Run Oregon bloggers have tested quite a few On shoes, but I had never worn a pair when I got their new model, the Cloud X, a few weeks ago. True to previous shoes from On, the Cloud X is a lightweight shoe, but with more cushion that’s designed to take you from run to core to strength and then back. For the days I run to a workout class or do one of my post-work “park runs,” they are pretty perfect.
My primary fitness outlets are running (20-25 miles a week), barre at T’s Fitness Garage, and bootcamp/bodyweight style classes at Tone Fitness in Beaverton. In the warmer months, I also like to add planks, push-ups (sad though they may be), and plyometrics to my shorter runs; otherwise I’ll do speedwork at a track or runs of 5-10 miles. There’s a short video at the bottom of this post that shoes the shoes’ flexibility – it’s 45 seconds and you don’t need the sound – but no, that’s not me in the video!
Up until this point, I’ve always worn shoes that are specifically and exclusively for running. I wear support shoes for most training runs and have a few pairs of lightweight shoes that I can only wear for racing, and the On Cloud are a good balance between the support and the minimal style that just feels fast when you put them on.
The shoes have a pretty minimal look without seams (which means no hot spots from stitching). I wear medium width shoes, but always keep my shoes laced very loosely so they never feel tight, even on long runs. The On Clouds felt a little snug across the forefoot the first time I tried them on, but after a five-mile run I did not notice this anymore at all. The shoes fit more like a structured sock; there are no pressure points and the material stretches in all directions at once. That being said, the laces are long enough that I could easily double-knot them even with the loose lacing and they stay tied. In most of my shoes, I just tie them in a knot because they don’t have laces long enough to do a bow. (I’m one of those runners who rarely unties my shoes.)
The uppers are also very thin, which keeps your feet cool – I can’t wait to wear these for a summer speed workout or race. The heel cup is more rigid, with raised padding designed to keep the fit snug around the heel and achilles. You can see this in the above photo – it may look like a fully padded collar, but it’s just pockets of additional padding to keep the heel from slipping. I did not lace-lock these shoes and did not have any trouble with slipping. I did wear some no-show socks the first time I ran in them, and the heel collar hit me just so (I rubbed off some skin), but I learned my lesson and wore taller socks from then on.
In addition to wearing these for shorter training runs (4-6 miles), I wore them for a 10k race (at which I got a PR, thankyouverymuch). If you are looking for a lighter shoe to race in but, like me, aren’t quite ready to sport actual racing flats, try these on. I warmed up in my usual support shoes and then changed into these for the race, and I could feel the difference in the weight.
Speaking of the sole, it’s divided for nearly it’s full length with a deep groove. Because of this, I was a little nervous wearing them at this particular race, which started and finished on a soggy mud/woodchip path (the ORRC Champoeg 10k on Saturday, March 4). Fellow blogger Annette Vaughan was at the race, and she pointed out that the sole may collect rocks; but I didn’t feel anything in the treads during the race. This groove adds some stability to the shoe, especially if you’re doing side-to-side jumps. The treads are also divided horizontally, which allows for more flexibility.
The drop on these shoes is only 6 mm, which is pretty minimal, and a men’s 8.5 weighs just 8 oz. I felt they are pretty true to size, and the 8.5 in these fit as expected. The men’s come in five different colors, including a nearly all-white version which looks really cool, as do the women’s.
Another thing to like about On shoes is that they are created right here in Portland, and they have their own store at 1102 NW Marshall Street in the Pearl District. They are also available at area Fleet Feet and Road Runner Sports stores, or online, for around $140. Check them out and let us know what you think!