You never were attracted by On Running shoes? For many the reason for that was the price tag. And I must admit I was one of those. For others it was the design or the urban legend according to which the shoes were firm and dull. Some of that was true and On seems decided to refute all of that with the maximalist Cloudmonster.
The Cloudmonster upper is a nice piece of engineered mesh material, which I don’t find particularly breathable but it’s durable and resistant. It almost has some kind of water repelling treatment to it but it’s certainly not waterproof. The upper of the On Cloudmonster would deserve a bit more structure, especially in the forefoot where it offers lots of volume. Midfoot is ok and the fully gusseted tongue helps to get a nice lockdown around the midfoot.
I regret the lack of padding in the tongue. A bit more padding would provide some extra comfort, although that tongue was not an issue at all in terms of lacing pressure on the top of my feet. The lacing pattern is a bit awkward and could be improved. The heel base gets some structure thanks to the outer overlay and is overall a nice fit.
Sizing tip: go true to size but be aware that it’s a generous fit in terms of volume. The Cloudmonster should accommodate some wider feet.
The Helion midsole is a blend of EVA and Olefin block compound. It is shaped into On running signature “clouds” and while the durometer score of 42,17/100 may suggest a firmer ride, it’s actually much more dampened and cushioned than what I expected. The midsole feels dense underfoot and there’s little doubt that you are stepping on a thick slab of clouds.
The 6mm drop (29mm stack in the heel) work well with the pronounced rocker, which however starts quite far in the front of the shoe. Heel striking feels fine but the shoe does not offer a very fast transition to the forefoot. Midfoot strikers should benefit the most of the On Running Cloudmonster geometry.
While marketed as a neutral road running shoe, the On Cloudmonster offers several inherent stability features that will benefit to those of us looking for them. First and foremost the higher durometer score helps to get a stable ride. The guiding rail splitting the midsole in two is also a very helpful asset to guide the foot forward in a centered way. Finally the Speedboard that runs from heel to toes between the midsole and the foot acts as an extra layer of stiffness to guide the gait cycle.
Fun thing that I noticed when preparing for this article: the Cloudmonster is the shoe with which I ran the most in 2022. I’m rotating a lot between shoes but the On Cloudmonster was one that I grabbed quite easily for those easy days where I just want to disconnect the mind and let the legs do their thing. And with the 120+kms I put on the shoe both on roads and packed trails, I cannot notice any wear (or really minimal, that would appear on other shoes already after 50kms). The limited amount of compression of the midsole will also help to have a longer lifespan and overall I would rate the Cloudmonster as a very durable shoe.
At $170/€170 the price tag remains high for this shoe. But like I said in my Youtube review, I believe this is actually the first On shoe that is not overpriced. The value for money is good especially when taking durability into account. The Cloudstratus 2 was already a step in the right direction for On Running. And with this shoe they definitely have a product that will be enjoyed by most runners, even those who never felt at ease in On shoes. No it’s not the bouncy super soft maximalist shoe that many brands are trying to put together at the moment. But it’s a very well thought daily trainer that offers a unique and pleasant ride.
Available March 31
5% OFF with code AFILITTI
Want to find out more about how Meta Endurance can help you? Get in touch with our team today, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.