ON Cloudsurfer 7 review

8 expert score
4.3 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 06th April by Brandon Law Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
152 other reviews

ON Cloudsurfer 7 Verdict

The On Cloudsurfer is designed to be a daily trainer but it feels more like a max-cushioned trainer due to its plush ride. Its upper is first class in terms of comfort and it’s best suited to short runs at easy/recovery paces. This latest version of the Cloudsurfer has been completely redesigned and feels nothing like its predecessors or any other On Running shoe because of how soft and smooth it feels. 

The pros

  • Unique ride experience
  • Smooth transitions
  • Luxurious upper
  • Cloud-like ride

The cons

  • Low energy return
  • Low versatility
  • Warm upper

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Rating breakdown

Comfort
10
Build quality
9.0
Upper
10
Sole unit
7.0
Landing
8.0
Transition
7.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
8.0
Durability
7.0
Value / Price
7.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Cloudsurfer 7
Weight
9.1 oz (258 g)
MSRP
$160.00

Heel
32 mm.
Toe
22 mm.
Heel drop
10 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Some stability
Flexibility
Flexible

Usage

Racing
Speedwork
Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the ON Cloudsurfer 7 ?

If you’re a light runner who doesn’t need much structure, the Cloudsurfer is a great choice for slow runs. It has a super soft ride with very unique transitions. 

Who should not buy the ON Cloudsurfer 7 ?

If you’re looking for a versatile daily trainer for a variety of runs and paces, the Cloudsurfer is not a great shoe for you. The Cloudsurfer feels like a max-cushioned trainer and doesn’t do well on fast-paced efforts.

ON Cloudsurfer 7 Introduction

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

The problem with using the name “cloud” in all your running shoe names is that people expect the shoes to feel like you’re running on pillowy, soft clouds. On Running shoes of the past have felt nothing like this.

The reason that On shoes have felt so firm is because of their speedboard. The speedboard is essentially a firm plate which increases stability and makes the shoe stiffer so that it feels faster, more snappy. This works well in speed trainers or racers but not in easy-day shoes.

The Cloudsurfer is the first On Running shoe to not feature a speedboard. It’s a new generation of running shoes that doesn’t use their regular CloudTec cushioning system. Instead, it uses CloudTec Phase technology.

The name Cloudsurfer isn’t a new one and this latest version is essentially the Cloudsurfer 7, however, On doesn’t want this new version to be associated with the Cloudsurfers of the past so they’ve dropped the version number and just called it the Cloudsurfer.

Last year, I reviewed the max-cushioned Cloudmonster and while it still didn’t feel like the max-cushioned trainer like it was supposed to, it was the softest On shoe I had tried and it was a big step in the right direction.

The Cloudsurfer is a neutral daily trainer for everyday runs. It’s designed to have plush cushioning for road running.

It weighs 8.6 oz (245 g) for a men’s US9 which is lightweight for a daily trainer and it has a 10 mm drop. It costs $160 which is relatively affordable for an On Running shoe but still very expensive when compared to other daily trainers.

ON Cloudsurfer 7 First Impressions

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

The first time I tried the Cloudsurfer on, I was surprised how different it felt to any other On trainer. When walking around, there was a plushness underfoot which was missing from previous On shoes.

My first run was a 9 km easy run which I thoroughly enjoyed. Transitions felt smooth because there aren’t any cloud pods on the outsole and the ride felt very unique due to the midsole geometry.

I liked how soft the ride felt and I was impressed with the amount of shock absorption it possessed. The upper was supremely comfortable with no break-in period needed. The ride was totally unique and it didn’t remind me of any other running shoes.

ON Cloudsurfer 7 Upper

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

The Cloudsurfer is the most comfortable running shoe I’ve ever worn. This has to do with how generously padded the collar and tongue are as well as how smooth the insides of the upper are. It feels like the plush upper of a max-cushioned trainer and it would make an excellent casual walking shoe.

Foot lockdown is amazing without needing to use a runner’s knot and there’s no tongue slide because the tongue is attached to an inner sleeve. You also get reflective On logos on the midfoot and heel.

The upper is heavily padded so it’s a warm shoe and definitely more suited to Winter running or cooler climates. All the padding soaks up sweat during runs and weighs the shoe down.

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

The midfoot, forefoot and toe box are all very accommodating so it’s suitable for wide feet. The fit is true to size but you need to be careful if you purchase in UK sizing because On shoes convert to a half size bigger than other running shoes (just like NB, Hoka & Adidas) so you should purchase using centimetre sizing to be accurate.

ON Cloudsurfer 7 Sole Unit

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

The ride of the Cloudsurfer is such a unique one because it compresses really easily when loaded. There are holes carved into the midsole which allow the upper and lower sections of the midsole to come together when you strike the ground. For the first time, an On Running shoe actually feels like you’re on clouds.

The Cloudsurfer feels like a max-cushioned trainer and not a versatile daily trainer because of how plush the underfoot feel is. This is one of the softest trainers on the market and I really enjoy it for recovery and easy runs slower than 6 minutes per kilometre (9:40 per mile). There isn’t any energy return from the midsole foam but it feels very shock absorbing and highly protective.

I use the Cloudsurfer for slow-paced, short-distance runs around 10 km or less. There’s no rocker for extra efficiency and the midsole doesn’t feel energetic so I prefer to not use it for long runs. Versatility is not a strength of the Cloudsurfer because the midsole foam doesn’t rebound very quickly and the forefoot is flexible so it’s not great for anything faster than easy paces.

A big difference between the Cloudsurfer and other On Running shoes is that there are no cloud pods on the outsole of the Cloudsurfer so the result is super smooth transitions which increase the comfort of the ride. The outsole is now full ground contact and it makes the ride more enjoyable, and more stable. The outsole also doesn’t pick up small stones like the other On shoes.

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

When it comes to durability, I think heavier runners will wear out the cushioning faster than light runners below 70 kilograms. This is because the midsole compresses extremely easily and it will deform under constant heavyweight. So far, I haven’t noticed any loss in cushioning after 80 kilometers but I’m a light runner.

I’ve run in the rain and the grip was acceptable. There is some outsole wear showing on the outer lateral heel midsole foam where there is no rubber coverage so durability is slightly below average because the exposed foam is soft.

ON Cloudsurfer 7 Conclusions

Picture of On Cloudsurfer 7

This is the first On Running shoe deserving of the “cloud” name. On’s willingness to embrace change and get rid of their beloved Speedboard has paid off handsomely. The Cloudsurfer is not only the softest and smoothest On Running shoe but it’s also the most fun to run in.

The Cloudsurfer will definitely stay in my rotation because of how plush and comfortable its ride feels. I do feel that On should have marketed the Cloudsurfer as their max-cushioned trainer in place of the Cloudmonster because as an everyday trainer, the Cloudsurfer is just not versatile enough: it’s not a shoe you want to use for uptempo runs. The Cloudmonster on the other hand feels much faster and more dynamic due to its Speedboard.

If you’ve never tried an On shoe and you’re curious about the brand, the Cloudsurfer is the shoe that you should try; it’s innovative, and fun to use and its upper is one of the most comfortable that money can buy.

$160 for the Cloudsurfer is a little bit too expensive for a shoe marketed as a daily trainer. I’d say $140 would be a fairer price because it isn’t very versatile however you pay a premium for the Swiss badge.

How does the Cloudsurfer 7 compare?

Asics Novablast 3
ON Cloudsurfer 7
Brooks Ghost 15
Expert score
8
8
7
User score
Retail price
US$140
US$160
US$140
Brand
Weight
8.9 oz
9.1 oz
9.8 oz
Heel Drop
9 mm
10 mm
12 mm
Recommended for
Daily training
Daily training
Daily training
Cushioning type
balanced
plush
balanced
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
flexible
flexible
flexible
Stability
very stable
some stability
very stable
Sizing
buy half size smaller
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of ON at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
Lowest price:

$119

ON Cloudsurfer 7 price comparison

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Reviewed by Brandon

This review was written by Brandon Law on 06th April.
Brandon is a South African who lives and trains in Malaysia. He is a marathon runner who eats, sleeps and dreams running shoes. While most people wear shoes to run, he runs to wear shoes.

User feedback (4)

  • avatar-comment-1032362
    Deborah Fogle
    5 months ago
    7 score

    Shoes feels good when first starting, but after 30 minutes which amounts to two miles for me, the soles of my feet hurt! Just the upper third with toes, feels like I have been walking on the ridges of the bottom of shoes! I had to return them! The foamed cushions should extend the entire shoe!

  • avatar-comment-1031602
    M.S
    6 months ago
    5 score

    Bought these because I loved the look and wanted to take another chance with ON and their latest get of shoes. My initial impression when I put them on was that the upper felt forgiving for people with normal width to slightly larger than normal width feet, a new trend with ON that I support, and I loved the initial step in feel, however, of the 3 pairs I purchased (Cloudultra 2, Cloudstratus), these are the ones that need the most improvement. After a few days of wear they began squeaking embarrassingly loud. Try wearing these and stepping out of an elevator full of people only to turn to them after the shoes initially squeak/ pop to let them know that it was the shoes, they’re that bad, I find myself self conscious about the noise to where I am leaning forward when I walk to reduce the noise. I also agree with other users that these shoes are so soft that they feel unstable…like standing on a waterbed. I spoke with a rep at REI who thinks the squeaking is a result of the way the cloud pods are positioned, and it would make sense – my 2 other pairs have a hexagonal shape that isn’t stacked and I’ve had no issues. On that note – the Cloudstratus might be one of the best shoes I’ve owned – out performing even my Ultraboosts. I have a warranty claim opened with ON for the Surfers….Hopefully they can get me sorted because these shoes as-is aren’t perfected.

    Side note: I’m 6’2, 230lbs, size 13.

  • avatar-comment-1031264
    Chris
    6 months ago
    3 score

    I absolutely love these shoes. But after about three weeks…they squeak terribly. On has been nice enough to send me a gift card to replace them. But the new ones squeak also. Very bad design flaw.

  • avatar-comment-1029205
    Steven
    8 months ago
    2 score

    I had the chance to try this shoe on a demo run. I found it to be so soft as to be unstable. I would not recommend this shoe to anyone who does not have great running form. Even then I would not recommend it for long workouts or intense workouts as running form can falter with fatigue. Running on a concrete path in this shoe felt like I was running on a grassy field after a heavy rain. With each step I felt the show giving out under my foot in a different direction. It would collapse laterally at the heel with one step, then collapse to the other side near the midfoot. The experience was like I was fighting the shoe with every step.

Lowest price:
$119

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

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