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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87 / 100 based on 24 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.
On Cloudflow: Putting the flow back into running!
I recently completed over 100km in a pair of On Cloudace’s which was my first introduction to ON shoes. What an experience! They were springy and comfortable and, in my opinion, a very technical shoe utilizing heel moldings and "clouds."
ON this basis, I decided I wanted to try the lightweight racing ON’s if they’re good enough for Tim Don, then they are good enough for me! I used the Cloudace’s as part of the marathon and half marathon training and planned to alternate during training and use the flow’s on race day!
So far, I have been nothing but impressed. My commitment and affiliation to ON have only grown. They are not quite as technical as the Ace’s but still share much of the same design targets. I also used these for a recent race and smashed my half marathon PB and put it all down to the ON’s…bring on the marathon!
I managed to get these for an absolute steal online from "Runners need" for £89.00. These are normally online for £120-125, so at this price point, I’d argue they are possibly the best shoe on the market.
I love the design concept used by ON, using multiple individual springs underfoot is now a proven concept, and I buy all the jargon. I imagine the mileage limit on these trainers is quite high as this design relies on the design and not the foam itself.
I haven’t got there yet, but I intend to push them to their limits. ON this shoe, there are 18 separate Clouds which vary in size and comfort, but they add to the overall cushioning.
In some reviews, I read people talking about stones getting stuck between the Clouds, but this is something I have not experienced. The only issue I experienced was a buildup of mud which was a minor inconvenience.
I was very impressed with a number of things, so I’m going to break them down:
There is a snugness to the ON shoes. Your heel feels planted in the shoe, and no number of hills or pushing causes any slippage. The flow’s design has a high heel to prevent, and heel slip and the cushioning is packed out higher up the heel to prevent any lift.
Other ON shoes have 3D inserts, but these are not included on the lightweight shoe in order to keep weight down. The outer body of the heel is built using quite a rigid material offering plenty of stability and is nicely joined to the fabric part of the shoe.
Upper & midsole
The ON Cloudflow shoes are similar to other lightweight shoes on the market. There is a slight stiffness to the plastic that wraps around the toe box, without being too stiff, whilst the rest of the mid shoe is wrapped in a soft, breathable fabric.
Not quite the same snugness as the Ace’s I used previously, but more than adequate for a long race. I never suffered any rubbing, overheating or restrictions during running which is a credit to ON having designed in stiffness in some areas and removing it in others.
While the breathable fabric does allow water to pass through, I never suffered wet feet as they dry out so quickly you feel nothing other than the sensation of a splash.
Tongue & laces
The tongue is an interesting design as it is perforated on the outside yet has a layer of thin foam sown to the inside which prevents and rubbing, grips well so doesn’t slide around and is tied to base elastically to ensure the foot is held in place.
As with other ON shoes, I like the use of the logo in the final lace hole. My only annoyance with these shoes is the length of the laces. It feels to me like they could have been 5-10cm shorter or so, and this would have made it the perfect shoe although, these are easily replaced.
Again, comparing to Nike shoes which come with a thin and simple insole, the ON shoes come with a well thought out insole. In the heel area, there is a rubber over-molding which adds a small amount of cushioning, and I feel it centers your foot inside the shoe. These subtle differences make this shoe more premium in my opinion.
I’ve mainly used these shoes on canal paths and roads, but there has been the occasional muddy path or trail run. Overall, they have performed faultlessly – no slippage or grip loss whatsoever. Which, considering the minimal tread on the bottom of each Cloud, is impressive.
Other notable features
I had the river and navy color which look excellent. They are bold, eye-catching colors. For me, ON really nailed the design of this shoe. There are reflective ON logos on both sides of the shoe on top of the toe box and the heel along with reflective strips.
I also love the subtle Swiss flag and link to Swiss engineering on the outside of the right shoe. For me, it continues to be a premium shoe over Nike, Salomon and other shoes I’ve used.
My biggest issue with the ON Cloudace’s was the weight of the shoe. This is where the flow’s come into a world of their own.
The lightweight versions come in at 266g for a 10.5 compared to 383g on the Ace’s which, whilst not being the lightest shoe, feel great underfoot and offer substantial cushioning which is exactly what you need for long runs. You almost forget that they are there sometimes.
Overall, I have been very impressed with another ON shoe. It is very comfortable and is my new go-to shoe for races and long runs. They needed no breaking in, and every run has been as excellent as the last.
I used them during a recent half marathon race, and I ran negative splits as I felt even better than expected after half way. After running the Ace’s and now the Flow’s I’ve well and truly joined the ON family as a fanboy. I just wish I ran more so I could justify more pairs!
If you’re looking for a lightweight, stable racing shoe that is comfortable, springy and only going to make you want to run more then you have found the shoe, just buy it. Don’t hesitate, don’t research. Buy Buy Buy, you won’t regret it!
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
On Cloudflow: Slightly different feel, significantly awesome results
I had heard a lot of hype about the Swiss brand On and had been doing some research on some of their shoes. Using the shoe finder on their website, I searched for a neutral, road shoe with moderate cushioning and either competitive or daily usage.
My result - the On Cloudflow. In a series of very fortunate events, my local running store was hosting an On sponsored event, so I got to take them for a test spin. My initial impression was a little mixed.
The pod system on the outsole made for a different feel than any other shoe I’d run in. The shoe felt lightweight and fast, so I thought I’d give them a go. I have to admit, it took me a couple runs to get used to the feel of them, but after 100 miles in my pair, the Cloudflows are one of the best shoes I’ve run in.
This shoe offers a lot of flexibility as to its usage - enough speed for workouts, enough comfort, and support for a daily trainer. You could also use the Cloudflow for races up to the marathon distance.
Due to the pod system, this is strictly a road shoe. The Cloudflow is best for runners looking for a neutral shoe.
Appearance & design
The design of the shoe was an immediate draw for me. I really liked the Rust/Pacific color scheme and thought it stood out. There are several other good-looking combinations. On will occasionally put out new color options for existing shoes, so there is always that to look out for.
The Cloudflow is well built and appears to be very durable. I’ve hit over 100 miles with no visible wear and no major complaints. The outer and midsole cushioning are still well intact.
The Cloudflow runs pretty much true to size, if anything a little on the large side. I would recommend trying them on in person before buying.
Despite the firmness of the Speedboard midsole, there is sufficient cushion. The upper locks your foot into place but also provides sufficient comfort.
The upper comes built with a first-layer in-built sock which keeps your feet nice and comfortable. The upper has received an antimicrobial treatment which guarantees a lasting freshness.
The Cloudflow midsole features the patented Speedboard from On. This comes with a built-in rocker that promotes a fluid running motion and propels you forward, fueling your take-offs.
The rocker aspect is definitely not noticeable as you are walking around, but once you take off, you’ll feel the springy boost from your Cloudflows. The midsole is firm but flexible and helps with the speed of the shoe. There is also a good amount of cushioning in the insole to keep the comfort level high.
The outsole sets On apart from other shoe brands. The Cloudflow shoe is built on top of 18 pods. The pods are hollow, made of EVA foam and give you the sensation of running on clouds.
The pods are evenly distributed throughout the outsole and help to cushion your foot and propel you forward. The running sensation takes a few miles to get used to but is pretty nice once you get used to it.
The downside with the pods is that debris can get stuck in the grooves. I’ve had rocks, and a stick gets jammed in there before. You definitely have to keep an extra eye out while you’re running to make sure you don’t step on anything.
The upper is made of mesh-weave technology which provides a great mix of breathability while maintaining support. I had no issues with unwanted foot sliding, yet there is plenty of cushioning.
The one downside to the upper is with the laces. For some reason, they are extremely thin and therefore, come undone easily. I’d recommend double knotting or replacing the laces. A small annoyance, but worth noting.
- A cool looking shoe with lots of color schemes to choose from
- Pod outsole and Speedboard midsole make for a speedy shoe
- Breathable and lightweight
- Thin laces, come untied easily
- Rocks, sticks, and debris can become lodged between pods
Overall the Cloudflow is a great shoe. As mentioned above, it gives a slightly different feel, but once you get a few miles in, you will get used to it. Comfortable, fast, and flashy, I highly recommend the 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.
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. This midsole element is also used in On Cloud and other well-known shoes from ON Running
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.