 134 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Runners who invest in waterproof shoes often expect them to be durable as well. In response to this expectation, the On Cloud Waterproof delivers an outsole with a hardness that we measured at 83 HC.

On Cloud Waterproof Outsole hardness
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 83.0 HC
Average 80.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 255 running shoes
Number of shoes
55.5 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

And it worked! In our Dremel test, we put the outsole to the test, and the Dremel only managed to create a tiny 0.8 mm indentation.

This result indicates that the durability will be exceptionally high.

On Cloud Waterproof Outsole durability
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 116 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

And the last test on the outsole leads us to the same conclusion—On played it safe.

On Cloud Waterproof outsole

With a thickness of 3.7 mm, we're convinced that there's enough rubber to last the entire lifespan of the shoe.

On Cloud Waterproof Outsole thickness
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 3.7 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

The On Cloud Waterproof may look heavy at first glance, but it's quite the contrary. We got a pleasant surprise when we discovered that it's light.

Tipping the scales below the 10 oz mark, we clocked it in at a mere 9.6 oz (272g).

On Cloud Waterproof Weight
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 9.59 oz (272g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

With a stack height of 30.2 mm, this shoe offers a slightly lower stack height than what you might consider average.

On Cloud Waterproof toebox

Despite this, we find it sufficient for everyday runs.

On Cloud Waterproof Heel stack
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 30.2 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The shoe's forefoot, on the other hand, could do with a bit more cushioning. It just edges past the 20 mm mark at 20.4 mm.

And unfortunately there isn't much foam. This is due to the design of the On Cloud system.

On Cloud Waterproof Forefoot stack
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 20.4 mm
Average 24.8 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

Our recent measurements reveal a discrepancy that's hard to ignore. The heel-to-toe drop isn't the stated 6 mm as claimed by On. Instead, we measured a significant 9.8 mm.

This isn't just a small deviation—it's a substantial difference that leaves us questioning the accuracy of the specifications provided. And makes the shoe better suited for heel strikers.

On Cloud Waterproof Drop
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 9.8 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

On has opted for a substantial insole in this shoe—we measured it at 5.3 mm.

This choice likely stems from the shoe's limited cushioning, which is especially noticeable in the forefoot.

On Cloud Waterproof Insole thickness
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 5.3 mm
Average 4.4 mm
Compared to 271 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Turning our attention back to the midsole, we were keen to put the foam to the test with the durometer, especially since our initial experience was not very pleasant from a softness standpoint.

And our tests confirmed it. We clocked the hardness at 34.5 HA, a measure that reads firm against any standard, and excessively so by today's expectations.

On Cloud Waterproof Midsole softness
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 34.5 HA
Average 21.3 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 202 running shoes
Number of shoes
9.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Next, we placed the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes and re-ran the durometer tests.

The measurement jumped to 40.8 HA—a significant increase. This new reading establishes the shoe as one of the firmest we've ever tested in the lab.

However, the softness only decreased by 18.1%, which actually outperforms the average.

On Cloud Waterproof Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 18.1%
Average 25.7%
Compared to 201 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Given the shoe's rigid cushioning, you might anticipate superior stability, right? Surprisingly, that's not the case.

The shoe isn't as stable as you'd expect.

Torsional rigidity

The issue isn't about torsional rigidity.

On designed the shoe to be moderately rigid in this aspect, aiming to enhance stability. After our evaluation, we gave it a score of 3 out of 5.

Test results
Cloud Waterproof 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 253 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The same approach applies to the heel. Aiming to cater to all runners, On incorporated a moderately firm heel counter that we rated at 3/5. Yet, it's not too rigid, maintaining comfort for everyday wear.

Test results
Cloud Waterproof 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 237 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

This is where the stability issue comes into play. With a midsole width of 103.3 mm, this shoe is quite narrow. That becomes a problem if you don't land straight when running.

On Cloud Waterproof Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 103.3 mm
Average 113.5 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The stability issue is also very serious in the heel area. Our measurements show a concerning 79.6 mm width, a number that significantly deviates from the average shoe. This isn't a minor detail at all.

On Cloud Waterproof Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 79.6 mm
Average 90.3 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

On designed this shoe with flexibility in mind, anticipating that many people would enjoy wearing it for extended walks.

When we tested it under our signature 90-degree bend test, we found it only required 15.6N of force from us. This result lands the shoe in the top 5% of the most flexible shoes we've evaluated in the lab.

Test results
Cloud Waterproof 15.6N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

The shoe maintains its high flexibility even in colder temperatures.

This feature is a bonus, as the shoe's low breathability and waterproof characteristics make it an excellent choice for cold weather.

Contrary to the shoe's soft midsole, its stiffness doesn't hold up as well when we expose it to 20 minutes of cold in our freezer.

This behaviour isn't shocking, though, given that the shoe utilizes an EVA-based foam.

Test results
Cloud Waterproof 52.1%
Average 36.8%
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
-100%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Internal length

After taking careful measurements, we found the shoe's internal length to be 264.7 mm. This confirms that the shoe fits true to size.

On Cloud Waterproof Internal length
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 264.7 mm
Average 268.9 mm
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
259.9 mm
Internal length
277.4 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

As this shoe is particularly narrow, we didn't anticipate a spacious upper for wide feet. Our measurement confirmed this, with the caliper indicating a width of 96.2 mm.

On Cloud Waterproof toe box

Based on this, we see this shoe as an excellent choice for runners with narrow or average feet. Unfortunately, it might not be the best fit for those with wide feet.

On Cloud Waterproof Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 96.2 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

To accommodate as many foot shapes as possible, On opted for a non-tapered design. This leaves the toe cap notably wide, measuring at 79.1 mm.

On Cloud Waterproof Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 79.1 mm
Average 78.1 mm
Compared to 149 running shoes
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
91.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

On designed the shoe with the tongue almost entirely stitched to the sides.

This feature aims to provide an excellent lockdown under all conditions and boosts its waterproof characteristics.

On Cloud Waterproof Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Cloud Waterproof Bootie

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue, at 5.2 mm, is not exceptionally padded, but we find it sufficient.

We also believe this is a great decision. Considering that the shoe isn't overly roomy, a tongue with excessive padding would likely feel too restrictive for most feet.

On Cloud Waterproof Tongue padding
Test results
Cloud Waterproof 5.2 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 273 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Removable insole

We swapped out the original insoles and replaced them with our personal orthotics without any hassle.

On Cloud Waterproof Removable insole
Test results
Cloud Waterproof Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

On stands out as one of the few brands that expertly integrates reflectivity into their designs. Take this shoe, for instance. It stands as a glowing example of night-ready running shoes.

Featuring multiple bright reflective strips and logos, the shoe ensures visibility at night.

On Cloud Waterproof Reflective elements
Test results
Cloud Waterproof Yes