In 2018 I was fortunate enough to trial On Cloud running shoes, a Swiss-born family born to revolutionize the feeling of running. Here and now, I can absolutely say… it has!
The basic foundation of the On Cloud brand is that every shoe is designed with an innovative lug system for its sole. That is, the rubber is bent into little round, hollow pillows which act like springs on the bottom of the shoe. Not only does this provide the feeling of lightness and bounce, it also acts like a big shock absorbed, meaning that the running feels effortless and less jarring to my body.
I began my trials with the Cloudventure Peak, a lightweight shoe designed for trail running races.
Positives of the On Cloud Cloudventure Peak Trail Running Shoe
Whilst I am not racing these days, I love the feeling of a super lightweight shoe and at only 210 grams a pair, this shoe definitely gave me this joy. However, when I first put the shoe on, I was disconcerted by the fact that the heel of the shoe was lacking a lug. That is, the heel of the shoe overhung the rest of the sole unit and this meant that when I was standing still, I felt like I was rolling off the back of the shoe. However, once I started running I realized the concept behind this design. As I begun to run, the shoe was tipping me forward towards my forefoot, and when I began to move downhill it felt like I could easily roll from my heels to my forefoot with minimal impact. In fact, this design felt like pure genius! Add this feature to the lightweight spring of the lug system and I found I was floating.
From trail to road, and everything in between, the shoe was easily meeting my needs and I found the 6mm heel to toe drop absolutely awesome as very few brands are providing this in-between drop at the moment.
Downsides of the On Cloud Cloudventure Peak Trail Running Shoe
However, there is often a downside and the Cloudventure Peak had a few. Firstly, whilst I was cushioned and supported by the clouds forming the sole of the shoe, they were not as grippy as many shoes I had previously used. They easily met my needs on the smoother or gravel-surfaced trails, but when it came to wet, smooth surfaces like roots, wet board-walks or damp rocks, this was when the shoe provided less grip. Further to this, the original lugs systems and rubber used in the Cloudventure Peak was finer and less robust than the newer compounds we are beginning to see in the recently released Cloudventure Trail Running Shoe. On my first run I managed to snap a lug, and then not long afterwards, some of the others began to go too. Despite this, I was able to continue to use the shoe for some months, and found that the performance was only minimally affected. Given this was a lightweight shoe and I was using it everyday in the incredibly challenging Tasmanian terrain, I figured the shoe was actually doing pretty well!
Since then, I have purchased another pair of the Cloudventure Peak Trail Running Shoes, but have also got myself a pair of the new Cloudventure shoes.
Where the Cloudventure Peak is On Clouds’ current racing shoe, the new Cloudventure is a more robust trail running shoe designed for tough conditions and longer distances, or general training miles. On Cloud have completely overhauled the sole of the shoe and have made it much more durable with far greater traction too.
Whilst the weight has gone up a little (225g per pair), the traction, support and durability is on a whole new level. I have to admit that even though the shoe is still a 6mm drop, it felt quite a bit stiffer and sturdier under my foot, and I really had to take time to get used to this new feeling. However, the defining cushioning advantage of the On Cloud shoe is still absolutely present in the new Cloudventure trail running shoes and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
These articles are a collection of my writing. If you have feedback or questions, would love to hear from you!