As a running shoe reviewer, you find yourself noticing people’s feet. It’s not like you just creepily sit in the corner and stare at feet all day–you just like seeing if the products you have worn and/or researched are actually the shoes people are wearing.
While a quick glance around the gym will always reflect a good deal of Nike, Hoka, and Brooks sneakers, I have honestly been surprised at how frequently I have seen the ON logo on people’s feet.
This is largely because of the Cloud 5.
What was once a staple running product in the sportswear company’s shoe line has evolved to rival shoes like the Adidas Ultraboost as a leader in the realm of athletic casualwear.
Simply put, the Cloud 5 is a comfy shoe that people want to be seen in.
With that said, it still has a place in your closet as a running shoe if you know how to use it.
To help you sort through all of the ins and outs of these running shoes, keep reading for a detailed ON Cloud 5 review!
ON Cloud 5 Overview
The ON Cloud 5 is one of the premier athleisure shoes on the market. It has the aesthetics to go out for a night on the town without looking tacky while also providing enough comfort and responsiveness to log some miles.
The Cloud has definitely evolved from a core running shoe in the Swiss company’s portfolio to more of a status symbol/fashion statement in the active lifestyle community. With this evolution, here’s how it stacks up in 2023.
- Extremely lightweight
- Highly comfortable
- Great breathability
- Perfect for low impact sessions
- Can be worn all day
- Comfortable with or without socks
- High on sustainably sourced materials
- Very narrow
- Not highly durable
- Outsole picks up debris
- Some users find them loud and squeaky
- Support feels like it is lacking to some
- Not everyone loves the slip-on lacing system
Now that you know some of the general pros and cons of the Cloud 5, let’s see how this shoe looks under the microscope!
With the transition from running shoe to fashion shoe over the years, durability seems to have taken the biggest hit in the Cloud series. Numerous reviewers note that their Cloud 5’s started degrading after just weeks of use.
The high amount of exposed foam in the outsole and midsole make it very susceptible to scuffing and damage from jagged debris. Some users also note that the mesh in the toe box wears thin and exposes their toes.
While the Cloud 5 will perform well enough for moderate and easygoing runs, if you are looking for a shoe to get out and hit the pavement with every day, then it probably should not be your first choice.
The Cloud 5 has gotten quite a reputation for its snug fit. In fact, many users strongly regret not going half a size up when ordering their pair.
People with wide feet particularly feel constricted in this shoe. With a forefoot width of 101.4 mm, this is just not enough room for people with wide feet, usually considered to be anything above 105 mm in men.
With that said, many users do love the snug sensation when wearing the Cloud 5. There is no slipping or movement within the upper that could lead to blisters. In fact, the gusseted tongue and seamless sock liner makes it great to wear with or without socks. This makes the shoe as subtle as a slipper for many people.
With a name like “Cloud,” you would expect this line of shoes to be highly cushioned. ON does not disappoint, with many users noting that they can wear this shoe all day without any stress to the foot.
The method behind the cushioning is ON’s patented CloudTec system.
When looking at the Cloud 5, the first thing you will notice is that the midsole is not the typical stack of EVA foam used to cushion most running shoes. Instead, ON uses a series of open-air, multidirectional cloud elements intertwined with the company’s zero-gravity foam to react to the wearer’s unique movements.
The result is a soft landing designed to take stress off of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower body, creating a comfortable wearing experience throughout the day.
The Cloud 5 is a neutral shoe, meaning that it does not restrict movement of the foot or have any special motion control features that prevent overpronation.
With this in mind, it is probably not an ideal choice for runners with high arches who tend to have an inward striking motion with the forefoot. For these runners, it is recommended to upgrade to the ON Cloud 5 Push, which is a specially designed edition of the shoe with more support and a removable insole so runners can adjust as needed.
The ON site claims that the Cloud 5 is a “regular shoe that runs true to size.”
However, this has not been the experience for many runners. Even those without exceptionally wide feet note that the shoes were smaller than expected when they arrived, making sizing up a necessity before ordering this shoe.
As is the case for many running shoes that transcend the lines between athletic wear and fashion, expect to pay a premium for the Cloud 5. This shoe is typically priced around $140 per pair, putting them well above the threshold $100 that some experts say is the standard for a quality pair of running shoes.
ON Cloud 5 Features
A closer look at the DNA and fabrication features used in the Cloud 5.
The Cloud 5 uses an engineered mesh upper to promote breathability. This helps keep the foot cool and wicks sweat throughout the day.
However, this does make the shoe a bit of a poor choice to wear in colder temperatures, and the thin nature of the mesh upper does contribute to some expedited deterioration for those runners with active toes.
Environmentally conscious consumers will love that this antimicrobial upper is fabricated with up to 44% recycled materials.
The lacing system is also innovative in the Cloud 5. Dubbed its “speed-lacing” system, the knotless design and gusseted tongue help lock the shoe in place without requiring you to bend over. If you prefer a traditional lacing system, the company does include a set of regular laces in the box with each pair.
The zero-gravity foam interlaced with cloud cushioning gives the Cloud 5 the patented CloudTec landing for which it is well known.
However, despite the elite comfort, many users note that the Cloud 5 does not have the classic “gooey” feel for which many comfort running shoes are known. The midsole is actually rather firm, providing solid response for those runners looking to up the intensity.
The midsole stack measurements are about 28 mm for the heel and 20 mm for the forefoot. Both of these are well below average for a comfort running shoe, giving the Cloud 5 a more subtle, natural appearance than the gaudy foam stacks of some products. However, the 8 mm drop is still a decent figure that can help alleviate some stress on the achilles tendon.
Like most ultra lightweight shoes (the Cloud 5 checks in at a mere 8.4 ounces), the Cloud 5 achieves its weight reduction by being very economical in its outsole rubber usage.
While it does have textured rubber in high impact areas of the heel and forefoot, the outsole features a large surface area of exposed foam. This makes the shoe lightweight and flexible but does put it at risk of expedited deterioration when confronted with jagged surfaces.
Users note that despite the sparse amounts of outsole rubber, the shoe does seem to provide solid traction. However, if you are looking for even more traction that provides greater durability on uneven trails, it is worth considering the ON Cloud X. This shoe retains all of the same basic design features of the Cloud 5 but with more outsole rubber to enhance durability on rugged terrains.
Alternative ON Shoes to the Cloud 5
As mentioned, the Cloud 5 has evolved over the years from premier running shoe to more of a casualwear and athletic leisure icon. We have listed the ON Cloud 5 Push as a great alternative for those needing more support and the Cloud X as a better option for more outsole durability. However, the company has an extensive collection of products to use with or in place of the Cloud 5.
Best for Everyday Training: ON Cloudmonster
The Coudmonster is the better shoe for runners looking for an ON product that can withstand high mileage.
It has many of the same features as the Cloud 5 (CloudTec, sock liner) but also incorporates a generous amount of Helion super foam for additional comfort and spring.
A noticeably more curved, rocker style midsole than seen on the Cloud 5 gives the Cloudmonster a perfect design for logging easy miles without increasing impact on your joints. There is also more outsole rubber to allow this shoe to approach the 500 mile standard for everyday trainers.
Best for Sidewalk Running: ON Cloudswift
When running down suburban and city sidewalks, many people want to do so in style to catch the attention of passersby.
While the Cloud 5 definitely fits the bill on the style front, it just does not stand up well to the wear and tear.
Enter the Cloudswift.
Strikingly similar to the Cloud 5 aesthetically, it has just enough upgrades in the right places to help it perform well as the odometer starts to add up. Helion superfoam gives this shoe a slightly thicker stack than the Cloud 5, but the additional responsiveness is well worth it. The liquid injected thermoplastic Speedboard setting between the midsole and upper also provides this shoe with a little extra juice.
One final benefit of using the Cloudswift for city running: it has reflective accents stitched into the upper to help keep runners visible to traffic in poorly lit conditions.
Best for Racing: ON Cloudboom
There are times as a runner when you just have to pick ‘em up and put ‘em down. This is where the ON Cloudboom comes in.
It takes ON’s signature Speedboard and revs it up a bit, adding a jolt of carbon fiber for some extra explosion during strides. This Speedboard is placed between two layers of Helion foam, making it comfortable enough for both shorter 5K races and full-on marathons.
Unlike the Cloud 5, the Cloudboom has a fully rubberized outsole to produce some extra spring and improved durability to withstand more forceful footstrikes at high speeds.
FAQs About ON Cloud 5
Due to its multifaceted utility as both an athletic shoe and fashion wear, it is understandable that there are many questions surrounding the Cloud 5. Here are some of the most frequently asked by shoppers.
Do You Recommend the Cloud 5 as a Running Shoe?
No, as strictly a running shoe, I do not recommend the Cloud 5. If you are the type of person who likes to log several 5K a week, or are a committed treadmill runner, there are better shoes for logging your miles (just see the Cloudmonster listed above).
The Cloud 5 is just so enticing because of its versatility. Depending on the color you choose, you could almost mistake it for a professional work loafer–a loafer that you could run several miles in without tearing your feet to shreds.
In fact, many people rate the Cloud 5 as their favorite “vacation shoe” because they can stylishly travel, sightsee, enjoy some night life, and exercise while away without having to pack a different shoe for each occasion.
Will I Get Hurt Running in the Cloud 5?
No. Even though the Cloud 5 is not the best pure running shoe, it is still a very good running shoe. The innovative CloudTec in the midsole, solid heel-to-toe drop, strategically placed blown rubber in the outsole, and engineered mesh upper are some of the same features you see in the world’s best running shoes.
The only points to remember are that it is a neutral shoe, so if you require more arch or overpronation support, the Cloud 5 will present the same challenges other neutral shoes do. In addition, it does wear out a bit faster than normal under heavy use, so be sure to check the condition to help prevent injuries.
Who Should Buy the Cloud 5?
The Cloud 5 is an ideal solution for everyday walkers, light intensity running enthusiasts, and people who simply want to look good while also keeping their feet feeling good all day.
On the other hand, high-volume runners and intense athletes–such as crossfitters–will probably need to look in another direction.
Final Thoughts: ON Cloud 5 Review
There you have it: everything you ever wanted to know about the ON Cloud 5.
A leader in the realm of athleisure wear, it is one of the most trendy shoes on the market thanks to its ability to blend the lines between high-class aesthetics, comfort, and performance.
While it lacks elite durability and won’t hold up for frequent high-intensity sessions, its CloudTec midsole, breathable mesh upper, and snug insole liner make it a strong choice for the casual runner and dresser alike!