Review: ON Cloudmonster 2

The Cloudmonster 2 is a versatile, weird, and fun beast of a shoe. But for it to truly become the Everything Trainer that I think On intends it to be, improvement is needed

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In late February, Swiss-based running company On unleashed a beast onto the sneaker market, the Cloudmonster 2: a robustly cushioned, heavy-set, nylon-plated trainer. 

Weighing in at more than 10 ounces and proudly sporting stretched-out versions of On’s proprietary Cloudtec circular pods, the Cloudmonster looks like it could eat its competitors for breakfast. In fact, it doesn’t quite remind one of other training shoes, because it has more muscle: a nylon plate, two layers of energy-returning foam, all curved to rock you forward with each powerful stride.

But is all of it enough to counterbalance the shoe’s hulkish weight? And if so, at what speeds and on which terrains does the Cloudmonster 2 best perform? I took these sneakers through a thorough weartest, and share my thoughts on where they excel, where they stand to improve, and whether or not they are worth their considerable price tag.

The TL;DR – What You Need To Know:



A shoe with so much meat on its bones, you’d be surprised how versatile it is.

  • The On Cloudmonster 2 is a Hulk of a shoe with so much cushioning it looks like it could eat its competitors for breakfast.
  • Despite their weight, they’re so versatile you could tackle nearly any type of run successfully.
  • If I had to categorize it, I would call it a super trainer. Too heavy to be a super shoe, but faster than your regular trainer.
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  • All of our shoe testers are died-in-the-wool, experienced runners with a broad experience of the sport. They’re typically running 30+ miles per week.
  • We put each pair of shoes through a battery of tests: a typical review will involve several test runs on a variety of distances and terrains, designed to identify any snags or issues.
  • We talk to experts in the shoe industry and gather advice and insights from other runners, to best understand the shoe and how it suits the end user: you, the runner.

The Deets: Tech Specs For The On Cloudmonster 2

  • MSRP: $180 USD
  • Release date: Feb 22
  • Stack height: 35mm 
  • Weight: 10.4 oz (men’s size 10)
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm 

The Pros:

Durable: On really went to town when designing the landing profile of this shoe: it takes a long time to wear down a nylon plate embedded into two thick layers of Helion foam. The original Cloudmonsters were good for at least 500 miles (800 km); I expect this version to top that.

Versatile: Despite their weight, you can tackle nearly any type of run successfully. Their bounce can guide you through an easy run, steady long run, or even a quick tempo workout. 

Cushioning for days: That dual-density foam is a boon for recovery.

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The Cons:

Heavy: The unfortunate downside of including all this cushioning is a significant weight increase. The original Cloudmonsters weighed in at 9.7 ounces; these ones tip the scale at 10.4 oz.

Trend wide and tall: The shoe’s insides are weirdly tall: an average-sized foot can get lost in the boot. 

Can cause ankle chafing: That roomy inner forces you to tie the shoes tightly at the ankle, which can lead to irritation and blisters around the ankles.

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On Cloudmonster 2: First Impressions

I began wearing On shoes semi-regularly in 2022, when the brand really seemed to permeated the North American markets. My general take on them were that they felt like basketballs for feet: hard enough to bounce off the pavement, but lacking some cushioning. In other words, the opposite of Hoka One One sneakers.

The Cloudmonster 2, felt as rigid to the touch as its siblings but visibly packed more meat on its bones. It turns out that On designed this shoe with Helion foam (a softer material than they had used for the original Cloudmonster) and then wedged a full layer of it between the foot and the actual Speedboard (what they call their Nylon plate) for extra plushness. 

Still, I had concerns. The shoe, compared to other trainers, felt heavy, clunky, and overly spacious as I slid in my foot. The uppers did little to help keep my feet in place; but the flexible lacing system was a lifesaver. Once tied, they are quite comfortable on the feet, and despite their huge lift, did not completely mess up my gait like do some super-shoes. Still, I wondered how these chonkers would hold up on a fast-paced run.

Here are the On Cloudmonster 2’s key specs:

Nylon blend speedboard for forward propulsion: nylon plates generally do not have the power of carbon ones, but tend to be more durable. 

Biggest-ever Cloudtec pods: On is known for their Cloudtec pods; those little energy-returning holes underfoot. The Cloudmonster 2’s pods are blown up in size to increase bounce and cushioning.

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Forward-rolling construction: The shoe’s rock-forward mechanism encourages a fast stride despite its weight.

Revamped Helion superfoam: On doubled the foam density for added bounce, support and durability.

Fit: True to length, but wide and tall. Consider going a half-size down if you like snug-feeling shoes.

Overall difference from On Cloudmonster 1: More cushioning, more propulsion and more energy return. This king kong of a shoe makes its predecessor look like a monster of the cookie variety.

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Road Testing The On Cloudmonster 2

The first time I strapped on the Cloudmonster 2, I had no idea what to expect. Two years ago, as carbon plates and superfoam found their way into an increasing number of shoes, I put sneakers into three categories to simplify the buying process: trainers (for easy running), super-trainers (for big workouts), and super-shoes (for races). The Cloudmonster 2 flips my thesis on its head: I don’t know what they are. On called the first Cloudmonster their “OG Weirdo” – not helpful.

Because of its nylon plate and Helion foam, it has far more pop than a classic easy running shoe. At the same time, it’s too heavy to explode off the ground like a super-shoe. It also differs from most super-trainers, which are often a bit too powerful to feel comfortable on easy runs; which is not the case with this shoe. The Cloudmonster 2 is more like a workout shoe disguised as a recovery sneaker.

Anyway, if I had to categorize it, I would call it a supertrainer. It’s certainly priced that way, and somewhat reminds me of a Nike Invincible Run 3 or a New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Trainer V2: a superfoam-packed shoe with tons of support, a long lifespan, and a few hidden gears. 

My first run in them was a progressive run, in which I started off at an easy pace and progressed to finish at 10k race effort. I immediately realized that I did not feel the ground under me, like I did with other On Shoes. It was like running on an ATV: mindlessly steamrolling over twigs, gravel and blemishes on the pavement. The shoes felt heavy in warmup, but I somewhat became used to them as I picked up the pace.

They did not do much to speed up my stride – if anything, they slowed it down – but their ability to return energy was remarkable. They met my increasingly quickening pace with a responsive bounce that counterbalanced the weight issue. At my quickest, I felt like a giant, getting faster with each loping stride. I was pleasantly surprised.

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On Cloudmonster 2 Review Takeaways

The perfect use for this is long, steady-state runs. As mentioned, they’ll zip you through them more than an average trainer, without being as wacky as a supershoe. And there is something to be said about training at a gear down from supershoes to keep an edge – even if only psychological – on race day. The Cloudmonster 2 have that keeping you upright and moving feeling of a supershoe, without thrusting you into full-throttle.

The Cloudmonster 2 is a versatile, weird, and fun shoe. But for it to truly become the Everything Shoe that I think On intends it to be, it has to improve in two ways: become lighter and more snug. Meanwhile, it’s still a good option, and priced reasonably for the durability and smooth ride that it offers. If you do not mind a heavier-feeling shoe, and are prone to pace-switching workouts like fartleks and tempos, the Cloudmonster 2 will feel like a fine and worthwhile buy.

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Alex is a Toronto-based journalist who writes mostly about health, sports, culture and people.

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