- The shoes’ cushion tech is very impressive. They provide plenty of comfort on paved streets without the weight that usually holds back trainers.
- The use of the company’s proprietary Cloudtec technology on the soles lets the shoe land easily, but push off hard, giving you the most comfortable run possible.
There’s often a trade-off between cushion and weight when it comes to running shoes. Running shoes that offer lots of cushion to keep your feet supported can feel like weights, while lighter shoes can leave you clutching your feet in pain after a couple of miles.
I’ve worn incredibly lightweight shoes that made me feel like I was flying, only to end up with torn ligaments. I’ve also tried custom orthotics and heavily cushioned shoes, which only left me angry and frustrated with the unnatural stride and the feeling as though I was running through molasses that they imparted.
As with all things, the answer is balance, and the right shoe will offer the right amount of cushion without being too heavy. The best way to judge this is by finding the shoes that are the most comfortable for you. There isn’t one right answer – every body is different, and everyone needs different running shoes.
The latest pair of running shoes I’ve tried are the On Cloud’s. One of the most popular shoes in Switzerland, the Swiss brand has since come out with several award-winning variations to offer each type of runner a style that works best for them.
As a runner, I’ve recently brought my mileage down, which means I’ve gone back to wearing lighter, less cushioned shoes. Pulling the Clouds out of the box, I was a little nervous because even though they felt light, they looked much bulkier than my preferred pairs. Nevertheless, I set off for the first of many test runs. The first couple of runs with a new pair of shoes are an experience in acclimating to a new feel and adjusting your gait accordingly, so I held off on an opinion.
But after a week, I was sold on the soles technology that has made the Cloud trainers so popular. The CloudTec design, as crazy as it sounds, is only active as your feet hit the ground. When you push off, the soles lose the cushion and instead give you a firm platform to gather power.
The best way to think about it is to visualize the soles as sand when you hit the ground but concrete as you push off.
This is done by using a cushioning system of hollowed tubes. As the shoe hits the ground the tubes cushion the contact to provide a protected landing. As the foot begins to push off the tubes tighten to give a firmer push.
This sole-focused approach to shoes takes away a lot of the negatives attached to well-cushioned running shoes. Because I was still be able to really feel the ground with the push off of each stride, I never got that “running in molasses” feeling. I kept my mileage in the 2-4 range, but I think these would have held up even better over the course of a long run where a cushioned sole performs best.
Despite being a well-cushioned shoe I still got the minimal, barefoot feel that you want without any of the pain that can accompany it.
Many runners have that trusted shoe brand they know does right by their feet, and I can safely say that On is going to become one of them.
Since emerging on the shoe market, On has come out with models that prioritize different features for runners. The Cloud X is a lightweight trainer, the Cloudflash is a racing shoe, and the Cloudventure is a waterproof trail runner. No matter what you need, you can grab shoes with these fascinating Cloudtec soles.
If you’re looking for a new pair of running shoes, and want one that specializes in saving your feet the wear of the road while still providing a minimal feel, then give On’s Cloud trainers a try.