Tried, tested and reviewed: running shoes On Cloudmonster


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Swiss running shoe and apparel company On has never worried about making shoes that look like anything else on the market.

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The brand’s shoes stand out for their distinctive “CloudTec” technology, which includes bubble-shaped pods on the sole of its shoes. Any pair of On runners looks a bit odd, but the company has taken that to the next level with the release of one of its new performance road running models: the On CloudMonster.

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Featuring a double layer of bubble-shaped pods, the Cloudmonster is the highest shoe in the On line. And We’re not afraid of this model’s funky looks; the company uses the word “weird” three times in a press release announcing the release of the shoe.

“But it’s weird for a reason,” promises On.

On’s CloudTec pods are designed to compress horizontally and vertically based on your individual foot movement as you strike the ground. And pods are only part of the CloudTec recipe; they sit under a polymer Speedboard that flexes on foot strike and rebounds to help with the push phase of the ride. The Cloudmonster is intended to represent the “most extreme iteration” of CloudTec – the most cushioned and energy-returning.

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I was drawn to the Cloudmonster because I like big chunky shoes. As a marathoner who puts in 60-100 miles a week on the roads, I want super cushioned shoes to reduce the pounding on my legs.

Opening the box, the Cloudmonster looked just as weird and big in person as it did online. I wear a standard women’s width size six in most shoes, but I tend to be on the smaller size of a six (I can usually squeeze into a 5.5, but would swim in a 6 ,5). The Cloudmonster in a size six fits me just fine, but I’ve seen other reviews indicate that the On shoes can run a bit narrow or small. If you’ve never tried a pair of On shoes before, especially if you have wide feet or wear different sizes across different brands, it may be a good idea to try a pair on before you buy to make sure you get it right. the right size.

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Cloud monster.
Cloud monster. Photo by On

Laced up and upright, the first thing I noticed was not the height, but the aggressive shape of the rocker. This means the shoe has a rounded sole designed to take you from heel to toe with every step. It may feel odd when standing or walking in the shoes, but the rocker is nice when running. While doing easy runs in the Cloudmonster, I had to consciously focus on maintaining an easy pace, as I often found myself gradually picking up the pace.

I have worn other On shoes in the past and one of my issues is small pebbles getting stuck between the pods and the Speedboard which can be uncomfortable and annoying. I’ve ridden nearly 100 miles in the Cloudmonster – including crushed gravel trails – and haven’t had this issue, probably because the double-stacked pods don’t leave much space for stray rocks. .

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Despite the height of the Cloudmonster, I always felt stable in the shoe, even when cornering. And the tread on the bottom of the pods was grippy enough to keep me upright when doing a road tempo run in the rain.

The verdict? I’m such a fan that the Cloudmonster has become one of two shoes in my rotation for easy, fast runs – but it’s not for everyone.

This is a performance road running shoe. If you’re looking for something that will double as a shoe for a walk to the grocery store or a pick-up football game, you probably don’t want something with such an aggressive rocker.

And while I love the Cloudmonster for training, I probably won’t race with it if I’m trying to aim for a personal best. By On’s own admission, this is not a running shoe; even though it is lighter than it looks, it is heavier than many competition shoes on the market.

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But if you put in a lot of miles on the road and want a leg-saving shoe, the Cloudmonster is a great choice.

​​The price: $199.99

Or buy: or your local running store

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Another perspective – from a 5k runner

I’m Hill’s colleague, Randi Mann. I also test my running gear, but hang up my shoes after about 5-10 miles. I also tried the Cloudmonsters and agree with Hill’s much more qualified point of view. They are rockers. The slope on the tip looks like a perpetual forward motion. They are fun to run.

I love the look of them so am excited to put them on and hit the pavement. Generally I’m a size 10 shoe but I find the 10 Cloudmonsters a bit small. My big toe sometimes touches the tip of the shoe. You might want to consider going up a half size. On a Fit Finder (located on each shoe product sheet) on his site, so you can compare On’s size with your current runners.

Adjustment Seeker
Adjustment seeker. Photo by On

Since I run races up to 10k, I would wear these shoes for a “competition” (local fundraising races). I prioritize comfort over performance and appreciate the look and feel of the Cloudmonster.

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