On Cloudace Intro
Truly the brand’s “ace” in the market, Cloudace is On’s top support shoe and their premium shoe for stability, cushioning, comfort, and quality materials. This explains the high price, selling for $200 USD, and the high weight of the shoe.
*** NOTICE! There’s a recent price drop to $160 from On’s site directly. ***
I ran in the men’s shoe which weighs in at 11.6 oz (size 9). The woman’ shoe at 9.8 oz (size 8).0
Most shoes—especially those labeled “stability”— attempt to correct a runner’s movement. On’s philosophy is to provide ample support while adapting to a runner’s stride.
This explains the widespread criticism that the Cloudace has received for not being as “stable” as expected—a traditional means of achieving stability was not their main goal!
Running in Cloudace reminds me of a more streamlined ASICS Gel-Fortitude 8, which I tried out in 2018. Both are designed with high support in mind.
Both are heavy and pretty firm underfoot, but Cloudace offers more of a spring-back as the runner moves forward through foot-strike, due to the pods.
Cloudace will also compete with the Gel-Kayano and Mizuno’s Wave Horizon in function and feel.
On Cloudace First Impressions
I loved the look, right out of the box: multicolored, yet subtle; quality workmanship; and of course those cloud pods called out for me to try them!
My first response when running in Cloudace was “This does feel different!” It took me a few more runs to come up with how to describe that “different.”
The Cloud pods are firm underfoot, but not the same kind of “firm” as in the New Balance 860, which I’ve been running in.
The ride is firm yet buoyant—like running on garden hoses filled with water. The rubber pods are thin enough in the forefoot to collapse in and bounce back.
The thicker walls as you move back in the shoe bring the same effect but with added shock absorption whether you’re a heel or midfoot striker.
Overall Cloudace brings a pleasant but heavy ride. At slower paces I can feel the foremost pod under the forefoot; there’s a slight push-back in the flow as I move into toe-off.
It’s something of a conundrum: there’s a smoother ride the faster you go, but the weight discourages faster running!
On Cloudace Sole Unit
On’s sole has come a long way from its prototype: a chopped up garden hose below a force-transition plate—which really is a fabulous idea!
I am impressed, big time, with how the first On Clouds came into being and the founder David Alleman’s inspiration for creating a “cloud-like” running experience!
This highly developed version from On, the Cloudace, will not bend or twist, beyond movement at the ball of the foot.
A wide, liquid-injected hard plastic speedboard functions somewhat like a carbon plate in its ability to transfer energy applied into forward propulsion. It is split in the middle to limit the horizontal transfer of energy.
Above the speedboard, a dense, protective layer of foam provides firm cushion. The midfoot and heel rubber pods of the outsole are lined with the brand’s Zero-gravity foam for added shock absorption and durability.
Forefoot pods lack this extra layer. The sole unit pods compress and spring back individually for propulsion.
The 7 mm. drop feels great to me. Plush support from the sock liner makes the drop feel closer to 10 mm.
Rocks like to tag along, stuck in between the pods underfoot. I’m talking rocks, not pebbles. Nevertheless, this aspect is not too troublesome (besides adding even more weight).
After running on varied terrain, I will often find one or two decent-sized stones in the shoe that I never noticed clicking on pavement.
On Cloudace Upper Unit
On uses premium mesh to lock the foot down while allowing air movement. “Tape” support strips add structural support to the midfoot both early and late in the foot’s transition from heel to toe (or midfoot-heel-toe).
This tape connects the mesh to support panels on both sides, and material connecting to the tongue protects the foot from any seam inside the shoe.
A dual-density sockliner made up of compression EVA and memory foam aids the snug fit of the shoe, especially contributing to the perfect fit of the heel.
Memory foam provides a soft cushion underfoot and offers great arch support.
Compression EVA runs beneath and up around the sides of the soft foam, adding resistance to heel movement by way of a grooved boarder and a “tacky” feel to the material.
“Cloud” pads of cushioned support line the entire ankle opening. These offer huge contribution to a locked-in heel.
Heel fit was my biggest concern when I ordered a men’s shoe, as our go-to company for purchasing shoes was out of my size in women’s. I am more than pleased with how well my heel stays locked in place in Cloudace!
These pads of cushion around the ankle are my favorite aspect of the shoe. Many shoes, such as Saucony Hurricane 22 and Brooks Transcend 6, offer plush support around the ankle.
Cloudace’s thinner design brings the same support in a more streamlined cut; the segment breaks between pads take nothing away from a secure hold.
A solid heel counter also braces the heel, with a stiff pull tab / Achilles pad rising over 2 mm. above the back of the shoe.
Moving into the midfoot, this is the only part of the shoe that has just a touch of room in it for me. Again, I have a men’s shoe, so this slightly wider space may have to do with the “D” width in a men’s shoe.
I was able to tighten the laces in a way that almost eliminated the slight feel of “space” in the midfoot.The comfortably-snug, shallow toe box is just how I like it.
Since the heel and forefoot fit in the men’s shoe are perfect for my (woman’s) foot, this leads me to conclude that the midfoot room that I experience may just have to do with the shoe’s cut more than anything else.
Also, this is a generally narrow shoe.
The tongue is attached to the sides of the upper by over an inch-wide strip on either side. The tongue protects my foot from laces, and the attachment strips protect the foot irritation.
All of the materials in Cloudace, from the firm border capping the toe box, to the solid heel counter are high quality and made for durability.
On Cloudace Conclusion
On Cloudace offers a firm, moderately-cushioned ride. Transition through the footplant is smooth until reaching the toe, where the final pod creates some resistance, unless running at a tempo run (mid-paced run) or faster pace.
This is On’s premium offering in materials and support, but it comes with a premium price.
Cloudace looks great, and the upper fit is superb. This may be a great shoe for runners who can handle the extra weight that accompanies its durability and support—if you don’t mind the price tag!
We purchased a pair of On Cloudace from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
ON Cloudace Price Comparison
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