Running shoes with Cloud cushions

The Cloud cushions on an ON running shoe compress on impact for cushioning but expand during lift-off for energy return.
The Cloud cushions on an ON running shoe compress on impact for cushioning but expand during lift-off for energy return. PHOTO: ON

ON is a relatively new running shoe company from Switzerland that launched its first shoes in 2010.

It built its reputation upon its CloudTec cushioning technology. On the soles of its shoes, you will find rows of hollowed-out rubber pods, known as Cloud cushions.

They act like tiny stability balls that respond to your foot's movement. They compress on impact for cushioning but expand during lift-off for energy return.

The ON Cloudflow is the Swiss company's lightweight and ultra-responsive performance running shoes. This is the first time I am trying a pair of ON running shoes.

With 18 Cloud cushions on its sole, the Cloudflow shouts running shoe from a mile away. So it likely won't fit the bill if you want something that can double as a pair of lifestyle sneakers.

But with more Cloud cushions than all its predecessors, the Cloudflow is supposed to provide great rebound.

On top of these Cloud cushions is the patented Speedboard midsole. It has four distinct layers (not visible) that interacts with the Cloud cushions to encourage a more natural rolling action, for more explosive lift-offs.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $229

    MATERIAL: Mesh upper with Cloud

    WEIGHT: 221g (US 9, Men's)

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The upper is made of an adaptive, weaved mesh for support and breathability. Inside the shoe is a built-in sock for comfort. It is no wonder that when I first put the shoes on, it felt like putting on a sock. It was pretty tight but yet totally comfortable.

My toes had room to wiggle but there was no slippage when running. Despite the lack of a hefty heel counter, my injury-prone ankles felt well supported.

I experienced no hot spots or rubbing even during the first few runs with the Cloudflow.

And I could immediately feel the shoes' responsiveness right from the first run.

The Cloud cushions did a fabulous job of providing energy return, whether I was doing heel strikes or forefoot strikes.

I could feel myself running faster and more effortlessly.

The only downer is that traction is a tad lacking on wet surfaces. Also, small stones and pebbles might get stuck in the hollows of the Cloud cushions. So, you cannot really run on trails with it.

Trevor Tan

•Verdict: The On Cloudflow is a pair of superb responsive running shoes, as long as you keep your runs dry and off the trails.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Running shoes with Cloud cushions'. Print Edition | Subscribe