Hoka Vs On Cloud Running Shoes: A Detailed Comparison

We'll look at the ins and outs of each shoe brand, including fundamental differences in their design, unique features, price, and which shoes from each brand are best suited for your style of running

Choosing the best brand of running shoes is a matter of determining which fit and qualities are best for you.

Hoka and On Cloud are two popular brands of running shoes that both have a distinctive appearance to the models in the lineup with notable characteristics, but with some distinctive differences between each other. 

Having spent years reviewing, testing, and comparing different brands of running shoes, in this article, we’ll use our expertise to give a straightforward comparison of Hoka vs On Cloud running shoes to help you determine which brand has better running shoes for your needs.

blue hoka running shoes

What Are the Main Differences Between Hoka and On Cloud Running Shoes?

Some runners might imagine that there is a lot of similarity between Hoka running shoes and On Cloud running shoes since they both have a distinctive appearance.

Furthermore, Hokas are known to be maximalist running shoes that provide “cloud-like cushioning,“ and On Cloud running shoes have “cloud” in the name.

However, whilst both companies make great shoes, there are actually quite a lot of key differences between On Cloud vs Hoka running shoes.

The shoes fit, feel, and even function rather uniquely. 

Both Hoka and On Cloud offer numerous models of running shoes designed for a range of ability levels and foot structures.

On Cloud and Hoka both specialize in running shoes, though both brands offer a few types of hiking shoes, and Hoka has some occupational shoes and recovery footwear.

on running shoe

Hoka Running Shoes Explained

Hoka running shoes are known as maximalist running shoes because they have a very thick midsole with a lot of cushioning.

This style of shoe is particularly popular among trail runners, ultramarathon runners, and masters runners due to the added cushioning.

The shoes have a distinctive appearance and often come in funky colors.

In general, Hoka running shoes run on the narrow side, although certain models are available in wide widths. With that said, the standard width (B for women and D for men) is usually snugger in width than size- and width-matched running shoes from brands like New Balance and Brooks.

On Cloud Running Shoes Explained

On Cloud running shoes are produced by the company On Running. This is a Swiss brand founded in 2010 by a six-time Ironman triathlon champion named Olivier Bernhard.1On | Swiss Performance Running Shoes & Clothing. (n.d.). Www.on-Running.com.

The lineup mostly includes neutral shoes designed to support a natural running stride rather than having many corrective stability and motion control running shoes that offer a lot of pronation control and gait correction.

On Cloud running shoes have a distinctive appearance with pods in the soles, called CloudTec. The company claims that this technology reduces muscle fatigue and heart rate by promoting energy return for better propulsion and reduced impact stress.

On Running shoes also feature Helion foam, a Swiss-engineered superfoam created by On for a smoother performance. Lightweight and tough, it performs well at all temperatures.

One thing to note is that there are fewer On Cloud running shoe models that are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).2Companies | Seal of Approval | Footwear & Products | Patients | APMA. (n.d.). Www.apma.org. Retrieved January 7, 2024, from https://www.apma.org/Patients/CompanyList.cfm?navItemNumber=544 Therefore, if you have foot conditions or wear orthotics, you might be better suited to choose Hoka running shoes.

trail hoka running shoe

Hoka vs On Cloud Running Shoes: Durability

The durability of any running shoes depends not only on the shoes themselves and how well you take care of them but also on individual factors about your training and body.

Examples of these individual factors include your body weight and size, your specific gait and foot strike, how often you run and whether you rotate your shoes (doing so gives the material more time to rebound between uses), the terrain you run on, and the climate and weather in which you run.

In terms of the durability of the running shoes themselves, the quality of construction and materials used are the primary factors that influence the recommended lifetime of the running shoes.

The durability of On Cloud vs Hoka running shoes is similar. Like many running shoe companies, both companies recommend replacing their running shoes after 300 to 500 miles (500-800 km) of use, or every 3-6 months, depending largely on the training and body factors mentioned.

On Running notes that the lifespan of On Cloud running shoes depends specifically on the model and materials used. For example, the On Running Cloudflash model is designed for short, fast runs, so they are less durable than everyday trainers.

blue On Running shoes

Hoka vs On Cloud Running Shoes: Cushioning 

The main differences in the cushioning with Hoka vs On Cloud running shoes are the type of cushioning materials used in the shoes and the resultant feel and function. 

On Running shoes have a distinct appearance because of the CloudTec technology in the sole. This involves the incorporation of little hollow pockets on the bottom of the shoe. 

The CloudTec sole is supposed to “feel like a cloud” and attenuate shock and absorb impact by compressing with each step. Most runners report that although the shoes are well cushioned, they don’t necessarily feel plush and pillow-like in the way that a maximalist shoe like Hoka running shoes do. 

This is largely due to the fact that On Cloud running shoes have a firmer midsole, which is a deliberate design consideration to help strike a better balance between cushioning and responsiveness or energy return.

HOKA running shoes have a very thick midsole to be maximally plush and provide “marshmallow softness.” This is afforded by PROFLY technology and molded EVA foam.

Although people usually associate HOKA with the thickest maximalist running shoes, there are actually three levels of cushioning in Hoka running shoes, depending on the type and primary function. Despite being maximalist running shoes with a very thick midsole, Hoka running shoes are surprisingly lightweight.

black and grey hoka shoes with yellow laces

Hoka vs On Cloud Shoes: Stability

Neither On Cloud nor Hoka running shoes are necessarily ideal for severe overpronators, as neither running shoe is designed to provide a significant amount of pronation control.

On Cloud running shoes are not designed to “correct” overpronation. There are a few stability shoes, but these models simply have a different placement of some of the materials under the arch to help steer the foot into a better position.

HOKA doesn’t offer a ton of stability running shoes, but there are a few models that are designed to provide some amount of support and pronation control 

The stability elements include J-Frame technology and firmer foam on the medial side of the foot to prevent excessive pronation (rolling inward). 

Furthermore, the larger, wider platform of Hoka running shoes naturally lends itself to providing quite a bit of stability, acting as somewhat of a bucket seat.

Therefore, neither brand is necessarily ideal for overpronators, though when comparing the two, you’ll get more stability with Hoka vs On Cloud.

A person running on the trails.

Hoka vs On Cloud Running Shoes: Fit and Feel

Both On Cloud running shoes and Hoka running shoes tend to run narrow, but there is some variability in the fit of the different models, with both brands seemingly transitioning into a general shoe shape that is slightly wider in the forefoot than they had in earlier models.

The shape of the standard-width running shoes (B for women and D for men) of HOKA shoes can be ideal for runners with narrower feet, but if you have “normal” feet, the standard width on some of the models might feel a bit snug.

Therefore, even if you don’t have a traditionally “wide“ foot, it can be a good idea to choose a HOKA model that comes in a wide-width option, such as the Bondi models.

Probably the primary difference between On Cloud vs Hoka shoes is the feel of the shoes themselves.

Because HOKA shoes have thick soles, they feel quite plush and forgiving, whereas On Cloud running shoes are firmer and more responsive.

People running a road race.

HOKA soles also have a meta rocker or Hubble heel, which is designed to help guide the transition from heel to toe (impact to push off) when you run.

On Cloud running shoes have a rather unique feel that differentiates them from most other types of running shoes, meaning they certainly feel different from Hoka shoes.

On Cloud running shoes feature a speed board that functions like a carbon fiber plate, creating a firmer feeling at push-off to maximize energy return.

Therefore, when comparing the feel of most Hoka vs On Cloud running shoes, the midsole of Hoka shoes is much softer, and On Cloud shoes feel more firm and springy.

Hoka vs On Cloud Running Shoes: Price

Both Hoka and On Cloud running shoes are competitively priced in the running shoe market for premium running shoes.

The prices for On Running shoes primarily range between $130 to $170, with the most popular models falling right in the middle, around $150. The average price of Hoka running shoes is about $150-180.

Overall, both On Cloud and Hoka make great running shoes. Whether you should choose Hoka vs On Cloud primarily depends on the amount of cushioning versus responsiveness you want in your running shoe and the amount of stability you seek.

If you are on the search for new running shoes and looking for that perfect pair, check out some of our other running shoe brand comparison guides:

Brooks vs New Balance: Running Shoe Comparison

Nike vs Adidas, How Do These Shoes Compare?

A variety of running shoes hanging.

Hoka Vs On Running For Different Types Of Running: Which Shoe From Each Brand Should You Choose?

Running shoe brands tend to create different types of shoes with different specialties suited for different types of running.

Below are our top picks of the best running shoes from each brand for different running styles.

For more detail, you can also check out our definitive lists of the best shoes from each brand for different styles:

Best For Long Distance

On Cloudstratus

With two layers of the brand’s distinctive cloud pods, these shoes do an outstanding job of absorbing shock and preserving your energy when running longer distances.

On Cloudstratus 3

Hoka Clifton 9

The Clifton series is known for its extra cushioning, lightweight design, and improved fit, and this latest model is no exception, making it an excellent pick for long-distance endurance-based shoes.

Hoka clifton 9

Best For Speed Work

Hoka One One Mach 4

Designed for speed and agility, the lightweight foam, unique grip, and responsive and natural feeling midsole of the Hoka One One Mach 4 make it a popular choice for speed work and race day.

Hoka One One Mach 4

On Cloudflow 4

These shoes feature a lightweight minimalist design and nylon-based springboard combined with a forefoot toe spring and extra rubber grip, giving you maximum forward spring during sprints.

 On Cloudflow 4

Best For Trail Running

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 6

Perfect for offroad adventures, the Challenger ATR 6 is built for stability and grip on rough and sloping surfaces whilst maintaining a high level of durability and comfort, making them a great pair of trail running shoes.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 6

On Cloudultra 2

The Cloudultra 2 features a specialized Missiongrip outsole and updated stud layout to provide 50% more ground contact and traction on all surfaces, in addition to the signature Cloudtech cushioning and TPU Speedboard keeping you comfortable and stable, combined with their signature speed lacing system.

On Cloudultra 2

Best For Road Running

On Cloudboom Echo 3

Known to be On Running’s fastest racing shoe, the lightweight full-length carbon Speedboard offers explosive speed, complemented with a Pebax hyper foam midsole to offer powerful energy return and shock resistance.

 On Cloudboom Echo 3

Hoka One One Rincon 3

With excellent shock absorption, stability, and durability, these shoes are a great choice for road running and daily training due to their soft landing and comfortable fit.

Hoka one one rincon 3

Best For Comfort

On Cloudmonster

With signature Speedboard technology and maximum cushioning, the On Cloudmonster provides outstanding comfort when running, or even as a walking shoe for everyday life.

On Cloudmonster

Hoka One One Bondi 7

Whilst also excellent for high-impact road running due to strong shock absorbtion, the extra cushioning on this shoe provides extremely high levels of comfort, complemented by a spacious toe box, padded tongue, and collar.

Hoka One One Bondi 7

Best For Racing

On Cloudsurfer

Without a speedboard, this shoe maintains softness, a useful asset for comfort when racing over longer distances, whilst maintaining quality, comfort, and speed, helping you to glide along on race day.

On Cloudsurfer

HOKA Rocket X 2

Perhaps the best Hoka shoe to date, a PEBA-based midsole and carbon plate help to propel you forward on race day, whilst a lightweight design and soft foam padding maintain comfort and stability over longer distances.

Hoka Rocket X 2

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

10 thoughts on “Hoka Vs On Cloud Running Shoes: A Detailed Comparison”

  1. My only personal experience with Hoka is the Rincon. They were light and felt great. The outsole shredded with under 250 miles on it. Conversely I’ve worn Altra Torin, Brooks PureFlow and Glycerin and OnCloud CloudX for 600-800 miles with no problems. At $150 price point the choice is easy.

    Reply
  2. A few notes! The brand is simple called On – I know our name can be confusing. The biggest reason our shoes look the way they do is for vertical and horizontal cushioning. Our cloud elements can compress in both directions as opposed to a traditional midsole only compressing vertically. And the new Cloudflyer has a dual density midsole creating a similar stabilization to the J Frame. It is definitely more stable than previous models but still safe for neutral runners as well.

    Reply
  3. All I know is I used Nike, Puma, Adidas, running shoes and one day I came across HOKA and my planter fasciitis went away, running time and distance increased. I’m staying with HOKA. Take my money lol, my feet feel good.

    Reply
  4. I am debating on which brand to purchase. First of all, I’m not a runner – I walk a lot but that’s about it…..My main problem is that I have had 3 spinal fusions and I need a comfy shoe – hence why I’m confused. And I can’t afford to buy a pair of each to actually see which is the better brand…..

    Trying them on in the store doesn’t ever give me a true feeling of what they’ll feel like…
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I have flat feet which gives me issues when I walk alot. I just bought a pair of On Cloud and I can tell you they are definitely the MOST COMFORTABLE sneaker I have ever purchased. I don’t want to take them off! lol.
      I have not tried Hoka sneakers yet… but I might buy a pair just for comparison. 😊

      Reply
    • I have had 4 spinal fusions so I know where you’re coming from. Go with the Hoka Bondi, you will fall in love! I tried on the Clouds and took them right off, definitely not enough cushioning. I bought 3 pairs of Hokas in a row and I don’t like spending that much money on sneakers, but they are amazing!

      Reply
  5. I do not run, I walk a lot. I also have bone spurs on several vertebrae along with being diagnosed with spinal stenosis. I own 3 pairs of Hokas. They are all priceless to me! I cannot function daily without them. I realize they are not magic shoes, but my back pain seems to be removed from the forefront on my mind when I lace them up. They help me to accomplish what I need to daily whereas I was unable to stand for any length of time before or only walk short distances in other underperforming expensive athletic shoes.

    Reply

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