A high tech running shoe whose design began with a water hose.
A little longer mileage life.
One of the most natural, fast feeling, and lightweight non-traditional shoes we have tested.
We will have to admit, we were skeptical when we first came across the Cloud Racer and the rest of the line from the Swiss based company, OnRunning. We are not the types to buy into these "gadget" type shoes that have weird looking soles or that are intended to alter the way you land or push off. Honestly, from all we have tested, the traditional running shoe design always seems to come out on top.
On is the brainchild of retired professional runner, Oliver Bernhard. He says that over his career he tried many different types of shoes and always suffered from inflamed Achilles injuries. On Runnings CloudTec soles (yes that started as half pieces of garden hose glued to a shoe) are designed to provide support through the forward and backwards pressure during your stride, not just the up and down action that On believes traditional running shoes support.
We were sent the Cloud Racer, which as the name implies is intended for racing. But we like to race in what we train in, so we put them to the test. And by test I mean a couple of us running in them for over 3 months. We aren't going to put up a final review on something we have had for a week.
On Running has an interesting approach for categorizing their shoes. Instead of by pronation type, etc, they are listed by time. See the image below.
So you chose your model of shoe based on your race pace, training pace, etc. This type of selection model makes sense to us.
So, let's get to the details of the Cloud Racer.
Sizing and Specs
- Extra-thin and wide tongue ensures a comfortable ride.
- Lightweight eyestay allows for easy yet precise lace adjustment.
- Heel webbing provides anatomical fit and great step-in comfort.
- Seamless liner mesh provides sock-like, seamless feel.
- High-grade EVA midsole provides prolonged durability and performance
- Integrated Speedboard supports a natural gait and improves running efficiency
- Lightweight sock offers anatomical fit and support
- Proprioception-pad on insole stimulates the foot and postpones fatigue
- Low-profile Cloud elements ensure a very direct running sensation and a powerful
push-off - CloudTec© rubber compound formula offers the ultimate in low-abrasion durability
- Honeycomb slip-pattern provides grip on and off the road
US W 6-10 | US M 8-12
The shoes do fit true to size.
Women's C | Men's D
225 g | 7.9 oz. (US W 7)
245 g | 8.6 oz. (US M 8.5)
Athletes with a neutral gait
4 min/km / 6.4 min/mile
The first and most noticeable feature of the On shoes is their CloudTec soles. They believe these elements provide vertical and horizontal support unlike traditional shoes. The CloudRacer has the lowest profile compared to the other models.
A view of the "clouds" that make up the sole of the On running shoes.
Below you can see the "teeth" in the elements that supposedly provide the horizontal support as the clouds compress as you land and push off.
The Cloud Racer mesh upper does really well at shedding moisture, which is ideal for triathlons.
The thin tongue and seamless interior of the shoe make for a very comfortable ride with or without socks.
As triathletes we always appreciate a good heel strap that allows for quick entry, and On delivers here as well.
Engineered in Switzerland... they must be nice!
Technology Trumps Tradition
For the first time in many, many reviews, we were pleasantly impressed with a shoe that steps away from the traditional running shoe sole. We were a little concerned that the shoes were going to have too much cushion, which is something we tend to steer away from. The "cloud" technology used for the Ons provides for a very comfortable and responsive feel on the road. Don't get us wrong, we aren't saying these shoes are going to make you run any faster. Simply put, they do what they are designed to do. The offer a high quality feel in a well thought out shoe.
While the Cloud Racer is the most minimal shoe in the On Running lineup, it worked well for us. The shoe is intended for racing and has a low mileage life of approx 4-5 marathons. We have put well over 250 miles on these shoes and they have held up nicely, but On suggests replacing them after 125-150 miles. That makes the suggested retail price of $129 pretty high if you intend to train in them as well.
TriBomb Bottom Line
The Cloud Racer is a nice alternative to the traditional lightweight racing shoe if you are willing to shell out the bucks to keep a fresh pair on hand.