When reviewing any type of product, there are times when you’ve got to put the hot new thing up against the tried-and-true.
This is definitely the case in the running shoe world, where On Cloud has taken the industry by storm in recent years, moving in on some of the most trusted brands in running.
One of these companies is Brooks, who has been churning out top-notch running gear for over a century.
For a breakdown on how these two giants of the running shoe world stack up against one another, keep reading for a complete comparison of On Cloud vs Brooks!
On Cloud At A Glance
On Cloud is arguably the hottest name in the running shoe world.
Founded in 2010, the Swiss company has quickly positioned itself among the leaders in athletic apparel. The company has endorsements from some of the world’s most recognizable endurance athletes to further cement itself as a heavy hitter in the running shoe world.
The most prominent feature of On products is its signature “clouds.” Every On running shoe will have pockets of air interspersed throughout its Helion in Superfoam midsole. This gives every On running shoe the best comfort and cushioned landing among products in their class.
In addition to the innovative midsole, On running shoes are noted for their lightweight construction, breathable mesh uppers, and stylish aesthetics that make them a strong choice for lifestyle purposes as well.
Brooks At A Glance
On the other end of the seniority spectrum, Brooks was founded over a century ago in Philadelphia, PA.
Over the years, the company has narrowed its offerings to focus more exclusively on running shoes and apparel. It now features some of the most cutting-edge running shoes on the market.
Brooks believes that every runner is unique and that they follow their own signature path of motion. The company refers to this as your “Run Signature.”
With this in mind, Brooks has engineered a diverse selection of running shoes that will work best for each runner’s Run Signature.
Specifically, Brooks has been a leader in the realm of stability running shoes, making it a priority to not let overpronation issues wreck a person’s Run Signature. As such, many of their products will come with their signature GuideRails system, helping ensure that the runner’s knees, hips, feet, and ankles continue to move along their habitual running path.
In addition to GuideRails, Brooks has its own take of high-cushion midsole foam. DNA Amp, BioMoGo DNA, and DNA Loft are three distinct types of midsole cushioning that allow Brooks products to provide the necessary comfort with each stride.
On Cloud vs Brooks Engineering Comparison
Now that you know a little bit about the background of each of these companies, let’s take a look at how they compare in terms of engineering.
Like most modern running shoes, these two companies feature engineered mesh in the uppers of most of their shoes to promote a stretchy, breathable, and lightweight running experience.
However, that does not mean that their uppers are exactly the same.
On uses a sock liner in the upper of most of its shoes to promote an easy slip-on experience. They also feature a bungee-style lacing system. Some users love this, as the laces stay in place without user intervention. Nonetheless, there are some runners who prefer a more traditional lacing system.
Brooks uppers can be described as a bit more “normal” than On Cloud uppers. They usually feature a traditional lacing system. And while it is not uncommon for Brooks shoes to feature a sock liner, they are more known for their ample toe boxes, which make them preferable for runners with wide feet.
The On midsole is known for its patented CloudTec in Helion superfoam design.
Helion superfoam is labeled by the company as the foam where “soft meets strong.” Using advanced production processes, the company provides alternating folds of rigid, stable sections with more flexible foam elements. Constructed around the recognizable “cloud” air bubbles, this midsole design gives runners a lighter, softer, and more responsive running experience than many of its peers.
While the Brooks midsole may not be as eye-catching as the On, it is nonetheless advanced in its own right. Its shoes offer several different types of midsole foam.
The patented DNA Loft foam is the staple in most Brooks products. A combination of EVA foam, rubber, air, and nitrogen give runners the soft, springy experience they need during runs. For runners who are looking for a little extra boost, DNA Flash adds to the midsole by providing an extra dose of midsole nitrogen.
Other Brooks products will use more responsive DNA Amp midsoles. While it is not as soft as DNA Loft foam, the company claims that it will provide up to a 20% energy boost on strides.
Then there is the sweet spot in the form of BioMoGo DNA. Brooks products that feature BioMoGo DNA will not be as soft as nitrogen-infused DNA Loft or as springy as DNA Amp midsoles, falling somewhere between these two technologies.
On outsoles will usually feature more exposed superfoam than the typical Brooks outsole. There will be just enough strategically placed outsole rubber to guarantee traction without inhibiting the “cloudy” landings for which the company is known.
Many Brooks products will feature ample amounts of outsole rubber on the outsole. This makes them some of the most durable shoes on the market and great for handling all types of running surfaces. The company has even patented TrailTrak rubber to protect cross-country runners from sharp edges and guarantee traction on wet surfaces.
One of the most frequent questions among runners is: Are Brooks non slip? Which can be answered short and straight: most Brooks shoes are slip resistant. The slip resistance of Brooks running shoes positions the brand at the top of the non slip shoes in the market.
On Cloud vs Brooks Feature Comparison
Now that you know about how On Cloud and Brooks shoes are generally engineered, let’s take a look and see how they actually perform in action.
There is no question that Brooks will be the more durable of the two brands.
They are generally a more rugged brand with shoes that feature large amounts of outsole rubber to withstand diverse surfaces and running situations.
Expect most Brooks shoes to approach 500 miles, if not exceed that figure.
On Cloud products are a bit more specialized in their design. They are engineered with a specific purpose in mind and don’t always hold up as well when used for diverse training sessions. The higher amounts of exposed superfoam makes these outsoles a bit more susceptible to damage.
Both companies recommend that you go up half a size when selecting when purchasing their shoes.
With that said, many runners with wide feet appreciate the ample toe box afforded in many of Brooks’ signature shoes, so they are probably the better option for those runners who like more space in the forefoot.
On Cloud shoes are about as good as it gets as far as cushioning. The CloudTec in Helion superfoam provides an amazingly soft landing experience for all types of runners. Even those shoes that have modest midsole stacks and are not designed as high-cushion shoes remain incredibly soft.
Although it is not known specifically for its innovations in cushioned landings, you will have no problem finding comfortable Brooks products. Their DNA Loft technology rivals any type of midsole foam on the market in terms of a cushioned landing experience, and their products are known for perfectly blending the lines between comfort, responsiveness, and durability.
Stability and Support
Hands down, Brooks will be the better brand for runners for stability and support. Their innovative GuideRails keeps runners moving along their Run Signature and prevents the pronation issues that can lead to joint and tissue damage. In fact, many of Brooks’ shoes will have the acronym “GTS” following their name, which stands for “go-to-support.”
On Cloud shoes are generally not known as some of the most supportive on the market. They are mostly designed for neutral strides, but there are a few On products that have their own take on a guide rail and provide some heel clutching features that will keep the foot from slipping.
On Cloud offers some of the most premium running shoes on the market with a price point to reflect that. You will be hard-pressed to find any On Cloud products for under $150.
Brooks shoes offer a wider range of price points with their products. While some of their premium shoes will hit the $150 mark, many of their more introductory shoes check in at under $100.
On Cloud vs Brooks Top Shoes
With two companies that offer so much outstanding innovation in running shoe engineering, it can be difficult to make a choice when it comes time to buy. Therefore, it is helpful to put similar products under the microscope and see which shoes from each company are best suited to address specific running needs.
Performance: On Cloudboom Echo 3 vs Brooks Hyperion Tempo
The Cloudboom Echo 3 is being marketed as On’s premier road racing shoe, with the company landing Olympic Champion triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt for its promotion efforts with the shoe.
And there is good reason why serious runners should want to get serious about the Cloudboom Echo 3.
At a mere 7.9 ounces, it truly feels like nothing is there, allowing racers to focus exclusively on breaking a record time on their run.
However, with plenty of CloudTec technology, Helion superfoam throughout the midsole, and a carbon infused fiber speedboard plate for responsiveness, the shoe does not sacrifice on the goods to achieve its scant weight rating.
Although it may not be the hottest new thing on the road racing market like the Cloudboom Echo 3, the Brooks Hyperion Tempo is far from an inferior performance shoe.
It has plenty of attractive features that will appeal to runners looking for a little get-up-and-go. For example, the light, responsive DNA Flash midsole provides runners with an incredibly springy ride. Its stretchy, woven mesh upper also provides a performance fit that will keep the runner’s feet feeling fresh as the miles start to get tough.
Winner: On Cloudboom Echo 3
Everyday Trainer: On Cloudflow vs Brooks Ghost 15
There is arguably no shoe more important in a runner’s closet than the everyday trainer. It’s that shoe that you put on to log some miles. While it may not be the best in any one category, it will not let you down whether you are hitting the road, track, or trail.
Admittedly, On isn’t the greatest company when looking at versatile training shoes. Most of their products are highly specialized to stand out in their specific category. With that said, the On Cloudflow is probably the offering best-positioned as an everyday trainer.
The Cloudflow has several attractive features for getting out and logging some miles. Off the top, the company’s patented CloudTec in Helion superfoam make for a comfortable running experience as the odometer ticks up. It also has a solid amount of strategically placed outsole rubber to help it withstand wear and tear better than some of the other On products.
Finally, the built-in sockliner and engineered mesh upper make for easy slip-on and a comfortable running experience.
While the Cloudflow definitely has some versatility for everyday use, it is far from the staple trainer that the Brooks Ghost 15 is.
It is the outsole rubber that really sets the Ghost 15 apart as an everyday trainer. It covers every square inch of the ground contact area, guaranteeing that you can pile on the miles without having to worry about the shoe breaking down.
And while most shoes with large amounts of outsole rubber tend to be stiff and limited overall, this is not the case with the Ghost 15. The DNA Loft V2 midsole cushioning provides a soft, distraction-free landing that keeps the runner feeling fresh during sessions of high exertion, while the lightweight, engineered mesh upper guarantees a breathable running experience.
Winner: Brooks Ghost 15
Stability: On Cloudrunner vs Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Some On fans lament that the company does not really have a premier stability shoe to help runners with overpronation issues. However, while it may not be a true GTS for overpronators, the Cloudrunner is a decent stability option for those runners who will be seen in nothing other than On.
It features a block along the medial aspect of the midsole. This provides some firmness that keeps the heel from rotating inward during strides.
In addition, it boasts an innovative heel cradle that keeps the foot from sliding around during strides.
With that said, the Cloudrunner cannot match the Brooks Adrenaline GTS as a stability shoe.
Brooks was one of the pioneers of the GTS concept for helping runners with overpronation issues, introducing their patented GuideRails system decades ago.
In addition to the strong medial support, runners note that the Adrenaline GTS also does a wonderful job of curtailing lateral rotation as well, making it one of the top stability products on the market.
Winner: Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Cushioning: On Cloudmonster vs Brooks Glycerin
Having a high-cushion shoe with a gaudy midsole stack seems to be all the rage in the running shoe game.
Unsurprisingly, both On and Brooks have their own product to fill this niche.
The Cloudmonster is one of the most comfortable shoes from a company whose products all feature CloudTec in some way.
Its 30mm midsole stack is significantly higher than most On products, which are known for their more understated midsoles.
The Cloudmonster also uses a pronounced rocker design to help runners roll through easy miles, while the soft sockliner creates a cloudy sensation all around the foot.
As far as Brooks is concerned, the Glycerin gets the nod as its top high-cushioned offering.
The Glycerin adds infused nitrogen to the company’s patented DNA Loft midsole foam, creating a landing experience that some users refer to as “buttery.”
It also has an Ortholite sockliner that keeps the rest of the foot feeling as soft and cozy as possible during sessions.
Winner: On Cloudmonster
On Cloud vs Brooks: The Final Verdict
There it is: the complete analysis of On Cloud vs Brooks.
If you’re looking for a shoe fit for a specific purpose that offers some of the best performance engineering in the game, then On Cloud should be the company that you turn to.
However, if you are more interested in versatility and durability in your shoes, then you can’t go wrong with Brooks. Brooks should also be the choice for those runners who need a stability shoe.
Whatever your primary consideration, either of these leading companies will likely offer a solution that meets your needs, so take a look at the On Cloud and Brooks catalogs today and get to running!