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On Cloudace 2.0 Review
By Chief Editor / Founder Matthew Klein


Stability in footwear has evolved a great deal over the last several years. While using a medial post (ie firmer section of the midsole, usually dual density foam) was the standard for a long time, many companies have begun to experiment with other methods. Geometry, plates, guidance lines, sidewalls and more have become far more prevalent. This has provided a larger number of options for runners seeking stability shoes. This is an important evolution given that different people will need different stability designs depending on comfort, tolerance and their own unique mechanics. The On Cloudace 2.0 is the evolution of On's attempt to make the ultimate stability shoe featuring as many of these mechanisms as possible without sacrificing cushioning or speed. While it manages to create a unique ride that is smooth, albeit a bit heavy, whether it is the ultimate stability shoe will depend on whether it matches the mechanics of the runner using them. 




Specifications On Cloudace V2 (per On Running)
Weight: 12.3 oz / 350g (men's size 8.5) 10.1 oz / 287 g (women's size 7)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 7 mm 
Classification: Moderate Stability Training Shoe


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY


The On Cloudace 2.0 is a unique, smooth and heavy duty stability shoe. Featuring a wider pebax speedboard, two layers of Helion midsole, a cushioned but firmer ride, a thick rearfoot internal and external heel counter and a solid fit, everything about this shoe is premium. The Cloudace 2.0 runs a little heavier, but provides a guided ride that keeps you rolling forward thanks to all of the above and a well-rockered sole. For the days you need a rockered, guided and stable ride in a heavy duty shoe that still has good ground feel, the On Cloudace 2.0 may be the shoe for you.




FIT 

The On Cloudace 2.0 fits true to size in my normal men's US size 10.The fit is slightly wider throughout the length fo the shoe, while still having a very secure fit. The heel in particularly fits wider, but is very secure thanks to a stiff internal and external heel counter. I did not have to lace lock the shoe  at all due to the security. However, those with sensitive heels/Achilles insertions should be extremely cautious or avoid this shoe given that the heel counter is extremely stiff, runs the entire height of the heel and can dig into the top of the heel bone.

I am particularly sensitive to this right now as I had a flare up of my haglund deformity before trying this shoe (due to a lack fo sleep working and doing a full time PhD program). For those that do not have sensitives back there, the heel aspect of the upper is extremely secure. Those wanting a large and thick heel counter will enjoy this shoe. The midfoot fits slightly wide, but the laces are interact very well to create a custom fit. The tongue is gusseted, has a perfect amount of cushion and sits nicely against the foot. The midfoot also features an integrated wrap that goes on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe. The top laces connect to these and when tightened do a great job of securing the midfoot down.The toebox has plenty of room with a well integrated and flexible toe guard. This is not a shoe I would use sockless as there are a ton of stitching on the inner side of the upper. The insoles of ON running shoes continue to impress me given the wonderful quality and step in comfort. The upper is fairly thick, but still breaths very well thanks to adequate ventilation. Overall the On Cloudace 2.0 has a thick but secure upper that fits on the wider side and still breathes well. 



PERFORMANCE 

The On Cloudace 2.0 is a hefty shoe (12.3 oz men's size 8.5) but is well-rockered for a smooth ride. In typical On Running fashion, the ride is on the firmer side. The double layers on Helion foam provide a softer ride than other On shoes, but it is still on the firmer and more stable side. Version 2 of the Cloudace features a more significant rocker than previous. The heel is more beveled and the split midsole/cloud design lets the posterior lateral cloud act like a crash pad. The toe spring is significant and feels more apparent thanks to the stiffer Pebax Speedboard that is most noticeable in the forefoot. This offsets some of the heavier weight and provides a smooth ride regardless of where you land. The Speedboard provides more stability that propulsion. While the ride is on the firmer/responsive side, the weight holds the shoe back from picking up the pace (shoes like the On Cloudboom, Cloudboom Echo and others are better options for speed). There is still plenty of protection between the foot and the ground thanks to how much the clouds compress, but that compression actually lends to some decent ground feel. This is more noticeable in the forefoot as the clouds are larger and compress more in the heel. The transition is unique due to the rocker, pods and firmer ride. The heel and forefoot transitions are quick thanks to the stiffness, so the on ground feel and turnover is quite good. The weight becomes more apparent during the swing phase of running gait. So those with a shorter stride and higher cadence may enjoy these more as there may be less air time. As someone with a longer stride, these can be a little heavy. However their function really is not speed work. The On Cloudace 2.0 shines most during easy runs and recovery runs. For those used to heavier shoes, these may work well for longer runs. However they tend to work best when your legs are already beat up and just want a smooth protective and stable ride. These should be used only on road, as the wide guidance line easily picks up rocks on trails. The durability however is excellent as I have barely made a dent in the outsole after 50 miles. Overall the ride of the Cloudace 2.0 is well-rockered, smooth, a little firmer but protective and stable enough to keep you going on easy and recovery runs. 







STABILITY 

The On Cloudace 2.0 is categorized as a high level stability shoe, but the elements are natural enough and integrate well enough that it is more of a moderate level stability shoe. The primary stability elements come from the wide Speedboard in the midsole, the rocker design, the significant guidance line in the midsole, the thick combined internal and external heel counter and the firmer ride. There is no post that pushes into your feet and upon initial step in may not feel like a stability shoe. However, once you start moving, either walking or running, these elements start working. The heel and forefoot are particularly stable, as the heel bevel and toespring transition you through those areas fairly quickly. The Speedboard provides resistance to extreme medial and lateral motion no matter where you land. This is subtle unless you have a lot of motion, which I noticed more as I fatigued during longer efforts. The heel counter, although too stiff for me due to a haglund flare up, is extremely stable and locks the heel in very well. I would call this shoe far more of a max guidance shoe than a stability shoe (although those things should not be that much different). Walking and running engage the plate, guidance line and bevels well, but they stay more quiet during standing. The On Cloudace is not a traditional stability shoe, but the number of strong elements certainly make it very stable. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE


Just because a shoe is labeled a stability shoe does not mean it will work for every person looking for stability. Different people will need different methods depending on a variety of factors, including where specifically there is too much motion, where there is weakness that cannot control the motion or other structural, musculoskeletal and even sensory system abnormalities. We are now seeing a greater variety of methods to add stability in shoes. Some more traditional methods like posting/dual density foams and heel counters continue to be present. Other newer methods like plates, geometry, sidewalls, guidance lines and more are becoming increasingly popular. It is now the job of the consumer to try a few of these methods out and see what works best for them.

The On Cloudace is unique as a moderate to high level stability shoe that does not use posting, midsole geometry or guiderails. The heel counter is significant and does move a little forward and connects with the midsole, but the stability from that is focused almost completely on the heel. The midfoot and forefoot feature the wider Speedboard (plate) and the significant guidance line in the sole. What really makes the shoe stable from the midfoot forward is how fast the rocker in the Cloudace transitions you forward. For that reason, you will toe off faster and spend less time pronated (or supinated).

We have discussed many times that pronation describes a motion (actually.. .a combination of three  at the foot ankle: eversion, dorsiflexion and foot abduction). This motion is an important part of shock absorption and like many things in the body, too much or too little may be problematic. We know from some of the literature on Achilles Tendinopathy, for which pronation is a risk factor, that the amount of pronation is not the issue, but rather the amount of time you spend in a pronated position during the stance phase of running gait (Becker et al., 2017). This may have to do with pronation causing a twisting of the tendon and with longer time spent there, the more pressure placed on this structure.

This only addresses one pathology but is one that would benefit from a fast transitioning, rockered shoe like the On Cloudace. Especially for those who are sensitive to traditional stability methods like posting. The rockers also take pressure of the Achilles tendon/ankle, so this combination may be good for that specific individual (Sobhani et al., 2017). However, those who like the feeling of being guided by guiderails through the midfoot or want a post to give them pressure into the midfoot and heel may not do as well here. Some people like the proprioceptive (body awareness) feedback from having a post or guiderails in a shoe that pushes into their foot. The On Cloudace doesn't have this (outside of the thick heel counter providing some pressure at the most rear portion of the shoe), so for that group it may work not work as well.

The point we want to get across is that all these companies using a variety of methods for stability is great, but it doesn't mean that all of them are going to work for every individual. We at Doctors of Running try to provide good information to help guide runners on choosing better shoes, but it is also the responsibility of the runner to take that information, pair down their choices to a couple shoes, try some things on and see if they work. Each shoe is an experiment. Additionally, we know that having a variety of shoes can actually reduce running injury risk, so having two shoes with different stability methods may also be of benefit to challenge slightly different parts of your body. Variety and proper training are key, so go out there and test some shoes.

References


Becker, J., James, S., Wayner, R., Osternig, L., & Chou, L. S. (2017). Biomechanical factors associated with Achilles tendinopathy and medial tibial stress syndrome in runners. 
The American Journal of Sports Medicine45(11), 2614-2621.

Malisoux, L., Ramesh, J., Mann, R., Seil, R., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2015). Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running‐related injury risk?. 
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports25(1), 110-115.

Sobhani, S., Heuvel, E., Dekker, R., Postema, K., Kluitenberg, B., Bredeweg, S., Hijmans, J.  (2017).  Biomechanics of running with rocker shoes.  
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.  20(1): 38-44.


RECOMMENDATIONS

There is a large number of cool technologies that went into this shoe. In typical On Running style, the materials are extremely high in quality. However, my major recommendation would be to redo the heel counter. Many runners, particularly older runners, who need stability may also have insertional Achilles tendon issues. Excessive time in pronation may be a risk factor for Achilles Tendinopathy. While the heel counter is quite stable, it is a little to stiff and large for people that have sensitive heels. The counter raises up the entire height of the rearfoot, which may dig into the heels of some people. I would encourage On Running to experiment with some additional heel counter designs. I am a particular fan of Adidas's split heel counter design, which places no pressure on the posterior aspect of the heel and instead stabilizes the medial and lateral aspect. This is the major thing that kept me from using the Cloudace 2.0 more, but that is due to being part of a unique population. I would still encourage thinking outside the box on this, especially with how many forward thinking stability elements are present in this shoe.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR 

The On Cloudace is for those looking for a durable, well-rockered moderate to high level stability shoe without a post. The ride is cushioned for an On shoe, but is still on the firmer side with a stiff but quick transitioning rocker. The heel counter is very stiff, locking the heel down well in the rearfoot but is a word of caution for those with sensitive calcanei. The upper fits slightly wider, yet has plenty of lockdown to keep the foot secure. A wide Speedboard (plate), well-rockered sole, huge guidance lines (that also catch rocks on trails, so keep these on the roads) and a few other methods provide non-intrusive but naturally guided stability that should work for those that don't want things pushing into their feet. Best for easy, recovery and long runs, the On Cloudace is a unique take on a stability shoe, but is in line with the current trend of variety in footwear. 


GRADING 

Matt
Fit: (Wider fitting upper that can be customized well for normal to wider foot types. The security is great, but the heel counter is far too large and stiff)
Performance: B 
(Extremely heavy but well rockered and slightly firmer ride. Best for easy/recovery runs)
Stability: A- (Extremely stable shoe without traditional methods. The plate, guidance line, and rocker do a great job guiding the foot forward while in motion)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Excellent design creating a very stable shoe without posting. However, the shoe is way heavier than it needs to be, which prevents this shoe from being versatile beyond easy and recovery runs)
Personal:  B-/C+ (Outside the heel counter, this is a comfortable shoe. However the rigid and obtrusive heel counter prevents me from liking this shoe more. Everything else feels really good and I hope that heel counter can be redesigned so I can fully enjoy the potential of this shoe. Additionally, this shoe is still way heavier than it needs to be. )
Overall: (A unique stability shoe for those who don't want posting, want a smooth ride with a wider fit but don't mind some extra weight)
   
SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

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FURTHER READING

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Altra Paradigm 6 -
Zero drop, but max cushioned offering with lots of toebox space for wider feet and nice stability integrated top to bottom

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Thanks for reading!

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TESTER PROFILE:


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

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at On Running USA 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield

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