The shoe is classified as a lightweight performance trainer that can be used for races. The heel-to-toe offset is supposedly 6mm according to ON Running’s website. However, it is measured at 9mm at Running Warehouse. It weighs in at 198g for US Men’s 8.5. This shoe is the lightest running shoe that ON Running has manufactured.
Upper and Fit
The Upper is made from breathable mesh reinforced with suede overlays throughout the shoe and a cotton fabric material at the rear. The suede overlays, although stylish, posed as a concern for me as I doubted its durability.
The structure in the shoe provided adequate support, giving it a secure fit. It provided a nice sock-like feel without a hint of roughness, allowing me to stay abrasion and blister-free when I wore it barefoot during triathlons.
The tongue was comfortable, not to thick yet not too thin. It provided a decent lockdown of the feet in the shoe when laced up while not compromising on protection from possible pressure points from the laces.
The heel counter, despite being rather low, offered enough support for longer runs when my running form started to get sloppy. The straps seen on the back half of the shoe supposedly contribute to the structure of the shoe, though I did not notice any increase in support.
The shoes are true to size, although having a slightly narrow fit. The narrow fit may disallow toe splay. Runners with wider feet may prefer going half a size up.
The Cloud came with elastic laces and conventional laces. I vastly preferred the elastic lacing due to two reasons. Firstly, I have wider feet and hence I did not feel like I needed that much lockdown in the forefoot. Secondly, the conventional lacing was too thin and long, which was rather messy and unsightly.
Starting with the Midsole, the Cloud features the 16 CloudTec pods designed to cater to individual running gaits. The pods deliver a rather unique feel. The landing is firm yet cushioned. I don’t feel like my legs get beat up even after running distances up to half-marathons.
As a runner that prefers a more cushioned ride, I switched the stock insoles with a more cushioned insole which greatly increased the comfort of the ride.
I intentionally tried heel striking and I personally feel that the transition from heel to toe felt better than when I landed on my midfoot. This is due to the thicker CloudTec elements at the rear of the shoe.
The Cloud also features a Speed board. The Speed board is a mildly flexible full-length plastic plate that stiffens the sole and converts energy from landing impact to forward propulsion. This translated to decent stability with a light snappy toe-off.
As for the outsole, high abrasion rubber patches are placed at the front 5 pods and the back 3 pods for increased durability at high impact locations.
However, I would prefer if the rubber patches were more generous, as I worried about the unprotected midsole that was exposed to the harsh conditions of asphalt.
The sole after 50km
Types of work out
The Cloud excels on both the track and the road. It is best used for speedwork, aerobic intervals and for tempo workouts ranging from 5-10km. Personally I would prefer a more cushioned shoe for longer distances such as half-marathons to marathons.
The Cloud is not recommended for trail running; small stones get stuck in the pods, firming up the ride and causing uneven pressure points. This is especially so for trails that are wet. Mud get caught in the pods which adds significant weight to the shoe.
- Traps stones, mud
- A little on the narrow side
- Conventional laces too thin
The cloud is a light and casual-looking shoe for runners who want a cushioned and responsive ride without sacrificing comfort or speed.
Like the first version of the Clouds, On’s newest version is still lightweight and highly cushioned, yet with a couple of subtle differences. The first and most noticeable difference is the cut in the outsole that runs from back to front.
The newest version sees the cut open more as it reaches the bottom of the outsole, in a triangular fashion, that prevents rocks and such from getting caught in there. The outsole consists of hollowed bubbles (clouds) in rows from front to back with a split in the middle.
They are better for road running because of this cut. However, I did use them to run on an unpaved mountain road in Montana this summer and they performed well. I had to stop periodically to remove a rock from one of the various crevices in the outsole, but it did not lower my rating of them.
I’ve learned how to knock rocks out of the sole while running by using a skipping technique in which I scrape my foot along the ground to loosen the debris. I know this is an issue for some runners, but they are highly improved in this area over the previous version.
The second difference is in appearance only. The outer has a slightly different design which I prefer but makes no bearing on the performance of the shoe. In terms of appearance, I enjoy the look of the On Cloud.
It has many color options available and looks different than the average running shoe. It is sure to be a conversation starter amongst people that have never seen them before. I chose to go with the black upper and white outsole for this model.
The Clouds come with two different laces. A thin stretchy bit that only goes through the first few eyelets and a standard lace that fits through all the available eyelets. I personally use the standard laces as it makes my foot feel more secure in the shoe.
The tongue is attached to the upper in a way that doesn’t constrict my ability to put on or take off the shoe. I like that the tongue is attached because it helps to prevent debris from entering the shoe. The upper is a mixture of mesh, that is super breathable, and a soft overlay that keeps the mesh from being stretched too far in any one direction.
My overall experience with the first version of the Cloud was good except for the cushion on the forefoot that collapsed after 50-100 miles. I expected On to better support this part of the outsole to prevent a premature collapse of the great cushion they provide. Well, 70 miles in, the newest version has revealed the same collapse. It is unfortunate because I really want to wear them for longer distances.
I noticed the collapse in the forefoot cushion more as the mileage increased. At about 9-10 miles into a run, I begin to get hotspots on my forefoot. I do run more mid to forefoot, but that shouldn’t matter. It is bearable for another 2-3 miles although bearable is not what I paid for.
This is a major drawback for me since they run at $120. I expect a greater lifespan from the cushioning for that price. With that being said, I will continue to use them for runs under 8 -9 miles.
Fit, Flex and Feel
The Clouds are true to size. I wear a Men’s 8.5 in most shoes and these are no different. I still really enjoy the flex of the shoe on impact and toe-off, from the previous version, and feel very connected to the ground at most points during my stride.
I also enjoy that the toe box is roomy enough for my toes to splay naturally. The Clouds have a 6mm heel to toe drop which I feel lends itself to a midfoot or forefoot stride. It is not a zero-drop shoe, so don’t worry about having to adapt to your current stride.
For triathlons, I like that I can run in them without socks as they are comfortable on the inside. This puts them high on my list for sprint and Olympic triathlons- just put a quick lacing system in place. Although, for triathlons with runs exceeding 7-8 miles, I will go with a different shoe.
When I was first introduced to the On brand at an expo in Disney World, I was intrigued by the design and was able to try them on but the price tag kept me at bay with the least expensive shoe costing around $130.
Fortunately, as a gift, I purchased a pair at the $130 price tag and have been very happy with them, but not in the way you may think. First, let's go over the details of this unique shoe.
- Weight is 8.1 oz (men’s), 6.4 oz (women’s)
- Heel to toe differential of 6mm
- Extremely breathable mesh upper
- Optional bungee lacing system; laces are provided as an alternative
- Cloud-pod sole
- Removable insert
- Terrain should be for road only
The bungee lacing system. These shoes are great to just slip on and go. The tongue is sewn into the upper to give it a sock-like feel.
You could wear these shoes with or without socks, I have done both and have had no issues. The upper is so breathable that you can feel the wind blowing through them, which is great on extremely hot days.
The Cloud-pod sole provides great cushioning throughout the shoe and due to the multiple pod construction, they are extremely flexible. I purchased the all black pair and think they look great.
I have been using these as a lifestyle shoe; they go with khakis or shorts but I’m not sure if I could pull this off with any other color. Seriously, these shoes are great to just slip on and go anywhere, whether it is out for dinner, the park, or on a boat.
The bungee lacing system. Yes, I know I have this under the Good but the bungee doesn’t stabilize your foot adequately for running. I found my foot shifting too much in the shoe, especially on turns. I attempted to tighten the bungee down by looping it differently or double knotting the ends but nothing worked.
Fortunately, they provide a pair of standard laces you can replace the bungee laces with. The problem here is that they don’t slip on and off nearly as easy and I don’t believe they look as nice as the bungee.
The Cloud-pod sole is susceptible to picking up rocks and other debris. I actually found an acorn in mine. Because of this, I do not recommend running in these on any type of trails; this is purely a road and track shoe.
Another issue is poor traction on wet terrain; I have noticed a bit of slippage just from walking in the rain with these on.
Finally, the durability of the sole. For what little traction you get on the sole, it wears out quickly. At a cost of $130, I would expect something more durable than this.
This is a fast shoe! They are so lightweight and the pods provide an extra bounce to help you kick it into high gear. I could not help but run fast in them; this shoe would be great for a 5-10k race. If using the bungee lacing, stability will be an issue when cutting tight corners.
This has also been a great shoe for walking. I have worn this while being on my feet all day at a theme park and they were fantastic at keeping my feet from being too sore or tired.
If you are looking for a fast-lightweight road shoe for short to a medium distance that is extremely breathable and flexible, then this may be the shoe for you.
Personally, I don’t use this shoe for running anymore. I enjoy the bungee lacing for being able to slip in and out of this shoe but I don’t believe the bungee lacing is the best for running as I need more stability.
I have been a fan on the On running shoe brand for almost two years now. I started with the basic On Cloud shoes when I first saw their shoes at the Charleston Fleet Feet booth in the Cooper River Bridge Run Expo.
The Fleet Feet rep was very helpful and made sure I tried out the Cloud shoes in the right size. Last year, I upgraded to the Cloudflyer at the same expo 12 months later because Fleet Feet had a pretty good discount going on during the Expo’s hours.
The On adventure begins
Since I signed up for On’s mailing list, I received advanced notice of when they would release a limited edition shoe, the Cloud Edge, and I had the opportunity to purchase them before the rest of the public.
A few months ago, I had the fortune to do a demo run with the On Cloudace and they were amazing. Needless to say, if you like a brand, it pays to watch what they do and see what promotional events they run (no pun intended).
Over the holidays, On again had a sale happening, but on their website. As much as I would have liked to try the Cloudflow or the Cloudsurfer, I decided that I should stay with a shoe I am familiar with because I am shopping online and I knew, or rather thought I remembered, how they felt on my feet.
I still plan on trying out those two at some point, though. The shoes arrived relatively quickly, but I didn’t get a chance to put them through the ringer or at least start breaking them in until recently.
Side view of the On Cloud and the Cloudtec pockets
They felt fantastic when I slipped them on my feet. I love my On Cloudflyers, but putting on a new pair of shoes is akin to climbing into the latest model of a never sold vehicle and inhaling that brand new car smell. But it’s the comfort and freshness of the shoe aligning with one’s feet.
The On Cloud shoe weighs 8.1 ounces, or 230 grams when it is a size 9 shoe. I wear size 10, so that fraction of an ounce extra doesn’t matter to me.
They have a 6-millimeter drop from heel to toe, which in theory puts it halfway between what minimalist runners want (0-4 mm) and what a traditional running carries for a drop (11-12 mm).
The sole provides quite a bit of support. The On Cloud shoes are a neutral running shoe, but while I am more of a stability shoe runner, I absolutely love having these with me.
On Cloud running shoe in action
That may not be the case for everyone, but On touts the Cloud shoes as footwear for an active lifestyle. Meaning you would wear them for activities other than running.
I can definitely wear my On Cloud shoes while moving about during work, but these will be my go-to shoes for any running less than 10 kilometers. I only put that 10 kilometer limit on them because I want to reserve On’s other shoes for any half marathon races I might sign up for later this year.
As much as I love On shoes, they have notorious outsole (almost all their shoes), for picking up rocks, large seeds, and debris if you are not careful. That restricts my running to roads and paved trails.
You need to be cautious not to run across a rocky path and it’s almost a guarantee that a rock will wedge itself within the sole. It’s not a pain to pluck them out, but it is bothersome to stop and pick the debris out while running.
Pointing out where rocks tend to wedge themselves
That being said, I did manage to get my On Cloud shoes at about a third off at the tail end of the holidays. Keep an eye out for discounts and sales with On.
They are definitely worth getting if you see a sale. If not, try them out at a shoe store, and I highly recommend starting off with the On Cloud shoes because that is their basic brand and the most inexpensive of all their shoes. The On Cloud will give you a great indication if On is right for you.
Good to know
- The On Cloud running shoe is designed for the neutral pronator. It is one of the premier options from the brand, having the distinction of being the precursor to almost all of the products within its roster. The façade of the Cloud may look different to some consumers; it is actually an updated version of the initially-released Cloud model, with updated seamless upper configuration, redesigned CloudTec® cushion-and-traction system, and revamped interior foot-accommodation to welcome natural performance and heightened comfort.
- A bevy of color schemes is available for this On Running neutral shoe. Such visual variance permits stylistic modifications, especially when embarking on casual strolls around the cityscape. Also, a lightweight, close-to-the-ground construction welcomes athletes who desire a minimalistic approach to their chosen footwear.
The outsole unit of the On Cloud is made up of the CloudTec elements, foam pieces that have been integrated seamlessly to the platform to provide cushioning and traction. The malleable construction of these pillow-like units is meant to cushion the landings and energize the liftoffs. The tips have tread-patterns that provide grip.
Rubber layers are placed on areas of the outsole that are more susceptible to ground contact. These sections prevent wear-and-tear whole also heightening surface control.
High-grade ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is used to immediately cushion the underside of the foot. It is ready to mitigate impact shock but also prepared to last long as it has a durable construction. The Nike Air Zoom Streak 7 possesses a platform with a closely similar height with the On Cloud; both shoes are designed for fast-paced runs.
The Speedboard is a layer that’s placed between the midsole and the outsole. This extra piece is meant to improve the durability of the platform. It also acts as a pressure distributor that responsibly tones the equilibrium regarding the individual ‘cloud’ elements.
The upper unit of the On Cloud is made up of engineered mesh, which is a cloth-like material. It has an open construction that accommodates air into the foot-chamber. It also has a form-fitting capacity to help the natural swelling and bending of the foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe. It is lightweight, as well.
The interior lining of this road shoe is comprised of a non-slip material, which means that it is able to hold the foot in place and prevent it from exiting the interior chamber unexpectedly. It’s designed to be soft and non-irritating to the skin.
A wraparound saddle covers the sides and the heel. This single-piece add-on connects to the lacing system, tightening and loosening in conjunction with the adjustments made to the shoelaces.
Reflective strips are placed on strategic areas of the façade. These elements are meant to make the shoe more effortless to see in low-light, thereby increasing usability for those who desire running or going out at night.
The On Cloud uses a speed-lace system which is comprised of durable and stretchy securing cables that zigzag across the instep. One aglet is located on the topmost eyelet on lateral side while the other is on the first eyelet on the medial section. This unique lacing design aims to alleviate pressure while also emphasizing that there is no need to loop both aglets together.
Extra eyelets are placed at the edge of the collar, and they’re meant to allow the option to secure the heel more appropriately. Such a mechanism locks the foot in place even more because the holes that are nearest to the collar tend to pull the rest of the upper towards the instep.
Like its in-brand counterpart, the On Cloudflow doesn’t have a lot of features on its façade. What it has is a sock-like interior environment, an external cover system that is highly breathable, and a set of non-intrusive overlays that ultimately help in achieving a secure yet accommodating fit. Furthermore, people have welcomed this shoe’s treated upper, a feature that staved off bacterial buildup and odor.
The ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) topsole and the CloudTec cushioning nodes are also present in this road running shoe. They are a duo that provides relentless cushioning whether merely standing or going through the gait cycle. The same rubber pods that protect the original Cloud model’s contact points also shield the Cloudflow’s external pad, thereby decreasing material breakdown and wear.
It was the year 2010 when three Swiss friends worked together to realize a dream that they’ve been cooking: to provide a set of performance running shoes that are sure to keep the performance as agreeable as possible and as equally effective. They believed that the natural biomechanics of the human foot can be supported without restricting ground-feel and full flexibility.
So, Olivier, Caspar, and David went on a journey to make a company that would focus on providing runners with quality products to take across their myriad active adventures and kinetic activities.
One of the most essential innovations done by On Running is the CloudTec®, a cushioning technology composed of several ‘cloud-like’ nodes that support the underfoot platform. These pillow-shaped protrusions are exposed to the ground, though high-wear-areas are protected by rubber.
People became curious about this unique-looking midsole design, so they flocked to this new company from Switzerland with hopes of getting a pair of shoes that featured these new-wave cushioning elements. After all, aside from being mechanically fresh, especially regarding performance, the intricately placed ‘clouds’ also look like nothing on the running shoe market.
Though mainly focused on functionality and the athletic side of footwear performance, On Running made various colorways for their shoes, eventually offering eye-catching hues that are evocative of urban styles and casual trends.
On continues to create high-quality products to this day, churning several versions of the same family of shoes, whether for the roads or the trails. Sometimes, they don’t change the name; instead, they take their original designs and make some improvements or modifications to suit the needs of runners.