Shoe Review: On Cloud X 3
Be prepared for any workout with the On Cloud X 3.
The On Cloud X 3 combines minimalist cushioning with style for HIIT workouts, gym sessions and quick runs. On’s signature CloudTec cushioning system provides lightweight support while a plastic Speedboard plate serves up a firm ride.
On Cloud X 3
7 oz (W), 8.5 oz (M)
Altra Solstice XT
Mix Up Your Routine in the On Cloud X 3
It’s rare to find a shoe that can do it all, but the On Cloud X 3 just about fits the bill. With subtle cushioning and a stable platform, it can handle anything from lunges and box jumps to sprint intervals.
The On Cloud X 3 is built on a bed of CloudTec cushioning – a series of pods underfoot, called Clouds, that compress upon landing and pop up during take-off. The Clouds are molded from On’s signature Helion foam, a lightweight midsole foam that combines rigid and flexible elements into the same foam compound.
While the On Cloud X 3 features innovative cushioning technology, our reviewers categorized it as a minimalist-style shoe. If you enjoy a soft, plush ride, these won’t be the right choice for you. Instead, the Cloud X 3 is built to handle all types of workouts, specifically gym and cross-training activities.
“While this shoe feels fairly smooth, it offers a pretty firm ride,” Nate says. “So if you’re looking for a lot of extra cushion and bounce, this might not be the shoe for you. However, that firmness creates an excellent stable platform that makes this shoe gym worthy.”
On included their signature Speedboard in the Cloud X 3, a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) plate sandwiched inside the midsole that propels you forward as you toe off. It also adds a firm, rigid quality to the midsole, making this a great choice for runners who enjoy a stiff, stable platform. A wider platform offers more lateral support than previous versions of the Cloud X, so you can tackle any workout with confidence.
“The step-in feel of the On Cloud X 3 is decidedly firm, with a little bit of flexibility in the forefoot,” Caroline says. “While I wouldn’t choose these shoes for long runs or spending lots of time on my feet, they work well for shorter, faster runs or gym workouts. They are perfect for runners who enjoy a lightweight ride with plenty of ground contact.”
Just because our reviewers don’t prefer this shoe for racking up the miles doesn't mean you won’t. In the age of high stack heights (the difference in height from the ground to your feet) and overstuffed midsoles, true minimalist runners are often left behind. If you enjoy feeling the ground beneath your feet and want to carry as little weight as possible, the On Cloud X 3 may be your perfect fit.
Three-Layer Mesh Upper Holds You In
The On Cloud X 3 has been revamped with a luxurious three-layer engineered mesh upper, offering breathability and support in a smooth, lightweight package. The material is made from 90-95% recycled content, part of On’s sustainability initiative.
An ultra-thin, gusseted tongue sits comfortably atop your foot while a redesigned heel holds you in without any slippage. The On Cloud X 3 also offers a unique star lacing design, as seen in the Cloudflyer 4 and the On Cloudstratus. The lacing system reduces pressure on your forefoot and is more accommodating to different foot shapes.
“The toe box in the On Cloud X 3 feels spacious and the heel feels comfortable yet secure,” Alex says. “The shoe looks and feels solid, like it can handle some abrasion and hard use. I didn’t experience any pressure spots, rubbing, or numbness, and the shoes felt very stable throughout the run.”
On does what they do best in the On Cloud X 3 – offer a wide range of striking color combinations with bold contrasts and neutral undertones. Even if you’re not heading to the gym or out for a run, you can sport these just about anywhere for a sleek, stylish look.
On Cloud X 3 vs Cloud X 2.0
The On Cloud X 3 feels and looks remarkably similar to the previous version, but boasts a few key updates. The Cloud X 3 offers a more secure heel counter, reducing heel slippage that can lead to irritation and blistering. That, combined with the new star lacing design, creates the trifecta of a perfect fit – snug in the heel and midfoot but roomy enough for some wiggle room in the forefoot.
“The On Cloud X 3 fits true to size,” Nate says. “There’s plenty of space for my toes, while the rest of my foot feels anchored down on a nice, stable platform.”
A new, three-layer mesh upper adds breathability, and a wider base adds stability to the On Cloud X 3.
What is the On Cloud X 3 Best For?
While the On Cloud X 3 can certainly be worn for training runs and interval workouts, Fleet Feet reviewers prefer it for cross training activities like HIIT workouts and strength sessions.
“The Cloud X definitely feels more minimal than a traditional running shoe,” Kate says. “The underfoot is decidedly firm, without much cushion to protect from the impact of the road. This is ideal for HIIT-style workouts where you need to be ready for a variety of different activities and movements. And the wide base of the shoe provides a stable platform to keep you balanced.”