Engineered in Zurich, Switzerland, the On Cloud running shoes aim to “fuse the running experience with engineering expertise to form an ideal product” for running.
Usage of rubber pieces called Clouds
Using rubber pieces called Clouds that are supposed to cushion your landing and then disappear completely for a natural running experience together with an explosive take-off, the On Cloud running shoes are said to create a unique combination of comfort and speed.
Acting as stabilising Swiss balls, the Clouds responds to the individual movements of the foot and at the same time, both vertical and horizontal forces to allow you to glide softly into your stride, with a soft landing too.
And together with the Clouds, the shoes also comprises the Speedboard technology, which promotes an active running movement with no pre-defined rolling line, thus encouraging the natural rolling movement of the foot. Each Speedboard is precisely adapted to fit every model of the On Cloud shoes.
The Cloud shoes encourage an active running gait with no artificial guidance, thus giving the runner more control over his or her running movements.
Looks pretty, classy and delicate
Like all Swiss made products, the Cloud shoes look pretty; my unit is black with white trimmings and I feel that it seems classy and delicate.
But that said, the appearance is quite distinctively different as compared to most other running shoes. I thought these actually can pass off as funky street shoes rather than as standard running ones.
Tested out the shoes on several runs
With the pair that I have subsequently received since the launch event, I have been able to test out the Cloud shoes for several runs now, ranging from about 2km to a maximum of 10km+.The shoes feel quite different to your standard running shoe – it definitely takes some time getting used to running with the Clouds. This is because unlike the flat and smooth soles of most running shoes, the Cloud shoes are quite wobbly.
Slight wobbly sensation
In fact I had to take the shoes out for a couple of walks in order to get used to the feeling and sensation, before I had felt comfortable enough to run significant distances in them. This had been because the Clouds gave me a slightly wobbly and unstable sensation at the beginning.
Explained Laura Pollino, 29, from the ON international sales headquarters in Switzerland, “It may feel wobbly and people may not be accustomed to the shoes; the feedback that we get often, is, wow this is different but then we let them run and jump around in the shoes to let the Clouds get firm, giving them the cushioning that they need.”
I admit that it took me several kilometres and some time to get used to the feeling of the shoes at the beginning.
Running on Clouds
However after using them for a while and getting accustomed to the ‘wobbly’ feeling though, I found that I did somewhat get the feeling that I am indeed running on clouds. This is especially the case when I was doing my hill reps or rolling hills training sessions. These shoes really do feel lightweight and you can’t really feel that you are wearing them on your feet as you run – unlike some of the heavy and chunky running shoes.
As Pollino summed up, “Basically we want you to have fun when running and feel comfortable in the shoes that you wear. We want you to have the feeling you are running on Clouds.”
When wearing the shoes to run after a particularly heavy downpour one morning, I also felt that the grip of the soles had held up reasonably well even though the ground had been relatively slippery.
Using the Cloud shoes for my speed runs, I also had the sensation that I was running somewhat faster in them, and that it had also seemed to be easier to sprint when the Cloud shoes had been on my feet.
Stack up well in the Singapore heat
The shoes stack up quite well when running in the Singapore heat, with my feet continuing to feel cool and able to breathe even after several kilometres of running. This is thanks to the mesh material at the front and back of the shoe, together with the canvas material used on the sides.
Thanks to the elastic speed laces, the ON Cloud shoes also fit the feet quite seamlessly and they are easy to slip on and off. As such, this will make them good for transitions during triathlons.
But I may have to point out that due to the bumpy design of the shoe’s soles though, the Cloud shoes are best used for running on smooth roads rather than rougher surfaces. In fact, there had been one time during a run, when a large stone got wedged into the sole of the shoe and this had to be removed, before I could continue running.
I would also like to mention that the cutting on the Cloud shoes appears to be a bit on the narrow side, so this means that if you have wide feet, it may be better to go for a half or full size bigger so that you will feel more comfortable.
As the Cloud shoes are typically of a minimalist nature too, it must also be noted that there may be some time required to get used to the Cloud shoes – especially for those who are used to wearing heavily cushioned shoes.
The On Cloud shoes are currently available for purchase at Running Lab stores in Singapore.