Shoe Review: On Cloudswift

A pair of On Cloudswift running shoes in teal

On’s running shoes started turning heads in 2010 with their unique look, but it was their performance that set them apart.

Shortly after the company launched, athletes in On shoes won the Ironman World Championship and an Olympic medal. Today, the futuristic-looking shoes are winning converts around the world. And for good reason.

The Swiss brand’s newest shoe, the On Cloudswift, pushes On to the next level by debuting Helion foam. According to On, the light and bouncy foam was made to return more energy and protect against unforgiving pavement better than other shoes.

This review will take you through how the Cloudswift fit our testers, how it felt during workouts and what we ultimately thought of it. But first, here are the details:

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7mm
  • Weight: 8.5 oz, women’s; 10.2 oz, men’s
  • Category: Neutral, road
  • MSRP: $150
The men's On Cloudswift in gray

On Cloudswift Fit

On’s signature look—a sleek, minimal upper paired with cushioning pods underneath—will draw you in, but put it on and you’ll step into a different feeling than you’re used to.

Before even tying the laces, our testers noticed the how the shoe's last combined with the material in the midfoot hugged their arches to make it feel like a shoe with dedicated arch support. The sturdy arch added comfortable structure to the footbed that didn’t impede how it felt when in use.

“I noticed the arch distinctly, and the shoe felt kind of hard when I first put it on, but when I ran in it, I stopped noticing that sensation,” says one tester.

According to another runner: “The arch support is first class. And the shoe is incredibly comfortable to wear around.”

Like other On shoes, it sports a seamless and breathable engineered mesh upper, which gives it a modern look and feel. To create structure and increase support, though, On layered a stretchy midfoot band on top.

Designers threaded laces through the mesh (on the forefoot) and then through four lace holes on each side of the band (around the midfoot) to anchor the shoe more securely. One Fleet Feet tester with a wider foot immediately noticed the additional security as he tightened the laces.

Two testers with average-width feet had trouble finding the right fit for their heels; both say they would have liked an extra lace hole to help secure the back of the shoe, but it didn’t cause any problems when they were running. Another tester with a higher-volume foot didn’t notice any heel slippage.

The women's On Cloudswift in plum

On Cloudswift Ride

The On Cloudswift was designed for roads, and it shows.

On calls its new Helion cushion a “superfoam” for how it absorbs impact and returns energy while being lightweight and flexible. Our testers felt all those benefits.

The Helion foam is shaped into what On calls Cloud Elements, which provide the cushion during a run. All of our testers praised the way the foam felt under their feet.

“It’s bouncy yet firm,” says one tester. “Every step feels noticeably light, and the landing to take-off transition is unbelievably smooth. So they hit the mark there.”

Inside the shoe, On sandwiched its Speedboard technology between the upper and midsole to add to the propulsive feeling of the shoe. The Speedboard is a plastic plate that On designed to flex, twist and roll forward to make you more efficient.

One tester says he felt like the Cloudswift encouraged him to keep moving forward.

“It felt like the shoe wanted me up on my forefoot when I ran,” he says. “Even when I slowed down, I felt like the shoe wanted me to keep moving.”

The only problem testers ran into was debris getting stuck in the sole. The channel created between Cloud Elements on the bottom of the shoe can grab rocks or other debris from trails and hold onto them until you dig them out. But the shoe is designed for paved city streets where rocks and debris aren’t as much of a problem.

The men's On Cloudswift in rust

Conclusion

The new On Cloudswift makes the most of On’s array of performance technologies while debuting an energetic and protective new foam. We liked the Cloudswift for fast or long days on pavement because of how it propels you forward and cushions each step.

“This is a great shoe for moderate to long road runs,” a tester says. “It’s good for faster runs due to its light weight, good traction and quick transition, and it has excellent energy return.”

We also loved the shoe for how it looks. The minimal upper and unique midsole stand out in a crowded running shoe market, making it as good for workouts as it is for kicking around town.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

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