On Sneakers: Running on Clouds

There’s one running shoe brand that really stands out from the rest on Runologie’s sneaker wall. Neither a minimalist nor a maximum-support sneaker, On brand enables you to feel the ground beneath your feet while still providing cushioning through its patented “clouds.”



At Runologie‘s demo day last week, the On representative explained the science behind CloudTec and the interesting story of how On came to be. A former professional athlete (duathlete, IronMan), after years of running injuries, got together with some of his engineering friends to create a better sneaker. They quickly realized that the cushioning must be designed to absorb both the horizontal and vertical forces that a runner experiences. Early prototypes included garden hoses cut up and glued to the bottom of sneakers! Today, Ons look much different than early prototypes but incorporate the same technology, with the distinctive clouds on the soles.
Trying out last year's Cloudsurfer model

Trying out last year’s Cloudsurfer model

Basically, On allows you to land soft (works for heel-toe, mid or forefoot runner) on its squishy clouds and push off hard. The clouds squash down when you land on them, giving you a more powerful push-off as they spring back to shape. On’s website says it well: “So you can have the best of both worlds: cushioned landing and barefoot takeoff. Enjoy the comforts of natural running without compromise in comfort and speed.” You can also watch some cool videos on their website of slow-motion running in Ons.

The sneakers seem to run true to size (my usual 9.5 in running sneakers fit well) and felt like they hug my feet really well, with a just roomy enough toe box. If I could build a sneaker around my feet, On could be those sneakers. Just standing in these sneakers is really fun; I loved the feeling of the clouds beneath my feet! I really enjoyed running in the On Cloudsurfers. I felt so light and springy – and fast!

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Not only do the clouds help with landing and pushoff, but they also act as small stability balls, activating your postural muscles and enabling you to stabilize your foot strike yourself, without relying on artificial stability. I really noticed the stability in these shoes, not changing the way I was running but supporting the way I ran. Sometimes I tend to roll in when I land and I felt like the Ons helped support my arch and inner foot upon landing.

I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to run in Ons and experience the cloud technology. I don’t think I would have ever picked these up on my own since they are pretty different from my usual sneakers and maybe a little weird looking. These shoes offered the perfect amount of stability and cushioning for me while still being a neutral, low heel-to-toe drop (7 mm) sneaker. These will definitely be my next pair of running sneakers!

Although Ons aren’t that easy to find, you can easily search on On’s website to find the store nearest you that sells the brand. I was surprised to learn that Comfort One shoes (not a running store) in the DC area sells these! Even though Mike and I hadn’t heard of this brand before going to Runologie, the representative told us that this brand, a Swiss brand, is as big in Europe as Brooks and Saucony!

Lots of pollen on the run - matched my On sneakers!

Lots of pollen on the run – matched my On sneakers!


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