On Cloudswift 2019 Shoe Review
I often get worried when a brand I love starts to substantially expand their product portfolio. When the On Running brand first launched, they had a limited shoe range, each model perfect in almost every way. In a few short years, the shoe line has ballooned and unfortunately, quality has diminished. I was initially very excited when On announced a shoe designed around running on urban streets; the Cloudswift. That excitement left almost as soon as I unboxed them.
From the outsole, to the tread, and everything in between, this was supposed to be the shoe for runners pounding the pavement in their city environment. Living in Atlanta, I had high hopes for these shoes. Sadly, I have to report, I was truly let down. It’s like On Running pushed these shoes out the door without asking an actual runners to try them first.
Don’t get me wrong, the craftsmanship is fine; it’s the functionality and performance that underwhelm. I will dive into the various issues in the sections below, but for the quick summary, I recommend skipping these shoes. I still believe in the On Running brand, because even Nike, Adidas and others make more shoe options than is warranted.
DESIGN & FEEL
At first glance, these shoes look like some of the best shoes that On has ever designed. From a distance they are clean, somewhat rugged, and athletic in stance. When you have them on though, they look and feel like a pair of Hoka’s more than any previous On running shoes.
One feature that could have been nice but is poorly executed is the single mold upper, tongue, and heel combination. Nike offers this in the Nike Free and Flyknit lines. This design approach provides for a sock like feel on the foot. However the Cloudswift felt loose even when trying on different sizes. It’s just not snug enough to be effective.
Moreover, the shoe laces are laughably too long for a shoe that should slide on like a glove and need little lacing. You absolutely have to remove them and get some alternatives in place or deal with the annoyance of shoe laces flopping around and coming undone no matter how many times you lace them. In fact, shoe laces have been a perpetual problem for On Running in all of their shoes. I guess the Swiss don’t do shoe laces very well.
FEATURES & PERFORMANCE
As usual, I tested the shoes across my three key activities; walking, running, and cross-training. I usually get about a month of activity on the shoes before reviewing. I spent three months using these shoes to be sure I was not being overly critical. Sadly, they never got better.
If urban running is the stated purpose of these shoes, they completely missed the mark. I saw in no way anything about these shoes that made them better at pounding the pavement than any other shoe I have had before. In fact, they may be the most stiff and unforgiving shoe I have ever worn. I am honestly afraid I could get hurt running in these.
They weigh a lot more than they look. They do not breath well. No responsiveness in any part of the shoe. I could go on and on but this is just not a good running shoe. At any level or any pace. I am in fact shocked at the positive reviews I see for them. I wonder if those runners are doping.
I ran with these shoes on trails, pavement, concrete, and treadmill. Nothing changed on any surface. I felt like I had strapped phone books to my feet and tried running in them. Again, the shoe laces flop to much, the lacing system created uneven pressure across the top of the foot, and the tread never really gave you a sense of sure footing.
It’s hard to make a running shoe work badly at walking. On Running, tried and came close. The On Cloudswift just weighs too much for long hour plus long walks. Even if a shoe is not my main running shoe, it usually makes a good walking shoe. I will keep even single purposes shoes for up to 300 miles. Sadly, these shoes won’t make it that far.
Gym and bootcamp workouts were so so in this shoe. Straight weight lifting is fine. In fact the high heel position was great for squatting. The lack of sure footing did not make bootcamp classes or dynamic movement easy. No spring whatsoever to these shoes. So, no explosive movements, unless you don’t want knees.
On Cloudswift - Product ComparisonI’ll stick to comparing these shoes against the last few running shoes I owned. The On Cloud X, On Cloud Flow, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Turbo.
|CATEGORY||vs. On Cloud Flow||vs. On Cloud X||vs. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Style:||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Cloud X||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Running Use:||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Walking Use:||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Cloud X||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Training Use:||Cloud Flow||Cloud X||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Feel:||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Durability:||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
|Weight:||Cloud Flow||Cloud X||Zoom Pegasus Turbo|
On Cloudswift - Summary
|3 out of 10||Athletic Design||Price > $140|
|Durable||Laces Run Too Long|
|Poor Overall Footing|