On Running is truly a brand that is making a name for itself in almost every respect. We had first tested them on the road, but the new Cloudultra takes their Helion technology to the trails. What we have found is a hyper-modern and supremely capable multi-surface runner that honestly looks just as good on the trail as it does with a pair of jeans.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A modern and stiff trail runner that definitely feels more cushioned than the spec.
- Weighs in at 10.4oz or 295g for a US Men’s 9, 8.64oz or 245g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 26mm of cushion and has an 8mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $179.99 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
We often find people fall into a few camps as it relates to On shoes. First, you have the ones who really love the new take on styling and are incredibly curious about trying something new. You also run into people who either don’t love the design or just think it’s a lot of aesthetics over performance. And then lastly, you have a set of folks who are… curious. Now it seems silly to argue the ability of the shoes to perform at this point given their technology has been tested time and time again with plenty of wins under their belt. Personally, we have also reviewed their road shoes in the past and found them very capable so at the very least we were excited to have a look at the Cloudultra to see what On could do on the trail.
The first thing we’ve noticed is that the shoe has a wider fit which is amazing because it has been one of the biggest knocks against On for a lot of runners. Their shoes historically just ran very narrow and we are happy to report that is not the case at all with the Cloudultra. In fact, it is just the opposite and it has become part of the design. The FlipRelease system at the base of the laces allows you to open up the shoe more depending on where you were at in your run and the kind of performance you want to get out of it. As the miles drag on, your foot needs room to expand and this allows that to happen easily.
On shoes always run a bit stiffer and that holds true with the Cloudultra as well. It’s definitely going to skew more responsive in nature, but we did find there is plenty of cushioning. It doesn’t feel “soft” so you that should not be a concern, but there is very little ground feel. The upper is incredibly durable and handles really any elements the trail can throw at it including a decent amount of water which is a huge plus. Our biggest complaint in the upper is the length of the laces, but they do offer stowage in the center of the tongue.
In terms of performance, again the shoes are more on the stiffer and responsive end so you can expect a more up-tempo ride despite their weight. It is not necessarily a forgiving shoe but does remain quite supportive throughout the run. You won’t find a lot of padding in the upper either but instead more stability to manage you laterally or on uphills or downhills. The slightly less complex lug pattern will lend itself better to fire road, hard pack, gravel, and again even the roads on those messy days.
The upper is composed of two layers of mesh that they have reinforced with TPU to add a level of durability. It is pretty bulletproof in terms of keeping debris out, doesn’t tear, and you get a nice seal up top. One big feature they point to is the FlipRelease system which is a clever way to allow for the tightening or loosening of the forefoot. Is it necessary, we aren’t sure… but it is clever.
The midsole is made up of a double layer of their Helion superfoam mixed with two layers of their Cloudtec. It is more closed off visually than other On shoes obviously to keep debris out. The mix of foams really point at comfort over performance, but again definitely on the stiffer side which can be great on the trail.
The outsole uses their Missiongrip technology and again, these are really minimal in terms of lug complexity. They are really solid on firmer terrain, but if it gets super sloppy or for heavy downhills then you may be wanting something more aggressive.
Style and Aesthetics
On Running has such a strong modern aesthetic and sometimes it works against them. We truly love the look and how different they are from the form, the lines are just really solid and honestly make them great to wear on the trails or even with a pair of jeans.
Clearly on running is getting bigger every minute and they’re offering is getting brighter and brighter. People love the modern aesthetic, it feels unlike any other shoe out there, and it performs just as well. Historically we found many on shoes to be narrow, but the cow cloud ultra opens it up a bit and they can work just as well on a rainy road day as they can on a nice firmly packed trail. The lugs aren’t huge, so when it gets a little overly sloppy they may not be the best choice, but still a very very capable runner.
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Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.