ON Cloud is a Swiss sportswear company known for its innovative and high-quality products in running, cycling, and triathlons.
It is most known for its CloudTec rubber pods making up the midsole and outsole of its shoes, which provides a unique feeling underfoot of shock absorption with a hint of snap at toe-off, but are they actually any good?
ON Cloud running shoes are divisive within the running community, because some people have become quite fond of the feeling underfoot, while others have had many problems with the rubber pods underfoot for the uncanny habit of picking up rocks and sticks during every run, leading to an annoying cycle of stopping to clean out the shoe.
Like every shoe company, ON Cloud seeks to push the limits of innovation, so does it provide a unique sensation underfoot with its CloudTec technology?
Or does it miss the mark completely with a faulty rubber pod design from the very start? Let’s find out.
Are ON Cloud Shoes Good For Running? Shoe Review:
On Cloud As a Company In The Running Community
Before we get into the good and bad of the ON Cloud running shoes, we would just like to say that ON is an amazing brand ambassador for the sport of running, and it is making huge investments across the board that is growing the sport internationally.
It deserves recognition for the time and money it is dedicating to all areas of the sport, be that the youth, professionals, track, road, and trails. ON is doing a respectable job at increasing awareness and connectivity within running, so plenty of brownie points there.
That being said, the shoes have plenty of good qualities, but also possible deal breakers that might mean they need to rethink their entire design niche within the running shoe market.
We all know that the Swiss are known for providing some of the highest build quality on earth because of their dedication to research and refinement. ON Cloud is no different, as the overall quality of the shoes is nothing short of phenomenal.
A prime example of this will be the seamlessly fitting upper that wraps around the top of your foot securely but without any irritation and restriction.
Most of their shoes have a sock construction that holds in the foot comfortably without feeling too loose on the sides. Furthermore, the lacing system feels different at first but soon becomes quite familiar and effective.
Even just holding the shoe, you can feel the attention to detail that goes into most of the shoes the ON produces. You can quite literally feel the build quality with these shoes when you hold a pair or put one on.
We are going to touch upon this later as well, but in a vacuum, the CloudTec rubber pods serve as an excellent cushioning system that provides an excellent combination of cushioning and responsiveness.
The foam that comes above the rubber pods is quite soft and absorbs much of the shock of the impact that would go through your legs, and then the rubber pods store that energy in the downstep phase and unleash it back into your toe-off for quite a “snappy” sensation underfoot.
Furthermore, these pods hold up well over longer runs, so they always feel pretty much just as good at the end of a high mileage run as they did at the beginning.
A Unique Ride
All of these design features culminate into what is a running shoe ride unlike any other on the market. It might feel quite foreign at first, but you may soon get used to it and enjoy the running you do in a pair of ON clouds.
The transition definitely feels smooth, but it is hard to describe, as it’s a different kind of smooth than other shoe brands.
It has a mile rocking or forward roll from heel-to-toe off, but in the end, you might have to try for yourself to get a good idea of the uniqueness we are talking about.All of these are true positives for the ON Cloud running shoe experience that make them a fun option to try for someone seeking a different kind of underfoot experience, but there may be some fatal flaws within the design features that are worth covering before you invest in these shoes that sit at a higher price point on average above other shoe brands.
- Engineered mesh upper for superior breathability and easy stretch. Silicone cage molds comfortably to the shape of the foot.
- Sock-like construction allows for easy on and off. Lace-up closure. Protective rubber toe cap.
- Lightly padded tongue and collar. Breathable fabric lining. Cushioned foam insole for long-lasting underfoot comfort and support.
- Full-length Speedboard construction distributes pressure evenly across Cloud elements. Updated Cloud Elements collapse diagonally to increase horizontal cushioning.
- Helion super foam midsole is lightweight, bouncy, and offers excellent energy return. Temperature-resistant technology allows it to keep its shape no matter if it is cold or hot outside. CloudTec rubber outsole delivers high-energy return and lasting durability, while honeycomb traction pattern provides reliable grip
The Rubber Pods
Ok, so the niche design feature that feels super unique and fresh underfoot is also possibly the fatal flaw of the ON Cloud CloudTec technology as well.
It will not sit well with a lot of runners, as it does not feel entirely stable across most of its shoe models, and also picks up rock and sticks at an absolutely ridiculous rate on just about every run.
Seriously, you could run on a treadmill and still manage to get something stuck in the rubber pods at some point in that run. It’s insane and nearly impossible to avoid.You will probably find yourself stopping a couple of times during your run to pick or pull something out of your shoe that has gotten stuck, because with the way the rubber pods are designed to store and release the energy of impact it's hard to ignore something that has gotten stuck in there.
We do not mean to be rude, but how can the nice innovation that you are using to sell your shoes also be the most annoying aspect of the shoe as well?
It is hard to justify the price points they place on these shoes—and they are definitely higher priced on average compared to other running shoe companies—when you need to stop multiple times on a standard road run to pick a rock or twig out of your shoe.
It is unfortunate because the ride would feel quite fun if you weren’t looking down to the ground trying to avoid any item that might get stuck in your podded midsole.
To give On Cloud credit, they are actively working on solutions to this problem, and are quite open with their customers that it is aware of the issue. So we appreciate the transparency and thought being put in to correct this design flaw.
All Shoes Feel Fairly Similar
Another drawback with ON Cloud shoes is that they all feel fairly similar underfoot, and we are not just talking about a “theme” of a feeling across most of its shoes, but the shoes quite literally feel the same.
This is not a problem if you enjoy the ride and only want that, but we can’t help but feel the sensation under foot is abnormally similar across most of the shoe models.
This might be more of a nit-picking drawback, but if variety is the spice of life then you’ll probably enjoy success with a different shoe brand.
After covering many of the prevalent positives and drawbacks of ON Cloud running shoes, it feels safe to say that they are good for running, but only if you don’t mind stopping every now and then to pick out items that have gotten stuck in your midsole.
You’re going to get some incredible build quality out of any ON Cloud model you wear, but you’ll probably find the same problems no matter which model you use.
However, ON Cloud is a great company doing amazing things for the international running community and it is actively seeking solutions to fix its primary problems.
It’s good to support a company that’s looking to push the sport forward and provide innovative ways to enjoy running.
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Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.
Last update on 2023-01-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API