Our verdict

The Cloudsurfer 7 is On’s most cloud-like shoe we’ve tested to date. From the frankly decadent level of internal padding that feels like sliding our feet into fluffy balls of cotton, to the plush and lively midsole that rides like bouncing weightlessly through the air. If we can look past its hefty price tag, the Cloudsurfer 7 is a shoe that brings fun and speed to our daily runs with an exceptional level of comfort.

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

Audience verdict

87
Great!

Who should buy

We recommend the Cloudsurfer 7 as an excellent training partner for runners who:

  • Want to spoil themselves with a shoe that brings fun and bounciness to daily runs or walks. 
  • Prefer a flexible shoe that’s speedy without relying on the stiff speedboard found in other On running shoes.
  • Prioritise comfort over all other factors in their daily-trainers
  • Live in colder climates where the shoe’s plush padding will be better appreciated.

On Cloudsurfer 7 who should buy 1

Who should NOT buy

While great for short or mid-distance runs, the Cloudsurfer 7 proves more of a hindrance during longer efforts. As fatigue becomes more pronounced towards the latter mile-markers, the bounciness of the midsole starts to feel unpredictable which takes its toll on our already waning energy levels. For a daily trainer that’s also an efficient mile-gobbler, we recommend the ASICS Novablast 3 instead. 

The luxurious Cloudsurfer 7 does unfortunately come at a luxury price, especially for a non-performance shoe made with easier runs in mind. For runners looking for a daily trainer that’s soft underfoot without being hard on the wallet, we suggest looking at the Saucony Axon 2

The Cloudsurfer 7 offers little to no added stability for runners with a pronating stride. For those runners we suggest the ASICS GT 2000 11 or the cheaper Brooks Launch GTS 10 which boast proper corrective features that serve to prevent running injuries. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 cut up

Breathability

Shining a light through a cross-section of the upper, one might be led to believe that the Cloudsurfer 7 is a breathable shoe. A fair amount of light seems to peak through the larger pores that dot the shoe’s sides and toebox. 

Our smoke test, however, tells a different story altogether. As we can clearly see from the video, only wisps of smoke are able to escape through the porous parts of the shoe, with almost nothing penetrating the shoe’s plump tongue. This leads us to give the shoe a score of 3 out of 5 for breathability as the shoe does trap in a fair amount of heat despite being somewhat ventilated. 

For comparison, check out how the Saucony Triumph 20 fared in the same test, earning it a perfect score. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 micro 1

On Cloudsurfer 7 micro 2

This result is actually better than we expected from such a remarkably padded shoe. Looking at a section of the Cloudsurfer 7’s upper under our microscope, we can see that the mesh is made up of layers and layers of chunky, tightly braided fibres with very small gaps for heats to flow through. As a result the shoe will definitely feel toasty, especially in hot climates or during summer runs. 

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 226 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

We pressed our dremel to the Cloudsurfer 7’s toebox with a force of 3.2N at 10K RPM to test its durability. The tool quickly grinded its way through the upper material, leaving a rather large hole in the aftermath of the four second test. This leads us to give the shoe a score of 1 out of 5 for toebox durability, though a great bulk of the shoes we tested so far have suffered a similar fate. 

We therefore recommend avoiding any off-roading in the Cloudsurfer 7 as one unlucky snag on its upper could spell the early end of a rather expensive shoe

On Cloudsurfer 7 Toebox durability

For a road shoe that boasts a sturdier toebox, check out the On Cloudswift 3 which held up much better against our dremel. 

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 1
Average 2.4
Compared to 160 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The shoe’s heel collar fared just as badly against our merciless dremel. Applying it with the same amount of force almost immediately sent wisps of cotton-like padding flying through the air, with almost nothing left after four seconds were up. As a result we give the Cloudsurfer 7 a score of 1 out of 5 for heel padding durability. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 heel result

In contrast the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ sets the standard for what premium durability should look like

So while it may be tempting to go sockless in these rather warm runners, we wouldn’t recommend it as the friction caused by constant, sweaty heel rubs will most certainly wear down the plump heel collar.

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 1
Average 3.1
Compared to 156 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

To measure how hard the Cloudsurfer 7’s outsole rubber is, we pressed our durometer against it and got a reading of 83.3 HC. This is ever-so slightly higher than the average of road shoes we’ve tested so far; and makes the Cloudsurfer 7’s outsole fall into that sweet spot between hard and durable, and soft and grippy. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Outsole hardness
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 83.3 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 277 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

To test the durability of the outsole we subjected the Cloudsurfer 7 to another bout against our relentless dremel. After withstanding twenty seconds of 3.2N of force spinning at 10K RPM, the Cloudsurfer 7 only lost 0.95 mm of rubber from the outsole. This makes the shoe more durable than our lab average, and means that there should be more than enough rubber left over after 400 miles of use. 

The only question mark regarding the shoe’s durability comes from the incomplete rubber coverage on the outsole. There’s quite a fair amount of exposed foam at the midfoot which on the one hand serves to shed some weight off the shoe, but on the other risks the integrity of the soft midsole over time.

On Cloudsurfer 7 Outsole durability
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We measured the Cloudsurfer 7’s outsole to be 3.0 mm thick, which is just a hair shy of our current lab average. The result of our previous test, however, shows that this isn’t an issue as we still had 2.05 mm or rubber left after simulating extreme wear and tear. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Outsole thickness
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 3.0 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

For such a well padded maximalist shoe, the Cloudsurfer 7 is deceptively lightweight. At 8.35 Oz (237g) the Cloudsurfer 7 is lighter than our lab average and feels easy and unobtrusive on the feet. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Weight
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 8.36 oz (237g)
Average 9.35 oz (265g)
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We found a significant discrepancy with the heel stack measurement provided by On. While the Cloudsurfer 7 is stated to have a 32 mm rearfoot stack, we measured it with our caliper to be quite a bit thicker at 36.3 mm, This makes the Cloudsurfer 7’s midsole more robust at the heel than our lab average, giving us plenty of soft foam to luxuriate in during our test runs.

On Cloudsurfer 7 Heel stack
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 36.3 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

We measured the midsole to be 21.6 mm thick at the forefoot, making the 22 mm forefoot stack stated by On pretty accurate. While this makes the Cloudsurfer 7 a little shorter than the current lab average at the forefoot, we still had lots of cushy foam underfoot for soft midfoot landings and lively toe-offs. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Forefoot stack
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 21.7 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

The difference in our accurate stack measurements leaves the Cloudsurfer 7 with a drop height of 14.6 mm, notably steeper than the 10 mm claimed by On. This still classifies the shoe as a high-drop shoe 

On Cloudsurfer 7 drop

While we find that high stacked shoes tend to favour runners with a heel striking stride; the Cloudsurfer 7’s rocker geometry, which rivals that of a child’s rocking horse, promotes buttery smooth heel-to-toe transitions that even forefoot strikers can appreciate. 

For runners who prefer shoes with a less dramatic heel drop, we recommend the mid-drop On Cloudmonster, or the low-drop Saucony Kinvara 14 which still sports a healthy stack height. 

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 14.6 mm
Average 8.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

Measuring 4.0 mm according to our caliper, the insole of the Cloudsurfer 7 is a hair shy of our lab average, but still provided us with a soft surface to land on that complements the softness of the midsole.  

On Cloudsurfer 7 Insole thickness
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 4.2 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

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

With a durometer reading of 20.4 HA, the Cloudsurfer 7’s midsole foam is undoubtedly plush. Despite this softer than average reading, the Cloudsurfer 7 never bottomed out or felt overly gummy on our test runs. Instead the shoe puts a cheerful skip in our step as we walk to our running location, with a noticeable shift in gears to reactive and bouncy as we push the pace. The result is a cushy yet propulsive ride that had us breezing through our test runs. 

On Cloudsurfer 7

Further exaggerating the perceived cushioning underfoot is the Cloudsurfer 7’s reconfigured midsole design. Gone are the iconic individual clouds that we’ve come to expect from On shoes, replaced instead with a row of voids running along the midsole. The diagonal orientation of these voids allows the midsole to compress beyond the limitation of the foam, only to quickly snap back when weight is shifted off the shoe.

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 20.4 HA
Average 21.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 224 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

After leaving it in the freezer for 20 minutes to simulate exposure to cold weather condition, we re-tested the softness of the Cloudsurfer 7’s midsole and got a durometer reading of 30.9 HA, This makes the shoe fall in line with the average midsole stiffness of shoes under the same conditions. 

While this is quite a bit firmer than the room temperature reading, the Cloudsurfer 7 will still provide a balanced level of cushioning underfoot and won’t feel like running on ice blocks. 

With a 51.5% differential between warm and cold, the Cloudsurfer 7 is demonstrably less consistent than the average road shoe in the cold. This means that there will definitely be a notable decrease in plushness during winter runs

On Cloudsurfer 7 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 51.5%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 223 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

While the shoe wasn’t excessively tippy when we shifted our weight from side to side, the Cloudsurfer 7’s tall stack and squishy midsole definitely makes it feel a tad unstable underfoot.

Torsional rigidity

As a well padded, maximalist shoe, the Cloudsurfer 7 really surprised us with how little resistance it offered up when we torqued and twisted it in our hands. We therefore give it a score of 1 out of 5 for torsional rigidity, meaning that the shoe very easily adapts to the natural contortions of the foot as we run. 

While this gives the shoe an easygoing and natural underfoot sensation, it also makes the Cloudsurfer 7 a less than ideal choice for pronating runners who require stability features that prevent the inward rolling of the foot. For those runners we highly recommend the On Cloudrunner or the ASICS GT 200 11 as more supportive alternatives.

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The Cloudsurfer 7’s heel counter is similarly malleable, easily bending and folding as we squeezed and manipulated it in our hand, thus getting a score of 1 out of 5 on our subjective scale. 

This in conjunction with the ample padding allowed us to achieve a secure fit around the heel without the shoe putting too much pressure on the Achilles. 

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 259 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Using our caliper, we measured the Cloudsurfer 7’s midsole to be 114.9 mm wide at the forefoot. This makes it slightly wider than average and serves to somewhat offset the instability of the shoe’s high stack. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 114.9 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

At 88.3 mm according to our calliper, the Cloudsurfer 7’s midsole is slightly narrower than our current lab average. Despite this we still had more than enough platform to ensure stable landings when heel-striking. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 midsole heel

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 88.3 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

We secured the Cloudsurfer 7 to our workbench and measured the amount of force required to bend the shoe 90-degrees in order to test the flexibility of the shoe. With a reading of 12.5N, the Cloudsurfer 7 is among the most flexible shoes we’ve come across, beating out over 98% of the shoes we’ve tested so far.

Undoubtedly this comes as a result of On omitting the customary speedboard from the Cloudsurfer 7’s design. This factor also plays into its magnificently comfortable and versatile ride, with the shoe offering no resistance to the movements of our foot during landings and toe-offs.  

Despite being able to push the tempo during our test runs, we wouldn’t recommend the Cloudsurfer 7 as a dedicated speed-trainer. Instead we suggest having a look at the more efficient Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 which sustains high speeds more effectively.

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 12.5N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

We also re-tested the shoe’s flexibility after leaving it in the freezer for twenty minutes. With a reading of 20.4N of force required to perform the same test, the Cloudsurfer 7 remains incredibly flexible even when exposed to frigid conditions. 

This fact in combination with the relatively well insulated upper and the consistently soft midsole means that we highly recommend the Cloudsurfer 7 to those who live in colder climates. 

Stiffening up by 62.8%, the Cloudsurfer 7 can be described as less consistent than the average shoe between warm and cold conditions; but as with most things in life, context is king. 

A reading of 20.4N makes the Cloudsurfer 7 significantly more flexible than the average shoe at room temperature, let alone under the same conditions!

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 62.8%
Average 36.2%
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Grip / Traction

While the Cloudsurfer 7 provided us with adequate traction over most roads and sidewalks, the subtle outsole pattern meant that we did feel a little less sure-footed when running on slick cobblestones or wet surfaces. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 grip

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

We measured the toebox at its widest point to be 98.9 mm which is exactly the same as our current lab average.

But the stretchy nature of its mesh upper makes the Cloudsurfer 7 feel a bit more accommodating than most shoes. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 98.9 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Further adding to the shoe’s accommodating nature, the toebox doesn’t taper as dramatically as the average shoe we’ve tested in the lab so far, measuring 78.6 mm wide at the big toe. This gives the Cloudsurfer 7 a more natural, foot-shaped silhouette which gives us more than enough room to splay out as we land. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 78.6 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 171 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Cloudsurfer 7’s tongue is semi-gusseted on both sides. This combined with how luxuriously padded tongue is means that we had no issues with slippage during our test runs. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

As alluded to in the previous section, the Cloudsurfer 7 boasts an incredibly thick tongue; 10.1 mm to be exact according to our caliper measurements. This makes it much more generously padded than the average shoe and afforded us almost unreasonable levels of comfort around the instep, Lace bite is also nothing but a distant and unpleasant memory in the Cloudsurfer 7. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Tongue padding
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 10.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 294 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Removable insole

The insole of the Cloudsurfer 7 is removable and can be replaced with custom orthotics if necessary. 

Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The On logos on the rear and outer side of the Cloudsurfer 7 reflect light in a chic and minimal manner. However, the key word in that sentence really is minimal as it doesn’t do very much for night time visibility. 

On Cloudsurfer 7 Reflective elements
Test results
Cloudsurfer 7 Yes