If you’re a frequent visitor to our site, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that we’ve spent a lot of time covering On products in recent weeks.
There is a method behind the madness: On is arguably the hottest running brand in the world.
People, from competitive distance runners to teachers who are on their feet all day, are clamoring to don the innovative and stylish CloudTec.
And with a recent partnership from Olympic Champion Kristian Blummenfelt to add to a roster that already includes IRONMAN world champion Gustav Iden, it is clear that the momentum behind this brand is only picking up speed.
This week we will take a look at the On Cloudswift review.
Designed specifically for urban runners, the Cloudswift is well-equipped to help users log some miles on the city sidewalks.
However, the shoe is far from a universal homerun, as it is not among the most versatile names in the On catalog.
So without further ado, keep reading to find out all there is to know about the On Cloudswift!
On Cloudswift Overview
On had a very specific audience in mind when it unveiled the Cloudswift: urban runners.
The Cloudswift is meant to be an ideal solution for runners to stylishly hit the city sidewalks on a regular basis.
As the company poignantly states in its marketing for the shoe: “Running on hard surfaces never felt so good.”
Without a doubt, the Cloudswift does have some great characteristics for an everyday urban trainer.
It has sufficient amounts of the company’s patented CloudTec and Helion superfoam in the midsole to help absorb impact on hard landings. It also has strategically placed outsole rubber to provide some extra traction on wet concrete surfaces.
In addition, it features a stylish bootie-style upper with a lightweight, breathable recycled mesh fabrication that keeps the foot feeling fresh and airy. Its form-fitting sock liner also helps guarantee an optimal fit.
With that said, the Cloudswift is a bit of a controversial shoe in the On catalog.
Some users feel like it doesn’t really have an identity and argue that you can get the same benefits from the Cloudboom, Cloudrunner, or Cloudflow.
Other runners acknowledge that while it is a good option for city running, it performs better for short and mid distances. It’s just not cushioned enough to be an ideal option for very long runs on city surfaces.
At the end of the day, the Cloudswift is a very polarizing shoe with a strong following of dedicated fans but an equal contingent who feel that it is a waste of money.
- A great shoe for short to mid-distance runs on city surfaces
- Ideal for those runners who like to feel the ground with each stride
- Strong performance as an everyday wear option for people whose jobs require a lot of walking and standing
- Stylish design
- Good outsole traction to promote safety on wet concrete
- Durability concerns
- Limited utility outside of sidewalk, treadmill, or gym settings
- Too expensive for a shoe with multiple limitations
Now that you have a general overview of what makes the Cloudswift tick, let’s take a look at a few of the most important purchase considerations!
To put it bluntly, if getting 500 miles out of your running shoes is a top priority, then you will want to look elsewhere.
Although the strategically placed outsole rubber promotes traction on wet concrete, the way it is patterned leaves a fair amount of exposed foam on the outsole. This gets destroyed by pebbles and other types of sharp debris.
In addition, even though On markets the Cloudswift as having an “extreme” rocker design that facilitates a rolling motion on city surfaces, many users do not agree with this sentiment.
The consensus is that this shoe performs best for forefoot strikers who run at a brisk pace, which unfortunately causes the CloudTec in the forefoot to break down quicker than you would expect.
Finally, some runners notice that their toes start to break through the lightweight mesh upper after a couple hundred of miles.
All in all, while the Cloudswift has many desirable points, durability is not at the top of the list.
Most runners are extremely satisfied with the way the Cloudswift fits.
It has a bit of a “bootie” design that fits nicely around the foot and ankle. This includes a sock liner that helps keep the foot feeling snug and secure.
For those environmentally conscious runners, you will be pleased to know that the shoe includes a recycled engineered mesh upper that is lightweight and breathable, keeping the foot feeling fresh. This is a huge perk for those who use the shoe for running on hot city pavement.
To sum the fit up and quote straight from the horse’s mouth, On states that “the recycled engineered mesh upper, together with the lining, laces, quarter cage, and internal reinforcements in the forefoot ensure an improved hold throughout the shoe, ideal fit, and total comfort.”
Many users express a degree of displeasure with the cushioning in the Cloudswift.
This is probably unjustified criticism.
Sure, the Cloudswift is not as soft as some max-cushioned shoes. But it was never supposed to be.
Like all On products, the Cloudswift features CloudTec air bubbles and Helion superfoam throughout the midsole. This gives the Cloudswift sufficient cushioning to soften landings on unforgiving city surfaces.
In fact, On has even strategically positioned the cushioning with city running specifically in mind. This includes increased superfoam in the forefoot and enlarged clouds in the rearfoot to dampen heel strikes.
It has also re-engineered the midsole Speedboard and shaped the shoe with a more distinct rocker design, helping runners roll through each stride.
So with a 23mm midsole stack in the heel, is the Cloudswift going to be an elite cushioned shoe?
But it provides enough cushioning in the right places to make it sufficient for city running purposes.
The Cloudswift is not a stability shoe.
It is a lightweight neutral trainer.
Therefore, you will not find any special guide rails in the midsole of this shoe.
However, that does not mean the Cloudswift comes without any stability features.
The snug and secure fit of the upper eliminates slippage, and the midsole speedboard provides enough stability that both people with flat and arched feet feel moderately comfortable in the Cloudswift.
Most runners feel like the Cloudswift runs true to size.
Nonetheless, the On website recommends going up half a size with the shoe, as is the general guidance when buying most running shoes.
Many runners feel like the price tag on the Cloudswift is a bit too steep for a shoe with limited utility.
The Cloudswift is typically around the $140-$170 price range, with seasonal spikes in demand or special discounts moving this figure slightly on occasion.
On Cloudswift Engineering
Now that you know more about some of the key decision points surrounding the Cloudswift, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific engineering that makes the shoe what it is.
The bootie style upper is fabricated from an innovative blend of recycled engineered mesh to help keep the running experience airy and breathable.
With a sock lining and cage laces, the shoe offers easy step-in for users and a snug fit.
Users note that the upper feels strong but stretchable, with sidebands to provide gentle midfoot support.
The midsole falls right in line with most midsoles for which On is famous. It features CloudTec bubbles patterned from Helion superfoam. It also employs a TPU-infused plate sandwiched between the layers of superfoam to increase responsiveness and ensure a snappy ride.
There is nothing gaudy about the Cloudswift midsole. It has a very understated heel stack of 23mm, which will not turn any heads in terms of thickness. This is offset by a 16mm forefoot stack, good for a 7mm heel-to-toe drop. This is enough to provide some relief to the Achilles tendon, but is not among the most high-drop midsoles.
The outsole of the Cloudswift is one that features more exposed foam than some other On products.
This was meant to soften the blow for unforgiving landings on city sidewalks. However, it does make the shoe less durable than those that have a higher percentage of outsole rubber.
The minimized rubber in the outsole does not affect grip, though. On has strategically placed textured rubber grip pads in high-impact areas of the forefoot to promote traction on wet sidewalks.
What Version of the Cloudswift Is On the Market?
The latest version of this line is the Cloudswift 3.
The Cloudswift 3 boasts many of the same characteristics of the original Cloudswift, with a few minor alterations:
- A slightly larger heel stack of 25mm
- A bit smaller heel-to-toe drop of 5mm
- Extra heel collar padding to help keep the heel in place
Other than that, the Cloudswift 3 remains a stylish urban running shoe equipped with On’s “Big 3”: CloudTec cushioning pods, TPU-injected midsole speedboard, and Helion superfoam for comfort.
Alternative On Shoes to the Cloudswift
Maybe you do not live in an urban area and have no need for a city running shoe. Fear not, as On has an extensive catalog of shoes that can help meet your needs.
Best for Long Distance Racing: On Cloudboom Echo 3
On introduced the Cloudboom to be its premier road racing shoe to much acclaim.
The shoe is incredibly lightweight at just 7.9 ounces and is highly responsive for runners who need to pick up the pace.
However, some runners noted that the cushioning in the original Cloudboom was not sufficient for super long runs (think marathons or longer).
Therefore, On recently unveiled the Cloudboom Echo 3 to address this feedback.
Equipped with much more Helion superfoam in the midsole, the Cloudboom Echo 3 is drawing rave reviews as it looks to position itself as the premier distance racing shoe on the market.
Best for Beginning Runners: On Cloudflow
Everybody needs that shoe that they can turn to help them get their feet wet in the world of running.
This is where the Cloudflow comes in.
It is an extremely versatile shoe that is just as at home in the gym as it is on the track.
Of course, it still retains the CloudTec and Helion superfoam for which On is famous.
However, it does not have one exceptionally stand-out feature, making it a great choice for those users who are still trying to figure out who they want to be as a runner.
Best for Casual Wear: On Cloud 5
The niche of athleisure is exploding right now.
Millions of people like to dress in a manner that leaves you wondering if they are heading to the gym or to brunch with friends.
As such, all major running shoe manufacturers are investing heavily in athleisure offerings.
While the Cloudswift is actually a really strong choice in this regard, there is no doubt that the Cloud 5 is On’s top shoe for casual wear.
It is an extremely stylish shoe that features a slip-on lacing system, making it the perfect shoe to quickly don when leaving the house.
Although it does not have as much CloudTec or Helion foam as other On products, users love the understated use of these features for day-to-day wear, making this shoe a great choice for people who will be walking around town all day.
FAQ About the On Cloudswift
Since the Cloudswift seems to be specifically designed to accommodate urban runners, it is understandable that some users may have some doubts about this shoe. Keep reading as we clear up some of the most common questions surrounding the Cloudswift.
Who Should Avoid the Cloudswift?
Cross country runners should shy away from the Cloudswift.
On uses a generous amount of exposed Helion superfoam on the outsole to help soften the blow of city sidewalks. Unfortunately, this foam gets torn up pretty easily by pebbles, twigs, and other types of sharp debris you will encounter on the cross country trail.
It is also not an ideal choice for people who need a max-cushion shoe. While it does feature CloudTec and Helion superfoam, it is not going to be as overly cushioned as shoes like the Cloudmonster or Cloudstratus.
Is the Cloudswift Good for Heel Strikers?
This is a major point of debate in the running community.
On re-engineered the Cloudswift to feature larger rear-foot clouds and designed the outsole with a more distinct rocker shape to help accommodate heel strikers on city surfaces.
However, some runners feel like the shoe does not perform as well as it should in this regard.
Multiple runners note that you can really feel the ground in the Cloudswift, making it a better option for those who run at a brisk pace and use sweeping forefoot strikes.
Is the Cloudswift Appropriate for Runners With Injury Concerns?
Runners with injury concerns should probably shy away from the Cloudswift.
First of all, running on hard urban surfaces is probably not the greatest idea when dealing with an injury.
In addition, the Cloudswift is not a high-cushioned shoe that will absorb shock and alleviate stress on joints and cartilage.
While it is true that running shoes are just one aspect of mitigating an injury, and it is important to always follow the recommendations of your doctor or physical therapist, the Cloudswift should not be a top consideration for those dealing with an injury.
Final Thoughts: On Cloudswift Review
The On Cloudswift is a bit of a specialty product in the On catalog meant to accommodate urban runners.
It has some strong features in this regard. It is lightweight and responsive, with sufficient CloudTec and Helion superfoam in the midsole to help soften landings on concrete surfaces. The strategically placed outsole rubber pads also promote traction on wet sidewalks.
It also features an airy, stylish upper that is sure to turn heads and keep the foot feeling fresh while you log city miles.
With that said, if you are more of a cross country enthusiast or are looking for a shoe with a thicker midsole stack, then the Cloudswift is probably not going to be a great option.
Whatever your primary needs, be sure to browse the On catalog today and get to moving in style!