Is this the best On running shoe to date? It’s certainly something different in terms of looks and feel.
Using computer modeling and analysis to create a new style of the brand’s cloud-cushioning, the ON Cloudsurfer is a drastic departure from previous models.
The brand’s speedboard is now absent and instead, we have a new midsole featuring Cloudtech Phase.
ON Cloudsurfer – First Impression:
First up, a word about size.
The fit is true-to-size in terms of the Cloudsurfer fitting the same as other ON models. The brand use just a half-size conversion from a USA to UK size (like New Balance) but other brands use a full-size difference.
So a US Size 10 from ON is a UK9.5 (Brooks, Saucony, Mizuno etc US10 = UK9).
As always, it’s best to try the shoes in a store if you can.
So, with that in mind, the first impression of the ON Cloudsurfer is great.
The shoe looks striking and feels great.
The upper is soft, breathable, and plush and the cushioning is softer and more welcoming than any On shoe previously.
ON Cloudsurfer – The Tech:
A newly developed midsole uses computer-optimised Cloudtech Phase cushioning.
Using the brand’s Helion foam cushioning material as well as the new cloud design, a super-soft and smooth riding feel is achieved.
The sequentially collapsing clouds are a departure from the more usual Cloudtec design and help the shoe feel soft on impact but a little more responsive on toe-off.
The brand’s speedboard isn’t used in the Cloudsurfer and this gives the shoe a much softer and more flexible feel than many of their other models.
It feels so good, in fact, that I’d go as far as to say that we’ll see more models from the brand in the future without the speedboard.
The upper uses a dope dyeing process which requires 90% less water in its production.
The upper now uses 30% recycled content, so the brand is becoming just a little more environmentally sensitive.
ON Cloudsurfer – Road Test:
Right from the word go, the shoes feel great.
The soft padding around the ankle collar and heel welcomes your feet inside.
The plush feel continues around the rest of the upper, with the tongue having just the right amount of padding to feel comfortable without feeling too thick or heavy.
The level of cushioning is instantly noticeable as being softer than any previous On model.
Even the Cloudmonster with its high stack and maximal cushioning design doesn’t feel quite as soft and welcoming as the Cloudsurfer.
My first run was an easy end-of-the-week 4-mile recovery jog. Running at an easy pace it’s noticeable how the cloud elements collapse to absorb impact.
I don’t think you need to feel how they work, after all, we just want the smooth ride and impact-reducing feel, don’t we?
As the pace increases, the shoe simply feels smooth with a touch of energy return on toe-off. It’s not a massively propulsive feel, but not every shoe has to be. It just feels good.
The lack of the brand’s speedboard is noticeable if you’ve run in other models from On. This shoe feels more flexible, and that’s a good thing.
It feels easy to get along with, the lack of the stiffer speedboard gives it a more dynamic and energised feel.
Whilst I ran in the shoes at a variety of speeds (except fast intervals I must admit) it felt good at anything from 8-minute mile pace down to 6-minute mile pace.
It is a truly neutral shoe and although it’s not unstable it is best suited to the more neutral runner.
ON Cloudsurfer – Conclusion:
In conclusion, YES, the Cloudsurfer is the best shoe yet from On.
Their models have developed from rather firm feeling models for the first few years of their development to the ultra-cushioned Cloudmonster of late 2022.
The ON Cloudsurfer moves things on a step with a super-soft ride that puts it on par with models like the New Balance 1080, ASICS Nimbus, and Nike Invincible.
There’s no doubt that the brand is putting in a lot of work in research and development, and this shows in the new ON Cloudsurfer and in the early glimpses we’ve seen of the yet-to-be-released Cloudboom Echo 3.
The cloud elements have come on a pace over the years and in the new Cloudsurfer, they appear very different from those seen in the original shoe.
Perhaps in the coming years, we’ll see shoes that look more like the traditional models we’re used to from other brands. The cloud elements becoming less of a feature, with the midsole material playing a larger part.
Right now the Cloudsurfer is a great daily trainer and the best shoe yet from On.