Our verdict

We view the Cloudaway as a unique hybrid shoe from On. It is a truly adventure-ready trainer that can accompany you from the urban jungle to the great outdoors. We were immediately impressed with its bold looks and quality craftsmanship. Not to mention that it is reasonably priced compared to its On counterparts.

Pros

  • Can go from city to trails
  • Great for all-day wear
  • Surprisingly lightweight
  • Sock-like fit
  • Quick-to-adjust lacing
  • Feels supportive
  • Quite durable
  • Good traction
  • Exclusive look
  • Uses recycled materials (20%)
  • Reflective details

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Firm cushioning

Audience verdict

80
Good!

Who should buy

The Cloudaway from On is for the adventurous people who never know how far they’ll go stepping out of the doorway. In our opinion, this is a great all-arounder if you need a shoe for the following:

  • feeling equally comfortable on the city streets and when hopping on a trail
  • spending all day walking and standing
  • travelling: commutes, flights, sightseeing, etc.
  • a walking shoe with some stylish "edge" to it

On Cloudaway review

Who should NOT buy

Being a hybrid shoe, the Cloudaway makes some compromises to versatility (like weight and breathability). So, if you need a shoe for urban settings only, a better option would be On Cloud 5 or On Cloudswift.

On the other hand, if you are more outdoorsy and need an even more rugged and protective trail shoe, consider our selections of the best trail running shoes and best hiking shoes.

On Cloudaway lab test

Breathability

The Cloudaway loses its breathability in favour of a more durable upper. Pumping smoke through the shoe's upper showed a tiny string of air passing through the material. On a 1-5 scale, this On shoe gets the lowest score of 1.

You can see how no light is able to pass through the upper in our transparency test below.

Turning to our microscope for a more up-close shot, we saw an incredibly tight weave. We normally see this type of material on waterproof trail shoes.

On Cloudaway microscope upper

Test results
Cloudaway 1
Average 2.8
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Applying a Dremel to the shoe's toebox, we were satisfied with its ability to resist wear and tear. After drilling the material for 4 seconds, we only got through the shoe's topmost layer.

However, based on this test, the Cloudaway is still not the most durable shoe on our list. We rated it as 3 out of 5.

If you need a more abrasion resistant upper, see the Hoka Transport.

On Cloudaway vs hoka transport

The Hoka Transport has a toebox durability rating of 4 out of 5

Test results
Cloudaway 3
Average 3.1
Compared to 23 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

However, the material surrounding the ankle in the Cloudaway was a real disappointment.

It barely survived the same 4-second Dremel test, showing some really serious wear. Thus, we has to give it the lowest score - 1 out of 5.

Test results
Cloudaway 1
Average 2.3
Compared to 22 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

On the bright side, the outsole looks much better on the Cloudaway! The brand really made sure that it survives on the trails.

We start by measuring how firm the rubber is because, in our experience, harder rubbers are much harder to destroy.

The durometer showed a whopping reading of 89 HC in this On Cloud shoe! This is not only 14% firmer than the average of walking shoes but is even harder than some hiking shoes! Impressive!

On Cloudaway Outsole hardness
Test results
Cloudaway 89.0 HC
Average 76.0 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
50.1 HC
Outsole hardness
92.0 HC

Outsole durability

We further challenged the rubber with a Dremel by holding it for a good 22 seconds.

The damage was visible but didn't seem so critical.

On Cloudaway outsole durability test

We measured the depth of the dent with a tread gauge and found that the damage is indeed smaller than average. The tool showed 0.69 mm of wear whereas walking shoes on average get a 0.8 mm dent.

On Cloudaway outsole durability test damage

Test results
Cloudaway 0.7 mm
Average 1.5 mm
Compared to 22 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The outsole also turned out to be thicker than average. Our calliper returned 3.5 mm which is 1 mm thicker than walking shoes on average.

This is yet another bonus point to the shoe's outsole durability.

All things considered, we believe that this walking shoe will have a long and happy life. At least 500 miles is guaranteed!

On Cloudaway Outsole thickness
Test results
Cloudaway 3.5 mm
Average 2.8 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
7.0 mm

Weight

Being a trail-ready shoe, the On Cloudaway simply couldn't be lightweight. Comprised of sturdier materials to brave the elements, it showed a higher number on our scales.

The shoe comes in at 9.9 oz (282g) which corresponds to the officially stated weight on the brand's website to the gramme.

Compared to the average of our lab-tested walking shoes, this is 0.7 oz (21g) heavier. But the good news is that it doesn't really feel that heavy on the foot. In fact, it is even a little lighter than the average of our trail running shoes.

On Cloudaway Weight
Test results
Cloudaway 9.95 oz (282g)
Average 9.74 oz (276g)
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
6.17 oz (175g)
Weight
14.25 oz (404g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The On Cloudaway is packed with a good amount of cushioning. It kept us comfortable and supported throughout a few hours of testing on pavements and hard-packed trails.

Using a calliper to measure the shoe's stack height, we got 31 mm in the heel. This is the same as the average of all our walking shoes. 

On Cloudaway Heel stack
Test results
Cloudaway 31.0 mm
Average 32.1 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
11.2 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, the calliper showed 21.5 mm, which is even a little taller than the average.

From our experience, the Cloudaway felt sufficiently cushioned both in the heel and in the forefoot. It never left us wishing for more.

On Cloudaway Forefoot stack
Test results
Cloudaway 21.5 mm
Average 21.6 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
5.5 mm
Forefoot stack
31.2 mm

Drop

According to the brand, the Cloudaway has a drop of 8 mm. However, our own measurements show that it is 1.5 mm taller at 9.5 mm. While the difference is not that critical in this case, we would expect a more accurate measurement from the brand.

On Cloudaway Drop

But for a walking shoe, any drop between 8 and 12 mm is considered a standard. You want a more elevated heel to catch your heels as you land with each step.

Test results
Cloudaway 9.5 mm
Average 10.5 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.3 mm
Drop
21.4 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Wow, the Cloudaway is nowhere near the flexibility of its counterparts from the On brand. We are so used to the barefoot-like pliability of these shoes that this one caught us off-guard.

It took as much as 26.5N of force to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. This is 39% stiffer than our walking shoes on average!

This is a big plus for the shoe's overall support but a letdown for people who love a more natural walking experience.

Test results
Cloudaway 32.0 HA
Average 24.9 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
7.8 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
32.9 HA
Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Please be warned that once the low temperatures kick in, the Cloudaway will turn into... an even firmer shoe.

To mimic a cold day, we put the shoe into a freezer for 20 minutes and then repeated the durometer measurement. The second time gave us 41.3 HA which is a little firmer than the average.

This could be a problem for those who weren't happy with the shoe's firmness in the first place.

Surprisingly, the difference in firmness was lower in the Cloudaway (28.9%) compared to the average (36.5%).

On Cloudaway Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Cloudaway 28.9%
Average 34.1%
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

A well-padded insole is there to guard the foot from the firm sole. Our calliper shows that it is 5.3 mm thick, which is typical for our lab-tested walking shoes.

On Cloudaway Insole thickness
Test results
Cloudaway 5.3 mm
Average 6.1 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
3.5 mm
Insole thickness
16.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The On Cloudaway feels pretty stable for a neutral shoe that doesn't have any stability features! Based on our walking tests, we could even recommend this shoe to people with mild overpronation.

At the same time, it won't feel intrusive for people with regular (neutral) pronation. It feels more like an added touch of support.

Torsional rigidity

Twisting the shoe sideways revealed that the Cloudaway has some stiffness to it. We assessed its torsional rigidity as 4 out of 5. Nearly the stiffest!

The higher number on this scale means that the shoe doesn't bend over to the side that easily. This way, people whose ankles tend to roll inwards excessively are going to feel more surefooted in the Cloudaway.

Test results
Cloudaway 4
Average 2.7
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Why not tag this walking shoe as "stability" then?

We still didn't get enough stiffness in its heel counter. After a manual assessment, we decided to rate this parameter with the lowest rating possible - 1 out of 5.

On the other hand, it doesn't irritate the Achilles and feels pretty comfortable and natural for people with neutral pronation.

Test results
Cloudaway 1
Average 2.2
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Last but not least, the brand gave the Cloudaway a reasonable platform width.

In the widest part of the forefoot, we measured it to be 2 mm wider than average (110.9 mm). It's not that significant but is always a plus.

Having a wide platform to rely on, especially when navigating the off-roads, is essential.

On Cloudaway Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Cloudaway 110.9 mm
Average 111.6 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
98.8 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
124.1 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Nothing special here. The widest part of the heel measures 86.5 mm. Right at the average of walking shoes.

On Cloudaway Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Cloudaway 86.5 mm
Average 89.9 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
75.6 mm
Midsole width in the heel
104.0 mm

Flexibility

A well-padded insole is there to guard the foot from the firm sole. Our calliper shows that it is 5.3 mm thick, which is typical for our lab-tested walking shoes.

Stiffness

Wow, the Cloudaway is nowhere near the flexibility of its counterparts from the On brand. We are so used to the barefoot-like pliability of these shoes that this one caught us off-guard.

It took as much as 26.5N of force to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. This is 39% stiffer than our walking shoes on average!

This is a big plus for the shoe's overall support but a letdown for people who love a more natural walking experience.

Test results
Cloudaway 26.5N
Average 20.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1.1N
Stiffness
52.7N

Difference in stiffness in cold

And guess what? The shoe gets even stiffer in the cold.

Having repeated the measurement after keeping the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes, the force gauge showed 38.2N. This is 22% stiffer compared to how the rest of our walking shoes turned out during the same test.

And the Cloudaway didn't even need to stiffen up by a higher percentage than the other walking shoes did. It stiffened up by 44% whereas the rest changed by 66%.

Test results
Cloudaway 44%
Average 48.4%
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
139%

Grip / Traction

With its curious tread pattern, we believe that the On Cloudaway found a good formula to provide grip without putting on bulky lugs. In most urban and moderate outdoor scenarios, the shoe's traction performed admirably.

Fun fact: The shoe's treading is meaningful. It is a 3D print of the Engadin Valley in the Alps, also referred to as “the spiritual home” of the brand.

However, we warn against wearing this shoe in mud and wet grass as you really do need deep lugs to bite those surfaces effectively. If you need even deeper lugs than offered here, see our extensive collection of trail running shoes.

On Cloudaway outsole

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

So nice to see a roomy toebox in a shoe from On. This is a rare sight.

Using a calliper to measure the widest part of the toebox, we got 103.1 mm. This is notably wider than average, by a good 5.6 mm!

On Cloudaway Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Cloudaway 103.1 mm
Average 99.2 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
110.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Like most shoes, the Cloudaway gets narrower near the big toe. We measured this part at 79.2 mm, only 1 mm wider than average.

On Cloudaway Toebox width at the big toe

Based on these two measurements, this could have been a great day for wide feet. But the shoe's overall upper design kept it in the medium sector.

As you can see, the textile is very sturdy and barely stretches at all! It wraps around the foot quite snugly. Too snugly to recommend it for wide feet.

Test results
Cloudaway 79.2 mm
Average 78.8 mm
Compared to 24 walking shoes
Number of shoes
73.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
94.3 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Cloudaway comes in a "bootie-like" design where the tongue is fully integrated on the upper. It helps to create that secure containment for the foot inside the shoe.

On Cloudaway Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Cloudaway Sock like

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue is generously padded in this shoe. With a 5.1 mm thickness, we found it to be 1.2 mm thicker than the average. There are no lace bites and comfort is all around.

On Cloudaway Tongue padding
Test results
Cloudaway 5.1 mm
Average 5.2 mm
Compared to 29 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.3 mm
Tongue padding
11.5 mm

Heel tab

A large finger loop is attached at the heel of the shoe. The loop is large enough to fit our index finger as we slide the foot inside the shoe. Very handy given the shoe's bootie construction!

On Cloudaway Heel tab
Test results
Cloudaway Finger loop

Removable insole

The insole is removable in the Cloudaway. You can easily customise the underfoot padding as you wish.

On Cloudaway Removable insole
Test results
Cloudaway Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The shoe features subtle reflective elements on the top and back. A minor thing that keeps you safe coming back home in the afterhours.

On Cloudaway Reflective elements
On Cloudaway Reflective
Test results
Cloudaway Yes

Sustainable materials

On Cloudaway is the shoe for those who care. It contains 20% of recycled materials in total. The upper is the most sustainable part of the shoe as 90% of it is made of recycled content. The rubber outsole also has 10% of eco-friendly materials in its makeup.