On Cloudmonster 2 Review

The On Cloudmonster 2.

All shoes are reviewed by the Fleet Feet tester team, which represents a wide variety of goals, foot shapes, running locations and terrains. Reviewers pound the pavement, climb the hills, tackle the trails, then come together to compare notes. Debates ensue over the feel of the cushioning, the purpose of the shoe, and how it compares to last year’s model. While each reviewer has their own individual preferences, we hope that capturing our debates will help you make an informed decision.

The Cloudmonster first launched in 2022 as part of their evolution from strictly minimalist-style running shoes into higher-cushion options. With a monster stack height, a springy feel and a unique appearance, the Cloudmonster was willing to “get weird” in a fun, spunky way.

The Fleet Feet reviewers loved the On Cloudmonster, and one certain tester who won’t be named (starts with a K and rhymes with great) was spotted a year later running in the same pair of worn down, beat up Cloudmonsters. In a world where we’re constantly being sent the latest and greatest in footwear, that’s saying something!

Can the new Cloudmonster 2, launching February 22nd, capture our affection in the same way? Read on to find out.

Tech Specs

On Cloudmonster 2

Weight 8.1 oz (W), 10.4 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 34.5 mm/29 mm
Heel-to-toe drop 5.5 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road
Price $180
Comparable to... Brooks Glycerin 21, HOKA Mach X

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

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CloudTec cushioning creates a firm bounce

A side profile of the On Cloudmonster 2

As mentioned above, the original Cloudmonster marked a transition for On, as they went from only offering firm, minimalist styles into higher-cushioned, softer options. While the Cloudmonster is certainly highly cushioned, it can’t be described as a plush shoe.

“The Cloudmonster feels firm and stable underfoot,” says Nate, who typically prefers a firm underfoot feel. “The Helion Superfoam and CloudTec pods popped me right back up for some very solid energy return.”

On uses a dual-layer Helion superfoam in the Cloudmonster 2, a midsole foam that combines both soft and firm elements for a balanced feel. A nylon plate, which On calls their Speedboard, embedded in between the layers of foam adds a decidedly firm feel. The Speedboard compresses under your weight as you land and then rebound as you take off, propelling you forward.

I found this shoe to be springier than your average daily trainer, and Nate and Travis agreed with me.

“The Cloudmonster 2 definitely feels light and responsive enough to pick up the pace a little bit,” says Travis, a sub-2:30 marathoner who prefers bouncy shoes.

While Travis and Nate appreciated the underfoot ride, Kate and Ashley thought the shoe felt a tad firmer and flatter than the previous iteration. However, this could be due to sizing issues which we’ll dive into below.

Cloudmonster 2 struggles with sizing issues

The On Cloudmonster 2.

Unfortunately, all of us except Nate found the Cloudmonster 2 to fit much too large. Nate has high-volume, wide feet, and his pair fit perfectly.

“I was beyond excited to get these shoes because the Cloudmonster is one of my absolute favorite trainers,” says Ashley. “But this shoe disappointed me. The fit feels totally different. It’s too long and too wide all around. I’m someone who generally prefers a slightly wider, roomier shoe, I found myself sloshing around in these unless I was wearing thick, cushioned socks. On my last run, I had to turn around a half mile in and change my shoes.”

Travis, Kate and I were able to cinch down the fit and complete our test runs, but we would have preferred a true-to-size fit.

Despite the sizing discrepancies, the Cloudmonster 2 is made with premium, quality materials. An engineered mesh upper provides lightweight breathability. Plus, it’s eco-friendly! It’s made with 92-percent recycled materials, consistent with On’s commitment to sustainability.

On Cloudmonster 2 vs On Cloudmonster

Tech Specs

On Cloudmonster 2

On Cloudmonster

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 10.4 oz (M)

8.1 oz (W), 9.7 oz (M)

Stack height

34.5 mm/29 mm

30 mm/24 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

5.5 mm

6 mm

Price

$180

$170

The On Cloudmonster 2 features the same Helion superfoam, CloudTec cushioning and Speedboard as the last version. The biggest changes that reviewers noticed were the extra cushioning underfoot and the roomier fit.

“I was a huge fan of the original Cloudmonster so, of course, I was excited to try the second version,” Kate says. “However, the main thing I notice is that the shoe is way roomier—too roomy in my opinion. Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed overall. I feel like my best friend went away for the summer and came back a different person. However, if you’re trying these on in a store, the solution might be as simple as getting a half size smaller. Definitely try these on before buying to see if you can find the right fit.”

Kate also noted that the rocker shape felt much less pronounced on the Cloudmonster 2, but this could be a result of the shoes being too long for her.

“Despite the sizing issue, I really liked the ride of this new version,” says Travis. “It still feels a little bit firm but I could tell that On added some extra cushioning to it.”

We also noticed that On filled in the outsole channel that captured rocks and debris in the previous version, which made our off-road adventurers happy.

The Helion foam in the On Cloudmonster 2.

How does the On Cloudmonster compare?

We took a look at some comparable shoes to see how they stack up against the On Cloudmonster 2. Here’s what we found.

Tech Specs

On Cloudmonster 2

Brooks Glycerin 21

HOKA Mach X

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 10.4 oz (M)

8.8 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)

8 oz (W), 9.4 oz (M)

Stack height

34.5 mm/29 mm

28 mm/18 mm

37 mm/32 mm (W),

42 mm/37 mm (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

5.5 mm

10 mm

5 mm

Price

$180

$160

$180

We found the On Cloudmonster 2 to feel most similar to the Brooks Glycerin 21 and the HOKA Mach X. All three shoes have a firm underfoot feel with varying levels of responsiveness.

“The Mach X, like the Cloudmonster 2, has firm but springy, forward-propelling cushioning,” says Ashley. The two shoes are also similar in stack height, heel-to-toe drop and price.

The Cloudmonster 2 also reminded me of the Brooks Glycerin 21, which I recently tested on long runs and easier runs. Both shoes feel just a touch firmer than what I’d typically expect from a highly cushioned neutral trainer, but they roll along smoothly for easy paces.

Who is the On Cloudmonster 2 best for?

Because of its firm, responsive underfoot feel, the Cloudmonster 2 is best suited for runners who like a tall stack of cushion, but have an aversion to soft, squishy shoes (like Nate).

“I’d recommend the Cloudmonster 2 to runners who enjoy stability and responsiveness over an overly plush, pillow-like feel,” says Nate.

While the Cloudmonster 2 does have some sizing issues, trying on the shoes in-store will help ensure you find the perfect fit. Head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.

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