7 Best On Road Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best On Road Running Shoes in 2024
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Famous for its uniquely designed platform, a patented cushioning technology that delivers softer landings and firm toe-offs, On running shoes have become a new favourite among runners, and even world-class triathletes.

Whether it's for marathons, a daily trainer on cobbled paths, or all-day wear, On has the shoes for every runner of all types and experiences. They’re also offering its fully recyclable running shoe for eco-warriors out there.

But in a world of information at your fingertips, it’s too easy to find a gazillion of different opinions and choices for choosing the right pair of On shoes. To help you navigate, we’ve handpicked and tested running shoes from the On brand. We analysed them critically and then narrowed down the selection to the best-only options.

How we test road running shoes

Using our own knowledge and years of experience in both running and the running shoe market, we’ve reviewed the best road running shoes that the On brand has to offer. We put each pair to the wringer to see which ones are really the best in different categories.

Here’s exactly how we approach our selection process:

  • In the spirit of transparency and freedom from bias, we purchase all the road running shoes from On using our own funds.
  • Inside our shoe lab, we perform stringent mechanical tests on each model by cutting them all into pieces. We then measure and weigh 30+ parameters of the shoe, from cushioning technology to durability, stability, and many others.
  • We log at least 30 to 40 miles of running on each pair in various training and racing conditions.

Best On road running shoes overall

On Cloudmonster 2
90
Superb!

What makes it the best?

The Cloudmonster 2 delivered nothing but vibrant energy, maximum cushioning, outstanding durability, and remarkable stability in our runs. We relished the powerful pop we experienced, feeling invigorated with each stride. Our lab findings solidify the Cloudmonster 2's status as the top On road running shoe.

With stack heights rising to 37.9/31.3 mm, its monstrous foam offers comfort for any foot strike and distance. The Helion midsole features a dual-density setup—a moderately firm 26.5 HA at the bottom for comfort and a shattering 40.0 HA at the top for stability. Despite the latter being 59.4% firmer than average, the CloudTec technology's compression softens the ride, resulting in a gentler yet bouncy underfoot feel. 

Further launching us forward is its rocker design, making energetic toe-offs feel effortless. We discovered the Speedboard plate in the midsole is crafted with a gentler TPU rather than the rigid carbon plate, making it more suitable for daily training. Our bend test confirms it’s only 6.8% stiffer than average.

The outsole proved versatile, navigating various pavements with impressive traction. Even after extensive running, the shoe looked fresh. Our lab further underscores its resilience, showcasing a robust 85.4 HC measurement and exhibiting less damage than average against our rigorous Dremel test.

While the upper looks thin, it disappointed us with a 2/5 breathability rating. Long runs plus hot weather will lead to blistering.

Pros

  • Premium materials
  • Enhanced cushioning from v1
  • Ideal for wide feet
  • Works fantastic for midfoot strikers
  • Unique ride feel
  • Excels in long runs
  • Solid stability

Cons

  • Breathability needs improvement
  • Tongue lacks enough cushion
  • Needs to lose a bit of weight
Full review of On Cloudmonster 2

Best daily trainer On road running shoes

On Cloudswift 3
85
Good!

What makes it the best?

On’s Cloudswift 3 is a balanced, all-around shoe that ticks all the boxes for a perfect daily trainer. It effortlessly blends responsiveness, support and a superb upper — making it a fun companion for logging in our miles.

This model includes On’s Dual Density Helion foam, which seamlessly combines soft and firm elements for a balanced underfoot feel. It emerged 13.4% more flexible than average on our 90° bend test, making it a perfect daily trainer. In terms of torsional rigidity, this shoe scored higher than average at 4/5 — enhancing stability by keeping the ankles in place.

For a flexible shoe, Cloudswift 3 was surprisingly responsive when we tested it by running faster paces. This is attributed to the TPU Speedboard in its foam and On’s CloudTec cushioning technology that flattens with landings and pops back to its original form on take-offs. This gives us a smooth and bouncy ride with less effort.

Cloudswift 3 houses a top-notch sock-like upper that adapts perfectly to our feet. It’s well-ventilated, scoring a 4/5 on our breathability test in the lab, which is why it didn’t feel stuffy. We enjoyed the breeze on our toes even on hot, summer days.

The drop felt high, as confirmed by our 9.7-mm measurement in the lab — a solid 21.3% higher than the brand's 8.0-mm claim.

Pros

  • Comfortably snug upper
  • Immensely breathable
  • Secure lockdown from heel to toe
  • Responsive and protective cushioning
  • No break-in necessary
  • Smooth forward-flowing ride
  • Doesn’t collect debris as much as v1 and v2
  • Very good grip on various surfaces
  • One fine-looking runner
  • Solid sustainability elements
  • Best for daily training and easy runs
  • Also great for gym workouts

Cons

  • Slightly firm underfoot
  • Not advisable for long runs
Full review of On Cloudswift 3

Best On road running shoes for speed training

On Cloudflow 4
91
Superb!

What makes it the best?

The Cloudflow 4 is a versatile trainer that highlights energy rebound and support—all wrapped in a breathable, lightweight package. Its agility makes it a fun and fast shoe to run in, easily capturing our hearts in and out of the lab and claiming the best speed trainer title among On’s road-running shoes.

True to its name, the unresisting midsole flows with our feet. It houses a Speedboard plate that disappears as we bend our feet and comes alive with every energetic toe-off. Our flex test shows it's 24.9% more adaptive than average, ensuring a lively ride without stiffness. It injects energy into every step, elevating our interval sessions and sprints. Cloudflow 4 promotes quick nimble movements, embodying a cloud in terms of weight and ventilation. Our scales reveal a mere 8.6 oz (245g), lighter than average On road-running shoes (9.6 oz/273g). The form-fitting upper feels pleasant due to its thin and breathable nature, which our 4/5 lab rating confirms. 

In our runs, this trainer bolsters our form and elevates stability through its dual-density Helion cushioning. This time, it doesn’t feel like a cloud as our durometer reveals a firm 33.0 HA top layer and a dense 28.3 HA bottom layer, boosting surefooted strides and safe landings. However, those who prefer plusher cushioning should look elsewhere since this may feel too harsh for easy runs and LSDs.

Pros

  • No longer catches stones in the outsole
  • Extremely light and nimble
  • Effective rockered geometry
  • Provides a stable ride
  • Comfortable and durable upper
  • High-quality materials
  • Suitable for interval training speeds

Cons

  • Likely too expensive for the features provided
  • Narrow midfoot fit
  • The foam may be excessively firm
Full review of On Cloudflow 4

Best On road running shoes for race

What makes it the best?

On's Cloudboom Echo 3 is our best racer among the brand’s road-running shoes because it’s everything speed-oriented. With its unique rocker, breathable construction, lively cushioning, and dynamic carbon plate, it powers us effortlessly through races, from 5Ks to marathons. Whether on the road or in our lab evaluations, it consistently performs as an elite-level shoe.

The Helion HF cushioning delivers next-level responsiveness, while the curved rigid carbon plate adds fuel to the fire, enhancing the power and energy in our strides. It felt more natural to run forward fast as the rocker geometry promotes smooth and fast turnover.

Immense energy return can go hand-in-hand with comfort, as Echo 3 proves. The foam is on the firmer side at 23.5 HA but rises to a generous height of 38.6/28.4 mm, saving our legs from the harshness of long miles.

Further enhancing the experience is its airy upper that hugs our feet snugly. Checking it against our light test reveals a thin engineered mesh along the midfoot and toebox areas, explaining its flawless 5/5 breathability rating. Because of this, we had no worries about blisters and hotspots and could fully focus on just running our race.

Unfortunately, Echo 3 requires a large investment of £300. Our lab-tested shoes purely designed for competition only average £210, that’s 29% cheaper for similar performance.

Pros

  • Well-cushioned for marathon distances
  • High-energy return from Pebax foam
  • Offers a responsive and bouncy ride
  • Exceptionally breathable upper
  • Excellent for 5K and 10K runs
  • Semi-gusseted tongue
  • A wonder for those with narrow feet
  • Made from premium-quality materials

Cons

  • Exorbitantly high price
  • Likely too narrow for most runners
  • Weight leans toward the heavier side
Full review of On Cloudboom Echo 3

On road running shoes with the best cushioning

On Cloudsurfer 7
87
Great!

What makes it the best?

Cloudsurfer 7 is the fluffiest and bounciest On running shoe we’ve tried. It excels in shock absorption, comfort and speed. It’s the most cloud-like with its heavenly cushion, high stack and light build — claiming the best cushioning title among On road-running shoes.

Soft landing is a given with its 36.3/21.7 mm heel and forefoot stack. It boasts an ultra-soft cushion, which our durometer confirms to be 15.7% softer than average. For a maximalist shoe, it’s surprisingly lightweight at 8.4 oz (237g) vs. the 9.5 oz (268g) average.

Its priority for comfort further shows with the flexible midsole that flows with our movement instead of resisting it. Our flex test validates this, emerging 58.7% more flexible than average. It’s one of the most malleable shoes we’ve tested! 

Even with its focus on comfort, Cloudsurfer 7 keeps up with faster paces. It’s bouncy without relying on the stiff speedboard that On shoes usually have. Promoting efficient turnover and forward strides is its rocker structure and high 14.6-mm drop. This is 5.8 mm steeper than the average, making it more suited to heel-strikers.

With its squishy cushion, it lacks the protection and support that pronators or heavier individuals may need to avoid the sinking feeling.

Pros

  • Excellent shock absorption and energy return
  • Soft and squishy midsole
  • Smooth and fun ride
  • Rockered design promotes buttery transitions
  • Great for short and mid-distance runs
  • Performs well at high speed
  • No speedboard means it’s no longer stiff
  • Super comfy upper
  • Snug and secure lockdown
  • Plush tongue prevents even a hint of lace bite
  • Lightweight for such a well padded shoe
  • Stylish and sustainability minded design

Cons

  • Overall issues with durability
  • Outsole could be grippier
  • Somewhat unstable at longer distances
  • Not ideal for heavy-set individuals
  • Pricey for a daily trainer
Full review of On Cloudsurfer 7

Best On road running shoes for wide feet

On Cloudstratus 3
90
Superb!

What makes it the best?

After testing On’s road running roster in the lab and on the streets, Cloudstratus 3 is our top pick for wide feet. This daily trainer excels in comfort across different distances, offering an accommodating build, responsive ride, and well-balanced cushioning.

Our first slip-on already reveals how spacious the platform is but our lab further confirms its expansive base. Our calliper measured the forefoot and heel at 115.4/90.3 mm, the front being 1.9 mm wider than average. Adding to the roomy sensation is its natural foot-shaped silhouette, giving us enough wiggle room even as our feet swell over longer distances. On shoes are known for being both firm and soft and the Cloudstratus 3 is no exception. Our durometer reveals it’s 29.0% denser than average, though, in reality, it feels a lot softer due to the “clouds” that compress upon landing and spring back to form during takeoffs. Together with the speedboard and subtle rocker, these work collectively to generate a propulsive ride.  Because the speedboard is made of nylon than the usual carbon plate, the ride feels more natural and forgiving. Our bend test shows it’s 14.6% more flexible than average. However, Cloudstratus 3 has a steep price tag of £190. For a daily trainer that won’t break the bank, we recommend checking other options.

Pros

  • Excellent impact dampening
  • Propulsive nylon speedboard
  • Smooth rolling ride
  • Can go the distance
  • Feels stable underfoot
  • Secure and comfy lockdown
  • Luxuriously padded tongue
  • Roomy toebox
  • Sleek and sustainably made upper

Cons

  • Higher than advertised drop
  • Stiff speedboard feels apparent at low speeds
  • Pricey at £190
  • Midsole voids catch debris
Full review of On Cloudstratus 3

On road running shoes with the best versatility

On Cloud X
89
Great!

What makes it the best?

The On Cloud X is a versatile trainer that highlights a lightweight feel, comfort, and durability. The shoe is perfect for daily runs, walks, or even for going to the gym. For these reasons, it takes the crown for having the best versatility among On road running shoes.

The Cloud X is a lightweight shoe. At an astonishing 240g (8.47 oz), it is significantly lighter than the average weight of road running shoes at 268g (9.45 oz). We definitely felt like we were running on—yes, you guessed it—clouds. Additionally, its light and nimble feel makes it a great option for even non-running activities.

Its wide toe box can pleasantly accommodate even the widest of feet. We measured the toe box width to be 102.7 mm—much wider than the average of 97.9 mm. The tongue padding measures 5.0 mm wide. While it is a little below average, we felt ample cushioning and comfort perfect for daily wear.

Durability is where the On Cloud X really shines. Its dual-layer scored a respectable 3 out of 5 on the Dremel test, where the average is only 1.9. The outsole is firmer by 2.88% and the Dremel test managed a 0.79 mm damage where the average is 0.9 mm. These tests all point to it lasting a very long time.

Unfortunately, the midsole cushioning is lacking. At a 27.9 mm heel stack, it is 5.3 mm below the average. Runners looking for more cushioning can check other options.

Pros

  • Versatile, do-it-all shoe
  • Durable, long-lasting outsole
  • Featherlight
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Precise, perfect fit
  • Superior build quality
  • Flexible and agile
  • Ground feel

Cons

  • On the pricier side
  • Lacks cushioning
  • Possesses a firm midsole
Full review of On Cloud X
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.