There are a multitude of running shoe brands to choose from, ranging from omnipresent brands like ASICS and New Balance to smaller brands like Zen Running Club.
Brooks and On Cloud are two of the most popular brands of running shoes.
While both companies produce a range of high-quality running shoes for runners of all ability levels and training styles, there are differences between On Cloud vs Brooks running shoes to be aware of when making a purchase.
In this article, we look at On Cloud vs Brooks running shoes to see how the running shoes from these two popular companies compare.
The Main Differences Between On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes
On Cloud running shoes are a much more recent entry into the running shoe market than Brooks.
The company, called On Running, is a Swiss brand founded by a six-time Ironman triathlon champion named Olivier Bernhard in 2010.
Both On Cloud and Brooks offer different models of running shoes for runners of all levels (beginners to high-mileage runners).
But Brooks tends to offer a wider variety of running shoes for foot types (flat foot, high arches), training preferences (road, trail running, racing, etc.), and shoe style needs and preferences (minimalist, neutral, cushioned, maximalist, stability, motion control) than On Cloud.
Both Brooks and On Cloud truly specialize in designing running shoes. This somewhat unites these two brands and differentiates them from many other popular running shoe brands like Nike and New Balance, which make a variety of running shoes, as well as other types of athletic shoes and casual footwear.
On Cloud does make a few types of hiking shoes, but like Brooks, the focus is really on running shoes, some of which are waterproof.
The brand’s lineup of models is less expansive than that of Brooks, particularly in terms of stability and motion control shoes.
There are fewer On Cloud vs Brooks running shoe models that are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Therefore, if you have foot conditions or wear orthotics, you might be better suited to choosing Brooks vs On Cloud running shoes.
Brooks uses a large sample group of wear testers to help guide design modifications and updates to their running shoes, and the brand reports that the running shoes are designed to accommodate rather than correct gait.
One additional difference is that Brooks usually releases fun, holiday-themed shoes and funky patterns for special occasions, whereas On Running has standard shoes without specific seasonality.
Let’s get into some more detail about each of these differences:
On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes: Durability
The durability of any running shoes depends on the interplay of many factors, some of which pertain to the shoes themselves, while others are specific to your body and your training.
Examples of such factors include your body weight and size, your gait and foot strike pattern, 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 you run in.
Then, there are qualities of the running shoes themselves that influence the durability, namely the materials used and the quality of construction.
The durability of On Cloud vs Brooks running shoes is similar.
Like many running shoe companies, Brooks recommends 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 Cloud also recommends replacing their shoes every 300 to 500 miles, noting that the lifespan depends specifically on the model and materials used. For example, the Cloudflash is designed for short, fast runs, so they are less durable than everyday trainers.
On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes: Cushioning
The main difference in the cushioning with On Cloud vs Brooks running shoes is a matter of the type of cushioning materials used in the shoes.
On Cloud shoes have a distinct appearance due to the CloudTec technology, which uses little hollow pockets on the bottom of the shoe. This special sole is supposed to “feel like a cloud” and attenuate shock and absorb impact by compressing with each step.
Most users 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 One One running shoes do.
The firmer midsole of On Cloud running shoes partly reduces the soft feeling, helping strike a balance between cushioning and responsiveness.
Brooks shoes use a variety of different foam materials for the midsole, depending on the primary purpose of the running shoes (e.g., racing flat versus cushioned training shoe).
DNA Flash provides very little cushioning, so it’s used in racing shoes.
DNA LOFT, which is made from a blend of EVA foam, rubber, and air, is the softest cushioning material in Brooks’ shoes, so it is used in the cushioned and maximalist running shoe styles.
DNA AMP is the type of cushioning material designed to optimize energy return because it is super springy and much stiffer than DNA LOFT.
Therefore, it is mostly used in performance running shoes such as lightweight trainers and speed shoes where you want to optimize forward propulsion.
BioMoGo DNA lands in the middle of DNA LOFT and DNA AMP, so it is sort of a blend of the two. This cushioning material adapts to and accommodates your gait to provide the right support and cushion.
On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes: Stability
Neither On Cloud nor Brooks running shoes are necessarily ideal for severe overpronators, as neither running shoes are designed to “correct” gait
Brooks running shoes are designed to accommodate your running gait rather than correct it, so even the stability running shoe models, which are distinguished by the “GTS” in the product name, which stands for “Go-To-Support,” won’t offer a ton of support.
The GTS versions of Brooks running shoes feature GuideRails Technology, which is designed to balance and support your natural running stride to optimize your degree of pronation.
On Cloud shoes also don’t “correct” overpronation. The stability shoes feature a different placement of some of the materials under the arch to help steer the foot into a better position.
On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes: Fit and Feel
One of the main differences between Brooks vs On Cloud running shoes is the sizing and fit of the shoes.
Brooks shoes tend to run short, and the company recommends sizing up a half size compared to your street shoes. The toe box runs slightly wider to accommodate natural foot splay. This makes Brooks running shoes a particularly good option for runners with wide feet, bunions, metatarsalgia, or a more squared forefoot rather than a tapered one.
On Cloud shoes tend to run on the narrow side, so the fit may not work well if you have a wider foot.
Probably the primary difference between On Cloud vs Brooks shoes is the feel of the shoes themselves.
Brooks running shoes feature all types of running shoes in their lineup. There are cushioned shoes, motion control shoes, stability shoes, minimalist shoes, etc. Therefore, the feel of the shoes will largely depend on the type of shoes you choose.
On Cloud running shoes have more of a unique feel that differentiates the shoes from most other types of running shoes and is ultimately a defining characteristic of On Cloud vs Brooks running shoes.
The On Cloud running shoes feature a speed board, which creates a slightly firmer feeling to maximize energy return. This is essentially like a carbon fiber plate.
Therefore, when comparing the feel of most Brooks vs On Cloud running shoes, the midsole of Brooks shoes is softer, and On Cloud shoes feel more firm.
The upper portion of On Cloud and Brooks running shoes are fairly similar, depending on the specific models. Both brands use lightweight mesh engineered to be breathable and flexible. There are different overlays to add additional support for certain types of shoes and a sock liner to improve comfort.
On Cloud vs Brooks Running Shoes: Price
Both Brooks and On Cloud running shoes can be costly, but they are competitively priced in the running shoe market for upper-end shoes.
The prices for On Cloud shoes primarily range between $130 to $170, with the most popular models falling right in the middle, around $150.
Brooks has some cheaper models, starting around $100, but most of the most popular Brooks running shoe models are also around $150, so the prices are ultimately comparable across both brands.
Overall, both On Cloud and Brooks make excellent running shoes suitable for runners of different levels who are seeking a variety of different characteristics in their running shoes.
Choosing the best brand is a matter of determining which fit and qualities are best for you. If you have a narrower foot and want a more responsive shoe, On Cloud might be better than Brooks, but if your feet are wider and you’re looking for more traditional options for running shoes, consider Brooks vs On Cloud running shoes.
For some more of our running shoe comparisons, check out: