Their road running shoes have already proven popular, now On are looking to break into the trail running market. Will Renwick tested out their latest release…

Newly launched by On is the Cloudventure, a unique running shoe designed for the trail. It’s the first off-road style from the brand based in the Alps and it’s likely to be the first of many from them.

On’s tagline is ‘run on clouds’, it’s a reference to their Cloud Tec design that’s used on all of their shoes. This involves little in-built compression pads on the outsole that act as a form of suspension. The intention is not just to take away any shock on the feet, but to aid push off as well.

On are well established in France, Switzerland and Germany and traction has also been made in the States where they currently stand as the fastest growing running brand. Now they are looking to crack the UK, and they’re hoping a move into trail running might do the job.

On Cloudventure trail

The shoe

There are four different models in the new trail shoe collection: the Cloudventure, the Cloudventure Midtop, the Shield and the Midtop Shield. The Midtop versions extend the inner layer up to the ankle and the Shield versions apply a waterproof membrane called OnShield.

Each shoe has 11 ‘clouds’ on the outsole and they are each a different shape and size. On the heel the clouds are thick and strong (but not inflexible) then on the toe mound they are thinner and have much more flex. The clouds are instantly noticeable when trying the shoes on for the first time; I could really feel the softness underfoot. When running in them they gave a slight spring on level paths and then lots of cushioning on descents – they certainly bring an extra bit of confidence.

To adapt the Cloud Tec outsole for the trail rather than the road the rubber clouds have been altered slightly. One difference is that they are a bit smaller. The other more obvious change is that they now also have lugs added onto them. These are diamond-shaped and cover certain parts of the outsole, in particular on the toe where they are quite heavily concentrated. I’ve found these give good grip and in a month of wearing the shoes quite regularly they  don’t seem to have worn down at all.

My main concern when introduced to these shoes was that the cavities in the clouds on the sole would clog with mud and stones, but having worn them on some muddy trail this is yet to happen. I would say however that they do squeak a bit when wet! The upper is supportive around the back of the heel and the mesh around the instep and the toes gave good temperature regulation. The lacing system is simple and it wraps the foot and holds well.

The verdict

While the cushioning is the USP it’s not something that has been overdone; you can still get a feel for the terrain in these shoes. I’ve really enjoyed wearing them, finding them comfortable and dependable. I’ve got an ultramarathon coming up and I’ll probably wear these.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes from this exciting company in the next couple of years.

Sizes: Men’s 6.5-13, Women’s 4-9

Weight: 590g/pair (Men’s 8.5)

Price: The Cloudventure is priced at £125, Cloudventure Midtop £130, Cloudventure Shield £140 and Cloudventure Shield midtop £145.