Walking on Sunshine? Try Running on Clouds!

A few months ago, my amazing local running store – The Authentic Athlete in Fairfield, CT (seriously, stop by if you are ever in the neighborhood- these guys know their stuff) – introduced me to the On Cloudsurfer and told me I’d love it.

They were (as usual) right.

DISCLAIMER: Like every other running apparel company in the world, On has no idea who I am.

MORE DISCLAIMER: Authentic Athlete knows I’m the spaz who comes in and buys running shoes a lot and tripped up their stairs a few months ago, but that’s the extent of our relationship.

I just like to pass it on when I find something I love.

The unique thing about On shoes is their “CloudTec” technology. The sole of the shoe is covered in 13 firm rubber “clouds” that are intended to help you land softly (by absorbing both vertical and horizontal impact) yet take off powerfully (like a barefoot runner).

My funky kicks.

My funky kicks.

I don’t understand all of the science behind those magic clouds on the bottoms of the shoes, but I know two very important things that make me love my Cloudsurfers:

1. When I wear them on long runs, my feet don’t hurt.
2. When I wear them on long runs, my legs don’t hurt.

You know how sometimes you finish a super-long run and once you stop, you basically have to shuffle into your house? Not with these babies. I finished several 20+ milers in them and was able to walk into my house fully upright and moving like a semi-normal person. And this was at the end of my training for the Boston Marathon, when you would think my legs would be a mess. My earlier long runs were in different shoes and I basically hobbled my way into the house after each long run. Being able to walk in my front door like a fully functioning human being was a nice switch and spared me the usual weird looks from my tweens.

I’m not saying my legs weren’t tired- the shoes are not magic- but I was not sore. I’ll take it.

Some people claim that the On shoes make them run faster. I don’t know about that. I think I’ll run faster when I have the time to devote to speedwork and strength training, and I’m not planning on a shoe to help in that area, but the comfort alone is enough for me.

In case you are wondering about some of the same things I did when I considered buying them:

1. Yes, the clouds are very strong and won’t wear down quickly. I read one review by a guy who had run 250 miles in them and the cloud symbol hadn’t even worn off yet. I haven’t noticed any deterioration in the 2 months I have had them.

2. Yes, they feel weird to walk in. But they don’t feel weird to run in. If there was any adjustment period (I can’t really remember), it was probably only the first mile or two the first time I wore them. Seriously. And I think half of that was because I was expecting them to feel weird. By mile 3 of my first run in them, I was a convert.

3. No, stuff does not get stuck in between the clouds. I have run on post-winter roads full of gravel, sand and general gunk with no problems. Not sure if it is different for trail runners, but we road runners {beep! beep!} should be fine.

4. They probably are slightly more slippery than regular types of running shoes because of less points of contact with the road. When I ran through the torrent that was the Boston Marathon, I realized I was fine as long as I stayed off painted lines, trolley tracks and other slick surfaces. Running on the wet road was no problem – maybe I took turns a little more carefully, but that was probably the product of overthinking – but the addition of anything shiny and slick and I felt a little unstable. Despite that, I would wear them again in a rainy race without question.

5. They are almost completely mesh, which is a dream come true in warm weather and may require warmer socks in cold weather. I ran through snow and cold temps in them in regular wool running socks and felt fine. When I wore them in Boston with regular dri-fit type socks, I got a little chilly due to the fact that my feet were soaked by mile 3 and temps were in the low-40’s. That said, I emerged from that race with 10 intact toenails and not one blister. Hear that? Not one blister!! A Christmas miracle brought to me by my good friends at On.

They are not cheap and they are new enough that they aren’t in a lot of discount outlets yet (and I think the ones that are in discount outlets are the earlier versions of what I wear, so Buyer Beware – they may be different). Still, I would highly recommend giving them a whirl.

And if you do, let me know what you think!

27 thoughts on “Walking on Sunshine? Try Running on Clouds!

  1. I am going to give these bitches a whirl. I am incredibly intrigued. Clouds might be my next light, fluffy step. I finally feel as if my Hoka’s are breaking in as I texted you yesterday after My Fantastic Run, . Zero sore feet. Zero sore legs. Which is lately such a change for me because my beloved Newton’s are dead. And dead kicks equal tired, sore legs for me. The Hoka’s took a while to break in, but I am starting to love those too. Why I don’t alternate sneaks more is beyond me. I would totally add these to my rotation. I have a feeling the Hansons are going to beat the snot out of my legs. Anything to help!! 🙂

  2. These sound intriguing. I love my Nike Frees, they fit like a glove and are practically weightless, and Hoka’s are too wide for my feet. Running on clouds sounds very appealing to me!

    • It is at 1863 Post Road between Wilson’s BBQ and Music & Arts. Small store with a step-down entrance, so easy to miss. My son’s pediatrician sent us there for cleats during a huge growth spurt when he was having growing pains in his feet because, in the words of our Ped, “Chris at Authentic Athlete knows more about fit and feet than a podiatrist.” He wasn’t wrong and we have been going there ever since.

    • I have never run in Newtons, though I hear nice things. One thing both companies have in common is that they were started by runners for runners. So both win in my book.

    • Should I purchase these cloud hoppers, I will compare and contrast Newton (Gravity) v. On (Cloudsurferhopperjumperrunners). The Hokas, which did not impress me initially, needing some breaking in. Now? I’m digging them.

  3. I have a pair of the On Running Cloud shoes, and love them. Although I am not crazy about them for runs longer than 10 miles., but they’ve been awesome for speed work and I wore them for a 5k the other day. Maybe I ought to try the Cloudsurfers for half marathons and longer (although I also have a pair of Hoka Cliftons in my rotation that I love for long runs). I’m glad On Running shoes are getting some love 🙂

  4. Whoa these sound pretty cool! I feel like after Mizuno updated their Wave Inspire 9s I’ve been looking for a perfect shoe to replace it. I’m running in Asics Gel Kayano 20s now but I might check these out if they ever come up here to Alaska!

  5. Pingback: Running on Clouds – Part II | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

  6. Pingback: The Saturday Six. Blizzard Edition! – It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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