Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 7.8ozWomen: 6.7oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 6mmWomen: 6mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
WidthMen: normalWomen: normal
Release dateNov 2016
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86 / 100 based on 19 expert reviews
On Cloudflow: Evolution and Revolution
Full disclosure – I'm a huge fan of On Running, the innovative Swiss company which has been making waves since its founding just 7 years ago.
Over the past 3 years I've accumulated (through my own purchases) no less than 8 of their models and, while I've not loved everything about all of them, by and large they are my favorite shoes to run in, whether for long slow runs (Cloudrunner), racing 5ks to marathons (Cloudracer), or for going off-road (Cloudventure).
One of their models, the Cloud, actually looks more like loafers than runners, and don't look too out of place worn to the office with chinos.
With the introduction of each new model, the company has shown it is not afraid to think outside the box, whether it be in the design, upper material, lacing configuration or, perhaps most obviously and crucially, the outsole.
It has, quite frankly, been fascinating to observe the progression of the company's line-up, with each innovation and tweaking by and large for the better. This is refreshing to see in an industry which is dominated by a few established majors where sometimes new iterations bear change just for the sake of change and not always for the better.
My On running line-up. Shoe problems? What problems?
So, this brings us onto the Cloudflow, which is again a culmination of evolution along with new features and is targeted according to On for "runners looking for a very lightweight and responsive performance shoe."
The shoe is indeed light, weighing in at just 220gr for Men's US8.5 and with 6mm heel-toe offset, which is the default standard for On for their daily trainer range (vs 5mm drop for racing-oriented models).
Cloud-Tec is On's term for the outsole "pods" which is the most distinguishing feature of their shoes, and Cloudflow incorporates 18 of them, which is the most they've had on any model to date.
Less visible but just as important, is the Speedboard, a piece of rigid material which line their shoes and provide for a smoother transition and explosive lift-off, contributing to the overall "feel."
Pods seen closer up
Now, the pods. Being elite-level athletes themselves, the founders cottoned on to the fact that running on more forgiving surfaces such as sand and graveled to less post-run pain and impact-related injury over long-term.
This makes sense since softer surfaces should lead to softer landing. However, at a cost – more effort is then needed for takeoff. The pod is On's solution to this, to enable "cushioned landing, firm takeoff." All of this is much better explained on their website so I'll just say that it works – to varying degree of success, however.
From L to R: Cloudrunner, Cloud, Cloudflyer
Earlier pod designs as seen on previous models of Cloudsurfer and Cloudrunner suffered durability issues which to the company's credit they were quick to address, both by offering free replacements and through design improvement.
The Cloud showcased the new design and the subsequent Cloudflyer was akin to a hybrid between the two, with the ever-present aim of achieving both the feel and durability. The Cloudflow in a sense is the most evolved form, where the number of Cloud elements is increased from the 12 in the Flyer to 18 while retaining a similar shape to those in the Flyer.
Cloudflow's 18 pods
Putting them to the test
So the Cloudflow may represent the end-result of experimentation with both design and number of pods. The most important question remains though – does it work? And having put some 150km on them over a variety of distances and paces, I can conclude that they do.
The feel is, as you would expect, firmer than Cloudsurfer or the Runner but more cushioned than the Flyer while the upper feels as light and unobtrusive as the Cloud.
The fit is comfortable as I have found all of On's models to be (with the exception of new Cloudsurfer which I found a bit "sloppy" and with the laces running down pretty much the entire length of the foot I found it easy to dial in an ideal fit.
The attention paid to design and detail again does not disappoint and it is clear the company takes quality control seriously, with very little to fault in terms of the product and much to admire.
Proud attention to detail
Of particular note is the upper, which consists of overlays of "engineered mesh" where the absence of seams translates directly into comfort, whether socked or sock-less.
A minor gripe for Cloudflow and indeed all of the current generation models is the lace, which is too long and too thin, perhaps due to overzealous nod to aesthetics over function. The thinner laces do tend to untie themselves a bit too easy mid-run.
Fortunately, I had a solution at hand. Some of the older models used to come with two sets of laces, in different colors, and I simply swapped out the laces in Cloudflow with the spares from Cloudrunner.
Not only do they now stay tied better, but also look better, if I may say so. The other minor point is that the soles are not the grippiest in the wet, but that is probably true of most shoes barring the Adidas models bearing Continental rubber.
Original lace (L) vs customized (R)
Overall, I think for neutral runners looking for a daily trainer that can also be stretched to racing 10ks, half marathons or marathons in, the Cloudflow would be ideal. The super-breathable upper together with dubious grip also means these are better suited to drier warmer weather running.
What I can say as a long-time follower is that On Running continues to impress with each new offering, and Cloudflow has definitely found a place among my On collection. To be specific, between Cloudrunner for long slow runs and Cloudracer for well, racing.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Well Deserved Motto, Trustworthy Race Shoe
Since you are reading this overview, I assume that you all know what “runner’s high” mean. It's the hormonal state of the body after completing a run.
When Swiss brand Cloudflow just before New York Marathon in 2017, they used marketing motto of “Shortcut to Runner’s High”.
Well, after covering around 100k in different surfaces and achieving personal best in 2 half marathons within a month, I can say that the shoe deserves its marketing motto.
It is obvious how the Cloudflow supported the World Ironman record to be broken.
I was running with Cloudflyer for over a year and I picked the exact same size with the Cloudflow.
When I opened the box and saw the shoe, I was a little bit nervous and concerned because it has a narrower toebox than Cloudflyer. However, after putting them on, I was surprised that I did not feel what I observed.
Cloudflow provides enough room inside even if it has a stiffer structure. It has a close and firm fit, which provides support when you would like to speed up.
Outsole and Speedboard
Cloudflow has 18 cloud pods that provide you enough cushioning.
I believe that the different sizes of the pods have a role to provide in terms of stability since as a mild overpronator, I didn’t feel any problem at any distance; Cloudflow provides the necessary stability I was looking for.
What makes the Cloudflow different is the speedboard that provides responsiveness and natural rolling.
The Speedboard serves as a midsole in the Cloudflow being placed between cloud pods and insole. Built with a responsive flex and rocker, it provides flow-motion.
Whenever you would like to speed up, Cloudflow isn’t acting as an obstacle/challenge to handle, it supports you to keep the natural running form and reach the target pace.
While running with it, I was feeling much more explosive take-offs and it is easier to maintain my posture.
The 6mm drop allows you to feel the ground. In general, I am running on asphalt roads and I feel more connected to the ground during my runs with Cloudflow.
I have a very positive experience with Cloudflow.
First of all, I should say that I achieved personal best time in half marathon distance twice with my Cloudflow on. I was expecting some traction control loss on wet surfaces and on rainy days and I experienced what I expected.
I am not talking about slipping and losing balance, however, I clearly felt that some of my energy for takeoff is being lost on wet surface. I had read many negative comments on laces.
Mainly said, laces are too thin and easily becomes untied. Contrary to that, even when I am not utilizing the second hole for tying up my laces, I did not experience any untied laces during my runs.
At first sight, I definitely acknowledge the sleek and high-end finishing of the shoe. ON keeps paying attention to every detail and it really satisfies me on an aesthetic level.
If you do not mind the small sized stones sticking, you can easily wear Cloudflow (or any other ON product) for daily use.
With Cloudflow, I felt its minimal lightness (230 grams approximately) but not at the cost of losing comfort.
One another item I would like to mention is how ankle coverage has been designed.
With some of my other shoes, I’m feeling like the shoe covered my ankle way too much and not providing enough mobility. However Cloudflow’s ankle coverage is pretty well, I feel the mobility room I have without feeling like the shoe can come off easily.
I do believe that most runner would feel this detail after they take their Cloudflow for a couple of runs.
Finally, I can say that I felt pretty proud by receiving positive comments about how “good and handsome” my shoe looks. I observe several runners having a look at my shoes at the start line, and some of them approached to ask my experience.
As final words, I am very pleased and happy to choose race shoe.
It fits very close to my feet and the responsiveness provided with Speedboard impact is amazing!
I was expecting some negative impact on my joints since I have mild overpronation, however never had a problem with it, not after interval training nor half marathon distances.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The On Cloudflow experience
When I first saw these shoes, I see a model that inspires confidence due to its modern appearance of exterior design. This shoe can be declined in six duos of colors, for men and women, which makes it rather diversified in its personal aesthetic choice.
The product of the Swiss brand pushes appearance research and performance to the extreme and makes us question, what is the ideal coating for this shoe? Is this sole sufficiently strong? Is it robust enough? What rendering against the ground will it give you?
There's only one thing to do. Let's try them!
When donning, one can immediately feel real maintenance in the footwear and especially in the heel cap and topline. The set-laces-tongue-throat brings a real anchoring of the foot with a toe box that is quite spacious.
Everything is very breathable with perforations in the mesh that seems strong despite everything. The walk is nice although the sole seems very rigid. Let's see that with a few strides!
The result is directly bluffing! From the first steps, the 18 EVA Zero-Gravity clouds take effect. An impression of lightness seizes your stride and the drop of 6 millimeters allows him an attack of the middle of the foot or slightly heel.
They are very pleasant during long races because they bring dynamism to each stride. It maintained a very soft sockliner and the foot remain optimal. Thanks to a heel counter and the robust collar, I feel no inner seams and no friction during the test.
I am convinced that this shoe would be suitable for semi marathoners and marathon runners because it gives continuous propulsion and foot support. The lacing is very robust with seven eyelets and a relatively long tongue while remaining comfortable because it does not rub against the base of the shin.
The outsole lacks sufficient grip on a wet and muddy ground. It is, therefore, to be preferred during summer outings to appreciate it at best.
Only (big) flat, this outsole that keeps the thickest gravel stuck in your running. I Cannot continue to run without removing it because it feels in the soles of the feet! Pity!
And what a size defect! Must stop as a direct result of a technological innovation specific to the brand, and other models of the Swiss company.
Rest assured, aside from this defect, and if you run only on a gravel-free surface, you risk only one thing: falling in love with these Cloudflow.
- Overall comfort and especially the overall maintenance of footwear
- The mesh that seems very resistant in time
- Zero-Gravity EVA 18-leaf outsole provides impressive propulsion and cushioning
- This outsole which allows pebbles to come and get stuck and alter the run
- Overall rigidity of the shoe that remains effective as long as we keep a linear race
To conclude, I think it's a great product; however, it's expensive. It will be necessary to pay the sum of 160 euros to offer itself a jewel of dynamism and technology. Enjoy it!
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
On Cloudflow: Does it really make you feel like running on clouds?
I must confess that I’m no longer a spring chicken, so any shoe that can potentially improve my running speed and my technique is high on my running shoe shopping list.
On’s patented Cloudtec technology claims to deliver a soft landing with an explosive take-off along with an unbelievably light running sensation. With aspirations to better my 5km and half marathon PBs, you can imagine my excitement to run in a shoe that likens itself to running on clouds.
The first thing that you notice when you first lay your eyes on the On Cloudflow is simply how incredibly well designed they appear. They immediately ooze class, and you can almost imagine them purring like a sports car engine and at first appearance as they appear instantly made for speed.
After taking in the general appearance of the shoe, the eye is drawn to the sole where On have added the slightly odd-looking Cloudtech technology. It is this technology that is the unique selling point of the shoe which aids with a soft landing and a propulsive benefit also.
The shoe for all intents and purposes feels like a slipper as you first pull it on (which isn’t surprising weighing at only 230g for a men’s US size 8) although, on standing, I was immediately aware of a slightly different feel on the soles of my feet due to the On Cloudtec technology.
The shoes are designed with the landing sweet spot towards the mid-foot stance which is exactly where I was more aware of the cloud placement on the balls of my feet. It takes a bit of getting used to but isn’t in any way uncomfortable. In fact, I would argue that these are the most comfortable pair of running shoes I have worn to date.
The shoe is designed for both shorter and longer distances, and the comfort is apparent over 5km and half marathon distances (see performance section). Further to this, the shoe is narrower at the back with a wider toe box, which certainly adds to the comfort for those people who have slightly wider feet.
Another aspect relating to comfort which is a little frustrating is the laces. As they are so narrow, they are incredibly difficult to undo especially with cold hands – you have been warned!
Sole & durability
The sole decorated by clouds is the unique aspect of the shoe and certainly looks impressive. The sole does feel full of spring and propulsion. On a side note, due to the design of the clouds, I would be conscious that stones or small objects would be trapped in the Cloudtech gaps.
Disappointingly on my first competitive 5km outing, I found the shoes struggled to gain traction on any wet terrain making me feel like Bambi on Ice and losing me valuable seconds throughout the course. This is most probably due to the lower surface area of the Clouds in contact with the ground but certainly an aspect to be aware of.
As the Cloudflow are designed as a road shoe, again I do not anticipate this becoming too much of an issue. From a durability point of view having run both longer and shorter distances I don't see any sign of wear and tear, which bodes well.
The On Cloudflow running shoes undoubtedly live up to their name and claims when it comes to performance. The shoe feels light, durable and effortless in its performance and feels like a very fast shoe at both 5km and ½-marathon distance.
In my quest for a faster shoe, I have spent the last six months in the Nike Zoom fly which although have brought me PB/PR's at both distances although it has made me acutely aware that I am by nature a heel strike runner.
At least that was the case until I tried the Cloudflow, which certainly allowed me to transition my weight more to the balls of my feet due to a slightly lower heel drop and have literally put a spring in my step - meaning I am a more efficient runner.
If you are looking for a reliable, fast, light and interesting shoe for middle and longer distances and you can forgive the lack of traction on some of the more greasy services in wet weather, then this is the shoe for you.
The Cloudflow are different and exciting, and I am convinced that they will take me to some new running highs. It can’t be any coincidence that GB’s Tim Don broke the Ironman World record in a pair…. can it?
Updates to On Cloudflow
- The On Cloudflow is a running shoe that’s created for those who want to have faster running outputs. Those with a natural foot-roll are the ones who are going to enjoy what this package has to offer. There are different colorways for both the men and women’s versions. They’re flashy, but not distracting to the eyes. Top-quality materials were used in this shoe.
- The upper unit of this shoe features engineered mesh, which actually resembles woven cloth. It’s durable, supportive and it has an antimicrobial finish. Breathability is also at the top of its game because it accommodates the flow of environmental air into the foot-chamber. This model also has a built-in sock, which heightens the comfort felt by the foot. One can even wear it without putting on actual socks first.
- The sole unit of the On Cloudflow utilizes the Zero-Gravity EVA foam, a lightweight material that’s responsive yet durable. The platform also takes a unique shape, which is visible outside the shoe: 18 semi-circular pods make up the rest of the cushioning system. Called ‘clouds’, they deliver responsible cushioning from the foot-strike to the toe-off.
- Layered underneath the individual ‘clouds’ is a durable rubber material. It protects the foam material from the abrasive nature of the asphalt. A textured pattern ensures additional traction and surface control.
On Cloudflow size and fit
The On Cloudflow runs a bit bigger than the standard, so it is recommended for runners to choose ½ size smaller in order to get a more relaxed fit. The available width for both the men and women’s versions is medium. It accommodates those with medium sized feet.
The outsole unit of the On Cloudflow uses the CloudTec rubber, which is a durable material that covers the cushioning ‘clouds’. It’s actually also responsive, so it adds a bit more cushioning to the runner and a bit of energy for the toe-off.
A honeycomb pattern is used in the outsole. This design is meant to improve the shoe’s grip on the surfaces, not unlike the traction patterns on a vehicle’s tire.
Zero-Gravity EVA is the material used for the main sole unit of the On Cloudflow. It’s durable, yet it’s lightweight and responsive. It delivers reliable underfoot cushioning. It’s also the material used for the ‘cloud’ pods.
The Clouds are pods that deliver additional cushioning throughout the gait cycle. They attenuate the impact shock during the landing phase, and they push off the ground in a responsive and energized way. There are 18 of these ‘clouds’ on the surface of the sole unit.
The Speedboard is an add-on that facilitates natural foot-motion as the runner goes through the gait cycle, ending with an explosive toe-off. It also delivers torsional rigidity, which is helpful in reducing the strain and fatigue felt by the muscles of the underfoot.
A cushioned sock liner has been added to provide additional underfoot cushioning. It’s been treated with an anti-microbial coating to prevent the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.
The upper unit of the On Cloudflow features engineered mesh. It’s a breathable material that has the feel of a woven cloth. It wraps around the foot securely, but it allows the runner to move as naturally as possible.
The perforated tongue permits additional airflow into the foot-chamber. It’s thin, but it doesn’t easily fold over itself.
This running shoe has a built-in sock in its inner sleeve. It makes the interior environment more comfortable and secure. Also, it won’t allow the foot to slip around while inside the foot-chamber, thus preventing skin irritation or deviation in the running output.
The upper has been treated with an anti-microbial coating, therefore effecting a clean and healthy running experience.
A pull-loop in the heel area allows the runner to wear and remove the shoe easily.