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On Cloudventure Peak Review

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak is a lightweight trail shoe/racer that I have been interested in for a long time. Finding a lightweight, minimal trail shoe/racer isn't the easiest and thanks to On Running I was finally able to get my hands on a pair. The pair they sent me looked like Batman's trail shoe (all credit to Bach Pham on the "Batman Shoe" naming). The lugs looked so aggressive that while I was excited to dig into soft dirt, I was nervous to run any transitions on road. Interestingly enough, while this is an aggressive trail shoe, the lugs are actually clouds, which means they compress like Newton lugs. So like the Batman quote: "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me," the On Cloudventure Peak is primarily a trail racing shoe that grips very well and will surprise you on the number of surfaces it can handle.

 



Specifications (per On Running & Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.2 oz / 260 g (men's size 9) 7.4 oz / 210 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 24mm / 20 mm
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Lightweight Trail Shoe / Trail Racer




RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak is a lightweight, aggressive trail shoe for those looking looking to race or stay close to the ground. Featuring a very secure and comfortable ripstop upper along with aggressive lugs and a Speedboard in the midsole that grip and propel you on almost any terrain. Weirdly enough the On Clouds actually provide some protection on road, but this is a primarily a trail racing shoe. Those looking to go fast or race on short to medium length distances should definitely check out the On Cloudventure Peak.



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak fits true to size in my normal size 10. The heel and midfoot are snug and the toe box opens up to be surprisingly roomy. The upper is very thin, but very secure. A rubber toe cap provides excellent toe protection without the typical thick toe guard feeling. The upper is reinforced and has an extended rubber cage around the heel that further locks the foot in. I am not sure if this shoe has a heel counter given the reinforcements around the heel and the cage, but I had zero irritation of my heel in this shoe. There is no tongue in this as the upper is a single piece. The laces work well with this as they are connect to additional extensions of the upper and lock down the foot extremely well. I did not have to lace lock this shoe even with tight turning and aggressive rocky/muddy trails. I have been able to wear this shoe sockless for up to 5 miles, but have not pushed it farther. Overall, this upper is extremely well done, secure and protective while being very lightweight. By far my favorite of any trail shoe I have tried.




PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak has a firmer, flexible, aggressively lugged and faster ride. The Clouds act as large lugs on the outsole in additional to more fairly large and aggressive lugs on the outsole. There are deep longitudinal flex grooves in the outsole/midsole that showcase a full length Speedboard (plate). Be aware those deep flex grooves do pick up larger rocks. Despite the plate, the sole has very good flexibility, particularly in the forefoot. Outside of the Clouds and lugs, the midsole is fairly thin. There is very good ground feel, which feels great digging through soft trail, gravel, mud or sand (testing, occurred in Southern California and Arizona during dry and rain spells), however the sole is thin enough that sharp rocks can be a problem. On trails, the lugs and Clouds dig into soft terrain extremely well. The traction on these (MissionGrip and engineered rubber on the outsole) works extremely well on both soft and hard surfaces. Even on larger rocks, snow (yep, thanks Arizona) or wet street I did not lose traction while turning. The On Cloudventure Peak can do surprisingly well on roads and firmer packed trails, although the forefoot and heel clouds start to feel like aggressive Newton Lugs. These feel fine for a few miles, but after long runs they can pound the feet a bit unless you are very used to minimal shoes. So the Cloudventure Peak will work for very short periods as a road to trail shoe, but not for very long. Distance wise overall this is more of a short to middle distance trail racing shoe. I personally would not take this over 25-30 km. It feels great during trail intervals, fartleks and uptempo work on the trail. However over longer runs (or in my case 4 3-6 mile runs in a day) the lack of protection may wear on you if you are not used to it. As a racing shoe, there is a 4mm drop. This does not feel as low as listed, but those using this shoe should have good ankle mobility. Durability wise I have almost 36 miles on my pair and despite being a lighter weight shoe, I only have a little wear on the outsole of the lugs. Outside of that, this shoe will last a long time as there is not much midsole to break down and the Clouds seem to be very durable.




STABILITY

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak is a neutral shoe without any traditional methods of stability. However, both the extended rubber heel cage and Speedboard provide support and rigidity to extraneous movement. The rubber heel cage does a great job of locking the heel and stabilizing the rearfoot without aggravating the calcaneus. It extends decently far forward both medially and laterally, providing a hair of guidance with heel strike. The Speedboard provides some additional rigidity to the sole. This is not noticeable while walking, but when the pace picks, there ride becomes very forwardly directed. The On Cloudventure Peak again is a neutral shoe that should work for those with neutral or mild stability needs, but a few elements add a bit extra.




THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt: On Running uses Speedboards in almost all their shoes. These full length plates are made of "liquid injected plate of thermoplastic polymer." Aka not as stiff as other plates, but still add rigidity and responsiveness to the sole. The Speedboard in each On shoe is uniquely designed based on the purpose of each shoe. In the Cloudventure Peak, the Speedboard has a split forefoot design. This is similar (at least I suspect) to some of the forefoot torsion systems I like so much in older Adidas racing models. The split forefoot plate provides resistance to medial or lateral deviation and may help driving straight off the forefoot. For someone with a bit of forefoot instability (ie me), this usually works very well during uptempo speeds. Plates do not have to be super stiff to be effective. Different shapes and designs can do interesting things. 




     The other thing that caught my eye about the On Cloudventure Peak is the use of an external rubber heel cage. As someone who is sensitive to stiff heel counters, I found this cage to lock the heel in very well. I like that companies are beginning to think of alternatives to traditional designs, which just means more options for different people. This cage still wraps and secures the heel, but there is very little pressure on the calcaneus/heel bone. Add the fact that it extends decently far forward on each side, you have a very locked in heel without hard material. I challenge companies to use more materials/designs like this, as this may save weight compared to stiffer plastic pieces AND may prevent abnormal biased weighting toward the rearfoot.


 


 

    The only thing that runners may need to be cautious with is the excellent flexibility in the forefoot. Given the number of shoes with carbon fiber plates and extreme toe spring, runners not used to flexible shoes like this should transition carefully. You will need good intrinsic foot strength, toe flexor strength and extension range of motion of the toe joints (at least 60 degrees of extension at the metatarsophalangeal joints) to be able to run in a shoe like this. For those used to more maximal trail shoes (Hoka, North Face Vectiv series, etc), transition carefully.




RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: For the unique niche that the On Cloudventure Peak fits into, I really like this shoe. Coming from the road, I would normally expect a little lighter weight for a trail racer. However, the aggressive lugs and durability make it worth the 9.2 oz weight. Although after more trail shoe experience I realize that is pretty light. My major suggestions are in the sole. The grooves in the outsole pick up rocks very easily, so if that could be filled in without comprising stability that would be great. I would like to see more clouds on the outsole. This is to provide additional cushioning as running over hard rocks or hard surfaces (pavement) can be a little jarring. Other than that, this is my favorite short to mid distance trail racer so far and I look forward to getting more fast miles in this shoe!




WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The On Cloudventure Peak is for those looking for an aggressive, durable, well fitting, fast trail racing shoe for short to middle distances. The fit is snug in the heel and midfoot, while the forefoot opens up with a very durable and well fitting one piece upper. The thinner sole, Speedboard and aggressive lugs and Clouds provide great traction on softer surfaces. The Clouds provide a surprising amount of protection on hard surfaces, but the firmer ride will be best on softer surfaces or those who are used to more minimal footwear. Picking up the pace feels best in this shoe and the security and grip are fantastic. For those looking for a minimal, aggressive and rugged trail racing shoe with the best upper I have tried on a trail shoe thus far, check on the On Cloudventure Peak.





GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: A (Extremely light, yet very durable and secure. Able to wear sockless for short distances and totally seamless. Best trail shoe upper I have tried)     
Performance: B (Fast, minimal technical shoe for soft surfaces. Can handle some hard surfaces. Does best at uptempo paces. Outsole can pick up rocks, but has great traction. Clouds double for traction and mild protection. A little on the firm side) 
Stability: B+ (Speedboard and rubber heel cage, combined with secure upper locks foot on platform well.) 
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Cool use of Speedboard and Rubber Heel Cage) 
Personal: A- (Great shoe. Wish was a bit lighter or a bit more cushioned. Great security in snow, mud and soft ground) 
Overall: B+ (Excellent upper, gripping sole and lockdown of foot. Definitely a flexible, more minimal trail racing shoe. A bit firm, but for those looking for a minimal, aggressive, grippy shorter distance trail racer, this is a great one)              


Interested in a pair of On Cloudventure Peak? Check out Running Warehouse (Men / Women) and Fleet Feet (Men / Women)Using the link helps support our work at Doctors of Running! Thank you so much. 

Shopping Small? Check out the Running Center in Southern California! Links to the Peak here: Men / Women

FURTHER READING

Compare
Northface Vectiv Infinite Review
- New highly cushioned trail runner out of North Face
Asics FujiTrabuco Lyte - Lightweight trail runner from Asics
361 Taroko 2 - A favorite war cry of the DOR team, and a fun offering in general from 361
Newton BOCO AT 5 - Contributor David Sala's trail shoe of 2020

Recently at Doctors of Running
Skechers Horizon Vanish 2
- 5.5 ozs of pure fun
Asics Glideride 2 Multiple Tester Review - Lots of updates throughout to modernize Asic's great long run shoe
Asics Glideride 2 Q&A
Science Friday: What are Heel Counters and Who Do They Help?
Saucony Ride 14 - Modest updates to a great everyday trainer
Asics EvoRide 2 - Fast and efficient Guidesole with a comfortable, daily training midsole

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 145 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

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

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***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 systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. 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 consultations 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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