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Jun 17, 2013

On Cloudsurfer Shoe Review

About a month ago, I received a pair of On Cloudsurfer shoes for review.  Here's what I received:

As you can see, the draw to these shoes is the unique soles, which I'll talk about more later.  I've never seen anything like them.  I've been able to put some long runs and short runs on these running about 25 miles in them so far.  First impressions when I received them is they have a great look.  I love the black with the neon green laces and soles but, of course, that is secondary to fit and feel.

The shoes are made for speed work and races(at least for me).  They are not technically specific to speed work, however, they are geared towards a pace of 6.4 - 8 minute per mile.  That puts them as speed work shoes for me but for others might be just their regular long run pace.  The company also offers a couple other styles for different paces but I decided to choose these.

The heel-to-toe offset is at 7mm.  Not traditional but also not minimal either falling right in between - performance as the company would call it.  These are also typically meant for experience runners or runners looking to strengthen foot stability.  I've grown comfortable running in 12, 8 and 4mm offset shoes, so for me, this was no issue adjusting to them.

The main feature of the shoe, as discussed, is On's patented CloudTec system.  The company advertises it as a "cushioned landing with a barefoot takeoff"  The idea is that the pods come together and help cushion your landing.  Frankly, I didn't know what to expect in them but I'm always open to trying new things.  They do seem somewhat gimmicky to me, however, that was before I tried running in them.

The first run I did in them, I ended up being pretty speedy.  I would not, however, say that you feel like running on clouds as the overall shoe felt fairly stiff to me but, boy was I cruising in them!  I really felt they helped me in my speed work.  The cushioning on the shoe is quite nice even with the stiffness of the shoe.  You can't feel the individual pods as you run, or even as you walk, so they feel just like most any other running shoe.

I also didn't feel like they had a barefoot take off.  When I think of barefoot shoes, I think of flexibility in the shoe and a shoe that is light.  This shoe didn't seem to have either of those.  The upper seems stiff - even after 25 miles of running in them. They weigh in at 10 ounces so far from barefoot lightness but not heavy either.  My typical running shoes is about this weight so it was no issue for me.

It's not that I don't like the shoes.  I felt that my runs were fast in them and while they were stiffer than many of the shoes I run in, they were still quite comfortable.  My legs did feel pretty good after a speed workout so the cushioning is there and it seems the "Cloudtec" technology does work and is not a gimmick.

I would also say that the shoes are made quite well.  It's what you would expect from a Swedish company.  The upper is well made with precision stitching and the sole looks like it will last a long time - even with the unique Cloudtec system.  The midsole is made with EVA for additional durability.  The company also integrates what they call a "Speedboard" into the midsole to "transfer impact into forward momentum"  It's not something I could feel.  One concern might be how the pods will do over time but my guess is they will wear just like any other running shoe and so you should be able to get at least 300-500 miles out of them.

There is also foam around the ankle that conforms to your foot quite nicely.  The tongue is comfortable and I didn't seem to notice it while running.  I also noticed the shoe does not seem to breathe as well as some other shoes I've worn.  These probably will be a great "go-to" shoe during the winter months to help keep your feet warmer but not exactly what you might want for a hot summer day.  The company said the uppers are made with a microfiber mesh that helps with airflow and cooling but I didn't personally notice it.

The shoe also fits true to size as I wear an 8.5 size and this fits perfectly.  While I do believe these to be a well made shoe, for me personally, I didn't get that great feeling that I need in order to put any high mileage on them.

Interested in learning more?

Go to their website HERE.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. not sure I could wear those..all the little rocks from the gravel might get in the little holes in the soles and then it wouldn't feel very cloud like, but they do look pretty cool. Love the colors!

  2. Christy -- Detroit Runner is correct -- I do PR for On and would like to share with you that many world class trail runners such as Ben Allen, Jackie Slack and David Hauss run the On shoe and have no problem with rocks. It's a common misperception. Hope you give them a try.

  3. Love these shoes as my tempo 3 trainer..6:30 pace for an hour. Land forefoot, they let me know if I'm getting sloppy if the heel kisses the dirt or asphalt. Roomy toe box, but very stable in the forefoot. I just can't seem to land wrong in these shoes. Best in my rotation with a lot of miles on them. Fine for light gravel trails. Rocks don't get in the pods, but would not bomb down a technical trail. I've also got the racers, wear them sock less for my ITU USA Triathlon races and always bounce back super quick to race the next weekend. Usually running 32 10 K or sub 16 5 K. Try them! Or just be grumpy!