On running shoes review

Running is my first love and I’ve been doing it for over 17 years now. However my last few years have been tough. I’ve dealt with a lot of knee issues and my running (and sometimes sanity) has suffered.

I’ve seen a lot of professionals, worked on a lot of strength to fix imbalances and tried a myriad of running shoes.

I received a pair of On running shoes from the company and was excited to test them out.


Despite attempting Pose running, I still heel strike. These shoes are perfect for me as a heel striker.

They use a CloudTec system, meaning the sole has lugs or clouds to absorb force and ensure a soft landing. For me, this means the clouds take the road shock that used to hurt my knees.


You might think that means they’re clunky to push off from, but it’s quite the opposite. Once the foot hits the ground, the clouds compress providing a foundation for a powerful push off.

As it explains in the video, “clever rubber elements cushion your landing then lock firm for a powerful takeoff”.

I’ve worn the shoes for a few runs and have found them to be very comfortable.

I got the Cloudsurfer and they have a 7mm heel drop (the maximum drop their shoes have is 7mm and I think the minimum is 5mm). It’s a little more than I’ve been running in this year, but if my knees are less sore I don’t mind a couple extra millimetres.

I generally experience issues with my heels sliding in shoes. These have an ergonomically designed heel and mine feel very supported in them.

Oddly, I really like their laces. Not only do they come with two pairs of different colours, but they also are long. I always double knot my laces and barely have enough to do so in some shoes. With these laces I can double knot and still have leftover lace.


They also have nice mesh with good ventilation, which is so great in warm or hot weather.

The downside
The only negative I see is for winter running. Although I just described the mesh ventilation as a good thing, my feet will get mighty cold on winter runs, especially in snow.

I’ll try them out in winter, as I want to test their traction. However, my feet get cold quickly in most shoes and I’m sure these will be no different.

If they made a Gore-Tex style, I’d be the first to buy them!

I have really liked the shoes and can’t wait to keep running in them as I pick up some distance. My knees haven’t been hurting, my heel is cushioned and my feet feel adequately supported.

If you’re the type to judge a book by its cover, they have cute colour options and I love my aqua and coral!

On running shoes can be purchased online or at local running shops.

About On and their athletes
On is a Swiss company with three cofounders, one of whom was a professional triathlete: Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti.

They began developing On running shoes in 2005. The shoes hit the shelves of running stores in Europe in 2010 and by 2011 were being sold in 18 countries at more than 500 shops.

They sponsor quite a few triathletes, from Olympians to XTERRA and iron distance athletes.

Just this past weekend, On athlete Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championships in a pair of On Cloudracers.

I was provided a pair of On running shoes at no cost. Opinions are all my own and no other compensation was provided. 

What brand of shoes do you run in? Are you committed to a specific brand?


44 responses to “On running shoes review

  1. Thanks for the great review! I love learning about new running products and companies. I’ve been an Asics girl for years, although I’ll also wear Brooks. I need a neutral, cushioned shoe because I have seriously high arches and my feet need the support!

  2. Hmm…I’ve never heard of that brand but really want to check them out more. Thanks for the review.
    I’m pretty partial to Mizunos but tend to rotate around on my shorter runs.

  3. I have never heard of these! Thank you for the review. I will keep them in mind. Heck, if someone can win an Ironman in these guys, they are worth trying!

  4. My feet also get SO cold when it dips below just 30 degrees F. I am totally with you on wanting Gore-Tex running shoes. The only winter-weather friendly shoes I’ve seen are so heavy and clunky. I had some very painful runs last winter with frozen feet. I’m looking for a lightweight waterproof running shoe. Do they exist?? 🙂

  5. Do you think they’d be good for a triathlon? I’m a loyalist until a brand switches their style. I just switched from K-swiss to Sacony this summer. I LOVE the Sacony colors and the minimalist feel (although supported). 🙂

    • I definitely think they’d be good for a triathlon, especially since you can feel so beaten up by the run! It’s nice to have the cushioning!
      Caroline Steffen also wears them!
      I’m a total sucker for pretty shoes! What made you switch from K-Swiss to Saucony?

      • Well, I just love Xena–so certainly a selling point! 🙂 I started to hate the K-swiss K-ona colors (black and yellow then red, white, blue–ugh!) but still liked the feel. Then, the design change stiffened the ankle and I got the peroneal tendon strain which was painful. Even if that wasn’t it–I could never wear the shoes again and gave them away. Saucony is very cushiony and soft material. (I left Asics and Mizunos because of design changes that caused blisters. I don’t wear socks for short races.) Also, I can get them locally—that’s important too and would probably make me think twice about the On.

      • So funny that a colour scheme can make us change our mind about a shoe! I forgot about your tendon issues. Does it feel fully better now?

      • Thank goodness yes. Both feet are back in action. Phew! Thx!

  6. Interesting! I’ve never heard of this brand, but it sounds like a great shoe! I feel you on the knee issues, I would definitely be curious to give them a try and see if they help me out too! Great review!

  7. Currently I am running in Brooks Ghost6, but in the past have had New Balance and Asics. I’m not really married to a particular brand, just as long as they fulfill their purpose, which is easier said than done! In the next couple weeks I am going to be in the market for another running shoe!

  8. I’m a Nike girl for some reason – I’ve tried others and keep going back. These sounds pretty good though! Curious to see how they work as your mileage goes up!

    • I’ll be interested, too, and I’ll be paying close attention!
      I wore Nike shoes for 16 years of running; I just switched after IM Canada in 2012! You should see the box of Nikes in my parent’s basement! (For some reason I kept them all.)

  9. I love hearing about new running shoe companies! I always feel like there is a bit of a monopoly going on… that being said, my favorites are Mizunos. I also love Brooks, but my Mizunos recently took the cake.

  10. I’ve been in Brooks Pure Flows for about 2 years now. Sticking with them since I haven’t gotten injured in all the time I’ve worn them. Plus I like how they feel and look, of course!

  11. These shoes sound wonderful!! I had a short time where I had some knee issues, and I am always alert now to ensure that I don’t do any serious damage. I run in Asics, and have found those to be my favorite!

  12. I haven’t heard about these, but I’m a heel striker too — thanks for sharing the info!

  13. Hey Abby, I’ve been faithfully reading along, although not commenting as much! Forgive me… 😉
    I was sent a pair of these too but have only managed a couple of runs in them so far (knee!). Glad to read you like them. I’ll definitely give them another try soon.

  14. I usually buy Nike but my latest pair are Adidas and I like them but they don’t seem to hold up as well. I haven’t heard of the On brand before but they definitely sound interesting. I had knee issues until I started wearing inserts. I would love to see more options like these in the stores.

    • You should check to see if any stores near you carry them. I was surprised to see we have one in our city. (You can check on the On website instead of having to visit a bunch of stores!)

      • runnerbydefault

        I just checked and there is a local store that carries them. I am excited to try them out!! Thanks!

  15. I’ve never heard of ON! I run in Brooks and Hokas. I like to change it up every couple of years!!!

  16. I bought new running shoes yesterday (trying out Asics again after wearing Nike for the past few years) and looked at these at the store! I should have tried them on… may have to go back to give them a whirl. Thanks for the info!

  17. Damien Clarkson

    I have been intrigued by these shoes. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive review.

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