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Trail Running Shoes • August 15, 2023

On Cloudultra 2 Review: The Age of Ultra

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What You Need To Know


10.2 oz. (289 g) for a US M9,

9.3 oz. (265 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

Stack height unavailable (6 mm drop)

Best For

Long-distance trail runs

Key Features

Helion superfoam, Missiongrip outsole, TPU Speedboard

On The Run
Excellent Missiongrip traction Handy lace tab 6 mm drop might be too much for some runs


EMILY: Let’s cut to the chase — The Zurich-based performance apparel company On has been cooking up some serious trail shoes over the past few years, but, as our BITR reviewers can attest to, they aren’t all winners. In fact, for a while, it seemed like the mad scientists at On may have been concocting formulas through some foggy goggles, with the release of the Cloudswift, Cloudflyer, and the Cloudace to name a few.

Many of those misses left you feeling more or less confused by the name of the shoe. Were you running on clouds or in the aftermath of a storm? But, with the introduction of the OG Cloudultra and now the superior Cloudultra 2, it became possible that these wacky wizards may have been paying attention all along, and through classic trial and error, they landed on a formula that delivers a heavenly trail running experience.

What we like about the On Cloudultra 2

EMILY: The Cloudultra 2 is engineered to conquer any terrain with style and lasting comfort. You know how you get to a place while climbing a hill, and ya think you’ve made it — relief from the burn is at your fingertips — only to find that, wait, there’s more? Well, you’ll still have to face these character-building ascents, but thanks to the TPU speedboard, you’re gonna be less likely to turn into a jaded pile of broken spirits. Designed for training, long-distance road running, trail running, race days, and to my delight, ultra-marathons, this shoe is built to handle it all.

One of the standout features of the Cloudultra 2 is its signature CloudTech super foam bottom, which provides unparalleled comfort and support. It’s like walking on a cloud but with an edgy twist. The latest and greatest addition to the shoe is On Lab’s Missiongrip sole, ensuring some serious stability on uneven surfaces, so you can confidently juke and weave over technical trail pitfalls and road detritus for hours and hours and with enough caffeine-even more hours.

The upper is made from a stretchy knitted 100% recycled polyester and offers a sock-like fit below the ankle that’s both lightweight and breathable, which makes the Cloudultra 2 easy enough to slip on without having to mess with laces. This is a major bonus in the colder months when your fingers refuse to follow directions. Like many, if not the majority, of decent trail shoes on the market, the Cloudultra 2 doesn’t mess around with a tongue. And, get this, you can flip a small tab on the front of the laces around to loosen or tighten the laces without having to untie mid-race. That means if your feet start to swell, you can adjust the snugness of the shoe to accommodate. It’s like having a personal shoe tailor along for the ride, ensuring the perfect fit.

The Cloudultra 2 boasts a slightly thicker midsole compared to the original and squelchy Helion superfoam. However, this shoe doesn’t just focus on comfort and style. It’s also built for performance. The standout Missiongrip outsole and updated stud layout provide 50% more ground contact, giving you enhanced traction on even the trickiest trails. Roots, rocks, snakes, mud — bring it On (see what I did there?) because these shoes can handle it all.

So, whether you’re tackling a challenging trail or pushing yourself to the limits in an ultra-marathon, the Cloudultra 2 is your ultimate companion. It’s the perfect blend of comfort, style, and performance, ready to take you on an epic running adventure. Lace up, embrace the clouds, and unleash your inner trail warrior.

Shop On Cloudultra 2 - Men Shop On Cloudultra 2 - Women

What we don’t like about the On Cloudultra 2

EMILY: Clearly, I’ve waxed poetic on the benefits, but honestly, the only two drawbacks I could find are grounded more in personal preference than anything. While I tend to get a little anxious about dropping more than a buck fifty on shoes of any kind really, the quality and reliability of On’s newest player is well worth the $180 price tag. Still, it’s quite a few bills when there are perfectly comparable alternatives, like the Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro.

Second, while the 6 mm drop will be easier on the lower leg, directing more stress to the knees and hips, after four hours of charging up and down hills, your knees and hips start to get a little salty. In contrast, a shoe with a lower drop will typically spare the knees but put more stress on the lower leg. Again, personal preference.

Shop On Cloudultra 2 - Men Shop On Cloudultra 2 - Women

On Cloudultra 2 Conclusion

EMILY: If On’s mission is to “ignite the human spirit through movement,” then the leveled-up Cloudultra 2 is sure to fire you up. Whether you’re problem-solving in the pain cave or taking it easy on some joy runs, the Cloudultra 2 delivers a superior experience with enhanced energy return, traction, comfort, and convenience features (yeah, knot upper). So, to all who may have a bad taste in their mouth from previous trail shoes from the Swiss-based company, I say it’s time to change your tune.

You can pick up the On Cloudultra 2 for $180 directly from On using the buttons below.

Shop The Shoe


Shop On Cloudultra 2 Men
Shop On Cloudultra 2 Women

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girl running in a red tanktop wearing a hat
Emily Hanson
Mid-Atlantic Trail Reviewer

Born and raised in Smaltimore (Baltimore), Emily relishes running for hours in the woods. It’s where she works out the kinks in her approach to being a mother, partner, writer, and a better human being.

More from Emily
Shoe Size


Fav. Distance


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  • 5:11

  • 3:14:28

  • 2:23:36

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