Our verdict

On Cloudnova is part of the brand’s athletic lifestyle series which packs all the right things from their running shoes to make a go-to daily beater. The Cloudnova exceeded our expectations as it has become one of our favorites for its comfort and exclusive visual appeal.

Pros

  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Great travel shoe
  • Attractive design
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Fits well straight from the box
  • High quality
  • 10% recycled materials

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Sole catches debris
  • Mid-cut is not for everyone

Audience verdict

89
Great!
  • Top 18% most popular walking shoes

Who should buy the On Cloudnova

The Cloudnova excels in its primary design purpose - daily wear on the city streets. We consider it one of the best everyday sneakers out there. We even liken it to that cozy hoodie you wear all week long. Its practicality also makes the Cloudnova a perfect pair for traveling.

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If you are not willing to sacrifice style for comfort, you can get both with the Cloudnova. We felt like there was an exclusivity to the trainer, as on-lookers didn't fail to make us feel seen and noticed wearing this shoe.

Who should not buy the shoe

Some of the main reasons we thought why people might turn away from the shoe are its high asking price and a bit fiddly bootie design.

  • If you want an On Cloud shoe that is much easier to put on, go for the On Cloud 5.

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Walk 500 miles (and 500 more) with the Cloudnova

The comfort of this On Cloud shoe reveals itself on daily walks of any distance, whether we take it on a short stroll or 10+ miles of a walking trip.

It felt comfortable all throughout our extended walks and it never hurt our feet. Even after 20km, we hardly felt tired nor even wearing something on my feet.

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We also tried Cloudnova for long shifts of work (8-12 hours). We have nothing but praise for this shoe for keeping our feet and legs pain-free. Even 8-10 hours a day on concrete and a thin rug, we felt a big difference with the Cloudnova compared to Skechers.

Breathable, but not for hot summer days

As you can see from our breathability test below, the Cloudnova has a moderate amount of ventilation in the upper. The smoke is coming out rather slowly.

You can also see the most breathable parts of the shoe's upper in our transparency test.

Comfy cushioning

Overall, we are delighted with the well-cushioned ride of this On Cloud shoe. We find it very satisfying to walk in for extended periods.

To check how well-cushioned the Cloudnova is on paper, we measured the softness of its foam with a durometer. It turns out to be 4% firmer than walking shoes on average, striking a fine balance between plush and firm. It is also about the same as the On Cloud 5.

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Disclaimer: We take the measurement four times and exclude outliers to ensure accuracy. The photo shows one of the takes we made with the durometer.

Keep in mind though that the foam is also prone to firming up in cold temperatures. After being exposed to cold for 20 minutes in the freezer, the Cloudnova's cushioning got 47.6% denser. So, if you take the shoe out on a chilly day, it will take some time to break in.

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Where the Cloudnova does exceed the average considerably is in its heel-to-toe drop. According to On, the shoe's drop is 14 mm.

Using a pair of calipers, we found the drop to be 15.5 mm, which is not too big of a deviation. However, compared to the average 10 mm of our lab-tested walking shoes, the Cloudnova should feel generously cushioned under the heel.

on-cloudnova-heel-stack

Disclaimer: Insole thickness is included in the stack measurements. At 5.2 mm, it is generously padded in the On Cloudnova.

The shoe has an ample level of flexibility

The On Cloudnova cannot be described as a stiff shoe and yet, it cannot be rolled up like a minimalist shoe either. We can tell that it is moderately flexible based on our acquired measurements.

The shoe is also quite pliable when it comes to longitudinal and torsional flexibility. In our subjective assessment, we gave the shoe 2 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest) on this aspect.

On Cloudnova feels stable for a neutral shoe

Despite not offering any additional arch support, the Cloudnova shows up as a stable neutral running shoe.

The contributing factors seem to be the shoe's moderately firm and wide sole.

The shoe is nice and wide in both the forefoot and the heel. In the forefoot, it is 116.9 mm wide (5.1 mm wider than average) and in the heel, it is 91.1 mm (2.3 mm wider).

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Reflective elements

We are also in favor of the shoe's reflective logo as it is perfect when we walk in the darker hours.

Fits nice and snug but bootie is not for everyone

Cloudnova feels comfortable out of the box and the fit is only getting better with use. We found it snug-fitting without feeling suffocating.

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The toebox on the Cloudnova is not necessarily wide but it is quite roomy (in a good way) for an average-sized foot. We measured its widest part at 97.1 mm.

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We also found it handy that the laces can be conveniently tucked under the tongue.

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It is also important to mention that the shoe has an unconventional mid-cut bootie. We thought of two reasons why some people might consider this an issue:

  • it rubs the ankle if ankle socks are not worn,
  • it takes a bit more effort than usual to put on the shoe.

However, we want to note that we personally didn't find these to be deal-breakers.

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Although the shoe's tongue is much thinner than average, we encountered no problem with lace bites. At 2.9 mm, it is 2.9 mm thinner than average.

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The shoe has a flexible heel counter (we assessed it as 2 out of 5) but it seems to lock the foot down securely. No heel slips!

Swiss quality of the On Cloudnova

Wearing the shoes for a very long time helped us conclude that they hold up very well and don't easily wear out.

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We owe it to the shoe’s well-made construction and quality materials.

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Like any other On Cloud shoe, it catches every pebble

Unfortunately, this is a flaw that comes in every On shoe due to their unique midsole design with large flex grooves. It’s not a big issue if you stick to paved roads or hard-packed trails. But if you do walk over some small rocks, there is a high chance of one getting stuck in the gap, forcing you to stop and knock it out.

on-cloudnova-outsole-traction

A little heavier than average

On Cloud shoes, in general, keep their footwear in the lightweight category. And while the Cloudnova doesn't feel heavy, the scales tell the opposite.

According to the brand's official product page, the Cloudnova weighs 269g per shoe. We are not sure what size On used to weigh their pair because we found it to be 303g in a men's US 9! This is heavier than the average 270g of our lab-tested walking shoes and is surely heavier than the Cloud 5 (225g).

Style is an eye-catcher

This shoe looks cool as hell. Even before trying the shoe on, we were sold on its visuals. It’s got a unique street/athleisure appeal which we found sleek and minimal yet cute. 

The wide range of color selection is also something we deeply appreciate.

A touch of sustainability

On is gradually becoming one of the brands that introduce a sustainable approach to its footwear. The percentage varies depending on the model but in the Cloudnova recycled content makes up 10% of the shoe.

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