On Running is a brand born out of competition. It’s founder Oliver Bernhard, a former three-time world duathlon champion began a journey in 2010 that would pave the way for developing a shoe that would offer the ‘perfect running’ sensation. Big goals then from a new brand; but when running, engineering and passion collide, the results are often unexpected.
The idea for the On shoe was simple: soft, cushioned landing with a firm take-off. Though this may sound easy to develop, think about the billions of ways the foot can strike the ground and it’s a much harder thing to engineer – but that’s the point.
The On sole unit has been developed not to restrict the motion of the foot, rather to set it free by allowing your own style of running to shine, which is the clever part. The patented CloudTec® cushioning, disperses the forces from the first heel strike which enables you to transition to the mid-foot with ease.
The eighteen pods or clouds which run the length of the sole work in harmony, moving both vertically and laterally where needed to ensure that every step is unique to you.
First look and feel
It’s fair to say that the Cloudflow doesn’t look like any other shoe on the market – in a good way. Each individual cloud is hollow which seems strange at first to look at but makes perfect sense. The other striking feature is the central Speeedboard running down the middle of the sole which promotes swift transitions and a responsive ride as is it allows for natural rolling.
Every part of the Cloudflow feels designed with the runner in mind and nothing seems over-engineered or unnecessary. From the positioning of the forefoot mesh ventilation panels to the inner sock which adds comfort, to the super fine laces which are great, this is a shoe that is sleek and futuristic.
I loved the clean lines; it just looks quick and feels fantastic out of the box. I love the design but it is a departure from the norm. However, the true test is not being worn round the office, it’s out on the road.
Putting them to the test
What I noticed straight away was a level of cushioning I didn’t expect and I was sceptical. I also tend to overpronate so was a little worried about any extra roll but I needn’t have worried.
The best way to describe the cushioning sensation is that it’s almost as it your natural gait is corrected for you and the push off becomes a lot more fun because of the initial soft but firm landing, especially on a downhill. What I loved was on every run it felt like someone was pulling me forward which is game changing.
I could also hear the clouds suck and hold onto the pavement which made me smile and taking a downhill section at speed was very comfortable; there was no vibration through the legs as the clouds took all the force amply.
Flat sections are great too as the clouds in effect brought my foot lower to the ground than I’m used too but the responsiveness was a joy and I’m happy to say they are quick – seriously, effortlessly quick.
In terms of comfort there were no pinch points, the heel box is comfortable, the tongue comes up to a nice height and they were stable which is always a bonus for a neutral shoe. Seriously, I didn’t want to take them off and they are now my go to shoe.
The Cloudflow were a joy to run in. Very light, breathable, brilliant cushioning and quick. In short, I didn’t want to take them off. For me these are the future technology and sport working in harmony and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
I can promise that you’ll not stop smiling whenever you run in them and yes, you will feel like you’re running on clouds, all eighteen of them.
Words: Virgil Andrew