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On Cloudsurfer 4 Review

The Good

Meaghan: This is my first experience with the “On” brand. They’re unique shoes, designed with On’s patented Swiss CloudTec® system. We received both the On Cloudflyer and On Cloudsurfer 4 for review. In this review, we’ll focus on the Cloudsurfer 4. So what’s the CloudTec® system all about? The outsole features hollow pods called “clouds.” The pods collapse on impact and expand on take-off. The whole mentality behind this is so you “spend more time in the air.” Each of the 13 clouds contain an arrow pattern that helps with grip and traction. However, it didn’t take long for me to wear this off of most of the heel pods. The upper is knitted from one piece of fabric and the mesh is tightly woven in areas of support and open where it needs to breath. There is an extra layer of padding/cushioning on the tongue that I really like. It allows you to tighten up the laces, without having them dig into the top of your foot. I liked how they felt on my initial run (8 miles) so I took them out for a 20 miler. They felt good the whole time. I didn’t spend much time thinking about my feet and easily hit the pace goals.  As for the look – I dig them. They look a bit sci-fi, which seems to be trending these days.

Thomas: The Swiss did a fine job on the design of the shoe. It is clean, precise, and possibly a work of art. No detail is overlooked. After a couple 8 mile runs in the Cloudsurfer 4, I felt confident to take them on a twenty mile run with some speed work mixed in. While not the lightest shoe at 11.8 oz for a size 10.5, the cushioning and bounce you get from the unique outsole made my feet happy from start to finish. I even nailed my pace goals (fist pump). The shoes upper gave me no issues, zero, zip, nada. It has one of the most comfortable interiors of any shoe I have reviewed.

The Bad

Meaghan: The lacing is finicky. It took me about 10 minutes to get the fit right the first time I put them on. The good news is that once they’re tied, they’re tied. I would never worry about these laces coming undone mid-run. These shoes are also a little narrow for me. I have wide feet so I could have used a little more room in the midfoot/forefoot. Lastly, I didn’t love these shoes on the treadmill. They felt much more comfortable and natural out on the road.

Thomas: Getting the fit of the On Cloudsurfer 4 right takes a little work. The laces are thinner, making me wary of over tightening. I ended up using the loop through lacing trick to get the right fit around the collar. Once the lacing issue worked out, the heel lift I got initially was eliminated. After 36 miles on the shoe, I noticed some wear (nothing outrageous) on one of the pods where I normally see wear in my trainers. Having the pod cushioning system, and being raised up on the rubber pillows I wonder if wear will be more noticeable in On shoes.

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Meaghan: I didn’t expect to like these shoes as much as I did. When I first put them on, I wasn’t sold on the feel underfoot. It wasn’t until I took them out on the pavement that I could appreciate the “clouds.” I didn’t necessarily feel like they propelled me forward, but I could feel the pods collapse underfoot, creating a soft landing. I always appreciate a shoe that can take a little pressure off the joints. I don’t think this is a shoe for everyone, but if you’re looking for something different – slip on a pair. The On Cloudsurfer is priced at $150.

Thomas: This almost went horribly wrong. My first run in the On Cloudsurfer 4 was a treadmill run. The pods were very noticeable, and by the end of the run, I was feeling like the shoes were heavy pendulums on my feet. I was thinking the pods were gimmicks. The ride, at first, reminded me of Newton lugs. What I mean by that is, you notice the pods when your foot lands. After the 20-mile training run, I was sold on the Cloudsurfer 4. I really enjoyed running on the roads in these trainers, I would not recommend them for trails or treadmills. My feet and legs felt fresh after a good effort 20 mile run, I can’t think of a better endorsement for this shoe. For those who like to know drop, it is 7mm.

Wanna try the On Cloudsurfer 4?


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  1. I am currently running in the previous generation of the Cloudsurfer. It was a shoe that I was very skeptical of, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I’m glad it did. Initially I was a bit concerned with the durability, but nearly 200 miles later and they nearly look new! No broken pods, no fraying anywhere, no toes busting through the upper. Speaking of the Cloudsurfer 3, one of the best fitting uppers I’ve ever experienced. No hotspots, everything seems perfect. My longest runs so far in them have been 15 miles and they just disappear on my feet. The Cloudsurfer 4 looks even better.

  2. Thanks for the great reviews! I’ve recently swithed to the On Clouflow from many years an Asics Nimbus – really enjoying the On’s. How do the Cloudsurfer and Cloudflow compare?

    1. I preferred the Cloudsurfer a little more, both are nice, surfer felt smoother.

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