The Cloud X is a lightweight and versatile shoe that is currently available in the Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift models — aimed at cross-training more than being a running-specific shoe.
While the first impressions might be that On aimed both these models at cross-training — and maybe that was the intention — our research quickly revealed the Cloud X 3 Swift to be much more suitable as a lifestyle shoe rather than an athletic shoe. We found it lightweight and excellent for daily wear but it lacks the durability to be a viable option for regular training.
For that reason, this On Cloud X review will focus on the Cloud X 3 which is widely used as a cross-training shoe. As always, we’ve done the research so you can make an informed choice, so read on for all the details.
On Cloud X Review
- Star lacing system
- 3-layer engineered mesh
- 35% Recycled material
- Super lightweight
- Reasonably stable ride
- Extremely breathable upper
- Good ground feel
- Attractive signature On design
- Not wide feet friendly
- The laces are annoyingly long
- Less durable
- Some fabric folding because of the star lacing system
Who Is This Shoe For?
- Beginner athletes
- Recreational CrossFit athletes
- On fans looking for a comfortable casual shoe
- Someone looking for a shoe that can easily transition from the gym to the mall
Who Is This Shoe NOT For?
Steer clear if:
- you’re looking for a shoe for a longer distances
- you’re running more than 20km a week
- you’re lifting heavy weights
- you need very cushioned shoes
- you have wide flat feet
Upper Design of the On Cloud X
The On Cloud X has a mesh upper that is carefully designed to offer both comfort and breathability. Its construction ensures a secure fit, while the seamless design reduces the risk of any discomfort or rubbing. The reinforced areas in the upper improve its durability, making it ideal for daily training.
However, On changed the lacing pattern on this latest model and we’re not sure it’s an improvement. The new star-lacing pattern causes the fabric to make a fold across the top of your foot, in between the foot and the laces and it causes abrasions depending on the thickness of the sock you’re wearing.
The whole point of designing a shoe with a sock liner is so that you can go sockless if you so choose, but I simply don’t see how you can do that with this shoe.
Then there is also an issue with the collar on the shoe. It seems like On has made it higher than in previous models so that it rubs against the ankle bone — and while some runners have no issue with this — there are quite a few runners that have complained of severe discomfort and pain and have even opted to return the shoe because of it.
While the mesh allows for fantastic ventilation, and you don’t have to worry about your feet overheating during longer workouts, the padding on both the collar and the tongue doesn’t seem adequate to me for long-term comfort.
Midsole Design of the On Cloud X
The Cloud X features On’s signature CloudTec cushioning technology, which comprises EVA pods that compress when you land for a comfortable and responsive ride. The Speedboard® integrated into the midsole disperses energy throughout the shoe, promoting a smooth and efficient stride. These features make the Cloud X responsive, providing good energy return and propelling you forward with each step. It’s a good choice for anyone seeking a cushioned yet bouncy feel while walking or running.
It handles plyometric exercises reasonably well but we feel that there is a little too much give in the midsole with high-impact lateral movements and it’s not as stable as we’d have liked it to be.
Outsole Design of the On Cloud X
The outsole of the Cloud X has a durable rubber compound on high abrasion areas of the midsole foam, strategically placed to provide the best possible grip and traction. We have some concerns about the durability of the exposed midsole foam when working out on concrete.
Men 243g / Women 201g
Heel height: 27mm
Forefoot height: 19mm
8mm (M) / 8mm (W)
Though the Cloud X is not a stability shoe, it’s a fairly stable shoe for most moderately paced workouts. There is some lateral give in the midsole that can cause issues with fast-paced HIIT workouts and we recommend looking at an alternative like the Inov-8 F-Lite or Xero Shoes’ Zelen for fast-paced agility work.
You can read more here about stability shoes.
Alternatives to the On Cloud X
Here are some alternatives to the On Cloud X and since it is a cross-training shoe, we’ll look at shoes that are well suited for that purpose, offering both stability and versatility.
The F-LITE 245 from Inov-8 is incredibly versatile and well suited for functional fitness and running. It’s made from flexible materials that allow the foot to move naturally and weighing only 245g, this shoe is super comfortable and offers great support with good ground feel. Its breathable knitted upper provides a roomy fit. The midsole is highly responsive, offering just enough cushioning and ROPE-TEC technology adds durability for rope climbs. This is a training shoe that’s perfect for all sorts of cardio/HIIT workouts because of its lightweight and agile design.
- Stable platform design for outstanding balance
- Stretchy upper
- Good traction
- Minimal cushioning
This is a great shoe for cross-training and fast-paced workouts with small amounts of running or sprints. It’s stable enough to handle heavy lifting and also handles quick lateral movement such as agility drills well.
Xero Shoes Zelen
Testers find the Xero Zelen great for lifting, HIITs, and plyo workouts because of its lightness and balanced low stack height. The zero-drop platform gives you further stability for heavy lifting. Barefoot shoe enthusiasts also love its smooth and snappy ride for sprints and short- to mid-range runs. The Zelen’s FeelTrue sole has a supple forefoot but a firmer mid-foot, but it still allows for easy foot movement necessary for agility or HIIT-style workouts.
- Sustainable manufacturing
- Great for cross-training
- Outstanding for speed work
- Good grip
- Intuitive ground feel
- Breathable upper
- Removable insoles
- Comfortable straight out of the box
- Accommodates wide feet
- Not very flexible at the mid-foot
This barefoot runner from Xero Shoes promotes natural movements, enabling you to stay connected to your environment — protecting you and letting you perform.
Reebok HIIT 2
This shoe’s name says it all! This is an excellent gym shoe with nearly all testers agreeing that the shoe is extremely versatile, highly responsive, and super stable for lifting heavy but also for quick side-to-side movements. It’s also great for jumping and short-distance running with more arch support that the average cross-trainer.
- Exceptional cushioning for plyometrics and box jumps
- Breathable upper
- Good value
- Excellent support for lateral movements
- Stable enough for heavier lifting
- Snug fit
- Hard to put on
- Can cause some issues with lace bite
Whether you are doing group classes or working out on your own, the Reebok’s HIIT 2 will make an excellent companion for your gym workouts.
The Nike Metcon has been a favorite in the CrossFit community for years. It’s a great shoe for general gym workouts but it really shines in both CrossFit and weightlifting workouts. The Metcon 8 hasn’t changed too much from its predecessor and it’s reliable and durable as ever. The firm cushioning gives it fantastic ground feel, but it also means that it’s more suitable to short-distance running. Traction and stability are both great for HIIT-style workouts with lots of fast lateral movements.
- Responsive for plyometrics and box jumps
- Good grip
- Great for rope climbing
- Stable for heavier lifting
- Good for CrossFit
- Not for wide feet
The Metcon from Nike is great for gym rats, weekend warriors, and fitness enthusiasts who are into CrossFit and weightlifting with a side of running.
FAQs about the On Cloud X
Is the Cloud X a good running shoe?
The Cloud X is a very capable and reliable running shoe for shorter distances. Its fairly firm cushioning makes it less than ideal for most runners for longer distances. That being said, there are runners that like firm or more minimalist cushioning that are comfortable doing longer distances even exceeding the marathon distance.
What is the On Cloud X best for?
The Cloud X is a good cross-trainer that is best suited for someone that needs a shoe for gym workouts, light to medium weightlifting, and some short-distance running or sprinting.
It also transitions well as a stylish addition to most outfits, making it a great travel companion if you don’t want to travel with multiple pairs of shoes.
We don’t recommend them for heavy lifting or high-intensity workouts with lots of lateral movements such as agility training because of a minor risk of ankle injuries.
Is the Cloud X waterproof?
The Cloud X isn’t waterproof, and it isn’t available in a waterproof model at all. In fact, this is probably On’s least waterproof shoe as it is super lightweight and breathable.
If you’re looking for a waterproof On model, consider the Cloud 5 Waterproof or the Cloudvista Waterproof instead.
Does the On Cloud X fit true to size?
We’ve had conflicting reports from users on the fit of the On Cloud X with some users feeling that it fit true to size and others feeling it was a smaller fit than other On models — we even came across a few runners that felt that it was slightly looser than other models around the ankle causing some heel slippage. We have no explanation for this other than that a very customized fit might highlight foot anomalies that other shoes more readily accommodate.
Final thoughts on the On Cloud X Review
The On Cloud X is a good option for a cross-training shoe if you are already familiar and comfortable with the On brand. If you want to try the On brand for the first time, the On Cloud 5 might be a better place to start.
If on the other hand you are looking specifically for a versatile cross-training shoe that can handle some running, sprinting and jumping, we highly recommend you consider some of the other shoes listed above such as the Inov-8 F-Lite or the Nike Metcon.