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SHOE REVIEW: On Cloudsurfer

Say goodbye to the Speedboard and hello to true cloud-like comfort

On Cloudsurfer feature image Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

The Swiss running brand On has made some significant changes with the Cloudsurfer, compared to its previous neutral running shoe offerings. They have eliminated the stiff “Speedboard,” added their softest-ever foam and evolved the cushioning technology to make for smooth transitions. The result: plush comfort and responsive toe-off in a ridiculously lightweight package.

Category: neutral cushioning
Drop: 10 mm
Price: CAD $200
Weight: 245 g (M)/205 g (W)
Available: now

Upper

The Cloudsurfer has incredible step-in comfort, thanks to the generously padded tongue and heel collar. These plush materials made the upper a bit warmer than I would ideally like for summer runs, but it is a worthwhile tradeoff. The Cloudsurfer is built on a fairly wide last, and I was concerned at first that my narrow foot would shift in the ample toe box. But the lacing system creates a secure lockdown, and unlike the thin cords that On has opted for in the past, the flat laces reduce the likelihood of the shoes coming untied mid-run. 

On Cloudsurfer upper
Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn

Midsole

The Cloudsurfer is the company’s first shoe built without their signature Speedboard–a stiff plate in the midsole that’s meant to add stability and assist propulsion. While the Speedboard succeeded in creating an energetic ride, I found that it added unnecessary rigidity to daily trainers. Removing this plate makes the Cloudsurfer significantly softer and more comfortable than previous On models.

One of the reasons the company could afford to make this change is the evolution of their cushioning system. The new CloudTec Phase technology creates a domino effect, as each ‘cloud’ segment compresses and rebounds quickly when loaded. This offers the responsiveness formerly provided by the Speedboard, without the stiffness underfoot. Paired with lightweight Helion foam and aggressive rocker geometry, this midsole offers remarkably smooth transitions.

On Cloudsurfer midsole
Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn

Outer

Another major departure for On is the change to the Cloudsurfer’s outsole. Gone are the outsole cloud pods–instead, On has opted for a more traditional outsole with full ground contact. This adds to the comfort and stability of the ride, and eliminates the debris pick-up that I have experienced with other On shoes. The thin layer of rubber on the outsole provides decent traction on multiple surfaces without adding much weight.

On Cloudsurfer outsole
Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn

Final thoughts

By abandoning several of their established features, On took a risk with the Cloudsurfer, but I think the gamble more than paid off. For recovery runs and daily mileage, this is by far my favourite On trainer to date. For exceptional lightweight comfort, ride the clouds in the new On Cloudsurfer!

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