The On Cloudventure was the first trail shoe I’d tried from the Swiss shoe company. Having made a name for themselves among triathletes and marathoners.
The Cloudventure marks the company’s entrance into the sphere of trail running, for which I’d used their Cloudrunner for years. What becomes apparent right away is that the folks at On did their homework.
The shoe is a lightweight trail shoe offering superb cushioning that is surely only rivalled by Hoka One Ones. A well-fitting upper, and firm traction round off the shoe.
On Cloudventure General Info
The On Cloudventure is the flagship trail shoe for On. They also have a black waterproof version of the shoe, a mid-top shoe offering increased stability and a leaner, lighter racing shoe.
Pricewise and regarding their entire range, the Cloudventure fits into the upper range of their shoes with the racing shoes holding the position of their top of the line.
Unboxing the shoes, the orange and blue pop in the black box. Slipping the shoes on for the first time, the comfortable, sock-like bootie welcomes you to start running right away.
In comparison to other models of their shoes, the trail shoe seems to fit wider feet better. The general feel of the upper reminds me of the 2013 Dynafit Feline SL.
On Cloudventure Sole Unit
On is best known for their CloudTec® clouds (ringlets/pods) on their soles, which provide a soft landing and firm push off. When you’re uphill, it takes time to get used to even the even small amount of give with each step.
However, the engineering is greatly appreciated when running downhill and on straightaways.
I’ve run with On’s mid-range Cloudrunner in the Alps before having completed the Eiger Trails 101 with them.
With the non-trail shoe, the muddy and snowy bits were tricky, and I felt insecure, but for a 100k race, the cushioning was appreciated.
The Cloudventure with its cloud and lug system solves that problem, affording you excellent traction on all surfaces with good feedback and cushioning.
My experience is based on dry conditions with the wet ones being stream crossings (wet rocks and soft ground). Some online reviews suggest that they slip in thick muddy situations.
As the clouds are made of rubber rings, I imagine that sharp stones can be problematic as they may cause them to wear out quickly.
Having read several other reviews, this seems to be a topic that comes up, though after doing more than 100km in the mountains I have not experienced this problem.
What I did notice though was that the lugs started to wear quite quickly. After a 150km they are still intact, and I feel like the traction is still good, but there is visible wearing.
With the built in Speedboard®, the shoe also helps guide the musculature of your foot as you transfer from the landing to take-off position.
All of the sole components working together make for a smooth and secure ride giving the runner cushioned landings, traction and for the most part powerful take-off.
The fact that the clouds make for the outer sole to be almost an exosole, there are times when landing on medium sized rocks that your foot really does feel that stone, which is not very comfortable.
On Cloudventure Upper Info
I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the upper. The company continues to improve their shoes each year.
The 2-layered upper with an inner bootie and outer stabilising and water-resistant mesh are very comfortable and provide a snug fit on my wide feet.
After running half a day though, the stabilising straps on the outer layer started to pinch my foot some. By the third day of use though, I’d broken the shoes in, and the pinching sensation was gone.
Where I used to have issues with Ons was along the exterior of the upper and the interior along the ball of the foot wearing through quickly.
The reinforced rubber and engineered mesh mudguard and toe cap together with the 2-layered upper seem to have solved that issue.
The reflective strips and waterproofing on the outer layer are appreciated details. Despite a double-layered upper, I was also pleasantly surprised how breathable they were.
Even with temperatures into the 30s, my feet did not get sweaty.
On Cloudventure Conclusions
The On Cloudventure is a good shoe that marks On’s official entrance into the trail running sphere.
They have listened to runners and athletes already using shoes like the Cloudrunner to engineer a purposeful and well-executed lightweight, yet well-cushioned trail shoe that provides for a smooth and enjoyable ride on straightaways and unprecedented comfort when running downhill.
The double-layered upper fits wider feet nicely and provide excellent stability for such a light shoe.
My concerns with the shoe are the longevity of the clouds and the lugs. On my shoes so far, the clouds have held up well though the lugs after just 150km show visible wear.
The thinner midsole in comparison to other shoes also means that medium sized stones can be felt in the foot.
One of On’s missions is to make running fun again.
Though they can’t find your reason for running, the shoe’s smooth ride and comfort take the discomfort many shoes cause out of the equation so that you can concentrate on the trail and the views.
In that respect, I think they deliver. I had fun every day I was out on the trails with them and am looking forward to taking them out on further runs. This is my favourite trail shoe since the Dynafit Feline SL.
Christian purchased a pair of the On Cloudventure on his own at retail. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.