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ON Cloudboom Echo 3 Review

8.8

Out of 10

Comfort:

9

Ride:

9

Upper:

9.5

Design:

9

Value:

7.5

The Verdict:

No sooner had On brought us their best road running shoe to date with the new Cloudsurfer, than they have done it again with this, the On Cloudboom Echo 3. In terms of racing shoes, I think even the brand themselves didn’t think the previous versions of their racing model were quite up to the level of the competition. With a full-length carbon plate, a new midsole foam, and sleek racing upper, is the Cloudboom Echo able to match the likes of the Nike Vaporfly 3 and adidas Pro 3 stride for stride?

Pros

Great fit

Feels like a track spike for the road

Best racing shoe yet from On

Cons

Limited life-span – 4 x marathon

The price

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ON

Cloudboom Echo 3

Stats Breakdown

Brand

ON

Model

Cloudboom Echo 3

Weight

215g / 7.58oz (US Men’s 8.5)

Heel Stack

37 mm

Toe Stack

28 mm

Heel-Toe Drop

9 mm

Fit:

True to size

Carbon Plate?

yes

Level of Cushioning

Moderate Cushioning

Level of Support

Neutral

Best For:

Racing

Speedwork

No sooner had On brought us their best road running shoe to date with the new Cloudsurfer, than they have done it again with this, the On Cloudboom Echo 3.

In terms of racing shoes, I think even the brand themselves didn’t think the previous versions of their racing model were quite up to the level of the competition.

With a full-length carbon plate, a new midsole foam, and sleek racing upper, is the Cloudboom Echo able to match the likes of the Nike Vaporfly 3 and adidas Pro 3 stride for stride?

We’ve certainly been waiting with bated breath for this shoe, but it’s not exactly the shoe many expected. Such is the case with social media nowadays that many On sponsored athletes and triathletes have been spotted wearing another, deep stacked On super shoe.

The brand’s other super-racer, possibly named the ‘Cloudboom Tri’ remains, for now under wraps or at least for the general running public.

So, for now, at least the Cloudboom Echo 3 is the premium race day model from On Running, so let’s take it for a spin to see how it fares.

ON Cloudboom Echo 3 – First Impression

As with many On shoes, the fit is superb.

I hope this doesn’t only apply to me, but I find the brand’s shoes offer a close, wrap-around fit that always seems to remind me of my old racing shoes and spikes.

Perhaps this wrap-around fit sensation is just me, longing for the glory days of the past and my personal bests set in my favorite shoes of the 80s, but the uppers are light, minimalist and hug my feet like an old friend.

The softer nature of this shoe is noticeable straight away. Previously the brand’s racing shoes did feel pretty firm.

The new Helion HF foam midsole is softer and overall the shoe feels a little more agile.

While the full-length carbon plate is noticeable, it’s not as stiff as previous versions here, it instantly feels more engaging and eager to pick up the pace.

Cloudboom Echo 3

ON Cloudboom Echo 3The Tech

The shoes feature On’s Helion HF (Hyper-Foam) midsole. This is a PEBAX-based material and has that familiar feel, bounce, and responsive nature of super shoes. 

The On Signature CloudTec is present, albeit with very small apertures in the heel and forefoot.

In the heel, the CloudTec acts to absorb impact and in the forefoot, they assist in flexibility.

A rocker-shaped full carbon Speedboard provides a highly propulsive toe-off and works in conjunction with the Helion HF midsole to keep it stable and get the most out of the responsive nature of the material.

Silicon applications on the sock liner are a clever feature and prevent any slippage within the shoe giving a secure fit.

Cloudboom Echo 3 top view

ON Cloudboom Echo 3Road Test

Given the limited life span of this shoe, I wanted to give the shoes a ‘race test’ at the earliest opportunity.

On say the shoe is at its best for four marathons, so a life span of just 104.8 miles to be precise. It should be noted that they aren’t saying the shoe will fall apart at this mark, simply that the optimum benefit of the foam will be at its best for this mileage.

So, straight from the box I went to a local Parkrun (Preston, Lancashire UK), laced the shoes up, and jogged to the start. 

The fit is great and the shoe really hugs the foot.

The softer and more noticeably responsive feel of the new Helion HF midsole is welcome over previous versions and offers a nice experience even at a slow warm-up pace.

As the gun goes and I quickly pick up the pace the shoe feels light and the toe-off is great.

The curved plate sits well under the foot and the geometry seems to offer a great forward momentum.

On the straight, flat first half mile of the route, the combination of the foam and carbon plate gets the best straight-line feel of the shoe.

A little like a quarter-mile drag race, it’s a great test of performance. The shoe works well here, but the first hill approaches so how will it fair here? No problems, the curve of the rocker helps as I lean into the hill and push up onto my toes.

While the cushioning from the Helion HF midsole is a little on the firmer side when compared to many competition shoes, it’s soft enough to offer a nice degree of ‘bounce’.

Helion HF is a Pebax-based foam and while many brands use this type of foam and they feel similar there can be a range of ‘ride sensations’ due to the combination of the foam and plate.

The Cloudboom Echo 3 sits closest to the adidas adios pro 3 in terms of softness.

Lying towards the firmer end of the cushioning spectrum.

Of course, this is my personal opinion as I’ve often had contrasting opinions with other runners regarding the softness of a shoe and its cushioning.

On the steep descent of the course as I dropped onto my heels a little the shoe feels stable enough, despite my tendency to over-pronate a little and the rather narrow footprint of the shoe.

The three-lap course here is a little twisty towards the end of each lap, but the shoe feels agile enough to tackle the turns at speed and again much more stable than initially thought.

ON Cloudboom Echo 3 side view

ON Cloudboom Echo 3Conclusion

It’s the best racer yet from On, it’s light, responsive, and agile. 

The cushioning is firm but feels ok over shorter distances.

To be honest, I don’t think I’d race further than 10k in this shoe. Perhaps that’s just my ageing legs, but I prefer a slightly softer feel for the half marathon and above.

That said, at 5k and 10k it’s a great choice, particularly if I’m feeling good and want to attack the race. The carbon plate rocker fits my foot well and the toe-off was perfect.

The fit, as always with On for me is superb and here the lightweight upper is just fantastic, I love the shape and fit and the sock-like experience.

Small design touches demonstrate On’s attention to detail and the Silicon print on the insole for a non-slip fit and the anti-slip texture of the laces to prevent them from coming loose are very nice finishing touches.

 It’s still not the same race shoe as some sponsored triathletes are wearing, which looks to offer even better cushioning, but for now, it’s a great race day offering from On.

8.8

Out of 10

Comfort:

9

Ride:

9

Upper:

9.5

Design:

9

Value:

7.5

The Verdict:

No sooner had On brought us their best road running shoe to date with the new Cloudsurfer, than they have done it again with this, the On Cloudboom Echo 3. In terms of racing shoes, I think even the brand themselves didn’t think the previous versions of their racing model were quite up to the level of the competition. With a full-length carbon plate, a new midsole foam, and sleek racing upper, is the Cloudboom Echo able to match the likes of the Nike Vaporfly 3 and adidas Pro 3 stride for stride?

Pros

Great fit

Feels like a track spike for the road

Best racing shoe yet from On

Cons

Limited life-span – 4 x marathon

The price

Shop Men's:

Shop Women's:

Photo of author
Paul Freary really does have a lifetime of experience as an athlete. Paul’s father, Mike was British record holder over 10,000m in 1966, so Paul was almost born to run. With best times ranging from 3:56 for the mile to 13:55 for 5k, and ran 2:40 at the 2023 Berlin Marathon at age 55. Having worked with several leading brands as well as in retail he also knows running footwear inside out and also has experience in gait analysis and orthotics. Paul writes regular running shoe reviews for our site and our Youtube channel!

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