On have updated the Cloudultra. How did they do with the Cloudultra 2?
I was pleasantly surprised by my first pair of On running shoes in January. Having run about 650k in the Cloudsurfer 5, I was the first to say yes to test a new pair of On shoes. The Cloudultra 2 is the new generation of On’s ultra distance trail running model and it has received a few tweaks.
First thing I realised when I held the Cloudultra 2 in my hands was that the upper looks a bit loose and wide even though it is a bootie construction. Therefore, I found it very easy to step into the shoe also with two pull tabs to help one at the heel and one on top of the tongue. After tying the laces, this kind of loose feeling stayed even though I found that lengthwise it fits my foot true to size. To say it in a more elegant way, your forefoot and toes will always have enough space when you are running for hours and hours.
When I first picked up the Cloudultra 2, I was surprised by the weight. They feel like quite a heavy and bulky shoe. However, when I put them on for the first time, I found them to fit extremely well and the weight was distributed well. This resulted in a shoe which I wouldn’t say is light, but is not as heavy as I initially expected. Like Silke, I have found the fit of the Cloudultra 2 to be quite loose. That being said, I would not recommend choosing a different size shoe to normal as the shoe would then be either too big or too small lengthwise. As time has passed, I have come to really enjoy this more relaxed fit when using them for my longer 20k runs at a relaxed pace.
I agree with Josh about the weight of the shoe. In hand, it feels heavy but once on foot, the bulk becomes a lot less noticeable. The step in comfort is high and the upper is lovely on foot as Silke has said.
Weight in On’s sample size: 295g (10.4 oz)
Stack: Heel 27mm – Toe 21mm (6mm drop)
The Upper – Comfy but a little loose
The Cloudultra 2’s upper is made from a double layer mesh. The outer layer is a fishnet like nylon mesh, that has some rigidity. It will protect you from every root and rock that you come across. On the other hand, the inner layer is a very flexible mesh. This two layer upper is very breathable. Becoming soaked on my way through wet grass, it dried rapidly.
For those comfort seekers, it has to be said that for an ultra distance running shoe the Cloudultra 2 does not provide a lot of comfortable padding. In fact, the tongue isn’t padded at all. In the heel there is very minimal padding around the ankle.
As you would expect from a trail running shoe, the Cloudultra 2 protects your toes with a rubberized toe cap. This rubber extends into a medial and lateral overlay which wraps the foot. I expected the heel to be stiffer because of this thick rubber material but it turns out to be a flexible heel cup.
My only dislike would be the heel pull tab which points directly to my achilles tendon. Even though I haven’t yet run ultra distances in the Cloudultra 2 I could imagine a bit of rubbing at that part of my foot.
One outstanding thing about the Cloudultra 2 is the quick release lace system. If you are running for hours and hours and your feet get swollen, you can easily release the pressure by twisting the little plastic toggle. This will immediately give your feet more space!
Unlike Silke, I never managed to make the magic toggle work despite the instructions attached to the shoe! I can see how it would be a very useful addition when the run gets long and the foot begins to swell. More practice needed on my behalf!
Midsole – Road to trail comfort or jack of all trades, master of none?
Unlike my beloved Cloudsurfer, the Cloudultra 2 comes with On’s classic Cloudtec cushion and a TPU Speedboard for energy return. This works really well with my gait. Coming back from a niggle with my achilles tendon, I was pleasantly surprised with the ride of the soft Helion foam.
I used the Cloudultra 2 for medium to longer runs starting from my home. For these, I run approximately 1-3 k on roads and then turn onto the trails. The Cloudultra 2 does this just right. For me, the ride has just the right amount of cushion. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable on hard ground and then, on forest floors and loose gravel, it is not too squishy. A Goldilocks shoe.
The rocker shape helps a lot to smooth the run and I found it easy to just keep on running.
The Cloudultra 2 have become my go to long run shoe when I may be running on gravel or grass fields. I have found the Helion foam extremely comfortable when running on asphalt from home to trail. These could easily become a daily-trainer in which I do all my easy miles. I haven’t had the chance to run in the rain with them yet but I can imagine that due to the nylon upper and rubberised mesh absorption would be kept to a minimum. Meaning they wouldn’t put on much more unnecessary weight.
I agree with the Cloudultra’s road to trail versatility.While I find them comfortable enough on the roads, I don’t think I will be following Josh’s lead and using them for all easy tarmac miles. My dainty feet prefer a little more cushion. I can vouch for their grip in the wet. Whilst on holiday in Croatia, I managed to channel my inner Kofuzi and take them for runs along the seaside. Here I was lapped by the waves (which makes a good change from being lapped by other runners). The only issue I had with grip was taking faster corners on wet cobblestones. That being said, there aren’t many rubbers which adhere to that!
Missiongrip – How does it hold up?
When you turn the Cloudultra 2 and look at the outsole, you will instantly see that those lugs are not designed to dig deep in the mud. With a depth from 3.5mm they gave enough grip on most of my runs and the flex grooves just do what you would expect. I haven’t tested the Cloudultra 2 in rocky and hilly terrain yet so I can’t say how they react. After just a short test time of 31k the outsoles do not show any sights of wear.
I heard the lugs of the Cloudultra 2 were wearing quickly at the heel. I will have to run more to see how the Missiongrip holds up. It also has to be said that wear on the outsoles always goes together with your foot strike. A heavier runner with a heel strike will use this part more than a lighter runner with a mid to forefoot strike.
Having run just over 50km in them now, I was surprised to see that there was already some signs of wear on the lugs. Perhaps this was due to the abnormally high amount of running on roads I have done in these shoes so far. Otherwise, I have been extremely pleased with the performance of Missiongrip. It offers great traction in muddy sections along with slippery grass and gravel sections. These shoes have taken everything I’ve thrown at them and make me want to run through more.
Missiongrip has held me firm on all terrains I have thrown at it. I have noticed no wear so far although most of my running in the Cloudultra 2 has been on soft surfaces. As far as the heel goes, those who have seen our Instagram reels will know, I don’t really use that part.
How will we use the Cloudultra 2?
On have surprised me again. Even though I find the fit and lockdown of the Cloudultra 2 not the best for my foot shape, I like running in them. I would not take the Cloudultra 2 for hill sessions because my foot doesn’t get that precise lockdown.
The Cloudultra 2 are a good choice if you want a go to trail shoe. If you have a wider foot and you are searching for a trail shoe for longer, easier runs then give it a go.
These are sure to become a key pair of shoes in my rotation and I look forward to taking them on many more long runs. Because of the relaxed fit and neutral running support of the shoes, they will go into “my long runs and easy pace” category. I have even found them a really comfortable walking shoe. However, I wouldn’t use these shoes at anything other than a relaxed pace due to the fit. I think my feet would slide around in the shoes a little too much. Therefore, I wouldn’t have the desired lockdown in the shoes when picking up the pace.
If you are looking for a do-it-all shoe and are curious about running some trail segments in your runs. Then this is the shoe for you! I would even recommend this shoe to someone looking for a winter daily trainer if the road surfaces you are running on are quite rough.
I agree with Silke and Josh above. I have enjoyed the Cloudultra 2 more than I thought I would when I took it out of the box. It has become a reliable, easy pace trail shoe for mixed terrain. I would like to see a more improved lockdown for a version 3 as this would make the shoe an all round better package with more versatility.
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