On Running. I love a company that is not afraid to try new and different things. Their shoes have always intrigued me with their unique designs and fancy looks. However, It has been a brand that has not impressed me, and yet I try their new offerings in hopes that they get it right.
The On CloudStratus is a huge improvement from the company, but On Running must take some serious considerations from consumer feedback to keep up with the other running brands.
Weight: 305grams/10.76oz Heel-to-toe Drop: 8mm Category: Stability
A soft and breathable engineered mesh upper is used. There is an orange mesh layer in the toe box to help with upper durability while maintaining its breathable nature.
The toe box is reinforced, which helps maintain the structure of the shoe.
An additional reinforced mesh layer is used to wrap the medial and lateral side of the foot like a burrito. This helps with securing the foot by providing a comfortable yet snug fit.
Finally! On got it right this time. I absolutely LOVE the upper! It has one of the best uppers that I’ve tried on to date. The toe box is not shallow, nor is it narrow like the rest of the On line-up.
I really enjoyed the form-fitting upper and had no need for any breaking in whatsoever. The excessive cushion in the interior of the shoes that exist in most daily trainers is not found here.
On manages to get the amount of padding just right. The shoe remained well ventilated and dissipated heat well even at temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius. This is the first time that I have zero complaints on the upper of a shoe. Just perfect!
A star-lacing configuration is utilized. I did not find any difference in the fit other than the fact that it looked unique. I am unable to tell if it really helps, but it seems gimmicky to me.
Three additional lace holes are available if the user wants a customized and more locked down fit. Personally, I found the standard lacing enough for lockdown.
Heel cup & ankle collar
The ankle collar has just the right amount of padding. This made the shoe feel plush and comfortable without feeling like too much shoe.
An external heel cup is used in the shoe. I noticed that the heel cup is higher on the medial side.
This is intentionally designed to increase stability. It was not noticeable and did not affect the comfort of the shoe.
The tongue is well padded and prevents any lacing pressure.
I like that it's attached to the upper, which prevents any side to side slippage.
The insole is ribbed on the medial side where the arch is. This is intentionally designed to allow consumers to be aware of their running form when it begins to be sloppy at the later stages of a run.
However, this was designed with the neutral runner in mind. As to how it works, the ribbed area will be felt if the arch of the foot encounters it.
At the later stages of a run, when form starts to get sloppy, overpronation will occur more often, and the runner will then be able to feel the ribbed portion. This acts as feedback for the runner to focus on his form.
I found the design to be interesting but sadly unhelpful as I felt the ribbed portion the moment I put my feet into the shoe. It may work for others, but not for me.
Sizing & fit
The CloudStratus fits true to size. It accommodates my wide foot well.
I had problems with almost all the shoes from the On line up, but On seemed to have widened the toe box in this one. The improved fit allowed for my toes to splay without any pressure points.
Midsole technology & the ride
An additional layer of Cloudtec Elements that run from the heel to the midfoot. The Cloudtec elements are designed to compress upon impact to provide for a softer landing.
‘Helion’ is a brand-new midsole compound that claims to be lighter, temperature resistant, durable, and bouncier than any previous cushioning setup On has used in the past.
A thin plastic board that runs just below the insole to facilitate a more directed, snappy, and responsive ride.
The shoe rides FIRM. I expected a bouncy and plush ride from the new ‘Helion’ midsole and added a layer of cloud elements.
With incredible new midsole technology such as Nike React and ZoomX, New Balance FuelCell, and Skechers Hyperburst, I was deeply excited about whether ‘Helion’ would deliver a similarly enjoyable experience.
I was sorely disappointed. Throwback maybe 5 years, and this would have been one of the best shoes in the market. Its time for On Running to move on with the times and keep up with the competition.
The midsole probably the softest offering for On Running but is still considerably firm. Even Mizuno, known for its plastic wave plates and firm midsoles, has ditched their wave plate in their newest offering: ‘Sky Waveknit 3’ and added a new polyurethane cushioning.
To the touch, the Helion foam hardly had any give. Other foams like Saucony’s Everun, and the few abovementioned foams all had a certain level of ‘squishy’ characteristics when I pressed them. I thought, ‘Maybe the Cloudtec elements will allow for a softer ride while running in them.’
On foot, the CloudStratus felt firm but very stable and protective. However, the CloudTec elements provided a little effect of softening the ride.
The ride seemed to soften a little after roughly 30km in them but far from ‘Running on Clouds.’ If any representative of On Running is reading this review, please, soften the midsole. I am unable to use the shoes on recovery runs as they are just too firm.
The next issue I found was with the Speedboard. The plastic speedboard is placed too close to the foot, with only an insole separating it.
I used the same analogy in previous reviews of On shoes: Placing a bed on top of the wooden plank is softer than if it were the other way around.
It seems like a plate is necessary to stabilize the Cloudtec elements. If that were the case, a suggestion would be to sandwich the plate in between the top and bottom elements, akin to the Nike Vaporfly 4%/Nike Zoom Fly 3/Hoka Carbon X.
Another suggestion could be to add a thin layer of Helion with a softer durometer above the speedboard and have the Cloudtec elements remain as it is. The ride may be greatly improved while maintaining the stability of the elements.
That said, the firmness of the shoe may appeal to those looking for a firmer ride. I found the CloudStratus to run quite smoothly at steady paces during easy days where I felt fresh.
I especially enjoyed them on progression runs, where I increased my pace slightly towards the end of the run. The ride, although firm, is well cushioned and is not in any sense jarring. Vibration dampening is decent, as well.
Outsole & durability
The outsole uses durable black rubber patches that cover all but the medial part of the shoe. The rubber patches are cut laterally to specifically increase grip when moving forward.
The outsole has a decent grip. I have not slipped in the shoe even while running after a short thunderstorm.
I only experienced mild slippage when I picked up the pace on a wet surface. The outsole has great durability and shows little wear after 80km.
However, I feel that the traction pattern of the outsole rubber could be improved. Also, using the outsole rubber of a softer durometer could further increase grip while enhancing the ride experience.
Types of workouts
The On CloudStratus can be used for a variety of paces. It is best used for easy to up-tempo paces (up to half-marathon race pace).
- Firm but protective cushioning
- Smooth transition from heel to toe
- Most comfortable upper to date from On Running
- Helion is a very firm midsole material
- The plastic speedboard and the foot is separated merely by an insole, further firming up the ride
- Leaning towards the heavy side (>300grams)
Areas of improvement
- Softer Midsole foam
- Change of placement of Speedboard
- Thicker Laces
On CloudStratus vs. New Balance Fuelcell Propel
The Fuelcell Propel is lighter and much softer than the firm CloudStratus. The CloudStratus, however, has a superior upper.
Put the upper of the CloudStratus and the fuelcell midsole of the Propel, and you’ve got yourself a beast of a shoe. The Fuelcell Propel is $110SGD cheaper and has a higher versatility. I’d stick with the Fuelcell Propel.
On CloudStratus vs. Nike Pegasus Turbo 2
At 220grams, the Pegasus Turbo 2 is much lighter than the CloudStratus and yet offers cushioning that is both softer and more substantial.
The upper of the CloudStratus feels plusher and more structured. The Pegasus Turbo 2, on the other hand, has an upper that is more form-fitting and breathable while being thinner. Both shoes are similarly priced.
With my preference towards a softer ride, I would go for the Pegasus Turbo 2.
On CloudStratus vs. Asics Kayano 26
The Asics Kayano line has one of the highest popularity ratings when it comes to daily trainers in the market. With both shoes in the same price range and serving the same purpose, I found it fitting to compare a new market offering with a product that went through 26 versions.
The CloudStratus is wider and has a noticeably, more comfortable upper. The Asics Kayano is slightly softer but feels clunky in comparison. I’d rather opt for the superior ride and upper construction of the CloudStratus.
The On CloudStratus is a firm but protective daily trainer with an excellent upper and an attractive look. Despite being the best On shoe to date, there are necessary improvements that have to be made to keep up in the rapidly growing market of super-foams.
The Cloudstratus is one of On’s latest running shoe, introduced in July 2019. It primarily targeted the long-distance runner (~20K+ miles per run) who desires some level of stability and extra cushioning.
On has doubled down on their Helion foam CloudTec technology. They added, for the first time, a second layer, while still managing to maintain a relatively low weight to the shoe (~11 ounces for a Men's 9.5). This results in On’s most cushioned shoe yet.
Who is this shoe for?
At this point, On seemingly has a running shoe for every different type of runner. It can be difficult to differentiate between them since the factors separating one from the other can be subtle.
I found this shoe to be most comparable to 2018’s Cloudswift, though obviously with a bit more cushioning and stability and with a slightly higher heel drop of 8mm (compared to the 7mm heel drop on the Cloudswift).
The heel drop is the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe, which affects how your foot strikes when you land.
As stated above, On has added a second layer of their CloudTec Helion foam to the outsole via a second row of cloud pods. The pods are meant to compress as you hit the ground. More pods = more cushioning.
Like the Cloudflow, the Cloudstratus also features On’s ‘speedboard’ in the midsole which is meant to work in tandem with the CloudTec by converting that ultra-cushioned landing into a smooth and powerful take-off as you begin your next stride.
Like most of On’s running shoes, the upper mesh is extremely breathable, which is great for long-distance runs. Your feet don’t get as sweaty as they otherwise might in a shoe with a more closed off upper.
Again, the feel of the upper is a bit sturdier than some of On’s lighter shoes, which I actually prefer.
I found the Cloudstratus to feel most similar to 2018’s Cloudswift in terms of responsiveness and overall feel. For me, however, the Cloudstratus is preferable to the Cloudswift since they weigh about the same but the Cloudstratus provides more cushioning and support.
Like the Cloudswift, the Cloudstratus ‘feels’ like a shoe unlike some of the lighter models, which are meant to feel more like you are running almost barefoot. That feeling is going to naturally limit responsiveness.
So, those looking for an ultra-responsive shoe should look elsewhere. The directive of the Cloudstratus is to give you the feeling of a solid shoe on your foot, that provides a sturdy feel as your foot hits the surface.
In that respect, it reminded me somewhat of the Asics Gel line of shoes. I am most used to running in the Cloudflow (which weights ~25% less), and I thought the additional weight would bother me. But, truth be told, I did not notice it after a few minutes.
It is evident that great care has gone into the design of the Cloudstratus to deliver maximum performance for long-distance runners.
I have done several runs of anywhere from 3 to 16 miles in the Cloudstratus. They have held up wonderfully, showing no sign of wear whatsoever.
There is no question they are solidly built and, I suspect, will last for at least 350 miles.
Flexibility vs. stability vs. performance
While not as flexible as, say, the Cloudflow, they do have some movement to them, particularly in the mesh toe box. They have similar stability to the Cloudswift, which is provided by the sturdy support alongside the heel.
Although not advertised as such, the Cloudstratus certainly offers the desired stability for those runners who pronate.
The lacing system on the Cloudstratus is a new ‘star-lacing’ system. The somewhat unorthodox pattern to the lacing system did not mean much to me.
Regardless, I did appreciate the upgraded laces, which fall somewhere between On’s typical ‘thin’ laces and the more sturdier laces that would be found on a hiking shoe.
In short, my foot felt firm and secure during the entirety of each run.
The price is $169.99, which is $20 more than the Cloudswift and $30 more than the Cloudflow. Thus, you are certainly paying for that additional layer of Cloud cushioning.
But, as stated before, I would expect the Cloudstratus to last longer than the Cloudflow due to the sturdier construction required to build up the cushioning and support of the Cloudstratus.
At the moment, there are only two colors available for men: black and orange. I tested the black, which has some grey in the upper as well.
While the shoes appear well-made and durable in most respects, I have noticed a deficiency in the heel collar.
After ~50 miles, I began to experience significant tearing in the heel collar, particularly in the heel area (on both shoes) and the forefoot area on the left side of the left shoe.
Unfortunately, for a $150+ shoe, I do not expect that kind of damage to occur after only 50 miles. I have not had this experience with other On shoes, so perhaps I received a faulty pair.
Regardless, beware if you are going to put in significant, hard miles in these shoes (which I have).
Bottom line: These are terrific shoes if you’re looking for a more built-up, stable shoe to do lots of miles in.
The Cloudflow is still my favorite shoe to run long distances in because I like the feel of a lighter shoe (especially since the Cloudflow has a lot of cushioning for such a light shoe).
But, I will certainly be alternating that choice with the Cloudstratus on future runs. This will be particularly any future trail and/or gravel runs, where the Cloudstratus will certainly outperform the Cloudflow.
I also suspect the Cloudstratus will perform better in cold and/or wet conditions, so keep that in mind if you live in a climate where that is an issue.
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
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
On Cloudstratus shoes are my first On shoes. I was very excited to get these new pair of shoes after being a Nike fan for a very long time.
I used Nike shoes for all races and training as I felt they were the perfect fit for me. Why then try something new?
I was very tempted by the design and looks of the On’s, and additionally, one needs to build himself new challenges and excitements when doing sports, Otherwise, one’s passion for the sport may decline.
As expected, unboxing the shoes was exiting. From the outside, the box is black and solid, but the inside brings you into the atmosphere of the clouds. The print of the inner side has clouds all over.
The shoes have a distinct sole design. The sole has diametric holes from side to side. I’m sure that the hollow areas across the sole are big saving in the weight of the shoe.
The compensation to that hollow area and missing material support is a hard and durable substance on the lower side of the sole. This material probably would have added extra weight to the shoe.
One can spot the distinct design of this shoe in every aspect. The lace holes are not your ordinary layout format. Looking at the two lower lace holders, they seem to have been extended forward to the front side of the shoe.
On the contrary, the other two holes are small knitted loops, which remind me a bit of the Nike Flywire technology. They are placed far below the area that is commonly used on most other running shoes. All other holes have a parallel laid out of high and low that allows one to use many tie combinations.
Shoelaces are very thin and narrow. In the box, I have received an extra pair in black color aside from the black and white laces on the shoes themselves. This is a thoughtful gesture.
Don’t let the thin and narrow looks deceive you. The laces are extra strong and hold the shoe in place tight and firm.
A great thing about them is the fact that they do not tend to open during the run. I think Nike should adopt this technology as what annoyed me mostly with Nike was their poor shoelaces.
I usually wear a size 11, but I found that this size on the On is a bit big. My feet had a feeling they were moving around the shoe freely, but I thought I may give them an additional chance running long runs were feet tend to expand.
The shoe is built up from different mesh variations, in the front, soft and breathing material, while the mid shoe mesh is strong and supportive. The back area of the shoe is a plastic shell, not common to road running but more to trail running shoes.
The front and mid mesh are connected by a narrow flexible plastic stitch band. This band caused a blister on my small toe on the first tryouts. I’m hoping this section will soften once I break the shoes after some more use.
The first run with the shoes was on a gym running machine. As it is not a true environmental road test, I can only report that after a 10km run, I felt my feet were fresh.
I did decide to try and change the lace tie format to give the shoe a better hold of my foot. My next challenge was using them on my regular training street runs. I have also decided to challenge them with a bit of terrain running.
Concluding the first 100km with the Ons, I can report that the shoes still look as new. There is no obvious tear or damage to the mesh or sole. Cleaning the mesh after a run on a dusty road was easy and left no marks.
I am a mid-foot striker. This model does not spoil the mid-foot strikers. The sole is stiff and hard. I felt every step thru out my leg. When trying to step striking the heel (back foot strike), I felt the cushion of the sole at its best, soft and supporting.
On the contrary to what one can conclude, I did not feel my feet were tired after a 10 or 15 k run; However, I did not enjoy the run with them as much as I enjoy running with a soft cushioned sole.
Running on a wet surface: Traction is good and stable.
Weather effect: The shoe has a very good heat deployment while running in hot weather. However, on cold days, I could feel the cold wind entering from every side of the shoe and could not keep the feet at the right temperature, causing blood flow issues.
Off-road trail running: Nice surprise! The shoe has a good grip with gravel and minor rocky trails. The sharp rocks did not penetrate thru sole, and I felt secured all thru out the trail.
The plastic cover on the rear back of the shoe is a protective armor and holds the heel stiff. The shoes are responsive and firm. The down is that the sole tends to catch small stones in its mid “tunnel”, clicking all the way until removed.
- Weight: Around 300gr
- Drop: 8mm
- Material: Soft and strong mesh
- Sole: Dual-layer hollow design
- Exceptional design
- Tie system
- High-quality material
- Sole: 85/100
- Mesh materials: 96/100
- Lace: 100/100
- Looks: 97/100
Good to know
- 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® is the pod-like elements that 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.
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