On is an emerging running shoe brand from Switzerland. They are a young company – started in 2010 – but are nonetheless making strides in being relevant in runners’ minds.
They distinguish themselves from other brands through their design, in particular the pods on the bottom of the soles.
You may have seen a pair at an expo or on someone’s feet during a race and wondered, “Why do those shoes have holes in their soles?”.
The Cloudflyers are On’s mid-tier version of a lightweight moderate stability shoe. It is meant for runners who need stability but also want less bulk and weight.
They provide stability comparable to a Brooks Ravennas or a Saucony Guide in regards to the amount of stability it provides. While those shoes are priced around $120, On Cloudflyers will run you $160.
Their design and weight impressed me as I unboxed them. There is just enough difference in the black and grays to make them visually appealing.
The other aspect I noticed was the laces. They are the thinnest laces I have seen on a pair of running shoes. I was curious to see how they would hold up on my runs.
When I slipped them on for the first time, I noticed the cushion of the memory foam insoles of the shoes. This was balanced with the firmness of the sole itself.
They are slimmed down and have a low profile that sets them apart from other shoes.
I would wear these shoes for everyday use, as well as for runs. On my first run – an easy 3 and a half miles – I immediately felt the firmness of the over sole unit along with lightness of the overall shoe.
On Cloudflyer Sole Unit
On’s goal as a company is to engineer running shoes as light as possible while still loaded with technology. Version 2 of the Cloudflyer comes with a few key updates.
They updated the midsole with lighter, more durable foam. This material makes the shoes incredibly light and responsive.
It has just the right amount of give, so impact and toe-off during your stride are better handled by the sole pods.
Another update was the patterning of the pods on the bottom of the shoes. They are now wider and the center holes have been adjusted. This was done to better stabilize and propel the runner.
During my runs in the Cloudflyers I could feel the stability the pods provided. They leveled my foot and ankle, keeping both straighter throughout my stride.
The balls of my feet bore more impact during my runs as a result.The pods under the forefront are firmer than the other pods in the shoes.
This pushes you forward as you transition from the midfoot impact to the toe off I adapted to the impact on the balls of my feet after only a few runs.
Give yourself a few to adapt, since they are different than most other stability shoes on the market. The amount of stability I felt in these would be similar to a Saucony Guide or a Brooks Ravenna.
The Cloudflyers provided ideal stability and support through every one of my runs, no matter the distance. My form tends to weaken toward the end of double-digit mileage.
I noticed no such weakening with the Cloudflyers. The footfalls and transitions were smooth throughout.
However, I recommend running one or two shorter distances to break in the shoes and adjust to their feel before trying double-digit distances, due to their firmness, weight and narrow profile
On Cloudflyer Upper Info
These were the first pair of running shoes I could pass off as everyday shoes. They have a low profile and fashionable upper. The upper is form-fitting as well.
I found them to be narrow in the arch for the first few runs. I don’t know if they stretched out a bit or my feet got used to them. It didn’t bother me after my third run.
The toebox provided my foot enough room to land naturally. This is important because of the greater impact on the balls of your feet. The heel was nice and snug, which is a major source of stability.
They introduced an adaptive v-modeled external heel cap to improve the heel fit. This complements the memory foam insole, and ensures a snug and stable fit on every run.
This combination of the foam with the heel cap is different from any other brand I’ve tried. Many brands out there focus on the arches of your feet to provide the necessary stability and support.
On locks your heel in straight which then in turn straightens the ankle and rest of the foot on your stride. It is an effective combination because you will find yourself running with more of a natural gait.
Another aspect of the upper which sets On apart is their star lacing system. They say this system allows you to have a secure and adjustable fit. I find the thin laces of the On Cloudflyers to be a drawback.
They are the thinnest laces I have seen on a pair of running shoes. They became undone on occasion if they were not double-knotted. The star lacing system would be more effective and noticeable with thicker laces.
On Cloudflyer Conclusions
On is an emerging brand who can make a superb stability running shoe. The Cloudflyer is solid proof.The shoe looked and felt unlike anything in which I have run before.
Their looks piqued my interest. Then I quickly realized the Cloudflyer was more than just looks.
All the aspects of the Cloudflyer work together beautifully to provide stability for every run. The Cloudtec technology provides responsiveness and propulsion at the forefront of your feet making your stride feel effortless.
This was the case for every run on which I took them, whether it was a fast 3 or a slow, deliberate 12. The lightweight design along with the technologies in the shoe deliver responsiveness and stability on every run.
This is what makes them stand out.
The many original aspects of the shoe make this an ideal fit for any skill level. I truly enjoyed every run in them, and looked forward to the next run the moment I finished.
You gain an extra amount of motivation to run when you find a great running shoe. The On Cloudflyers are that kind of shoe.
The $160 price tag and less-known name might give some runners pause. Some might not like the unique design because it is vastly different than most of the other running shoes out there. I was hesitant myself. Now after running in them, I am truly converted.
We purchased a pair of On Cloudflyer from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.