In this review, I will be talking about the On Cloudsurfer running shoe. A friend got me a pair of these to try out and so far I really like them. The overall feel, the fit of the upper, the responsiveness, the look and the weight are all positives for me. The price is a little higher than I expected but for what I consider a performance shoe, it's worth it.
The weight of the shoe starts at 9.7 ounces with a men's 8.5 which sounds heavy and feels heavy when holding it, but does not feel heavy on the foot. When I first picked it up I thought it was going to feel clunky but it actually feels very light. One of my test runs with the shoe was close to two hours long but the shoe never felt heavy. In fact, at times it really didn't even feel like I was wearing a shoe.
The upper materiel is very light, roomy and breathable. When I looked at and tried on other models from the brand, I was concerned about getting this shoe because all of the others felt too snug for my preference. Surprisingly this model feels very comfortable and loose fitting. Again, on my long run, in which my feet are usually at their biggest, the shoe still felt like it did when I first put it on. It remains snug enough to feel locked in and secure but wide enough for my feet to breathe. The feel of the fit reminded me of a Newton Distance.
Speaking of Newton, the sole and responsiveness definitely reminded me of the Newton's I've used over the years. The springy feel throughout the shoe feels like the lugs on Newton shoes but since this is throughout the shoe instead of just in the forefoot, it feels more natural. One of the things I noticed instantly and really like is that the lugs definitely respond to your speed and effort. On each run in the shoe so far, during the slower miles and walk breaks I noticed the shoe felt a little firmer which makes sense since I'm not pressing into the shoe and pushing off as hard. But when I picked up the pace and even during sprints across intersections, I noticed a boost from the shoe. I really felt like I could go faster and got a speed boost from the lugs responding to the effort.
Unlike most of the other models, the Cloudsurfer has lugs located in a few spots instead of throughout the entire shoe. But even though it looks like you may feel gaps, you don't. Being a heel striker I was worried I would feel a rocking back at times like I do in most Hoka shoes but I didn't. When landing on my heel it reminded me of the feel of the Hoka Cavu. The shoe is designed for neutral runners so if you pronate and want to use this shoe you should consider an insert. The heel to toe drop is 7mm. I seem to like shoes with drops between 4 and 8 so this fits right in my range.
When it comes to the aesthetics, I like a lot of the looks of the shoes designed by On. The funny thing about this shoe is that when I saw it, I loved the look and colors so much, I wanted to try it just for that reason. Thankfully I ended up liking how it felt too. The only negative I would give this shoe is the price. I understand the price being a bit higher based on the performance factor but when I see a shoe in the $150 range I expect it to be a more cushioned shoe. For example, I absolutely love my Hoka Mach's and get a lot of miles and use out of them and they are $140. With shoes like this, I tend to get my moneys worth by saving them for race events and speed training runs. The nice thing about the price is it's in line with the others it would compare to like the Newton Distance I mentioned.
I definitely have enjoyed running in this shoe and look forward to using it in future 5K's. I believe this shoe, because of the responsiveness that I haven't felt in any other shoe I've raced in, will help me continue to improve my personal best time. As far as long runs go, I could see myself running a half marathon in this shoe but I believe that it would be uncomfortable in anything over that for me. If you like shoes like the Hoka Cavu, Newton's, Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Pure Flow, or similar shoes comparable to these, than I believe you will like the On Cloudsurfer. I also can definitely see this as a favorite for triathletes.