There are times as a runner when you just want to pick ‘em up and put ‘em down.
And while most modern running shoes will help you toward that end, there are significantly fewer designed specifically with racing in mind.
Enter the On Cloudboom.
The Cloudboom is designed with a unique carbon-fiber infused Speedboard in the midsole that adapts to the runner’s stride, promoting speed, explosiveness, and agility during high-pace running sessions.
However, while the Cloudboom is ideal for runners looking to set PRs on distance runs, it is not completely without utility in other areas. It has a decent amount of CloudTec and Helion superfoam in the midsole to promote comfort, and its strategically placed outsole rubber improves traction and makes it a safe shoe for slippery surfaces.
Keep reading our On Cloudboom review for a more thorough breakdown of who should buy and who should avoid it.
On Cloudboom Overview
The Cloudboom is the perfect shoe for those runners who want to tackle major running goals. It is marketed as On’s signature racing shoe, with the engineering to back it up.
Its calling card is the unique Speedboard, a carbon-fiber infused plate inserted into the midsole. This optimizes speed and explosivity for runners looking to set PRs on the highway or on the track.
But the Cloudboom offers more than an innovative midsole plate. Here are some general comments and concerns noted by runners.
- Lightweight at a mere 7.9 ounces
- Exceptionally responsive
- Aesthetically appealing
- Ample outsole rubber for quality gripping
- Not ideal for people with wide feet
- Best for tracks and other smooth surfaces, as the outsole rubber has a tendency to pick up debris
- Some users don’t love how tightly they have to lace the shoes to get a secure fit
Now that you know a little bit about the pros and cons of the Cloudboom, let’s dig into the specific performance features!
With a solid amount of outsole rubber, you would expect the Cloudboom to be above-average in terms of durability.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
It performs more like a lightweight shoe in terms of durability, which disappoints runners who desire the durability of an everyday trainer.
Some users indicate that the Cloudboom’s forefoot begins to show some signs of wear in as little as 100 miles.
While this is more of an exception than the rule, runners should not expect to get much more than 250 miles out of this shoe before it is time to start looking into a replacement pair. To help extend the life of your Cloudbooms, try to reserve using them for the track or treadmill and select a different product when hitting the cross-country trail.
There are multiple issues with the Cloudboom’s fit.
Many runners hate how slippy the tongue is.
Despite being laced through twice, the tongue inevitably seems to slide laterally during sessions, creating a major point of distraction for runners. As such, there is significant user feedback calling for a gusseted tongue in the Cloudboom.
In addition, the toe box is a bit of a mess.
It is relatively narrow, making it a tight squeeze for runners with wide feet. However, due to an excess of engineered mesh upper material, those with narrow feet note difficulty securing the foot without causing the upper to pucker. They feel like they have to strangle their feet with the laces to get a feeling of security.
On a more positive note, the shoe does include an “achilles pillow” at the feel, providing comfortability and eliminating chafing.
The first thing you may notice about the Cloudboom is its relatively modest midsole stack compared to some of the more highly-cushioned shoes on the market.
And while the Cloudboom is far from a high-cushion shoe, it does provide a fair amount of cushion without sacrificing responsiveness.
This is achieved through a twin layer of CloudTec in Helion superfoam. One layer is placed above the carbon-fiber speedboard and one layer is placed below, giving the Cloudboom a soft, adaptive fit.
So while it may not be as highly cushioned as the On Cloudmonster, it still leverages the company’s signature CloudTec technology to be more than adequate for a racing shoe.
The good news is that with such a modest midsole stack, this shoe results in very little “tipping.” This occurs when runners with extreme pronation or supination issues essentially roll off of the shoe bed. When tipping happens in shoes with thick stacks, it can lead to serious injury.
Basically, most of the stability in the Cloudboom comes from being close to the ground. It does have some internal reinforcements around the edges of the shoe to keep the foot from sliding off of the foot bed and a stiff TPU overlay at the heel to prevent slippage, but these features are pretty standard in most modern running shoes and should not be counted as special stability features.
Many runners feel like the Cloudboom runs true to size.
However, On themselves state that it is best to go up half a size when purchasing the Cloudboom for optimal comfort.
This will be especially good advice for people with wide feet, as the Cloudboom is noted for running a little narrow in the toe box.
As a premium racing shoe, the Cloudboom carries a pretty hefty price tag. It will typically approach $200 at most retailers.
The good news is that it is a shoe that frequently has price reductions, so be sure to check during the winter and summer months to miss the track and cross country rush.
On Cloudboom Engineering
Now let’s take a look at the science behind how the Cloudboom is designed.
As the Cloudboom checks in at a mere 7.9 ounces, it is no surprise that some runners describe the upper as “barely there.”
Its engineered mesh upper provides a light, breathable running experience that helps keep the foot feeling fresh regardless of how strenuous the miles become.
It also has an achilles pillow in the heel area that provides an element of comfort.
As mentioned, multiple users report that a gusseted tongue would be nice, due to the tongue slipping to the lateral side of the foot during sessions. This causes runners to feel like they have to lace the shoe tighter to hold the tongue in place, which causes the mesh upper to wrinkle over the toe box.
The Cloudboom offers one of the more unique midsoles in the running shoe game.
It is noticeably slight throughout the midsole, with the highest point of the heel checking in at a mere 20mm.
However, this contrasts with only an 11mm stack in the forefoot, providing an impressive 9mm heel-to-toe drop. The result is a smaller-than-normal stack but larger-than-normal drop in the realm of racing shoes.
But the obvious point of interest in the midsole is the carbon-fiber Speedboard.
The Speedboard provides a highly responsive landing experience that optimizes speed and explosivity for the serious racer. It also increases agility, allowing runners to engage corners without losing forward propulsion.
Sandwiched between layers of CloudTec in Helion superfoam, it is able to provide impressive cushioning without sacrificing its performance as a racing shoe.
The Cloudboom features strategic placement of outsole rubber to help guarantee traction on race day.
This is a major point of differentiation, as many of the most notable racing shoes are more scant on the outsole rubber to help reduce weight as much as possible.
The company says that the advanced outsole rubber pattern is to provide optimal performance even on wet surfaces.
One user notes that the patterned outsole rubber really “bites” into the ground, digging into the surface to provide elite traction during intense strides.
The only drawback to the outsole rubber in the Cloudboom is that it has a tendency to pick up pebbles and other types of small debris, making it less of an option for cross country courses than smooth racing surfaces.
On Cloudboom Echo: Is It the Same?
When shopping the On catalog, you will likely see a product called the Cloudboom Echo.
Some people may think that Echo is another name for Cloudboom, or that the Cloudboom Echo is a different generation of the original Cloudboom.
This is not necessarily the case, as the Echo is a rather significant departure from the original. In fact, some runners feel like the Echo is a different line altogether, although this is debatable.
Essentially, On took feedback from runners and determined that the Cloudboom needed some serious changes to be more in line with contemporary racing trends. Namely, runners wanted to see more cushioning in the Cloudboom to better accommodate full-marathoners and ultramarathoners.
The result was the Cloudboom Echo. Whereas the original Cloudboom was marketed as the company’s premier racing shoe, the Cloudboom Echo is marketed as its premier distance racing shoe.
Some major distinguishing characteristics of the Cloudboom Echo include:
- More midsole cushioning – the Echo features a 35mm heel stack, which is noticeably more than the 20mm seen in the original Cloudboom
- A more pronounced forefoot rocker design to help runners roll through long distances
- Better stability features than the original Cloudboom
The Cloudboom Echo 3 is the latest iteration of this highly cushioned racing shoe. On is using Olympic champion triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt to promote this shoe, showing that the company is determined to position the Echo 3 as the premier distance racing shoe on the market.
Alternative On Shoes to the Cloudboom
If you’ve made it this far in the review, you know that the Cloudboom makes its mark as a racing shoe. As such, if you’re not a super intense runner, it might not make much sense for you to invest in a pair. So here are some alternate On running shoes that may better serve your needs.
Best for Everyday Training: On Cloudmonster
Some users claim that the Cloudmonster is more of a high-cushion cushion than an everyday trainer.
And they are not wrong to think along those lines.
The Cloudmonster has an impressive 30mm midsole stack that combines CloudTec and Helion foam for a highly cushioned experience.
However, some runners note that the midsole cushioning in the Cloudmonster is a bit firmer than expected, and it performs more like a comfortable everyday trainer than a high-cushion shoe.
The Cloudmonster has a noticeable rocker design that makes it a strong option for logging “easy” miles, and generous amounts of outsole rubber help it last up to 500 miles, making it On’s top option as an everyday trainer.
Best for Casual Wear: On Cloud 5
The realm of athleisure wear has exploded in recent years, with social media influencers and fitness personalities making it cool to get your workout in style.
To this effect, the On Cloud 5 is one of the premier athleisure wear shoes on the market.
Its antimicrobial engineered mesh upper is fabricated using 44% recycled materials, keeping it lightweight and breathable while also being environmentally conscious.
It also has a gusseted tongue and innovative speed lacing system to make it ideal for easy slip-on.
With the right amount of CloudTec and Helion superfoam, wearers note that they can walk all day, making the Cloud 5 the ideal shoe for daily wear.
Best Stability Shoe: On Cloudrunner
As mentioned, the Cloudboom is not the best choice for runners with overpronation issues.
That is where the Cloudrunner comes in.
Although the Cloudrunner is not one of the premier stability shoes on the market, it is On’s top stability offering.
It has a couple of features that can help out runners with overpronation issues.
First, it uses a guide rail in the medial portion of the midfoot to provide a bit of firmness that prevents the heel from rolling inward.
In addition, the midsole is constructed of an innovative foot cradle that helps lock the foot in place and keep it from sliding around on the midsole during strides.
Both of these features make the Cloudrunner a better stability offering than the Cloudboom for runners with overpronation concerns.
FAQs About On Cloudboom
As a shoe that is known primarily as a racing shoe, it is understandable that runners may have some questions about the Cloudboom. Here are some of the most frequently asked by shoppers.
Is the Cloudboom Good For All Types of Races?
The Cloudboom can be used for all types of races.
The sweet spot for the original Cloudboom is shorter track and road races such as one mile, two mile, 5K, and 10K.
Marathoners and ultramarathoners will likely want to consider the Cloudboom Echo 3, as its increased midsole cushioning will make it the better option for keeping the foot and joints feeling comfortable over extremely high distances.
Can You Use the Cloudboom For Casual Wear?
The Cloudboom can be used for casual wear.
It has an attractive upper design and complementary colors that can score you some style points for day-to-day purposes. It is also moderately comfortable, so it should do a passable job for those on their feet all day, even if it won’t be particularly long-lasting.
One point to keep in mind is that the minimal midsole stack may actually stand out to some observers. While extremely thick midsole stacks may appear a bit gaudy or over the top, the thin stack of the Cloudboom may cause a double take in its own right
Who Should Avoid the Cloudboom?
There are a few demographics that should probably look elsewhere:
*Those with overpronation issues who need more advanced stability features
*Runners who log a lot of daily miles and don’t want to buy new shoes every few months
*Those who run on trails or other types of rugged terrain with regularity
Other than that, although the Cloudboom is most at home as a racing shoe, it does at least a decent job for most other purposes.
Final Thoughts: On Cloudboom Review
Make no mistake: the On Cloudboom is in its element as a racing shoe.
Its lightweight design, responsive carbon-fiber midsole plate, and patterned outsole rubber are all great features that help runners fly around the track or down the pavement.
And while it is not an elite cushioned shoe or an extremely durable one at that, the Cloudboom does hold its own for other purposes, such as for casual wear or cross training.
So if you are looking to set a PR any time soon and need a shoe to help you toward that end, look no further than the On Cloudboom to help you reach your goals!