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Road Running Shoes • April 10, 2024

On Cloudmonster Hyper Review: Accidentally Ordered Decaf

On Cloudmonster Hyper - feature

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What You Need To Know


9.3 oz. (265 g) for a US M9,

7.4 oz. (210 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

37.5 mm in heel, 31.5 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)

Best For

Daily training for On fans

Key Features

Helion HF midsole with CloudTec carrier, Grip Rubber outsole, premium upper, rubberized laces

On The Run
Looks rad Upper is exquisite Not really a super trainer
Price / Availability

Available now for $220

On Cloudmonster Hyper angle

On Cloudmonster Hyper

Introduction to the On Cloudmonster Hyper

ROBBE: Super trainers are the hottest thing in running right now, and every brand is scrambling to get theirs on your feet. It all began with the New Balance SC Trainer v1, a shoe that featured a carbon fiber plate, bouncy FuelCell midsole and form-fitting knit upper. Not quite a super shoe, not quite a daily trainer. Better to call it a super trainer– a shoe that blends comfort and performance with all the premium components of a race day shoe, but in a package that leans towards a daily trainer. It also will come with a (much) higher price tag than your average running shoe.

Since then, we’ve seen super trainers across the board, including the Asics Superblast, Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 (a pure tempo shoe that has kind of morphed into a super trainer), Adidas Prime X 2 Strung, Hoka Mach X and Cielo X1, to name a few.

On has been playing a bit of catch-up over the past few years after being caught cloud-footed during their runway phase of brand development. They’ve taken enormous strides in improving the quality and runnability of their shoes, and have been working hard at developing a legitimate lineup of running shoes. That’s not even mentioning their design and aesthetics, which are the best in the game and somehow keep getting better.

So it only made sense that On had a super trainer coming, and now we have it with the Cloudmonster Hyper. The name alone gives vibes of Godzilla as a race party hype man, yelling “Shots! Shots! Shots!” while hanging one-armed off the Empire State Building with a keg of Fireball in the other. That’s not a bad thing, by the way.

As you may know, the Cloudmonster Hyper is the sister shoe to the Cloudmonster 2, the one that actually took its Ritalin before school this morning. Also, as you may know, we love the fun stuff here at Believe in the Run, so we always want that off-the-med and scatterbrained weirdness from the darkest corners of shoe designers’ minds. It’s why we loved the aforementioned Superblast, Prime X Strung, and Cielo X1. They’re absolutely bonkers, but they still work. Life is short, keep it crazy.

We get some of that in the Cloudmonster Hyper, a shoe that features the same Helion HF (i.e. Pebax) midsole found in the Cloudboom Echo 3, On’s premium race day shoe. The stack height is high and the set-up is peculiar– instead of the midsole going the whole way to the ground, it’s wrapped in On’s standard Helion with Cloudtec geometry which essentially acts as a carrier for the Pebax segment. It’s an interesting design and it’s visually appealing.

A very nice engineered mesh upper wraps the foot with great attention to detail and is complemented by rubberized laces, again, something we haven’t seen before. There’s no plate in this shoe, which is fine; there doesn’t need to be one, especially not the woeful On Speedboard.

That was quite the introduction. I may have been a little amped up on caffeine and the shoe version of methamphetamine, like a late-night trucker barreling through the cornfields of Kansas. Better to be on than off. Let’s get to the review.

On Cloudmonster Hyper heel

Swiss details

THOMAS: Here comes another super trainer. Typically, after you get a taste for super trainers with their premium ingredients, regular trainers feel sort of dull and flat. Spoiler alert: the Cloudmonster Hyper had me even less interested in the Cloudmonster 2. As the super trainer category grows, I recall The Incredibles’ line from evil villain Syndrome: “When everyone’s super… [laughs maniacally] no one will be.” 

I’m hoping one day we will be able to drop the “super” off super trainer. With the existence of the Hyper, why is there a Cloudmonster 2? Why not just make the better shoe? Why would anyone choose the lowly EVA trainers vs the super trainers? It either comes down to price or ignorance. If you’re happy with your basic daily trainer, stay ignorant of the super trainers. Your budget will thank you even if your feet and legs won’t.

MEAGHAN: As Robbe noted in his caffeine-induced introduction, On has been making some big strides recently. The On Cloudeclipse is one of my all-time favorite daily trainers and the Clouboom Echo 3 remains one of my top race-day picks. Now that they’ve entered the super trainer category, will I have a new favorite? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the On Cloundmonster Hyper.

Pebax midsole wrapped in Helion Cloudtec

Pebax midsole wrapped in Helion Cloudtec

What we like about the On Cloudmonster Hyper

ROBBE: I’ve already said it in the introduction, but the design on this shoe is outstanding, as are the initial orange/white and green/white launch colorways. They took the thoughtful details of the Cloudmonster 2 and dialed it up a notch all around. The stitching on the upper around the eyelets, the flat-lay tongue, the engineered mesh upper that feels better than all other mesh uppers. The midsole that retains the cloud aesthetic but in a tamed down way that’s somehow both quiet and loud. Really outstanding stuff. 

Speaking of the upper, it’s for sure the best upper that On has ever produced. Unlike the Cloudmonster 2, which is incredibly roomy to the point of being JNCO-level baggy, the Cloudmonster Hyper fit is as perfect as you can get. Lockdown is absolutely solid through the heel and midfoot, with enough room in the toe box to feel snug but not cramped. The flat lay tongue stays in place and is just the right length. Lastly, the laces are STD-free as they all use rubber protection on the underside, which makes them virtually unmoveable when tied. I’ve never seen that before in a shoelace, and I kind of really love it.

On Cloudmonster Hyper dual density forefoot vert
On Cloudmonster Hyper cloud pods vert

In terms of the ride, the Pebax of the Helion HF gives a performance feel to this shoe. Meaning, you get that nice underfoot feel that you’d expect– cushioned but bouncy. However, it’s not the same as other shoes in its category; it’s more of a responsive feel. Not soft, but not firm. Not super bouncy, but not dead. If you’re expecting the trampoline effect of a Prime X or Cielo X1, or even a faster Superblast feel, then you’ll be let down. It falls more into the responsive and steady super trainer range for me, but it gives that extra edge that does make it a joy to run in. I’m more of a midfoot striker, but I feel this shoe will land with more heel strikers or even heavier runners (we’re trying to get our big guys in a pair so stay tuned for their takes). 

Overall, I think the fit of the upper carries a lot of the water for the Cloudmonster Hyper. It keeps the foot steady and secure over what could be an unstable stack height. It’s much more nimble than you’d expect upon first step in, which makes it a lot of fun to run in, under the right conditions. 

No issues with the outsole; in fact, I thought it provided a really nice grip in a variety of conditions, including rain.

THOMAS: I will second that the upper was executed well. The padding in the collar was comfortable without feeling overstuffed. The lacing system worked to get a good lockdown with both the eyelet placement and the rubberized laces. The Pebax adds a nice feeling under your fat pad and toes, but I didn’t feel any propulsive reaction.

MEAGHAN: I love the On aesthetic (don’t we all?) and the Cloundermonster Hyper hits all the high notes. I received the white/orange colorway which I think Robbe described best as “both quiet and loud.” It’s a really nice balance of flashy without being over the top. You’ll stand out in the group run, but you’d also be ok wearing them for coffee afterwards. 

I received my normal W7.5 and the shoes fit perfectly. There is ample room in the toe box, but not as much as the Cloudmonster (which is a good thing). The step-in feel of this shoe is great. There is plenty of padding around the collar and heel, a lightly padded and gusseted tongue, and my favorite upper detail: rubberized laces. I’m not one to get excited about shoe laces, but these are something I’ve never seen before. Designed with three rows of tiny rubber nubs (pretty sure that’s the technical term), you know these suckers aren’t coming untied mid-run. And that’s a really nice feeling. 

The midsole design is an interesting one, with a big slab of Pebax foam in the forefoot. The heel is designed with the standard Helion foam and Cloudtec geometry. The combination gives you a firm but forgiving underfoot feel. The longest run I did in this shoe was 10 miles, but I think it would work for the long-long run too.

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On Cloudmonster Hyper lacing

Rubberized laces are kinda rad

What we don’t like about the On Cloudmonster Hyper

ROBBE: I know I’ve had this issue with On shoes in the past, and I feel like it’s come back to haunt me with the Cloudmonster Hyper. But the shoe just feels boxy and blocky to me. I think it has to do with the geometry and squareness of the Cloudtec carrier that runs from heel to toe and encases the Helion HF. Because CloudTec is the only common thread between every shoe that feels that way. It makes no sense, because everything else is there– it’s pretty lightweight, the upper fit is outstanding, and the initial landing phase of the shoe is great. But going through the stride, it just feels like I’m running in shoe boxes. It’s painful for me to type that, because I want to love this shoe so much, and it’s so close.

Sometimes it feels like it wants to go fast, but then it feels like it has reins on it. Sometimes it feels like a long run shoe that holds one pace, other times it feels uptempo, and then it’ll go back to feeling like a normal daily trainer. The best way I can describe it is this: during a run, I’m constantly flip-flopping between asking myself if I like the shoe or don’t like the shoe.

On Cloudmonster Hyper outsole

Because of the blocky feeling, it feels heavier than its actual weight. Again, I think that this feeling may be negated for heavier runners. Shoes like the Prime X 2 Strung did work for me, but were huge hits for the boys carrying 180+ pounds around. For me personally, it’s a shoe I can like, but not one that I can love.

That said, I could see myself getting used to it and loving it if I had the time to get acquainted with it over, say, 50 or 100 miles. Although, that would also mean addressing the elephant in the room– the fact that this is a $220 shoe. That’s a lot for a glorified daily trainer. I mean, it’s essentially the same price as the Saucony Endorphin Pro 4

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that criticizing a $220 shoe may come off as hypocritical after I just compared it to the Adidas Prime X 2 Strung ($300) and the Hoka Cielo X1 ($275). But those shoes are packing a lot more in their suitcase. They’re the real Frankensteins with weird carbon plates, full Peba midsoles, and uniquely constructed uppers. This shoe is basically the Cloudmonster with a better upper and partial Pebax midsole. (I also think Hoka is getting a little out of hand with some of its pricing as well, so I’m not fully absolving them of their sins.)

As with most On, it does run a bit big, so I’d go down a half size.

THOMAS: I’m the odd man out. I don’t love the chunky look of the Cloudmonster Hyper. That helped keep me clear-headed and focused on performance. The ride of the shoe didn’t do it for me. The shoe feels like a slightly elevated daily trainer. I don’t get “super” vibes from the rigid blocky midsole. The characteristic that I enjoy about Pebax is a light, bouncy, and resilient ride. The Cloudmonster Hyper does not deliver that performance.

A shoe becomes amazing when you feel the added assistance from the tech incorporated and then the shoe disappears on the feet. The Cloudmonster Hyper never let me forget its existence through each stride. The heel is so blocky it feels like a stability trainer. We have been testing heavy shoes that feel lighter on the feet because of the energy return, however, the Cloudmonster Hyper figured out how to feel heavier than its 9.7 oz. for a size 10. This reminds me, I sized a half-size down to get the proper fit.

MEAGHAN: I really feel like this shoe would have benefited with a full slab of Pebax foam underfoot. As someone who tends to land on their heel, I would prefer to feel the softer/bouncier foam on landing vs. toe-off. I also think it made this shoe feel a little clunky, similar to what Robbe was describing. The transition didn’t feel as smooth as I would have liked, and the general underfoot feeling was a bit firm. 

And of course, the price point is something we have to mention. At $220, with no carbon fiber plate and only half of a Pebax midsole, it’s a little difficult to justify. Although, it is On… so maybe you can.

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On Cloudmonster Hyper insole vert
On Cloudmonster Hyper heel vert

Final thoughts on the On Cloudmonster Hyper

ROBBE: On the list of super trainers, I’d put the Cloudmonster Hyper in the middle-to-bottom tier in terms of overall performance. It’s honestly a pretty confusing shoe, because I certainly love parts of it. The upper and fit are close to the top, maybe the best in the category. The ride and performance return are good, sometimes even quite enjoyable, but you can get the same exact thing (or better) from any shoe I listed above.

If you simply love On shoes and don’t have a budget, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the Cloudmonster Hyper. It definitely has its own feel that separates it from other shoes in its class and it looks better than virtually any shoe out there right now. But for me personally, I can’t get past the boxy feeling to make myself fall in love with it. Maybe I just need to do a shot of Fireball before my next run.

On Cloudmonster Hyper traction

THOMAS: At best, the On Cloudmonster Hyper feels like a good daily trainer. However, this is supposed to be a $220 super trainer. Within that framework, this shoe comes up short. The Hyper also made me feel even less happy with the Cloudmonster 2. It’s a better trainer than the Cloudmonster 2, but compared to other shoes in the category, it lacks excitement.

As I finished my miles in the Hyper I was relieved that the necessary miles were run and I could put the shoes aside until the Cloudmonster Hyper 2 comes out to compare them. To improve the shoe, I would look for ways to lighten the weight, extend the Pebax, and soften the carrier Helion foam. The shoe lacks the fun factor I look for in super trainers. If you want an On running shoe, I recommend the Cloudeclipse.

I’ll leave you with one final Incredibles quote: “Hey, hey! Aren’t you curious about how I get around so fast? See? I have these rocket boots!” – Buddy, aka Incrediboy, aka Syndrome.

He wasn’t talking about the Cloudmonster Hyper.

MEAGHAN: The Cloudmonster Hyper is an interesting addition to the super trainer category. Much like the Cloudmonster 2, it wasn’t love at first run, but I’ve been enjoying it more and more over time. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the On aesthetic, or maybe it just needs a break-in period. Either way, fans of On will definitely enjoy this model, along with those who enjoy a firmer ride for daily training.

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Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

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As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be. 

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Meaghan signed up for her first marathon three weeks before the race, because it was $10 more than the half she planned to run. She learned everything in running the hard way. Now a USATF & UESCA certified run coach, she loves encouraging friends to go for big goals as she continues to chase faster times. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee, a cold martini, and making bagels for friends and family.

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