A chunky sole filled with Cloudtec Phase looks like an all day comfort cruiser. How does it perform in the wild?
Always On the up?
On promised a lot when releasing the Cloudsurfer back in March 2023. This shoe featured for the first time their new Cloudtec Phase technology, an advanced AI-developed midsole technology, that delivered an unprecedented level of cushion and forward motion for On shoes. The only issue for some people, including myself, was the relative mushiness of the midsole (another recurring complaint being the squeak noise). When I first saw the Cloudeclipse last year at TRE, I immediately saw in winner in this shoe. The new Cloudtec Phase (high stacked) midsole combined with an updated X-shaped TPU speedboard, was the perspective of a smooth, leg protecting ride, with some decent amount of stability. Is it that or something else? We shall explain the On Cloudeclipse in detail in this review.
Weight in On’s sample size: 275g (9.7oz)
Stack height: 44mm heel and 39mm forefoot for a 5mm drop
The Last Comes First
What exactly is a last? It is a piece of wood (or plastic) that mimics the shape of the human foot and is used to structure the upper of a shoe around something. The comfort of a shoe, and maybe even more so the fit of a shoe, really starts with this piece of material. It is fundamental hence the saying “first comes the last”.
So how is it on the Cloudeclipse?
I find the last of the Eclipse to be its main drawback hence the long rant on lasts. The bad thing about it is how wide and high it feels. My foot isn’t really narrow or “low” but the Cloudeclipse somehow feels very roomy. It’s not excessively long, it’s mainly roomy in the midfoot and through the heel. The result is a far from perfect fit for me, and a whole different ride experience than what I believe On had in mind. And yes I did try runners knots and insole swaps. My feeling is that it’s also the lacing system and eyelets that further kills the fit. Especially the first row of eyelets (down in the forefoot direction), that has its eyelets placed too wide apart, which doesn’t allow to get a proper lockdown without tightening too much that area around the ball of the foot.
A big positive for the upper is the plasticky overlay around the heel that acts as a sidewall and plays a nice role in the stability of the shoe. The other good point here is the dying method used to color the upper. Just like the Surfer, this shoe is made with a drying process that colors the yarn first, this reducing the water consumption by 70%.
Cloudtec Phase – More = Better?
Just to be clear here: my expectations around the Cloudeclipse didn’t come as much from the stack (fairly “contained” at 44 mm) as they did from the addition of a Speedboard to a Cloudtec Phase shoe. The Cloudsurfer, the first ever shoe with a Cloudtec Phase midsole, didn’t have one to allow for an even closer connection between the foot and the midsole. On the Cloudeclipse, the X-shaped TPU speedboard is noticeable and acts as both a stability enhancer and a lever.
I believe that the Helion SF foam used in this shoe is a touch firmer than the one on the Cloudsurfer, which already helps with excessive compression and general stability. Overall this shoe is no brick and offers a pleasant experience. The level of cushion goes beyond what many daily trainers can offer and feels closer to stuff like the Novablast (41mm) or the Kinvara Pro (42mm). I would imagine this midsole being even a top contender if it was paired with a better fitting upper.
Conclusion – Giving things a try
There’s no harm done in trying out new stuff. On created its running empire through innovation and the Cloudeclipse is yet another example of that. I won’t blame them for experimenting. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. For me the Cloudeclipse sadly falls in the latter category. But not because the technologies don’t work. Cloudtec Phase does work and the addition of a speedbaord is beneficial. The shoe doesn’t deliver for me because of the fit and that’s a bit more frustrating. That being said, please make sure you test it out if you were interested in it, I’ve read positive comments too under the Youtube review we published a few days ago.