3 Best On Trail Running Shoes in 2022

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on

Whether you're into short or long distance trail running, or just want a reliable everyday trail companion, the Swiss-engineered trail shoes from On is definitely a good steal.

Touted by many in the trail running community for its lightweight trail running kicks with unique design, superb grip, and CloudTech cushioning, the limited On the lineup for competitive trail runners and off-road adventurers is simply one of the best out there.

To help you get the right fit, we’ve tested and reviewed the best On trail running shoes available on the market. After a meticulous testing process, we’ve highlighted our top-rated pick(s) in specific categories with their corresponding in-depth reviews. Head on below to learn more.

How we test trail running shoes

To make our recommendations, all the old and latest models on this list have been thoroughly checked and rechecked using our rigorous testing process. That means analyzing all the shoes inside our RunRepeat shoe lab. We also do real-world wear testing with our trail runners clocking up solid mileage.

Before we make our top selections, we follow these steps:

  • We buy all the trail running shoes from On from our own pocket. This is to avoid brand loyalty and bias.
  • We cut the models into pieces in the lab. We then analyze and measure 30+ parameters from cushioning technology, energy return, and waterproof effectiveness, to upper durability, outsole traction, and many more.
  • Our trail runners log at least 30-50 miles of running on each pair in technical trails, muddy paths, and other off-road environments, and report back to us with their respective feedback.
  • We collect more info from various shoe experts and regular trail enthusiasts.

To get the rankings, we calculate the scores of each model using the CoreScore. Based on the collected data, the CoreScore system gives the overall scores of all the On trail running shoes ranging from 0 to 100.

Best On trail running shoes overall

On Cloudultra
On Cloudultra
£145
£160
£160

CoreScore

82
Good!
3.9 / 5 from 101 users
87 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • Comfort for long runs
  • Good traction
  • Cloud-like feeling
  • Feels light
  • Stable
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Great midfoot lockdown

Cons

  • Break-in is a must
  • Not for cold days
  • Not true to size

Verdict

Although a devoted trail running shoe. the On Cloudultra made our runs equally surefooted on both the trail and the road. Not only is it very stable, but it's also highly cushy (cloud-like even), making it a star in long-distance runs. And if you're to tackle the technical terrain, take this shoe. It's VERY grippy, we had zero issues with slippage.
On Cloudultra full review

Best On neutral trail running shoes

On Cloudvista
On Cloudvista

CoreScore

82
Good!
4.7 / 5 from 28 users
85 / 100 from 2 experts

Pros

  • Grippy on mud, soft trail, and wet rocks
  • Great for road-to-trail transitions
  • Bouncy ride
  • Secure and snug fit
  • No heel rubs
  • Tonge stays in place
  • Runs lighter than its weight
  • No lace bites
  • Breathable for summer runs
  • Environmentally friendly upper
  • Also for hiking
  • Looks good

Cons

  • Firm on hard-packed trails
  • Lacks grip on technical terrains
  • Not for wide feet

Verdict

Dubbed as the "swiss army knife of shoes," you no longer have to switch gears from road to trail with the Cloudvista from On Running. It's a lightweight road-and-trail hybrid that excels at short-distance runs. Even more, it's not your typical rigid trail shoe; it's a fun and forgiving shoe that will make your daily runs—whether on the pavement or mildly technical terrains—enjoyable and even fast.
On Cloudvista full review

Best On trail cushioned running shoes

On Cloudventure Peak
On Cloudventure Peak
£135
£135

CoreScore

83
Good!
4.0 / 5 from 215 users
89 / 100 from 17 experts

Pros

  • Superb cushioning
  • No break-in required
  • Solid rock protection
  • Minimized impact load
  • Appealing
  • Blister-free running
  • Snug fit
  • Grips on wet surfaces

Cons

  • Shoe size

Verdict

The On Cloudventure Peak, owing to its unparalleled professional attributes, has managed to outperform its competitors in the market and establish a large number of fans. The shoe has stylish looks, sturdy build, excellent grip, and remarkable durability. The majority recommended that the shoe, being perfect, should make no further changes in its current design for its future models.
On Cloudventure Peak full review
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.