ON Cloudsurfer Running Shoes

8.8
8.8 score
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Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
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ON Cloudsurfer Running Shoes Review Facts

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run on clouds? While this is clearly just used as an expression, it is something that ON took literally when designing their Cloudsurfer running shoe. While nobody truly knows what that feels like, clearly, it is safe to say that this running shoe lives up to the name of Cloudsurfer.

Its unique sole is what powers it to achieve greatness. Its design is with circular rubber tubes (dubbed clouds). They provide that extra spring in your step that you will be looking for. All in the meanwhile, the ON Cloudsurfer also manages to be an above-average racing shoe.

Indeed, the Cloudsurfer a comfort training and racing flat speed hybrid shoe that promises the best of both worlds. However, as you will see, all is not sunshine and rainbows with this running shoe. There are some legitimate concerns that previous runners have had that will make some of you a bit leery to go with it. We are referring to the lacing system and weight.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

The split layer of cushioning protects your foot

The overall ride is fantastic

Designed with double layers of EVA foam

Ideal for road and mixed surfaces

Plenty of room in the toe box

Features a well-designed mesh upper

Cons

The lacing system is pretty bad

Some users have had durability issues

A little on the heavy side

Comfort

Comfort

For a shoe that is dubbed the Cloudsurfer, you would expect it to be comfortable while you run. That is mostly the truth, but this section is worth taking a closer look. Let’s start with the cushioning; this is a moderately cushioned running shoe. Sometimes less is more when it comes to this as you do not want your foot to be bogged down with the extra weight of the cushioning.

As such, there has only been a thin layer of cushioning implemented into the ON Cloudsurfer. Additionally, there is also a layer that covers the top of the midsole and then an additional layer fits right between the midsole and the crash pods. While not an abundance of cushioning, this will be just enough to protect your foot.

Underneath your foot, it may feel a bit stiff. It is not enough for this to be an injury-prone running shoe or anything like that. Still, it is something that you need to keep in mind.
Speed

Speed

Based on the weight alone of this shoe (which will be documented a bit later), you could easily conclude that this is not a speedrunning shoe. How wrong would you be as the ON Cloudsurfer is a sneaker that promotes racing? There is a message on the insole that states “unleash your speed.”

Counteracting the heavier weight of this shoe is the fact that it has been equipped with a Speedboard. This has been placed between the cushioning, and it is just a thermoplastic polymer plate. But, boy oh boy does it ever make a difference when you are running in this shoe.

In short, this Speedboard maximizes your energy return and propels you with enhanced speed and momentum after each stride you take. In addition to providing incredible speed, this will also deliver improved responsiveness overall. Could you imagine how fast this running shoe would be if it could shed off a few ounces of its weight?
Heel-to-Toe Drop

Heel-to-Toe Drop

For all you novices out there (check also the guide on the best running shoes for beginners), not an issue at all if you are one, the heel to toe drop of a shoe merely references the difference in height between the heel and forefoot of a shoe. The ON Cloudsurfer has been designed with a six-millimeter drop, but what on earth does that mean to you?

This amount of drop is going to be beneficial for several of you. The reason being is six millimeters is almost like a happy medium. You see, shoes with a heel to toe drop of less than four or five millimeters will be better suited for forefoot strikers. Meanwhile, running shoes with heel drops over seven millimeters will be best for heel striking.

So, with a six-millimeter drop, the Cloudsurfer can account for both forefoot and heel striking, quite frankly. The only downside is if you are looking for a running shoe with an incredibly low or high heel drop. This will not fit the bill if that is what you are looking for, sadly.
Midsole

Midsole

There are certain areas where this is truly a unique and innovative running shoe. However, regarding the midsole ON stuck with the tried-and-true nature of EVA foam. There is a high likelihood that if you have ever run with a running shoe, you have experienced what it is like to run with an EVA midsole.

It is one of the most popular materials for midsoles, and it is no surprise to see why. EVA itself is merely just a soft plastic, but it is the foaming process that makes it great for a running shoe such as this. EVA foam introduces air bubbles into the plastic, and it creates a soft and durable polymer that cushions your blow.

What is also noteworthy is the fact that double layers of the foam have been implemented into this shoe. While ON Cloudsurfer does not reinvent the wheel with its midsole, it sticks to a proven formula that has worked wonderfully in the past.
Outsole

Outsole

While the midsole is pretty much standard stuff, the same can’t be said about the outsole (or just the sole) of this shoe. As you can see from the photos, this is not your average sole, not even close. It has been designed with what is known as ON’s CloudTec technology, and here is how it works.

CloudTec technology is just a cushioning system, and it is comprised of several hollowed tubes. Interestingly enough, these hollowed tubes are known as “clouds.” In reality, they are made of rubber, and each one of them is designed to create enhanced stability and responsiveness to your runs.

When you strike the ground, these “clouds” are going to protect your feet and tighten to provide a barefoot toe-off. It is quite an ingenious design, and it is truly where the Cloudsurfer shines the brightest. Oh yeah, the sole also provides ideal traction on different types of road and mixed surfaces. However, it is not the best for trails (even though it is not the worst trail running shoe out there).
Upper

Upper

The upper is one of the essential portions of any running shoe, so it is nice to know that the upper that is on display here is a good one. It may not be flashy in its design (like the sole), but it does not need to be. It is comprised of breathable mesh, and while you may not be spending hours on end with this shoe on, this enhanced breathability is always a welcome sight.

Not only is the upper made of the mesh, but it also varies its density depending on the position of your foot. The best uppers will provide that perfect balance between hold and breathability. While not suffocating your foot, the upper still needs to fit correctly. That is where the varying density of this upper comes into play.

Overall, there is not much bad to say in this section. ON nailed it with the upper in their Cloudsurfer and they did so by not overcomplicating a practical and straightforward design.
Weight

Weight

This is where things can get both complicated and a bit controversial with ON Cloudsurfer. Based on previous tests and studies that have been conducted in the past, there is no denying that the weight of a shoe will affect its speed. And, as you already know, the Cloudsurfer is a shoe that promotes speed.

One of the issues with this being a speedrunning shoe, though, is the fact that it clocks in at 11.64 ounces in total weight. Due to this, there have been previous users who have denied that this is an authentic racing shoe. In case you are unfamiliar with running shoe weights, 11.64 ounces is pretty heavy when compared to some others.

Even a few ounces can have a significant impact on the speed you can achieve with a running shoe. Now, looking at the other side of the coin, if you could care less about speed, then the weight should not bother you too much here. Then again, thanks to other innovations, this can still be used as an ideal speed shoe in spite of its weight.
Durability

Durability

Alright, so everyone is fully aware that running shoes are not going to last forever. Due to the abuse that they endure over their respective lifetimes, it is fantastic they even last as long as they do. So, how does the ON Cloudsurfer stack up in this regard? For the most part, quite well, but there are some exceptions.

It is worth noting that the quality of materials is on full display with this shoe. From the first moment you put it on, you know that you are running in a premium-level shoe. But, there is a reason to be cautious here as there have been some reviewers who have had rather bad experiences with it.

Of the users who have spoken out, most of their durability complaints are focused on the sole. While it is well-built overall, the individual tubes have been known to break from time to time. Thankfully, there will still be plenty of other tubes to perform their magic. It is still an issue that has been well-documented in the past.
Size

Size

While there have been some naysayers here and there, most runners will agree that the ON Cloudsurfer fits incredibly well and there are plenty of factors to thank for this. It has been designed with a toe box that allows for a substantial amount of room, an insole that has been attached to a rubber pad for improved stability and also plastic clips around the heel to keep it in place.

The forefoot fit is also excellent, at least if you do not have a narrow foot, as there will be no rubbing or blistering of your toes. Indeed, as was just touched on, this is not the best shoe if you have narrow feet. The size selection is also not the best (though it is still competent).

Now, you have the lacing system. It just seems that ON completely overlooked this section as most would agree that the lacing system of the Cloudsurfer is a joke. The laces resemble what you would find on a pair of dress shoes, and that is not a compliment. They are awkward, too thin and will easily slip when you go to tie them. Not ideal at all.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

No one will honestly know what it is like to run on clouds, but this has got to be as close as it can get. The ON Cloudsurfer has an appropriate name, and it lives up to it quite well.

From its unique and innovative sole to its mesh upper to its double-layer EVA foam midsole, every individual section of this shoe is well-designed. Of course, its real magic does come with its CloudTec technology as the overall ride that it provides is just incredible.

In spite of its heavier build, it also remains an ideal speed shoe thanks to some innovations (such as the Speedboard). At the same time, the ON Cloudsurfer also works pretty well as a trainer or just a standard running shoe.

The Cloudsurfer is also held back by a couple of issues, however. It is indeed on the heavier side, and do not even get started with the design of the lacing system. While it may not become your go-to running shoe, you will want to experience the ride it provides at least once in your life.