On-Running “The Cloud” Shoe Review
Guest post by Peter Stuart @theloudmouse
Why do I keep trying new running shoes? I’m sure my wife is baffled by the seemingly never-ending stream of running shoes coming into our house—especially because none of them are ‘media samples’–every pair is paid for. I think it’s a search for some sort of transcendence. Every once in a great while everything lines up and I have a run that feels effortless: light, easy, fast, graceful, peaceful and um, transcendent. A lot of work goes into earning each of those runs and I have a dubious habit of either a.) assuming that the shoe I’m wearing is the cause or b.) thinking that if I just figure out which shoe to get then EVERY RUN will be a transcendent run. I know it’s not true, but between all of the great shoes out there and all of the great marketing out there I wind up trying a pretty good number of shoes. What’s the magic shoe? Invisible. Light, yet protective. Firm, yet cushioned. A series of paradoxes. This year the shoes that have really worked for me, at various times, have been the New Balance 890 v4 and the Skechers GoSpeed and to some degree the Mizuno Hitogami. That said, the 890 is maybe slightly too much shoe for me and the gospeed is slightly too little. So the search goes on. I thought the On “the cloud” shoe looked like an interesting mix of elements and figured I’d give it a try. Ultimately it was a pretty frustrating experience.
I don’t mind the simple aesthetic of this shoe. It’s really understated. The upper is super comfortable. I ran 20 in them straight out of the box and there was no rubbing, no blisters and no hot spots. The ride was also extremely nice. The “cloud” technology seemed to work for the most part and leave me feeling a nice mix of road feel and protection. It took a little work to lock down my foot with the lacing, but more on that below. I felt pretty solid, light and fast in these. All of these good things make the next section an even bigger bummer.
There are a couple of minor things and one deal-breaker here. The lacing system that comes installed in the shoes is an elastic band that covers the top half of the lacing area. It’s not clear how you might tighten it down, and while it might be useful for casual use, doesn’t serve to lock down the foot nearly enough for running. So there’s a re-lacing that’s required upon taking these out of the box. Not a big deal, but it did seem to take a little work to get the foot locked down with the laces in. So, here’s the deal-breaker: About 13 miles into my initial run in these shoes I started to notice a strange feeling under my right foot. Upon inspection, I saw that part of the rubber covering one of the front “cloud pods” was peeling off. I had heard some speculation that durability might be an issue, but was shocked to see rubber peeling off the bottom. In all of my years of running I’ve never had a shoe start to disintegrate—not within the first 300 miles–let alone the first 13. I managed to get home, but felt the loose piece on the bottom every step of the way. Pictures of the shoe after one 20-mile run are below. In addition to the rubber peeling off, I noticed that there was pretty considerable wear on the other orange sections of the pods, leading me to question the overall durability of the material.
To be fair, there was a lot I liked about the fit and feel of this shoe, but I just can’t trust it in a race. I understand that this may be a manufacturing issue and that another pair may be free of such defects. To that end, I did contact customer support. I got two different responses, one indicating that the company would send me another pair, and one saying that I should send back to my retailer. In one of the e-mails I was told, “Looks like a hiccup! The shoes should certainly be lasting in the range of 350 miles to 400. “. In the other they said “it truly depends on the type of surface you run on…”. Sorry, but what surface is going to shred a shoe in 13 miles (I was running on road, by the way). Ultimately I decided not to get another pair of the ON’s to further test them as I just don’t trust the durability, and don’t want the hassle of returning another pair–and as it’s my somewhat limited shoe budget I figured I’d move on to something else.
The happy ending to this is that I decided to try the Newton Distance III. Have used Newton in the past and liked them pretty well. I didn’t love the Energy model, but was intrigued by a 5 lug version of the Distance. Fit and feel are terrific. Had a really solid 19 miler out of the box and then a 12 mile run this week with intervals that was the most fun, light, fast and enjoyable run I’ve had in a long time. The Distance disappeared on my feet (which wasn’t always the case with the 4 lugged version), but felt really supportive and “poppy” in the latter part of the run when I needed them. So maybe this is the one…
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Would have liked you to go for the second pair. As it is now we don’t know if it was just bad luck with one sample or if there is more to it.
The funny feeling I got was the feeling of the rocks that get stuck in the tred. Kept having to stop and pull them out. Its like the Princess and the Pea story only with shoes.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but your post says “Pictures of the shoe after one 20-mile run are below. “…but I can’t seem to see them. Any chance you can point me in the direction of these pictures?
Sorry the pic was missing, give it another go. -thanks
Great on clean asphalt but on any other surface small rocks and gravel will get stuck in the tred. Nice idea, not very practical however.
What do you mean regarding the new balance 890v4 that it is too much shoe?
It is more shoe, heavier, more cushioning, more overlays…
The shoes look great, but they have no arch support whatsoever. I bought 2 pairs and I am certain that I now have plantar faciitis as a result of this. I had to purchase arch support insoles and this alleviated the issue somewhat. Also in wet weather they squeak because of the gaps in the ‘tread’ – very annoying when you come in out of the wet. There are better shoes on the market. Not worth the cost of adding more arch supports at an extra US$35.
These are the shoes I’ve been running in most recently. I have 130 miles on mine and I love them- I think they are my goldilocks shoes. I’ve had to pick an object out from between the pods twice. They do squeak a tiny bit when wet, but it’s not a big deal for me- they are light, comfortable and the perfect amount of padding & responsiveness for me.
I bought a pair in Jan, 2017 in Tyrons Mall in McLean, VA. Now the “clouds are tearing off. Makes it difficult to walk or run. Shoe store – Comfort One – no returns after 30 days. On-running company – return shoes to store 350 miles away from where I live in Ohio. Never had a shoe fall apart so quickly. And for $170. Never again. Back to Brooks.