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On Cloudboom Review


     The On Cloudboom is one of the more recent carbon plated distance racers to enter the market. With a high price point of $200 this shoe is meant to stack up against the highest of competitors. On has been making a lot of big moves as a company with acquiring athletes in 2020 and has made me deeply interested in their plans of competing at the next level. The Cloudboom is a nicely constructed racing shoe with the detailed review below. 


Specifications (per On Running)
Weight: 7.94 ounces
Stack Height: Not provided
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Distance Racer, 10k to Marathon


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

David: The On Cloudboom is a new member of the "super shoe" family that encompasses elite racing shoes designed for 10k to marathon. The shoe is comparable in weight to many of its competitors and also features a full length carbon infused Speedboard. The Cloudboom is highly responsive and runs very fluid at competitive long distance paces. The shoe is a little more firm than many other distance racers on the market and might be more favorable for those who do not like overly soft foams. 



FIT

David:
The On Cloudboom fits true to size in my normal 9.5 but does run more on the narrow end throughout. The tongue is shorter and the heel collar runs lower than most shoes. I thought I might have some slippage issues but lockdown was really good! The heel and midfoot is narrow without being overly compressive. The forefoot is narrow and does have a toe guard that might rub for some. I felt a small amount of pressure in that region along the sidewalls but nothing overly bothersome. The shoe also has a topsole and liner that runs along the medial and lateral aspect of the upper of the shoe creating a guiderail like sensation. The mesh is very airy and light, so much so I got some dirt in my shoes after walking around after a workout session one day. Overall the fit is pretty dialed in but does run a little narrow. Those with wider feet may opt to size up a half size (this is also recommended on the On site). 


RIDE

David: The On Cloudboom has a unique ride. The shoe has a gradual rocker design to it from heel to toe, but doesn't run like most rockered shoes. The heel is pretty firm with a snappy transition into the midfoot and then a really smooth transition from midfoot through toe off. The Speedboard is one of the most firm plates I have run in so far and the firmness and responsiveness is felt and noted. The Speedboard remains flat throughout the shoe with a toe spring in the forefoot while the heel remains flat inside of the beveled design. The midsole foam runs a little on the firm side but is still protective enough for longer mileage. The result is a relatively firm yet protective ride when taken to the road or track. The shoe I can compare it most to is the Rocket X from HOKA, though they still run pretty different from each other. The heel can be a little harsh for some on the Cloudboom, but this is one of the smoothest midfoot transitions I have run in. The outsole has a midline division stabilized by the plate and makes the shoe feel very smooth and linear in controlled efforts. This is a very stable ride throughout, though the heel can certainly be refined to make the ride a little more smooth. The forefoot is firm with less foam present and the Speedboard curving up with the toe spring. This shoe presents a nice responsive ride for those who like firmer shoes with a slightly lower profile than some of the other marathon racers on the market have. For those that like soft, this may not be the shoe for you. 


STABILITY

David: As noted earlier the shoe runs very stable. The upper is constructed well with a sidewall design that encapsulates the medial and lateral aspect of the shoe over the entire length of the shoe. The outsole also has a midline division that is stabilized with the plate which creates a linear pathway like sensation when running. The heel can be a little harsh and firm upon landing, but after that the shoe is really stable. The foam is also more firm than a lot of the other marathon racing foams out there keeping the shoe feeling grounded and less soft. 


SPEED

David: The On Cloudboom is an interesting racing shoe. The shoe is designed for racing from 10k to Marathon. I feel like they hit the money with the Cloudboom as far as speed and pacing goes. For me 10k pace is right around 4:55-5:00/mile at the moment and the shoe felt very fluid at that pace and really smooth at 5:20-5:30/mile marathon type effort. When taking this shoe at faster paces around 5k or faster the shoe did not quite respond as well. It also had a difficult time with slower paces since it is so firm and feels hard at easy paces. For a relative effort, someone should feel good about having this as a 10k to half marathon racer. The shoe might be a little firm and low profile for the full marathon for some. 


DURABILITY

David: The durability of the Cloudboom is pretty good. The midsole has not had any major changes in responsiveness or deformation since wear testing and the outsole is holding up well. This is a shoe that someone is going to want to use mostly for racing and some select workouts and so the amount of rubber is plenty for good racing durability. The upper is constructed well and shouldn't have any problems with durability, though could be widened. Overall expect normal to slightly higher than normal durability for a distance racer. 


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Today I want to take a look at the interaction of the plate and the midsole and how important this is to fine tuning the ride. The On Cloudboom has a lot of potential for being a really fast, fluid, and snappy shoe. For me the interaction between the foam and plate however can be improved. The plate almost feels like a foot bed and is up really close to the plantar aspect of the foot. This creates a more firm feeling on the shoe. Even if the foam below it is softer, the landing will still feel firmer than it could. If it the plate is embedded into the foam more, the cushioning (even if it's slight) will feel a lot more forgiving on the legs and potentially add responsiveness and more interaction with the plate. The shoe has a rocker design to it, but does not run like it until you reach the midfoot. The plate remains level and parallel to the midsole and stays linear all the way through the heel, when the heel is beveled. Even though the bevel is constructed well, the plate is the first thing felt and feels a bit bumpy like the bevel almost isn't there. If they can tune the heel like they did the toe spring in the forefoot that would make the transition point a lot smoother and really make the smooth midfoot and snappy forefoot come more alive. 


RECOMMENDATIONS 

David: Overall I am very pleased with the On Cloudboom, though I do have some suggestions. My main recommendations are looking at the midsole construction. The shoe does run really firm for a marathon racer, but I don't think stack height is the area of improvement here. I think the interaction of the plate and the foam could be improved. The topsole of the shoe almost acts more like a guide rail than a form of cushioning or transition. This makes the plate feel very close to the foot and makes the landings feel hard. I think the plate can be moved a bit more inferiorly and be imbedded within the foam deeper to help with this. The plate is also very prominent in the heel because the foam is already a little firm and the plate does not bevel alongside the geometry of the shoe. If On can create an upward curvature of the plate in this region that will also smooth out the transition within the heel. Right now its arguably the most firm heel I've run, but one of the best midfoots, so a lot of potential here!



WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)


David:
The On Cloudboom is for an athlete who is looking for a serious distance racer that leans more on the firm end compared to other marathon racing flats. The shoe has a dialed in and narrow construction overall and will also cater to those who like a snug performance fit. For me this shoe leans more 10k to half marathon, but for those who are used to a firm plate sensation in the forefoot and like that snappiness all the way through 26 miles this could be an option to look into. 

GRADING

David
Fit                     9.5/10 (Narrow forefoot, otherwise dialed in well with good lockdown)
Ride                  9/10 (Really firm heel, hard plate and ride for 26, excellent midfoot)
Stability            9.5/10 (Nothing has made me want to run more linear, heel is hard and stiff though)
Speed                9/10 (This shoe is the sweet spot for 10k to marathon on pacing, little clunky faster)
Durability         9.5/10 (Great durability if kept with racing and workouts only)

Total Score: 93%

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid
 
Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.
Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at On Running for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 15 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or con15sultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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