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Road Running Shoes • September 3, 2022

On Cloudgo Review: Times Are Changing, For The Better

on cloudgo cover
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What You Need To Know


Weighs 9 oz. (256 g.) for a US M8.5 / 7.5 oz. (214 g.) for a US W7


Green thumbs-up for the recycled materials


This barely feels like an On shoe, and we kinda dig it


Maybe it’s a collection of On’s greatest hits


Available now for $140


LINDSAY: “A first impression is not a last impression.” I don’t know who said that, but I’m saying it now because that’s exactly how I feel about the On Cloudgo.

It might come as a shocker to you, but I don’t have much history with On. I don’t have the longest history with running, either, but even a blind person could see how popular On has become. I’ll admit, however, that I didn’t have high expectations for the Cloudgo from a runner’s perspective, just because of BITR’s previous run-ins with the Swiss brand.

My first impression reinforced my fears, but the Cloudgo and I have grown closer over our 30+ miles together. It’s become a close friend and proven that any impression can change.

MERCER: On finally has a grip on its Helion foam and Speedboard technology, and it’s kicked production to 11. We’ve been getting models left and right, with particular stars in the max-cushion lane, like the Cloudmonster and Cloudstratus. We haven’t seen On nail the mid-cushion daily trainer yet.

Could this be the time they turn things around?

ADRIENNE: I had no idea that the Cloudgo existed until I found out I would review it. Either I was inattentive, or the Swiss brand was sneaky like that. Anyway, Given recent winners in the Cloudmonster and the promising (for some at least) Cloudrunner, I was intrigued to see how the Cloudgo would, ahem, go.

Could this be another entry by On that receives favorable reviews from the BITR bunch? Read and find out.

But first, what were the Swiss engineers up to in the shoe construction? Unlike its mild support sibling, the Cloudrunner, the Cloudgo is a neutral daily trainer with a full-length Helion midsole. I’m still not sure what Helion is made of, but it feels nice here.

On’s signature Cloud Tec features too, but it’s done differently. The clouds come in closed channels, meaning that On was listening to the growing voices talking about debris getting stuck and disrupting their running flow. Underneath, it looks more like a traditional trainer. On loyalists may not like the change, but those wishing to experiment with the brand for the first time may be more attracted. According to On, the shoe carries an 11mm drop and weighs in at 214 g. for a US W7. Slowly, On is figuring out how to take the weight off.

Up top, we have an 85-90% recycled polyester upper. Spoiler alert: it looks fantastic. Flat laces lock the foot down and feature an asymmetrical-type eyelet configuration in the forefoot. 3D-printed designs wrap around the midfoot, adding style and perhaps providing more structure to the upper.

If there’s one thing On does right again and again (maybe minus the original Cloudboom), it’s make pretty shoes. A well-padded heel collar and tongue hold the foot nicely without feeling overly bulky and heavy.

On is marketing the Cloudgo as a gateway-to-running shoe for newer runners, though I’m not sure why. I think anyone can enjoy a comfortable, lightweight daily trainer, but let’s see if the Cloudgo has a different idea.

on cloudgo laces

The Good

LINDSAY: I’ll start with the upper because I think the 85-90% recycled material deserves significant kudos. We love an environmentally friendly effort that maintains the integrity of an original. The padded tongue and heel area make this shoe feel traditional and comfortable without needing high-rise or thicker socks. Adrienne and Mercer think the midsole is a double-wide RV, but I didn’t get that feeling. Maybe I have a wider foot? The midsole was snug but not tight, and I didn’t have much wiggle room. It was the just-right-porridge to my Goldilocks if you will.

On shoes have their signature CloudTec outsoles, but the Cloudgo features smaller clouds (For those, like myself, who need a quick tutorial, the clouds are each of those units on the soles of the shoes). I can’t say the smaller clouds on these shoes made a difference because I haven’t tried the others, but I did feel like every step was responsive and supportive from the beginning of a workout to the lazier steps towards the end.

Track workouts in the shoe were easily my favorite among the other miles I put on my pair, including road and treadmill, and I think that’s just because I need a more cushioned shoe for road running. If you’re the runner who doesn’t like a lot of cushion but still wants some bounce, this would be great for you.

The final positive I’ll give before the tough love comes out is the traction and grip. I took the On Cloudgo for a run on the boardwalk after a classic Florida afternoon rain shower and was pleasantly surprised to be able to keep my pace without hesitation.

MERCER: The On Cloudgo is packed with nods to other shoes, kinda like a daily trainer Frankenstein’s monster, if you will. Somehow, it just works.

To start, On has some exceptional uppers, and they keep refining the craft with every shoe update. The Cloudgo has an amazingly wide upper/toebox that looks like it was ripped straight from the New Balance Fresh Foam 880, but your foot will slide in and be swaddled by the lacing system and get locked in place by extra overlays. Plus, the knit material that On used allows for fantastic breathability but will provide warmth once winter rolls around.

The Helion foam keeps on working. However, the Cloudgo emphasizes its foam rather than the holes in the CloudTec for once. This gives the shoe a firm landing that softens once all your weight is on it (think Nike’s React foam). The Speedboard is still in the shoe, but On has softened it a lot. You won’t notice it on impact, but you still get a nice pop through the stride. I wouldn’t call it a plated trainer by any means, but it’ll give you more benefit than some other shoes on the market.

A massive update from On is that they removed the Rock Catcher 4000 by filling up that middle section. Nothing man can do will stop mother nature, so I carried around a pebble buddy for eight miles, but at least it was only one.

ADRIENNE: On trotted out some rah-rah taglines in the early press for the Cloudgo. It boasted “Energy return, confidence boost,” and “Lighter weight, bigger goals.” As a practicing sport psychology professional, I guess I can understand the first one. At least protection from the road lets you relax into your miles. As for the second one… maybe? I guess? Let’s skip the silly details and get into the good stuff.

The upper is pretty structured and is a thing of beauty. You can see intricate detail in the thickness of the mesh, and it keeps debris out very well. It even seems to breathe despite being relatively thick and having an internal liner. On gets some credit for its laces, which pulled the too-wide upper together comfortably.

On’s combination of Helion foam and CloudTec pods run lighter than the shoe’s actual weight, and the slight rocker feels smooth underfoot. It, to me, feels soft for an On shoe, but at least it’s not mushy. I found it worked best at easy to moderate paces, but there are better shoes for tempo work. The bounce is understated but comfortable, and it only deepens the mystery of what Helion foam is made of. The concept of soft landings and springy takeoffs rings true to me in On’s latest shoe. While there are higher stack, more cushioned shoes, the Cloudgo seems to get the job done nicely when absorbing impacts.

What’s also cool about the Cloudgo is that you can in no way tell that it has an 11mm drop. I had to go back and check twice to verify that it wasn’t a typo. The cushioning compresses nicely, and I had none of the awkward feeling that sometimes comes from a higher-drop shoe.

Lastly, On’s highly touted, yet not universally loved, Speedboard gets an upgrade on the Cloudgo. It’s constructed of a softer, more flexible TPU, and I’m diggin’ it. Underneath, as I said before, closed channels and good rubber coverage make for a smooth, distraction-free experience. My first run on dead legs was also in the rain, and I was able to run on pavement with confidence.

Shop On Cloudgo – Men

Shop On Cloudgo – Women

on cloudgo upper

The Bad

LINDSAY: Am I being a cynic here, or do these shoes not scream cloud? When I think of a cloud, I think of a soft, plush cushion. Any Hoka shoe, for example. The first run I took in the Cloudgo was rather stiff and not fun by any means. I actually finished my run thinking, “well, that did nothing for me.”

While I did quite a few speed workouts in the shoe, the longest easy run was 7 miles, and I honestly don’t think I would’ve enjoyed going much longer. I prefer more cushion for my long runs, and CloudTec is not the move for me.

I also felt like I had to break this shoe in. It wasn’t until almost 30 miles that I felt the bounce on the road with each landing. So I guess you could say my beef here is with the outsole and not so much the upper or midsoles. I do wish there were more colorways. The solid white is the only one that I thought looked sharp, but otherwise, the Rose/Magnet and White/Meadow give me a vintage feel — not my cup of tea.

MERCER: There’s absolutely no rubber under the medial side of your foot, so I can only hope the foam is durable enough to go the distance. With 30ish miles on the shoe, I haven’t noticed any wear or tear.

Also, On had a great thing going with the massive Cloudmonster logo, and now we’re back to the small logo — lame.

ADRIENNE: No offense to the wide-footed crowd and Jarrett, but why so wide? It didn’t affect performance for me, but there was a good amount of extra material in the front of the shoe. If you have wide feet, then you won’t have to order 2s in the Cloudgo. Otherwise, the shoe fits true to size. While runnable and somewhat breathable, I would love to see On open up the mesh a little in upcoming versions.

Shop On Cloudgo – Men

Shop On Cloudgo – Women

on cloudgo outsole

On Cloudgo Conclusion

LINDSAY: I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. But most importantly, I didn’t hate it. It was a bit of an opinion rollercoaster trying this shoe, but I’m glad I kept an open mind and wore it on multiple efforts because it does have a place. That place is with my speed workouts on the track, but I could see it as someone’s daily trainer if they’re looking for low-key stability with a comfortable upper at a more affordable price than On historically goes for.

It’s a well-balanced shoe that any level runner could appreciate. Like a fine wine, the Cloudgo signifies that On shoes are improving with time.

MERCER: If you’re looking for a classic daily trainer that’ll get you through every pace and most distances but don’t want to get a Brooks Ghost or New Balance 880, try out the Cloudgo. If you’re an On fanboy, you’ll love this too.

ADRIENNE: This may be the most user-friendly On release to date. Beginners and experienced runners looking for a comfortable, reasonably lightweight, reliable trainer that is somewhat easy on the wallet (for On standards, at least) and an energetic ride should check out the Cloudgo.

While not a perfect shoe, it’s a solid running experience and another step in the right direction in the running game for the Swiss company.

You can pick up the On CloudGo for $140 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop On Cloudgo – Men

Shop On Cloudgo – Women

on cloudgo heel


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lindsey 4
Lindsay Agro
Baltimore Road Reviewer
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Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%

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Fav. Distance


  • 3:35

  • 1:42

    Half Marathon
  • 44:52

  • 22:08

Mercer Alden
College XC/Track Reviewer
  • Strava
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Mercer is a collegiate athlete at the University Of Lynchburg, majoring in being awesome. He’s also extremely talented at folding shirts during GRIT packing at the Believe in the Run HQ.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano Lite, Hoka Clifton 6, On Cloudmonster

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Fav. Distance


  • 57:50

    10 Mile
  • 15:55

  • 9:01

  • 4:35

Adrienne head shot
Adrienne Neal
Road Reviewer

Adrienne has been running since she can basically remember but has been running the roads and XC courses of the Houston and College Station: TX  area for the past decade. When she’s not running, she maintains her busy sport psychology and counseling practice and has ambitions of living in the mountains someday.

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Endorphin Speed (any model), ASICS Metaspeed Sky, New Balance Rebel v2.

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Fav. Distance


  • 3:05

  • 1:22

  • 37:25

  • 18:09

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