The Cloudflow is a neutral, lightweight, every day trainer for fast workouts. It’s a responsive shoe with a 6mm drop and sets itself apart as ‘not boring’, unlike most daily trainers. The true beauty of this shoe though, is in its versatility.
On Running is one of the newer competitors in the running shoe game, but is it worth your time and money? We feel they are and as always have done the research for you, to help you decide if the On Cloudflow should be your next running companion.
In the words of Olivier Bernhard, 6x Ironman champion, 3x world champion triathlete and co-founder of On Running, they are all about “making the best product on the planet”. This is a man that clearly knows about running and his passion for the sport shines through in every product. On shoes are designed around the principle of “soft landings” with “explosive take-offs”.
Olivier initially hated the look of his own shoes… Who is going to want to wear a shoe with half-cut hosepipes glued to the bottom of it, he asked himself. Well, they turned a shoe startup from nothing into a $7 billion company. I think that says more people than he could ever have imagined, would wear a shoe like this. This is a brand that even got tennis legend Roger Federer excited enough to invest in the company and they have a long list of athletes associated with the brand.
There’s a lot of technology that goes into designing every On shoe and, as I’ve mentioned in the past, experience has taught me that all that extra stuff usually culminates in a very custom fit. This can be bad news for people like me that have slightly quirky feet. However, this is where On really breaks the mold. Their approach to running is that it’s natural. Some people pronate, others supinate and it shouldn’t matter and doesn’t need strong corrections.
I really like this natural approach because some of the best runners in the world have a slightly awkward looking gait. Just think of the Nurgalieva twins. On’s CloudTec® technology focuses on adapting to the runner’s natural stride and allowing the right muscles to fire, so that you eventually become strong enough to self-correct.
Let’s get into the details of the On Cloudflow review.
- CloudTec® in ultralight Helion™ superfoam provides a responsive but cushioned ride.
- The engineered mesh upper offers a snug and secure fit in training and on race day.
- Full-length Speedboard®.
- Rubber on high-wear areas on outsole.
- Gusseted tongue.
- Removable insole.
- Built-in sockliner.
- Very versatile
- Fits true to size
- Good grip
- Comfortable straight out of the box
- Best kept on paved roads or the track
- Midsole becomes inflexible in cold conditions
Who Is This Shoe For?
- This shoe is great for heel strikers, mid-foot strikers and forefoot strikers alike, running anything from 5k, 10K and half marathon distances.
- Beginner runners.
- Anyone looking for an extremely versatile and fun daily trainer.
- Runners looking for a shoe for tempo runs and fartlek.
- Someone who likes a shoe with a bit more of a minimalistic feel.
Who Is This Shoe NOT For?
Steer clear if:
- You’re looking for a shoe with lots of cushioning. Consider the On Cloudmonster instead.
- You’re a heavier runner. Consider the Cloudstratus or Cloudrunner instead.
- You’re looking for something that can transition to the trails. Consider the Cloudventure instead.
Fit of the On Cloudflow V3
The Cloudflow V3 is roomier than its predecessor, especially in the toe-box. While it’s still narrower than brands like New Balance, it’s now available in a wide model for those of us with flippers. The lockdown is great with the perfect amount of structure in the heel cup for a natural feel and fit.
It has better laces than the previous version as well. The new laces are fuller (more padded – which means less chance of them cutting into the top of your feet) and less slippery, helping them to stay tied. The lacing system is simple, but effective with additional eyelets for a runners’ knot if you want to tighten things up for fast paces.
Upper Design of the On Cloudflow
With such an eye-catching midsole, it makes sense that ON stuck with simple, clean lines on the seamless re-engineered upper to create a streamlined look.
The Cloudflow comes in many multiple colorways, most bright and fun without being loud. I would have preferred a bigger variety of darker colors. The Rock/Rose colorway as pictured here is the only one that doesn’t have a very light toe area. The guys at least have two dark and one medium option.
There is enough reflective material for good visibility on early morning or evening runs. They also look after the planet using up to 70% recycled polyester, as well as organic cotton and wool.
Midsole Design of the On Cloudflow
On works with elite triathletes in developing their shoes, and the Swiss engineering that goes into these shoes is definitely to be admired. The third iteration of the Cloudflow feels faster than its predecessors, and the women’s model weighs exactly the same at 198g. The men’s V3 is slightly heavier by about 12g per shoe, taking it from 235g to 247g.
There is a Speedboard® included in the midsole that runs the full length of the shoe and it functions much like the carbon plates in the Hoka Carbon X or the Saucony Endorphin series. As you touch down with every stride, the Speedboard® flexes with your foot and then snaps back on takeoff to propel you forward.
The ‘cut hosepipe design’ incorporated into the midsole is On’s CloudTec® technology manufactured in ultralight Helion™ superfoam. Each cloudpod compresses on impact and rebounds for energy return for a fast, responsive ride with ample cushioning.
I have some concerns about the midsole in cold weather. Runners have reported it to be much firmer when it’s cold out. I’m not sure if it’s the Helion™ foam or the speedboard or both that firms up, but it’s worth noting that it might feel like a completely different shoe on hot and cold days.
Outsole Design of the On Cloudflow
The outsole has durable rubber on all the high-abrasion areas, but there really isn’t a lot of it there. This helps to keep the weight down. Durability doesn’t seem to be an issue like with some of the earlier versions of On’s shoes, with the exposed foam showing little wear and the grip is surprisingly good.
This outsole still picks up a fair amount of stones and debris, so it’s best kept on pavement or the track.
Men 246g / Women 198g
Heel height: 30mm
Forefoot height: 24mm
On doesn’t add additional support in any of their shoes, but if you’re mildly pronating or supinating the shoe’s adaptive technology should still work for you.
Other shoes like the On Cloudflow
Here are some alternatives to the On Cloudflow V3.
Asics Novablast 3
The Asics Novablast is a responsive, neutral daily trainer. It’s suitable for comfortable long miles but can also handle tempo runs. The stability of the Novablast 3 is much better than its predecessor, with a wider platform and a less squishy heel, meaning it can now handle cornering at speed.
The Novablast fits true to size in the width but we’ve noticed that it’s a little longer than other shoes in the same size. This can cause issues if you usually upsize to accommodate wider feet. It has a stack height of 23mm in the forefoot, with 31mm in the heel, for a drop of 8mm.
The men’s model weighs around 252g and the women’s model around 215g, but the responsiveness in the midsole makes the weight unnoticeable.
The Asics Novablast 2 was a super fun shoe to run in but with some serious shortcoming when it came to stability and cornering but all of that has been fixed in the Novablast 3 and it’s really hard to find fault with this shoe. It’s also insanely durable and good looking.
Saucony Speed 3
The Speed 3 falls more into the racer category but ample cushioning and an extreme level of comfort makes it equally suitable for daily training, long runs, short runs, and tempo runs.
It’s extremely light (229g men’s model) and super breathable with a stack height of 36mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot for an 8mm drop. Yes, that’s a lot of midsole, which is why the shoe is amazing for longer distances. It has a very wide base like the Novablast to keep you stable and a nylon plate for explosive propulsion.
Unlike the Cloudflow the Speed 3 does extremely well in cold weather, with very little difference in the stiffness of the midsole.
It has a few drawbacks worth mentioning. It doesn’t accommodate wide feet, has a tight fit in the heel and it’s fairly pricey.
FAQs about the On Cloudflow
What is the On Cloudflow best for?
On Running classifies the Cloudflow as a lightweight runner for everyday training or races between 5k and half marathon distances and it does those distances well. The cushioning can be a bit firm for longer runs. If you are someone that prefers less cushioning with and more ground contact, you might be able to use it for longer distances as well.
Does the On Cloudflow come with speed laces or can I replace the laces with speed laces?
No. Speed laces are specific to models like the – Cloud, Cloud 50 I 50, Cloud 70 I 30, Cloud Terry, Cloud Dip, and Cloud Waterproof.
We don’t recommend replacing the normal laces in the Cloudflow with speed laces since the shoes designs are not the same and you will end up with laces that are too short and a poorly fitting shoe.
Does the On Cloudflow fit true to size?
Yes, it does. You can go a half-size up from your regular shoe size like with most running shoes.
You can also find more advice here on picking the right size running shoe.
Are the inner soles of the Cloudflow removable?
Yes, they are removable, but while you can replace them with any after-market inner sole of custom orthotic of your choice, we recommend you don’t do this initially or at the very least try to transition away from after-market inner soles.
Many users have found that after years of using after-market inner soles, they didn’t need them anymore in the Cloudflow.
How long will a pair of On Cloudflow runners last?
Like most running shoes, you can expect to get 300-500 miles or 480-800km out of a pair of running shoes before they need replacing.
Apart from the general wear and tear, usually visible on the upper and outsole, you’ll notice that your shoes will start to feel ‘tired’, lacking that bounce and even cushion they initially had. It’s usually a good idea to replace them at this point to prevent injuries or at the very least add a new pair into your rotation and start phasing the old ones out.
Final thoughts on the On Cloudflow Review
The On Cloudflow is a fun shoe to run in and if you’re looking to buy only one shoe for doing everything from daily runs to tempo runs or track workouts, this shoe will serve you well.
It’s comfortable, with enough energy return to make every workout a pleasure. Plus, we feel the fact that it can shine on race day as well, make it worth the slightly higher price tag.