While I have generally average feet that can handle most shoes with relative ease (a good problem to have here at Run Oregon), switching to new shoes always makes me a little bit nervous. I have recently ran in On shoes, but before that it had been over 8 years! The new On Cloudmonster released this year and we have been testing them out for a few weeks.
Of the three On shoes that I have tried, the On Cloudmonster feels like the most well-constructed true “running” shoe in their arsenal. While even the recently reviewed Cloudrunner felt like a huge step forward in the running sphere, the Cloudmonster is firmly entrenched in this sphere and is an absolute standout.
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The Cloudmonster lives up to its name with the largest CloudTec cushion (30mm to heel!) that On has ever put in a shoe. This maximal shoe (is that a thing?!) provides true-to-self visuals with the big puffy “clouds” that provide an enhanced support and feel (more on that below).
There seem to be two colorways for the shoe and the media pair we received (Acai | Aloe), while fun, pales in comparison to the beautiful other in their arsenal (Frost | Surf). You can’t really go wrong with either however. The purple is not as bright as you would expect – a solid amount of flair and splash without screaming PURPLE.
And, while it really doesn’t matter, the Cloudmonsters actually “look” like running shoes too. Now, I am generally a huge fan of shoes that can crossover between numerous walks (or runs) of life. But those usually end up out of my heavier rotation of running shoes – either due to style overtaking function or just a feel in them that scream like an equal crossover of lifestyle and run (i.e. Cloudrunner).
So the fact that these specific On shoes both look AND feel like running shoes really provides them with a unique (and frankly welcome) addition to the On family.
As far as On goes, the upper is pretty basic. But maybe that’s a good thing (I will gladly trade a simple upper in lieu of a favorable ride any day). It is made from recycled polyester and has seemed to be relatively breathable over the past month or so.
I haven’t experience any heel irritation so the lockdown has done its job admirably. For a thick shoe the tongue remains thin and hasn’t had any issues with moving. It does its job without overthinking it – and it hits the mark.
The Speedboard in the midsole provides quite a feel. It’s somehow got those soft landings you want, but not enough where the energy just sticks to the road. Even the poofiness of the Cloudmonster doesn’t get in the way of returning some nice energy into your steps. Seriously, this by far (in my still limited On experience) is the softest and most run-specific feel pair they have made.
Since my first On review, they have seemingly upgraded their game on the grip. It makes sense that the unique design of On shoes demands an enhanced grip, and many out there, even if On shoes aren’t their jam, appreciate the outsole. These have received a few wet runs at around the 8:15/mi pace and hasn’t lost a step in normal PNW conditions.
Honestly, this is the first On shoe that I feel like I could run over 10 miles in. Even straight out of the box these put in 7 miles with ease and my feet thanking me the whole time. Color me impressed.
Even though this is a max cushion shoe – it still rides a little firmer than other big boys in this sphere. If you are looking for the super cushion in a thick HOKA, I don’t think you are going to get there with this. That being said, I still REALLY enjoy the feel in these.
Though it hasn’t happened yet (and granted – I have done only paved road and sidewalk runs in these, I am sure that rocks will eventually find their way in the bottom. Ultimately, I don’t think this will be the biggest issue in the world for 90% of runs (unless after 100 miles every rock on your route grows Cloudmonster radar), but if you plan on moving between more varied terrain, this is a definite possibility.
The Cloudmonster is also working towards enhanced sustainability. Over 35% of the shoes are made from recycled materials and 80% of the polyester is recycled.
If you have been out on On before, we strongly suggest you take the plunge in these.
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Products & Price:
- On Cloudmonster | $170
- Weight: 9.7 oz (M9);
- Offset: 6mm
- Acai | Aloe (reviewed)
- Frost | Surf
Thank you to On for providing us with test shoes. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.