In a world of running, occasionally a player comes along and tries to innovate in a way that really changes the way we think about how a running shoe is designed. On Running, a Swiss company, has been making massive in-roads over the last year with their cloud inspired shoes. We had a chance to take a look at one of the more performance centric models, the On Running Cloudflow.
One of the first things I noticed about all of the On Running shoes is the weight. These things are extremely light and a portion of this starts in the upper. They use an engineered mesh along with integrated paneling which combine to form a shoe that is breathable, but also provides decent support. These aren’t your traditional welded overlays, but something more integrated and seamless. The interior of the upper fits like a sock which is something we are seeing more often than not among lightweight performance shoes.
The midsole on the Cloudflow uses what On likes to call Flow motion. The design is a responsive rocker that moves you quickly from heal (or mid) to toe and provides an explosive take off. It has a 6mm drop, but what I find interesting is the line between midsole and outsole is very thin. Unlike other shoes these work very closely together and form almost a single combination sole.
The outsole on the Cloudflow is made of EVA, but with a startling difference. The construction actually uses 18 different foam cells, that On calls Clouds, to provide its cushioning. The Clouds are denser/larger and more pillow-y he near the heel and then they reduce as you get closer to the toe, providing that rocker from the mid forward. There is an open channel down the center of the shoe which is actually genius because the lack of material reduces the overall weight of the shoe.
Style & Aesthetics
The On Running Cloudflow is available in 6 two-tone color options for men and women. The darker versions actually work really well as normal street wear as well. The shoes have a very modern feel to them, it’s unlike anything you’ve probably worn before. They definitely skew more narrow but aesthetically it feels like something from the future. I actually quite enjoy the visual of the shoe.
The first caveat I have about all of the On Running shoes is they are narrow, so if you are looking for something for a wider foot then you should look elsewhere. The next thing I noticed about the shoe is the of course the weight. They are incredibly light despite the amount of cushioning you’re getting. My first few runs I kept under 10 miles and I saw fairly decent pacing from them, really approaching something more performance centric, for me that was low-7s.
I then took the Cloudflow for longer runs and the cushion and responsiveness remained, but the upper doesn’t have a lot of structure. It definitely relies on your foot to provide more of the work. The Flowe motion does exactly what you would expect it to do, moving you quickly in transition to a more efficient toe off. If I could maintain that kind of pacing at distance, then this would be a great performance marathon shoe. For me however it will remain a 13 mile and under style shoe given it’s aggressiveness and responsive nature.
I will say I did really enjoy wearing them, they are very comfortable shoes and again I really enjoy the profile of them. They don’t look like anything else out there which I really gravitate towards.
Overall, I really enjoyed the On Running Cloudflow. I just dug the way the visual looked and loved how different they were from everything out there. That being said, they do run narrow which will not work for many. They are quick and will compete well with other performance shoes out there, so definitely worth taking a look at. My guess is they are going to see a real pickup in the triathlon market as well given their sockless design.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 7.8oz (size 8.5)
- Drop: 6mm heel/toe
- Stack Height: 25mm
- MSRP: $139.99
- Available: Now