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On Cloud Shoes Review: Light as a Feather, Sturdy Support

On Cloud Shoes

On Cloud Running Shoes : Monochrome Edition

Disclaimer: I am not a runner. I wear running shoes to workout because they cushion my joints better than other types of fitness shoes (I do an interval-type workout of elliptical, rower and weights). If you’re looking for reviews of this shoe from actual runners, check out On-Running.com. But if you have compromised joints, yet still enjoy working out, read on. And if you decide to try a pair, I hope you love them as much as I do.

I first learned of the Swiss running company, On, while perusing new arrivals at Zappos. The On Cloud shoe in a light minty green monochrome color-way grabbed my attention and I couldn’t look away! They stood out among the gawdy shoes in day-glo orange with purple logos splashed across the sides: all one color, streamlined design, and what were those quirky square pod things on the sole? I had to click through to find out more about On Cloud shoes.

On Cloud Shoes

On Cloud Shoes Monochrome Edition in Jade

The 16 pods on the sole aren’t  just there to pique curiosity from onlookers–they really do serve an important purpose. Upon foot strike (whether you’re running, walking, or doing jump squats), the “cloud pods” (rubber elements on sole) compress to cushion the impact on feet, knees and back. The cloud pods then lock firm to provide a solid foundation for a natural toe-off. The following video featuring On co-founder, Caspar Coppetti, will show you more about the On Cloud shoe and its unique features.

Live from the On Labs | The Cloud from On on Vimeo.

Mr. Coppetti shows us the speed-lacing system which transforms the On Cloud into a slip-on shoe! It really does work, folks. I was a bit fearful that the shoe would slip off mid-workout, but it feels secure with no heel slip. I’ve tightened the laces a little by adding an additional knot. If the speed-laces aren’t your thing, On sends a pair of traditional laces for tying.

On Cloud Shoes: Cloud X

Cloud X

A few more observations as I wear my new On Cloud shoes for walking, working out and running errands (the only kind of running I do):

  • Toe room: I have a pair of Altras with the foot-shape toe box and while I do love the roominess, they have a clunky look to them and are difficult to get into the foot bindings of the rowing machine and stationary bike. The On Clouds are forgiving of bunions and hammertoes without the extra bulk of a super-wide toe box, plus I can strap into the rower and bike quickly and not miss a beat!
  • Arch support: Being that the On Cloud is designed to promote a barefoot feel, one would expect little to no arch support. I’m pleasantly surprised, however, as my arches feel moderately supported. I attribute this more to the center four cloud pods than the insole. I also suspect that the individual pods provide customized support and cushioning as opposed to one thick outsole. The insole is removable, so you can insert your favorite orthotic insoles. Or you may want to try the On Cloudflyer stability shoe which is designed to align over-pronating feet.
  • Flexibility: Obviously this shoe is flexible at the forefoot or it wouldn’t be considered a barefoot/minimalist-type running shoe. However, this feature may aggravate toes with hallux limitus or rigidus. I’d stick with a thicker-sole shoe like Hoka One One or Altra if you suffer from this condition.
  • Breathability: Do your feet overheat easily? The On Cloud features lightweight mesh upper at the forefoot which allows air to circulate into and out of the shoe. Plus you’ll never wear a more lightweight fitness shoe! My husband picked one up and tossed it into the air exclaiming, “They’re light as a feather!” True, yet don’t think lightweight means flimsy. This shoe has support in all the right places.
  • Seams: I once had a fitness shoe with a design logo that used a stiff piece of synthetic right across the bunion area. Ouch!  The On Cloud has no irritating seams, grommets, or stitching. If you are diabetic and suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you’ll love the seamless feel of On Cloud shoes.

I mentioned On’s stability shoe, but check out the whole family of On running shoes to find the perfect shoe for your fitness needs. Available in whole and half sizes, 5-11 from On-Running.com, Zappos, Amazon, or find an On retailer near you.

On Cloud Shoes in All Black

On Cloud Shoes in All Black

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13 Responses to On Cloud Shoes Review: Light as a Feather, Sturdy Support

  1. Amanda moore says:

    Do they have an arch support, it is a must for me.

  2. Robin Wold says:

    I am on my second pair of on cloud tennis shoes. I have bunions and plantar fascitis and these shoes work great for me. I get lots of compliments on the way they look.

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      I love how easy they are to get on and off. Love the natural-feeling support, room for toes and great cushioning/shock-absorption. THanks for the feedback!

  3. Christena Umsted says:

    They didn’t help the burning pain I get from my arthritis. My daughter, with plantar fasciitis swears by them

  4. lisa clark says:

    i was in car accident yrs ago & pelvis shattered in which i need 1 inch lift on left shoe. i really want to try these clould shoes but the sole wont let it b possible what do u recommend?

  5. Anita says:

    I’m looking for great walking shoes – both sneakers and travel shoes. I walk between 3 – 5 miles/day, have wide feet, bunions, arthritis on the tops of my feet, and arthritis in my knees and hips. I’m a bit of a mess, to be honest, and just learning the virtues of great shoes over cheaper shoes.
    I especially need help finding shoes I can walk/stand in that look less casual than your basic work out shoe.
    I’ve recently seen really cute knit shoes but worry they will lack sufficient support. What can you tell me about knit shoes, and sneakers/shoes in general for arthritis?
    This blog is a gold mine! So glad I am discovering it!

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Hi Anita. I agree that knit shoes may not offer the lateral support you need for your feet and knees. They sure do look cute, though. This Clark’s shoe may not be a knit shoe, but I think it’s a step up stylewise from basic trainers and offers great support, a rocker sole and comes in wide widths. What do you think? A knit sneaker that offers good support and has a wide toe box is the Fitflop Uberknit–check them out!

  6. O. says:

    I’m wondering if I’m missing something. I ordered an On shoe for the arch support and awesome style. I have regular width feet, somewhat narrow heels, but when the shoes arrived I was so disappointed with how narrow they were. I’ve checked their website to see if there is a wider version to no avail. Can anyone provide any help?

  7. Margo says:

    Will running shoes work as well as walking shoes for arthritic feet? I am 64 and don’t have the best balance anymore. Walking shoes tend to be bulky, and I would love to have something lightweight for my vacation this summer, which will require a lot of walking. Any suggestions?

  8. Ethyl Lee says:

    Please help i have trouble finding the right fitting comforable shoes i wear size 9 wide. The problem is not enough toe room and too much room in the heel which make them slide when i walk also causes pain in toes and heel. any suggestions are welcome please reply thanks

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