On Shoes Review: Testing On Running’s Casual Sneakers

On Shoes Review: Testing On Running’s Casual Sneakers

Bernhard doesn’t just rest on his own laurels, oh no. He woos Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer to join the cause in 2019. He founded the professional running group, the On Athletics Club, which is packed with Olympic-level pavement-pounders. They go on to design shoes for the 2022 Winter Olympics bobsled teams.

On’s growing market share sends out a message to both the athletic wear and the fashion worlds—we’ve only scratched the surface of what a running shoe can deliver. The gauntlet has been thrown, and it was now up to other shoe manufacturers to try and keep up. This young company wasn’t just here for the long run—they intended to lead the running shoe market in innovative designs for both athletics and everyday wear.

So that’s a whole lot of foot experience dedicated to Swiss-engineering shoes. But an athlete does not necessarily directly translate into being a world-class luxury shoe designer. 

Does all that athletic superstardom build you a superstar shoe?

We’re happy to report that it’s looking more and more like the answer is a resounding yes. One of our favorite premium footwear brands, On sneakers have already hit our best-of list for men’s shoes for standing all day and women’s sneakers. On’s most recent release, the Cloudmonster, has taken some pretty big design steps in a new direction, showing the brand’s dedication to perfecting its craft. We’re fairly certain it’s only a matter of time before they make it onto our list for best men’s sneakers.

On Running’s shoe technology

Before we get into the thick of it, we should explain a couple of the bits of proprietary tech that you’re going to see pop up in the descriptions below and on On’s website.

CloudTec

Helion

Speedboard

Missiongrip

FlipRelease 

Long-distance runners sometimes have to deal with swelling feet. Normally this would mean starting a run with shoes that are a half-size too big, switching shoes partway through, or enduring the discomfort of too-tight shoes for the last half of their efforts. A small clasp found on the laces, On’s FlipRelease takes care of swelling by allowing you to tie your laces to a normal tightness at first, and then later loosen them by just reaching down and flicking the clasp. 

On Running shoe review: Proof that you can actually run on Clouds

Alternatives

If running efficiency is your prime qualification, then we’d suggest that you take a look at Adidas’ Ultraboost. They come pretty close to capturing that “running on clouds” feel. And as an added bonus, they’re constructed from recycled materials.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a sneaker for casualwear that delivers a good-looking design meshed with the ability to get-up-and-go, then try out the selections from Axel Arigato, Oliver Cabell, Allbirds, or Koio. All four of these designers lean more into the decorative end of sneakers, but their shoe lines still have plenty to offer to your athletic side.

Unboxing

That being said, they still look pretty cool. All of On Running’s sneakers feature bold coloring and panels, with that wide CloudTec base setting off the topside coloring. They don’t just feel like they’re built for speed, they look like it too. If shoes like those from Koio or Axel Arigato are Bentleys and Jaguars, then On Running’s shoes are muscle-cars like Mustangs or Chargers.

Materials and craftsmanship

The environmentally-concerned can rejoice. On’s shoes feature a good deal of polyester, and 70 to 95% of that polyester (depending on the model of shoe) comes from recycled materials. The heel, tongue, collar lining, lace, and sock-liners can be up to 100% recycled materials (again, depending on the model), which makes for a nice reduction in wear-and-tear on good old Mother Earth.

Aside from that, the materials are sturdy and solidly tailored together. It’s unlikely you’re going to have any trouble with the sole peeling free from the upper any time soon. 

On the downside, some models do feature the tape logo on their sides which can begin to peel off. Also, those holes in the sides of the sole which help provide that CloudTec cushioning will get pebbles in them. So be warned, you may have some pebble-clearing in your future.

Aesthetic & design

On Running’s design team wasn’t concentrating on trying to win a “World’s Prettiest Sneaker” award; they were focused on building the best running shoe on the market. Yet, On shoes have a modern and sleek look, most of them with a simple chunky appeal to them.

Some of On’s sneakers, like the Cloudstratus, lean more towards the “comfort runner” or “dad shoe” look commonly associated with New Balance shoes. Their hiking-oriented footwear like the Cloudridge has a higher supportive collar, somewhat reminiscent of an Air Jordan, albeit less flashy. The most colorful of the bunch are the Cloudvistas, a trail-running shoe displaying the brightest palette of the On Running line.

Colors

On Runner’s line comes in a wide variety of colors, with everything from muted palettes to full-out high-contrast eye-poppers. Almost all of the designs feature solid color sections, as opposed to smaller swirls, mixes, or patterning that can be found on other brands.

Comfort, fit, and sizing

On Running’s biggest selling point is running comfort provided by the brand’s CloudTec system and Helion foam. The shoes deliver. The individual pockets of springiness are actually a bit of a new sensation—a delight to run in.

The bonus is that the same level of comfort can be applied to your everyday life. So if you’re chugging around town doing chores, CloudTec will still put some spring in your step, making them fine shoes for everyday wear.

Do be wary however that most of their selection (unless specifically noted as being “wide fit”) do tend to be quite snug. When in doubt, try out a half-size bigger than your usual shoe.

Care and maintenance

On’s CloudTec soles won’t stand up to the kind of beating a washing machine would dish out. If your On Running sneakers get dirty, On recommends brushing first, and if that doesn’t work, then hand-washing with warm water. They also recommend that you wash them as little as possible.

Price

On Running’s shoes are going to run you from between $129 for the Cloud or Cloud 70 | 30 (lightweight all-day models) through to $269 for the Cloudboom Echo (built for marathons). Check On Running’s official website to see their latest prices and offers.

Who are On Running shoes best for?

The most obvious answer is that On’s shoes are geared towards serious runners. However, since their CloudTec is going to put some pep into anyone’s step, they make a fine addition to your everyday wear.

On’s Everyday sneakers

Cloud

Cloudnova

The Roger Centre Court

Cloudnova Wrap

One of the funniest pairs of shoes in On’s line-up, the Cloudnova Wraps are an exclusive for the ladies. Solid color placement is set off by the use of a wide ribbon in the place of standard laces. But don’t let the quirkiness fool you, these On shoes do a good job keeping you comfortable on your daily walks. 

Cloud Hi

Featuring a slightly higher collar for added ankle stability, the Cloud Hi is an ideal shoe if you’re unsure if you’re going to be venturing over some rocky ground while you’re getting your daily steps in. And animal lovers can rejoice in the fact that the upper is constructed from vegan leather and suede.

On’s Running shoes

Cloudstratus

Cloudswift

Cloudflyer

Cloudflow

Cloudventure

Cloudultra

On’s Mixed workout shoes

Cloud X

Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to On Running’s Cloud X kicks. The usual CloudTec outsole has been organized so that the trademark Helion foam not only works in propelling you forward, but in any direction you choose. On the street or in the gym, you’ll be ready for your workout.

On’s Hiking boots

Cloudrock Waterproof

For those that want to go far off the beaten path, On Running has your hikes covered with their Cloudrock Waterproof speed-hiking boots. The high collar and tongue feature extra padding to keep you in comfort, while the upper’s membrane is both wind and waterproof. 

Where to buy On sneakers?

You can buy On’s shoes and athletic wear directly from their website. If you prefer an in-store experience, On’s website has a store locator feature that can direct you to a retailer in your area. If you order online, On’s website promises fast delivery and free returns.

You can make warranty claims on the website or from authorized retailers. Make sure you keep your proof of purchase.

It’s worth repeating here that On’s shoes tend to be on the snug side. The website’s pages for individual shoes have sizing tips, and some of the brand’s models offer wider versions. When in doubt, size a half-size up from your usual fit.

Frequently asked questions about On Running

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