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James Dunn  •  Running Gear •  24.06.2022 •  6 min read

On Cloudmonster review: Monster cushioning for a range of paces

On Cloudmonster key features

  • Best for: Longer, steadier paced runs
  • Largest cloud elements ever used and largest spaces between them 
  • Uses Helion foam, which is more responsive than traditional EVA
  • Polypropylene Speedboard for snappier toe offs
  • Sock-like upper made from 80 per cent recycled polyester
  • Weight: Men’s 275g, Women’s 230g
  • Drop/offset: 6mm
  • Price: £150

The On Cloudmonster is designed to be the softest shoe in the On line-up, and used for longer steady-paced runs.

Despite it being soft underfoot, the Cloudmonster should still provide an explosive toe-off, thanks to the way that the cloud elements lock together when fully compressed to form a firm base to toe off from. This feature, combined with the midsole material used, and shoe geometry should give the Cloudmonster a nice balance between cushioning and responsiveness.


    Hand holding an On Cloudmonster running shoe in purple against a stone wall

    On cloud cushioning explained

    All On running shoes use some form of CloudTec, a sequence of individual cloud elements that cushions ground contact in a way that works with your gait, and tailored to deliver the desired sensation that each shoe is designed to provide.

    The cloud elements in the Cloudmonster, and the spaces between them, are the largest used in any previous On running shoe. This is designed to provide a very forgiving ride underfoot.

    James' shoe review

    I purchased a pair of the On Cloudmonsters to test for the purpose of this review and give some further insight to colleagues. 

    After 60 miles or so of running in this shoe, I share my thoughts on how this shoe stacks up, and will give a further update once I retire the pair, which usually for me is between 400 and 500 miles.

    First impressions

    My first run in them was a nice easy 45 minute recovery run, with a few strides at the end. The initial thing that came to mind when running in the shoe was how energetic they felt underfoot. You can really feel the CloudTec springing back underfoot when going through your stride, which my tired legs appreciated greatly that day. 

    What I liked

    I felt it also encouraged me to run quite efficiently, which was corroborated in my splits which were a good 5-10 seconds per kilometre quicker than runs at a similar effort in other daily trainers. The rockered forefoot also provides a nice sensation at toe-off, but isn’t overly aggressive which makes this shoe well suited for easier paced running.

    After a few more runs in the shoe, I have found them to be incredibly stable, which makes this a great shoe for recovery days. I sometimes find that more stable-based running shoes, which are good for easy recovery runs, can feel a bit boring and stale underfoot. The oversized CloudTec and the springy sensation underfoot in the Cloudmonster offered a nice change to that.

    On Cloudmonster running shoes in purple perched on wall with urban tower blocks in the background

    Despite this shoe’s highly protective and supportive credentials as I’ve discussed, On have pitched this shoe as something you can also really crank up the gears in and run fast in. As such, I was interested to see how the shoe felt at some steady to faster-paced runs, which for me is from 3:45 to 3:00 min/km pace.

    The shoe felt smooth at the steadier range of paces, and I would genuinely consider taking this shoe out on some longer tempo efforts as opposed to my usual superfoam and plated options. At much faster paces however, the Cloudmonster lacked the same “pop” underfoot as those shoes provide, and felt just a little too cumbersome for my liking. 

    I think this could largely be down to what we have become accustomed to with super shoes compared to fast day shoes of the past, but I would certainly say there are better options out there these days for interval sessions that are accommodating enough to be good options for most runners.

    Fit and feel

    The fit of the shoe is a little on the snug side, so I would suggest going up a half size from your usual running shoe size. I’d say this is largely down to the toe-box being a little shallower due to the noticeable forefoot rocker of the shoe.

    The upper is super breathable, but doesn’t feel like it will deteriorate quickly. It’s really cool how On have produced such a nice feeling upper from entirely recycled polyester. I was initially a little worried by how thin the tongue was, as I have had issues with laces irritating the top of my foot with no padding there, but I have had no issues yet.

    On Cloudmonster running shoes in purple perched against a wall with a ventilation grid behind

    How can the On Cloudmonster improve your run?

    If you are in the market for just getting one pair of running shoes, and are wanting to prioritise protection, you can do much worse than picking this shoe out and will be genuinely happy with how it performs for all paces.

    It is the kind of shoe that if I was only able to take one pair with me, I’d be confident I’d be well placed with it.

    On Cloudmonster conclusion

    At £150, the Cloudmonster sits at the mid to high end of price points for this style of running trainer. I would say however, that in my experience up until now, it is more than competitive thanks to its versatility, which it has in abundance.

    Based on the wear and the feel of the shoe thus far, it seems much more durable than other On shoes of old, and does not feel like it will deteriorate much with many miles. I will touch on this further with my 500-mile review.

    SHOP ON RUNNING SHOES

    It is the kind of shoe that if I was only able to take one pair with me, I’d be confident I’d be well placed with it.

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