Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

On Cloudboom Echo Review:
On's Carbon Fiber Plated Racer
By Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein

The On Cloudboom Echo has been a bit of an elusive unicorn. Reviewed by only a few major websites, I have obsessed over trying and reviewing this excellent-looking shoe. I have had mixed experiences with On Running, but I appreciate the detail put into their design and how they are willing to try something different. After months of searching, I managed to get my hands on a pair using my own funds. My feelings on this shoe are mixed. I have had some great workouts in this shoe and enjoy the slightly firmer ride because that is typically my preference. However, there are some biomechanical issues with it that I know On can work on in version 3 (this is technically version 2.0) but are disappointing for a $270 shoe. There is a specific person this shoe will work for and is still worth considering if the mechanics of this shoe match yours.

On Cloudboom Echo
Price: $270
Weight: 7.8 oz, 220 g (men's size 9), 6.7 oz, 190 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 9 mm 
Classification: Marathon/Distance Carbon Plated Racing Shoe


The On Cloudboom Echo is a higher stack height, carbon-speedboard racing shoe for those wanting a firmer, rockered ride for middle to longer distance racing. The upper fits slightly long but has a comfortable mesh up top. The midsole features On's Helion midsole and clouds, making for a firmer ride despite being the softest On shoe yet. Finally, a rockered sole with a carbon-infused speed board creates a snappy ride that quickly increases in flexibility with additional miles. Best for 10k to half marathon racing for most people, the On Cloudboom Echo is a step forward for On, but has a great deal of improvement needed to be on par with the current group of max stack height marathon racing shoes.


The On Cloudboom Echo fits slightly long in my normal men's US size 10 men's. The upper is a thin engineered mesh that is well ventilated, but slightly difficult to secure. The longer fit required me to lace lock the shoe to stop my feet from sliding forward. The width is normal to narrow throughout the length of the shoe, but the mesh stretches almost too well. This creates some mild sliding in the shoe both side to side and front to back if I do not tighten everything down. The thin tongue and thin laces had to be really tightened down for me to get a solid lockdown. While I can tighten things down, it takes a great deal of effort. The tongue has not slid on me, but does fold on itself if not put down carefully. The laces are extremely thin, which can pinch on the top of my foot if I try to really tighten them down. The heel is a bit more locked down with a mild heel counter for structure. There is no major padding around the heel counter, but I had no issue with the counter given the increased flexibility. I did have some mild slippage due to the longer fit, so lace locking is again a must. The engineered mesh is incredibly comfortable, but unless you size down I would not go sockless. I have been wearing thicker socks to get a better fit and going sockless, while initially comfortable, makes the shoe feel far too long. For those who are in between sizes and want a more racing-like fit, I would suggest going down a half size in the On Cloudbom Echo


The On Cloudboom Echo is a middle to long-distance racing shoe for those who want a firmer, rockered ride. The midsole design has a higher stack height and a carbon speed board in the middle. A layer of softer Helion foam sits underneath the foot and a layer of clouds sits underneath the Speedboard. This is the softest of any On Running shoe I have tried but still is on the firmer side. The ride is well-rockered with a solid heel bevel and a large amount of toe spring upfront. The plate/Speedboard is stiffest in the forefoot, providing a rigid ride initially. This somewhat breaks with, with additional flexibility gained in the plate from the heel and midfoot.

The ride overall is firmer and snappy. This is not a soft bouncy marathoner racer, but a firmer, snappier, rolling 10k to half marathon shoe for most. It becomes flexible enough to be used for daily training miles but shines most at tempo and interval paces. At uptempo efforts, it struggles due to the lack of a significant bounce from the midsole. I found this shoe has to be pushed to go fast, making it in line with more traditional racing shoes. Once you get rolling it is easy to keep the pace, but it does take some effort to get there. Faster reps feel great in the Echo due to the firmer midsole and stiff/snappy forefoot. If this shoe were lighter it would make a great 5k shoe, but the higher weight and slightly longer fit make it difficult for me to choose this over other options at that range.

There is a 9 mm heel drop listed although it feels more like 7-8 mm. The well-rockered heel makes it feel lower, but I have not had any calf or Achilles stress in this shoe. The durability of the shoe is slightly above average for a racing shoe. I am seeing a little wear at the posterior lateral heel after 28 miles, but have yet to wear through the outsole rubber. The midsole feels almost exactly the same as the first run, although it is becoming more flexible with time.

Overall the On Cloudboom Echo features a firmer, rockered ride with a stiffer forefoot that will work well for most people as a 10k to half marathon shoe. There may not be enough cushioning for longer efforts unless the user is experienced or prefer firmer shoes. It is rockered enough to be efficient, but features a different ride and feel than other softer distance racing shoes out there.


The On Cloudboom Echo is a neutral racing shoe. The rigid, extremely rockered and slightly wider forefoot provides some inherent stability upfront. The massive guideline through the heel and midfoot also provides some subtle guidance. Finally, the firmness of the midsole helps somewhat with stability, but this is not a stable shoe overall. The heel and midfoot are narrow in width, particularly at the midfoot. There is a slight medial bias in the heel and midfoot thanks to slightly more flare from the clouds going laterally compared to medially and the curved last. Those that need lateral stability will find it mildly for those two reasons. For those that pronate like myself, I found my feet falling off the medial side of the shoe during easy to moderate pace efforts. When running at fast interval paces I did not notice this due to how fast I was transitioning through the sole. However, going slightly slower during tempo efforts and especially during slower easy/recovery efforts made me start to notice the medial bias. Thus the On Cloudboom Echo is a neutral racing shoe that may work for those that need some lateral stability, but not for those with medial stability needs. 


Midfoot Demands and Optimizing Shoes
We have discussed the research by Mcleod et al. (2020) and Ortega et al., (2021) on optimal levels of footwear stiffness needed for optimal performance in different runners. Some people will do better in flexible shoes, others will do well in inflexible shoes and even more runners will find optimal performance somewhere in between. While the snappy forefoot in the On Cloudboom Echo makes for an excellent toe-off particularly at higher speeds, the challenge is how the plate changes over time.

Unlike many carbon plated shoes out there, the carbon Speedboard of the On Cloudboom Echo starts to increase in flexibility fairly quickly as it breaks in. This would not be a problem if this happened equally throughout the length of the shoe. However, it seems to increase most at the heel and midfoot while remaining stiff at the forefoot. This seems to create a flex point at the midfoot, which is problematic given that the tarsometatarsal joints (the connection between the smaller tarsal bones and longer metatarsal bones in the foot) and the midtarsal joints (the connection between the heel and midfoot joints) are not supposed to flex or extend in the sagittal plane (Neumann, 2010; Wanivenhaus & Pretterklieber, 1989). 

Pain in the tarsometatarsal and midtarsal joints is common in those with stiff calves or limited mobility of the talocrural joint. The talocrural joint is the major location where dorsiflexion and plantarflexion are supposed to occur. Loss of either of those motions can cause compensatory movement in the sagittal plane (front to back) at the midfoot joints. Unfortunately, the midfoot joints are NOT set up to handle these kind of loads as they are meant to transfer them between the rearfoot and forefoot.

While the rockered sole of the On Cloudboom Echo can offset this, those with sensitivities of the midfoot should be cautious of this shoe. This is another reason to make sure you have the right fit if you are interested in this shoe. The slightly longer fit shifts the pivot point of the foot backwards and may also contribute to this.

The midfoot should be a place that helps with shock absorption and stability in the frontal plane (the joint axis are not exactly in the frontal plane as we have discussed previously but they are certainly not in the sagittal plane). On's Speedboard is typically designed uniquely for each shoe depending on its purpose.  The On Cloudboom Echo was apparently designed specifically with the elite athlete in mind. That makes sense given how it tends to do better at faster speeds and worse at slower ones. However, that means this shoe will work for a specific population: those running faster with more neutral mechanics that transition quickly through the shoe. For those that do not have those mechanics and who have limited talocrural joint mobility, this shoe may not work for you.


McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. 
Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Neumann, D. A. (2010). Kinesiology of the musculoskeletal system; Foundation for rehabilitation. 
Mosby & Elsevier.

Ortega, J. A., Healey, L. A., Swinnen, W., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: a narrative review. 
Sports Medicine51(5), 873-894.

Wanivenhaus, A., & Pretterklieber, M. (1989). First tarsometatarsal joint: anatomical biomechanical study. 
Foot & Ankle9(4), 153-157.


The On Cloudboom Echo is a great-looking shoe and I really want to like it. For $270, not including taxes and shipping, I expect a high level of performance for race day. However, the On Cloudboom Echo falls more in line with the performance of the 361 Flame and Brooks Hyperion Elite 2. It is fun to run fast in, but does not appear to provide the same performance benefit seen in many of the super foamed shoes.

My recommendation for On are to dial in the length, stabilize the tongue/laces better, make sure the stiffness of the plate ensures a proper flex point, widen the midfoot and consider a new foam. The length being slightly longer does make upper lockdown difficult, leading to additional sliding. This is exacerbated by the overly thin tongue and laces, which can bite into the foot when you try to tie things down for security. I would also recommend widening the midfoot as this shoe is not stable over longer distances. The narrowing may save weight but may create more fatigue in runners with stability needs later in races. For stability purposes, I would widen the midfoot to be more in line with the heel or to angle the clouds more medially like what is done on the lateral side. The midfoot flex point is also something that needs to be addressed for the reasons I listed in the Thoughts as a DPT section.

Finally, for $270 I expect a PEBA/PEBAX foam midsole. The Helion and midsole of the On Cloudboom Echo is the softest of any On shoe I have tried, but is still much firmer than any of the other leading marathon shoes out there right now (and also almost $100 more expensive than some of them). The higher weight is also disappointing given the lack of major volume from the midsole. The design and look of the On Cloudboom Echo is excellent. However, the performance for the majority of the population is going to be lacking for that price point. So I encourage On to either drop the price point or add a midsole worthy of it.


The On Cloudboom Echo is for those looking for a firmer plated racing shoe for 10k to half marathon racing/workouts with neutral mechanics, who transition quickly, and who want a little more flexibility through the heel and midfoot. Those between sizes should consider going down a half size, but those who want a little extra length over long distances should go true to size. The sizing makes lace locking required, but fortunately, the engineered mesh is comfortable enough that it allows you to mostly focus on the run. The ride is firmer and more rolling, yet is snappy when the pace gets pushed. This makes it best for faster efforts like intervals and tempos, but less suited for uptempo and longer efforts. A stable forefoot is offset by a medially biased midfoot that makes this shoe best for those with neutral mechanics. The On Cloudboom Echo is a step up from the On Cloudboom, but more work is needed before this shoe can truly compete with the others on the market, especially at its price point.   


Fit: (Comfortable upper but slightly longer fit, thin tongue and laces make lockdown difficult)
B+/A- (Faster ride once pushed. Firmer ride overall with stiff forefoot and increasing flexibility in the midfoot and heel. Best for tempo runs and intervals workouts)
Stability: B/B- [Neutral] (Stable forefoot but narrow heel and extremely narrow midfoot with medial bias)
DPT/Footwear Science: B-/C+ (Well rockered sole offset by flex point at midfoot. Works well only for a specific population of runners running faster or who have neutral or laterally biased mechanics. The use of a firmer ride also does not add to efficiency and like many of the racing shoes that come up short, is missing a high performing midsole foam)
Personal: B (I really want to like this shoe and will continue to run in it, but I would not choose to race in this shoe over any other major brand's model. For $250-270, I expect a great deal more. The looks of the shoe are great, but it doesn't match my mechanics)
Overall: B/B- (A slightly long fitting, firmer 10k-half marathon racing/workout shoe for those who have neutral mechanics,  transition through their stride quickly, and have money to spare)


Find the On Cloudboom at On Running in limited quantities currently.

Using the following link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Check out Gear We Love
New Balance Rebel v2
One of the most fun trainers of 2021 so far
Asics Metaspeed Sky: Chief Editor Matt Klein can't stop racing in it, even on trails (not advised)
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!


Carbon Fiber Plated Shoes Resource Page: Want to go as fast as possible for race day? Visit this page for all of our super shoe reviews

Recently at Doctors of Running
Selecting New Shoes for Runners |
January 2022 Round Up at DOR
Hoka Tecton X - Double! platd trail shoe for long mileage
Puma Velocity Nitro 2 - Oen of the best stable neutral trainers returns, better than ever
Reebok Nano X1 - Our first look into cross training footwear!

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.


Facebook: Doctors of Running 
Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running 
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning 
LinkedIn: Doctors of Running
Strava: Doctors of Running
Podcast: Virtual Roundtable
Pinterest: Doctors of Running



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 a personal purchase through eBay (new). 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 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

Puma Velocity Nitro 2

Bottom Ad [Post Page]