The Cloudrunner is a light stability shoe and, according to On’s website, ideal for new runners. In this On Cloudrunner review we will analyze if it is the right shoe for you. We’ve done all the testing and research to help you make the right choice.
I like On’s line of shoes. The look and colors are amazing. The unique technology they bring to the table is outstanding, so I really wanted to like the Cloudrunner.
Unfortunately, I found the On Cloudrunner a bit confusing comparing to the clear purpose of other lines such as the Cloudmonster or the On Cloudboom Echo. The Cloudmonster is a fantastic high-cushioned running shoe design to log long miles, and the Cloudboom is a carbon plated shoe designed for race day.
Let’s get into the details.
On Cloudrunner Full Review
- CloudTec® in Zero Gravity foam
- Engineered mesh upper
- Full-length Speedboard®
- Durable rubber on high-abrasion areas of the outsole
- Removable insole
- Light stability features
- Doesn’t pick up as much debris as other On models
- Very breathable upper
- Pleasing design
- 30-35% recycled material
- Good grip
- Versatile shoe (good for gym and walking)
- Firm cushioning
- Not a genuine stability shoe
- Not responsive
- Heavier than competitors
Who Is This Shoe For?
- Beginner runners that want to try the On brand
- Runners that prefer a firm ride
- Flat-footed runners who needs minimal stability
- Someone looking for a gym shoe that can handle short runs as well
- Someone that wants a shoe for walking
- Someone looking for a workout shoe that can double as a casual shoe
Who Is This Shoe NOT For?
Steer clear if:
- You’re looking for a shoe with a plush cushioned ride
- You’re looking for a responsive shoe
- You’re looking for a true stability shoe
Fit of the On Cloudrunner
The Cloudrunner is wider in the toe-box than some of On’s other models and the wider platform gives it a stable feel when walking or jogging. The upper fits comfortably straight out of the box, and while most runners said it fits true to size there were a few that reported needing a full size bigger than their normal shoes.
Upper Design of the On Cloudrunner
The breathability of the shoe is impressive, and it’s ideal for hot running conditions. It’s pleasantly surprising that this thick and softly padded upper lets that much air through. The non-gusseted tongue is almost twice as thick as the tongue on most other running shoes. It prevents the laces from cutting into the bridge of the foot and stays in place without sliding around.
The structured heel counter is well-padded and keeps the foot snug and firmly in place. It boasts a reflective On logo on the side for that extra touch, but could have used some more reflective elements for increased visibility.
The color combinations are subtle and stylish and it’s a good-looking shoe overall.
Midsole Design of the On Cloudrunner
This is where this shoe lost me. The midsole of the Cloudrunner consists of a firm Zero Gravity foam that lacks the responsiveness that made other shoes in the On lineup popular. It’s heavier than the Helion foam and lacks the signature bounce. This shoe is meant as a daily trainer, but is simply too firm and too sluggish for my liking.
The Speedboard® sits on top of the midsole foam, with just the inner sole between it and your foot. In my opinion, that contributes to a firm, unforgiving ride. Also, having the Speedboard® on top of the midsole foam prevents it from accomplishing its purpose: providing a snappy toe-off.
Not everyone agrees with me, but to me this midsole is an underperformer and a disappointment. At this price point, I expect more and would much rather consider the Asics Cumulus or the Brooks Glycerin GTS.
Outsole Design of the On Cloudrunner
They got the outsole right because the Cloudrunner offers exceptional grip on wet and dry surfaces. With the design of smaller cloudpods and a more shallow centre guide, even light trails are a possibility with not much concern about picking up small stones or pebbles. The harder rubber on the high-wear areas are durable, as with all On’s other shoes.
Men 300g / Women 250g
Heel height: 28.5mm
Forefoot height: 19.5mm
On doesn’t really focus on stability shoes which might be why they refer to this one as a light stability shoe. It has a guardrail on the medial side (inside of the shoe), and a smaller guardrail on the lateral side (outside of the shoe). There is also a shape difference on the inside of the midsole for a bit of additional support to prevent your foot from rolling inward (pronating). Futhermore, the Speedboard® is slightly wider than in On’s other shoes.
There is one instance where the Cloudrunner works really well. The shoe’s unobtrusive stability elements create a stable platform that flat-footed runners have described as the perfect balance of support and comfort without causing pain or abrasions on low arches.
For more on stability shoes read here.
Other Shoes Like the On Cloudrunner
Here are some alternatives to the On Cloudrunner that might be more suitable as an everyday trainer for beginner runners.
The Cumulus has been struggling to measure up to the Nimbus for years, but has finally come into its own. The latest Cumulus is an incredible workhorse and will last longer than most running shoes.
The Cumulus does long, slow miles well. It weighs more or less the same (286g/250g) as the Cloudrunner with an 8mm drop and is basically a more affordable version of the Asics Nimbus.
- Great shoe for new runners
- Comfortable for long runs
- Good grip on wet and dry surfaces
- Lighter than predecessors
- Snug fit
- Eco-friendly upper
- Can handle light trails
- Could be more breathable
- Runs narrow
There is nothing particularly remarkable about the Asics Cumulus, but if you’re looking for reliable comfort day after day, at a reasonable price, this is your shoe.
Saucony Ride TR
The Saucony Ride is a road to trail shoe that does equally well on both. It’s not the most cushioned shoe or the most responsive shoe, but it has a good balance that allows you to do anything from short runs to half-marathons at easy to race pace. The Ride TR features a full-length PWRRUN foam midsole with a trail style rubber outsole that provides lots of grip on road and trails.
The only concern I have is on wet surfaces. The rubber on the outsole is quite hard and on very smooth wet surfaces, it’s unreliable.
PWRRUN is one of my favorite midsole compounds. My personal experience is that a PWRRUN midsole will outlive even the most durable upper and maintain its responsiveness. This is why I prefer the Ride TR above the normal Ride (meant only for road-running). This upper is designed for the trail and definitely more durable.
- Durable upper
- Trail style outsole
- Road to trail shoe
- Responsive cushioning
- Snug fit
- Light stability
- Very grippy
- Grip not as good on smooth, wet surfaces
This shoe is perfect for new runners looking to do a mix of road and trail running.
Brooks Glycerin GTS
The Glycerine GTS is Brooks’ maximum cushioned stability trainer, and it’s the ultimate in plush comfort for high-mileage. This is an extremely durable shoe and you can’t help but notice the quality.
It is the most supportive shoe listed here and as to be expected with a stability shoe, it’s on the heavier side (298g/266g) with a 10mm drop. The latest version also has considerably more bounce in the midsole and I can no longer call the Glycerin the lazy shoe in the Brooks lineup.
- Moderate stability
- Lots of cushion for long easy miles
- More responsive than previous models
- Smooth ride
- Good for wide feet
- Secure fit
- Breathable upper
- Good looking shoe
- Too wide for narrow feet
The Brooks Glycerin is a great shoe for beginner and intermediate runners who run anything from a 5k to a marathon at easy to moderate paces.
The Altra Torin is a personal favorite and makes running feel like less work than most other shoes. Altra’s unique FootShape design allows for more room in the toe box, but the latest model might be a bit narrow for very wide feet.
The midsole is designed to move and flex with your foot for the most natural running style possible.
The Torin is a zero drop shoe, which means your forefoot and heel are the same height of the ground.
- Plush cushioning
- Available in a wide mode
- Stable on long runs
- Extremely durable
- Decent grip even off-road
- On the warm side
- Slightly narrower than other Altra models
While the Torin is meant for comfortable long miles, I enjoy it on tempo runs and intervals as well and it is the one shoe that allows me to forget about an old toe injury for pain-free sprints.
The HOKA Clifton is a great shoe for beginners. It’s light and responsive but with ample cushioning, giving your feet time to get used to running and become stronger without injuries.
The Clifton is a versatile running shoe with maximum cushioning for long runs, enough responsiveness for tempo runs and the newest version also has some mild stability features.
- Maximum cushioning
- Very light
- Available in a wide model
- Good grip
- Subtle stability features
- Good looking shoe
- Needs some breaking in
- Not for very wide feet (even the wide model isn’t great for very wide feet)
The Clifton is a reliable workhorse that will have you looking forward to running. It’s easy on the feet on long runs and is quite willing when you decide to pick up the pace. It has a 5mm drop which makes it great for heel and forefoot strikers alike.
FAQs about the On Cloudrunner
What is the On Cloudrunner best for?
We feel the Cloudrunner is best suited for someone that needs a shoe with a bit of support looking to do short runs combined with gym workouts. It’s not suitable for intense CrossFit workouts or heavy lifting in the gym. It works especially well for flat-footed runners in need of mild support.
Is the Cloudrunner waterproof?
The Cloudrunner comes in both waterproof and non-waterproof models. Make sure when ordering that it’s specified in the specs if you’re looking for the waterproof model.
Are the inner soles of the Cloudrunner removable?
Yes, the insoles are removable and you can replace them with any after-market inner sole or custom orthotic of your choice. If you are going to replace the inner sole, we recommend you look at a gel inner sole to put a little extra cushioning between your foot and that Speedboard®.
You should be cautious with adding corrective custom orthotics since there are already some support elements in this sole and you want to be careful not to over-correct.
How should I choose the right size of On Cloudrunner for me?
Most users have reported the fit to be slightly smaller than their usual running shoes and we recommend you go a full size up from your usual everyday shoe.
Final thoughts on the On Cloudrunner
Is the Cloudrunner On’s attempt at providing a shoe at a lower price point for the budget conscious or newbie runners? To me, the Cloudrunner still seems pricey for someone who’s looking for an entry level shoe while they decide whether or not running is for them. It’s a bit on the firm side for longer runs and not responsive enough for short runs. It’s good for the gym as long as you’re not lifting heavy but it isn’t really stable enough for serious CrossFit workouts.
In all honesty, I think On missed the mark with this shoe. I’d recommend the Saucony Ride or Asics Cumulus for beginner runners instead.