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: 11.1ozWomen: 9.7oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 8mmWomen: 8mm
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.
Heel heightMen: 28mmWomen: 28mm
Forefoot heightMen: 20mmWomen: 20mm
WidthMen: NormalWomen: Normal
Release dateJun 2019
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85 / 100 based on 5 expert reviews
The On Cloudstratus – Double the layers, double the comfortMore photos
The On Cloudstratus, the latest offering from On, is the first shoe that features two layers of Cloudtec pockets on the bottom.
The Cloudstratus takes innovation from other On models and molds them into a conglomerate shoe with its twist and design.
The shoes, like most offerings from On, are built for the road, and it’s here that the Cloudstratus supports the runner the most.
The Cloudstratus differentiates itself from other On shoes, predominately because of the double layer of Cloudtec pockets.
But, On added other features to these shoes that they incorporate from other models as well.
Design and aesthetics
The Cloudstratus comes in two color choices for each gender. For men’s shoes, you can go for either Orange and Wash (bright orange and light gray) or Black and Shadow (black and not dark black).
For women, the choices are Navy and Wash (dark blue and slightly light blue) or Black and Shadow.
I do wish that On had more color choices for these shoes because a big, eye-catching feature for the Cloudstratus is the dual-layer Cloudtec pockets.
This feature is only noticeable from a distance with the Orange and Wash color scheme.
Personally, I did not get the Orange and Wash colors because I already own a pair of orange running shoes with the On Cloudswift.
The upper is very breathable. The Cloudstratus has a dual-layer mesh for the toe box upper.
I feel this shoe was built and designed for summer running, even with the darker color scheme that I chose, because of how breathable and light the upper is.
The Cloudstratus incorporates the Cloudflyer’s star lacing pattern. It owned this system by using an asymmetric design pattern to help keep the Cloudstratus snugger but without constricting the feet.
I love the star lacing system on the Cloudflyer, but On’s engineers took it further with this adjustment on the Cloudstratus.
The side flaps include two rows of lacing holes. Thus, the wearer has a variety of ways to lace up their shoes.
While I will leave my laces the way they came on the shoes, I can imagine people going for the wider lacing holes or just creating unique and interesting lacing patterns with the Cloudstratus.
The Cloudstratus insole features a grip system where your arches are. On talks about proprioception on their blog, which is the body understanding where it is in space.
I don’t know if the ribbed grooves do help with that, but what I do know is that my heel stays in place with that additional feature, and I attribute it to slightly raised grips.
As I stated earlier, the Cloudstratus’ sole is comprised of two layers of Cloudtec pockets. The sole also contains On’s own Helion superfoam, which was first seen with the Cloudswift.
Helion is marketed as lightweight yet durable. I’ve watched and reviewed my footage of the Cloudstratus in action, and the pockets do collapse and bounce right back.
But after my second run, I did notice some creases forming on the inside edge of the outer Cloudtec pockets on the shoe's bottom.
These creases do not crack deep, but it is something that I will be observing as I continue to wear them.
One additional feature to point out is On’s inclusion of their speedboard. The Cloudstratus’s speedboard appears to run from heel to toe, and it is designed to help propel the runner more.
From my understanding, On’s speedboard works on the same principle as the springboard in Nike’s Vaporfly 4%, but at a lower price point for the consumer.
When I did a sprint with the Cloudstratus, I did feel like I was using less energy, and that was a good feeling.
I wore the Cloudstratus for an entire week, bookending my initial trial period with a run and walking around in them the rest of the time.
During my initial short run, the back of the shoes felt very comfortable, but I did not notice much for the front. As I wore them more, however, the comfort level increased.
I don’t know if it’s because I was getting used to the built-in speedboard or On’s fusion of the first four rows of Cloudtec pockets, but I grew more at ease wearing them at work.
I tend to walk a lot at work. In fact, I think if On made the Cloudstratus without the speedboard, these would be the ideal work shoes for a lot of people who stand or walk during their day.
I don’t think I will wear the Cloudstratus without socks, though. I can do that with the On Cloud, the On Cloud Edge (Terry), and even the Cloudswift, but might be one where I keep my socks on.
This is the heaviest pair of On running shoes that I own. The Helion superfoam may be lightweight, and the upper is very light, but my size US men’s shoes weigh in at 11.7 or 337 grams per shoe.
Compared to my regular On Cloud sizes that weigh less than 8.5 ounces, it does sound like the Cloudstratus would bog a runner down.
I suspect the extra weight comes from the speedboard and the asymmetric hardened back of the shoe.
I really like On’s Cloudstratus, but I still have a few reservations before completely recommending these shoes to future users.
The limited color choices is a more aesthetic issue, but the main concern stems from the On Cloudswift.
Several people I know who own Cloudswift, even I with my pair of Cloudswift after three months of usage, noticed holes and tears developing on the inside heel area.
In some cases, these are also found along the top of the back heel of the shoe.
While my personal Cloudswift shoes’ holes are small, having the fabric break down and tear after only three months is a major issue for a lot of runners, especially when the shoes cost 149.99 USD.
So, the potential for the 169.99 USD Cloudstratus shoes developing the same holes in the heel area exists. That is why I still recommend trying out the shoes first.
On does provide excellent customer service, and they have replaced my friends’ Cloudswift torn shoes.
And, if these Cloudstratus undergo the same problem, I will most likely use the On customer service to replace the shoes as well.
If you can get past the possible cosmetic issue, these shoes are great on the feet.
- A lot of cushioning
- The speedboard helps propel the wearer forward
- Very breathable upper portion
- Star lacing pattern helps keep the shoe where it should be
- Asymmetric front and back help ensure feet are comfortable and functioning
- Two rows of lacing holes to allow for different lacing patterns and systems
- Ribbed insole offers more grip for feet and socks
- Heavier than expected
- Still able to pick up rocks, burrs, and large seeds if you’re not careful
- The back and sides do not have reflective patches for safer night running
- Limited color choices
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
On Cloudstratus: Smooth performance over distance with a hit-or-miss fitMore photos
But, there are several characteristics of the Cloudstratus that would make it suitable for anyone seeking a more stable feel—wide base, ribbed insole, and substantial heel counter.
The big draw of the shoe is a double-layer of CloudTec pods that run through the middle and rear of the midsole.
Although it hasn’t been explicitly marketed as a shoe for ultra runners, it was used to run a double marathon (running Rio Marathon and then running back) by an On employee.
Although some fit issues prevent it from being an instant winner, I’ve found myself drawn to the excellent ride. And honestly, I’m a little perplexed because, on paper, this isn’t a shoe that I think I’d enjoy running in.
An 8mm heel differential is higher than I prefer, 305g is heavier than I prefer, and I usually steer clear of any shoes marketed as having supportive features.
I was intrigued though, and considering said features were more stable character traits rather than a clumpy medial post. So, I decided to try it.
The result is a shoe that I really love running in, but my issues with the fit mean I won’t get the most of what it has to offer.
The following review is based on 61 miles of running. It includes training runs up to 11 miles and a treadmill VO2 max test – all mileage on roads or pavements (excluding the VO2 max test), with some warm-ups and cool-downs on short stretches of firm fields and well-kept trail paths.
Stepping into the shoe
Plenty of room in the toe box for feet to splay and a secure fit around the mid and rearfoot. The insole is quite thick and heavily shaped around the arch; I’m quite sensitive to any elements that feel like they’re pressing up against the arch.
But, at this point, it was more of an unfamiliar feeling rather than discomfort. To note that the arch area of the insole is heavily ribbed, On claims this is designed to stimulate the arch area for support.
Around the ankle and heel collar, I noticed the shoe feeling a little firm and sharp. There is cushioning there, but it is not particularly soft or plush.
First use: 10 miles at easy pace, + 3mi WU/CD (95% road & pavements, 5% hard-pack trail)
For a maximal cushion shoe, I was very impressed at how light they feel on foot. On quotes a US 8.5 / UK 8.0 (which is my size) at 305g, but it feels nimble and smooth, rather than spongy and plodding.
Although there appears to be some Hoka influence with the big stack of foam underfoot, it doesn’t have the pillowy, sink-in feel of a soft shoe.
I suspect the Speedboard—the firm element that runs from heel to toe through the shoe and gives On shoes their signature feel—has a big part in this. It is supposedly the firmest configuration that On have used so far.
The Helion foam midsole feels remarkably well-balanced, another factor that probably contributes to the light feel on foot. On introduced this foam compound with the Cloudswift early in 2019.
And, whilst it isn’t TPU-based like Adidas Boost or Saucony Everun, it shares some of their temperature-resistant qualities but with the advantage of a lighter density.
Despite feeling a little odd whilst just standing, the shaped and ribbed insole was actually fine. The density of the insole contributed to the cushioned feel, but I suspect it also played a part in a blister developing on the outer side of my little toe on the right foot.
The area seems to line up just where a light overlay anchors the star lacing system to the upper (see red circle mark on right foot of image below).
With a thinner insole and less volume being taken up inside the shoe, I’d hope this would create some more space and remedy the problem.
Unfortunately, that isn’t something that I expect to help much with the harder feel around the ankle and heel collar.
I could feel the skin in the Achilles area of both feet (see red oval marks on rear foot of image above) running a little hot towards the end of the run. It didn’t result in any blistering or bleeding, but the area was a bit sore with some broken skin.
Second use: 7 miles at moderate pace, + 3mi WU/CD (all road & pavements)
This was my first proper run back after the Snowdonia Trail Marathon. And, despite my quads still being a little tender, the ride felt super smooth throughout.
It was a smooth run even on the moderate declines, which were killing me earlier in the week! Heavy rain throughout gave me a good opportunity to evaluate grip in wet conditions and drainage.
The grip was sufficient. It always felt secure and didn’t feel at risk of slipping or shifting even on slick pavement. It is not going to stick to the road in the same way a racing shoe would.
Nevertheless, it handled the rainfall adequately. Same story for water drainage: it did the job well enough. My feet got very wet after going through puddles and being splashed by cars.
Even in merino socks, there was a tiny bit of water squelching around. But, considering the upper isn’t super porous, it did a slightly better job than I was expecting.
Happy to report that the fit issues improved. Swapping to the thinner, flatter insole of the Cloudrush seemed to give me just a little more volume in the forefoot.
Although I noticed a little bit of abrasion, the outer side of my right little toe didn’t blister or get hot during the run. And with regards to the ankle and heel collar area, it was a firm feeling, but it didn’t break any skin.
And with those fit issues becoming less pronounced with a bit of break-in, the ride of the shoe shines through even more. Solid, smooth, protective, propelling: these are the four words that come to mind.
"Solid" as the shoe feels substantial on foot—you’ve got a shoe on, not a form-fitting sock attached to a sole.
"Smooth" as there’s no hitches or bumps when you transition through your stride.
"Protective" as you can feel the Speedboard and double-stack of Helion clouds when your foot contacts the ground.
"Propelling" as you feel like you want to keep going and keep going a bit faster.
Beyond: up to 60 miles
After a range of other runs, I can pretty much confirm my initial impressions. The shoe's ride is smooth, and I actually used the shoes during a VO2 max test whilst taking part in a university research study.
At paces of up to 19 kilometres per hour, the shoe felt like it was returning a lot of energy and felt far more nimble than its weight and heel differential suggests.
I’m happy to report that the blistering on the little toe is a thing of the past (no issues since the first run). However, the harsher feel around the ankle and rear of the shoe is still apparent.
This feeling will probably vary depending on the specific structure of your ankle or Achilles, but it is the one area that the shoe lets me down.
Haven’t had any more broken skin, but the surface of the ankle (skin only, nothing mechanical/muscular) has been a bit tender after finishing runs in the region of 10 miles.
It's a real shame because I love the performance of the shoe and all other areas of the fit. But, the rear foot fit would make me reluctant to wear it for anything beyond 15 miles.
Again, I don’t think this is an instant winner on fit, and it doesn’t shape up perfectly to my foot. Nevertheless, you might find you don’t have any of these issues (or experience them to a lesser degree).
The outsole and midsole are barely showing any wear, something I’m happy to report considering the distance-focus with this shoe. For the most part, the upper is holding up great, but there are a few questionable seams.
The forefoot overlays that attach to the star lacing appear to be heat-sealed on, and they are coming away slightly on both shoes (see images).
I haven’t used the shoe in any trail conditions where something may have caught and pulled (if that was the case I think it would be more severe).
While it strikes me as something that won’t become more than a cosmetic issue, it is worth noting.
Any other highlights? Any other issues?
The channel that runs through the centre of the sole is significantly reduced compared to most On shoes. That means you’re going to have a much smaller chance of collecting rocks and debris.
I also like the way that the CloudTec pods seem more integrated into the sole, rather than stuck on the bottom.
For runners who don’t like the sensation of feeling each pod underfoot: you’re more likely to enjoy the feel of the Stratus and still get the propulsive feel from the firm Speedboard.
What is this shoe best suited for?
I’d recommend it as a distance shoe, at moderate to higher intensities. If the fit works for you, I’d have no qualms in saying it would be a great option to run marathons and beyond.
Keep it on the roads or, at a push, a well-kept trail that is consistent and not overly gravelly. It’ll work fine on a track too, but it is probably not going to feel fast enough for those sort of sessions.
+ Great energy return in a cushioned, protective feel: a really rare combination!
+ Premium upper that holds securely
+ Manages to incorporate the unique On features into a profile that looks and feels more ‘traditional’—the shoe that might convert skeptics who think other On shoes look odd
+ Current colourways are strong: bold-and-bright orange or smart-and-slick black
- The rear foot fit is harsh, and although a wide fit, the upper overlay placements are not in an ideal spot
- Fit issues may limit the shoe’s application depending on the shape and volume of your feet
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
It's not the type of shoe I would normally run in. I loved it!
If you're an avid fan of On like I am, you'll wanna keep your eye out on these shoes.
- The Cloudstratus is a product that’s designed for the roads. Unlike other On running shoes, this model has a midsole that is significantly thick. The CloudTec® elements that make up the signature cushioning system now have two layers and they run from the midfoot to the heel. A Speedboard™ layer bolsters the push-off ability of the midsole, further energizing each step.
- Providing a secure yet accommodating wrap is an asymmetrical mesh. This curved and stretchy material mimics the natural motion of the foot. It is even accompanied by a set of laces that snake through discreet and well-spaced eyelets, Such a design prevents hot spots and permits the normal swelling of the foot as it accesses the gait cycle.
The On Cloudstratus was created using the standard sizing scheme. Runners are welcome to get a pair using their usual sizing expectations. However, it is worth noting that testing the shoe from brick and mortar stores and getting ahold of user reviews from online sites can help with the attainment of a comfortable in-shoe experience.
When it comes to width, the available options are D - Medium and B - Medium for men and women, respectively. Those with low or medium foot dimensions are the ones who are going to acclimate well inside the compartment of this product.
The outsole unit of the On Cloudstratus is made of CloudTec® rubber. This external layer encompasses the contact points of the forefoot, lateral midfoot and heel, ensuring protection from abrasion as the foot transitions through the gait cycle. The naturally grippy nature of rubber accommodates precise movements, particularly when braking, strafing or swerving.
The unique pod-like structure of this product’s cushioning system gives rise to the presence of flex grooves. These deep trenches make the platform as flexible as possible, thereby allowing the natural flexibility of the foot to take its course through the movement cycle. The toe-off phase is the part of the step that benefits the most from such a feature because it involves the bending of the toe joints and tendons.
Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the CloudTec® platform. This technology runs the entire length of the On Cloudstratus, supporting the whole of the foot and keeping it from impact shock. While there is a topsole that welcomes the outline of the foot, the highlight of the CloudTec® are the pod-like ‘elements’ which grace the very bottom of it. These nodes are meant to provide targeted protection from impact and promote energized takeoffs. It now has a dual-layer design (from the midfoot to the heel) to put some emphasis on a strong and unrelenting cushioning capacity.
The entire midsole is made of Helion™, a Swiss-engineered foam that is meant to enhance the performance of the wearer without sacrificing flexibility or the weight of the shoe. It aims to attenuate impact shock during the striking phase, return energy to the foot during the toe-off, and retain its structure, even when exposed to the changing temperatures of the outdoors.
An arch-ribbed sockliner is placed right on top of the primary cushioning system. This add-on offers a bit of extra oomph to the underfoot experience. It has a raised medial midfoot portion to buttress the arch, thus keeping it from buckling at any point during the run.
The upper unit of the On Cloudstratus is made of mesh that has been engineered to follow the anatomical shape and movement capacity of the human foot. It has a slightly convex ceiling to reduce pressure on the bridge of the foot. It also has a rounded forefoot section to encourage the natural splaying of the toes. Minute breathing holes let environmental air inside the foot-chamber, thus maintaining a cool and dry wrap.
The overlay system is made of an amalgamation of fused synthetic sheets, a wraparound midfoot panel that covers both the lateral and medial sides, and stitch-reinforcements. All these kinds of overlays have the job of preventing in-compartment wobbling and accidental shoe removals.
The lacing system is the traditional loop-and-tie configuration, but the eyelet placement is made up of the star configuration, which means that there are plenty of asymmetrical, discreet eyelets on the instep (to allow for custom spacing of the zigzag shoelaces), and a couple of stretchy cords on the vamp (for toe joint flexibility and fit adjustment on the front of the upper unit).
The lightly padded collar and tongue are tasked with cushioning the Achilles tendon, the ankles, and the bridge of the foot.
The ‘ON’ logos that adorn the silhouette provide brand recognition. Each of these symbols has a reflective coat that makes the shoe more visible in low-light. All of On’s running shoes have this feature, including the original model, the venerable On Cloud.