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

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On Cloudvista Review:
Lightweight Hybrid Trainer
By Chief Editor Matt Klein & Senior Taco Contributor David Salas

Despite the tagline "running on clouds", On Running shoes have typically been firmer with an excellent ground feel. Featuring frequently well-rockered soles and fantastic uppers, a majority of their shoes are excellent for walking but only great for runners who enjoy firmer rides. The On Cloudvista signals the beginning of a shift in this. The Cloudvista is a unique shoe that sits between the heavy-duty Cloudventure series and the super light and minimal Cloudventure Peak (REVIEW) as a relatively lighter trail shoe with door to trail capacity. While the typical high quality On upper sits up top, the clouds actually provide some cushioning. So for once, will we get that "running on clouds" feeling?

On Cloudvista
Price: $139.99, Available at On Running Now
Weight: 10.1 oz, 285 g (men's size 8.5), 8.4 oz, 240 g  (women's size 7)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 7 mm
Classification: Door to Trail / Trail Shoe


Matt: The On Cloudvista is a somewhat lighter trail running that can handle a moderate variety of terrain. Although on the firmer end for most running shoes, the Cloudvista's redesigned clouds compress well to provide more cushioning in the rearfoot. The forefoot sits closer to the ground, providing a high level of ground feel. A speedboard sits in the midsole, contributing to the already rockered ride, although the forefoot has more flexibility than expected. A new upper provides a normal fit with a snug forefoot that requires some finessing to lockdown. Once you figure out how to optimize the upper, the On Cloudvista is a lighter-weight trail shoe for moderate distances on trails and some roads.

David: The On Cloudvista is a trail running shoe that provides some versatility across a wide variety of terrain. The shoe does still lean on the firmer end of the ride spectrum, but rides noticeable softer and flexible than previous On models. The shallower lugs and flexible construction give this shoe great versatility both on trails and on roads. For me, I run a good mix of terrain on daily training runs and this worked wonderfully for accomplishing that.


Matt: The On Cloudvista fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. However, due to a thicker toe guard upfront, it feels a little short at times. The majority of the upper is a thin synthetic mesh with a softer inner liner. The tongue is fully gusseted/integrated with the upper, so it stays secure despite being so thin. The width is normal to slightly snug. The forefoot fits a hair snugger due to the additional thickness of the toe guard while the midfoot and heel fit more normal width. The thinner tongue and more normal width caused some slight heel slippage at first until I really tied the laces down. The laces are quite thin and put excessive pressure on the top of the foot if tied too tight. For that reason, I would caution doing a lace lock as it put too much pressure on my ankle. Eventually, I was to get the laces to lock down better by tightening individual lace crosses. Know that some work is required to get an optimal fit. There is a flexible heel counter in the rearfoot that does assist somewhat with the lockdown. I did not notice any pressure from it and combined with a moderate amount of heel collar cushioning, those sensitive to heel counters should do fine. I have tried some sockless wear in this and would suggest using socks. The toe guard upfront does cause some rubbing and the mild heel slippage made socks a better option. Once I finally figured out the laces and got a secure lockdown, I did not have any slippage or at least did not notice any on moderately technical terrain. Know that the On Cloudvista has a solid fit that takes a little finessing to get a perfect lockdown, but it can be achieved.

David: The On Cloudvista fits true to size in my normal Men's 9.5. The upper material feels a little more on the synthetic end similar to a Nike VaporWeave or the translucent TPU that was used in the Skechers Speed-TRL and GoMeb 6. The comfort of the material is good and prevents the material from stretching too much when running unstable terrain or uneven footing. The length is on point, though maybe perhaps a tad short. The fit overall leans right in between traditional training shoe and a performance fit. The width through the heel and midfoot are normal, with the toebox being normal to slightly narrow. Overall a nice hold on the foot with a snug hold when running through trails. The tongue is also padded just enough to lock the shoe down tightly without having any irritation.


Matt: The Cloudvista is the first On Running shoe that I have actually noticed the clouds in. The ride is slightly firmer but is softer than other On shoes. The larger Clouds compress more underfoot, especially in the heel. This provides a more forgiving ride at the rearfoot and better ground feel upfront. The On Cloudvista has an above-average amount of flexibility upfront for a shoe with a polypropylene speedboard. This provides a flexible ride during easy paces, but it becomes more snappy as the pace picks up. Like most On Running shoes, the ride is rockered and rolls forward extremely well. This provides a more rolling ride with a slight bounce from the heel. The weight is on the lighter end for a trail shoe at 10.1 oz. This allows for mild uptempo efforts and fartleks on trail. However, the Cloudvista seems to excel most at easy and daily effort paces. There is a 7 mm heel-toe drop that is not obtrusive at all. This feels slightly lower due to the Cloud compression at the heel, but not extremely so. The outsole features full-length Missiongrip with small lugs. This provides good traction on mild to moderately technical trails and shorter distances on road. Despite my best efforts to rip apart the sole with road use, the outsole is extremely durable and there is little wear after 40 miles of varied terrain use. If you can handle the shoe being on the firmer end, the On Cloudvista should last beyond the industry standard of 300-500 miles.

David: I was really happy with the Cloudvista. The shoe rode softer and more flexible than previous On models but still leans on the firmer end. The ride is very balanced throughout having a nice heel bevel and midline groove through the rearfoot and midfoot ultimately coming to a covered forefoot with trail outsole. The outsole helps with providing a little bit of inherent rigidity through the forefoot while still allowing for some flexibility from the design and geometry. The result is a rocker geometry with good traction and a moderately flexible forefoot. The outsole traction has done well with everything I have thrown at it. It performs very well as an all-terrain shoe or road to trail shoe but can still hold its own with some technicality in the terrain. I would lean on this more for runnable trails with mild to moderate technicality rather than bombing down steep mountainsides, but a very nice balanced feeling trail shoe underfoot.


Matt: The On Cloudvista is a neutral trail shoe. However, there are some subtle methods of guidance that add some mild inherent stability. The heel features small sidewalls on both the medial and lateral side of the foot which provides subtle guidance forward. In typical On fashion, there is a large guideline/longitudinal flex groove along the length of the sole. Combined with a polypropylene speedboard and a well-rockered ride, this shoe helps maintain forward momentum. This is not a stability shoe by any means and there are no obtrusive elements. Those with neutral and mild stability needs will do fine here.

David: The Cloudvista by design is not necessarily a stability shoe but does a few things that help it out in that category. The first thing it does well is that the upper integrates with the platform pretty well. The slightly snug fit through the midfoot and forefoot combined with the minimal stretch upper you feel secure and connected to the platform. The geometry and deep midline groove through the center of the shoe also helps give a good sense of guidance when running. My favorite is probably the addition of the trail outsole with nearly full forefoot coverage providing a good sense of ground contact and feel while also creating some forefoot torsional rigidity. Not a stability shoe per se, but a neutral shoe with some elements present. 


Who is Actually Running on Clouds? Perception of Cushioning Among Runners, By Matt Klein
The perception of cushioning in a shoe varies between people and different people will have different preferences. Although durometer is used as a standard among many companies and footwear people, that only takes into account one of the physical components of the shoe. It completely leaves out the human components that influence the perception of cushioning including the insole, lower extremity proprioception, lower extremity stiffness, how hard they land (impact), and other factors (Dinato et al., 2015; Ishherwood et al., 2021; Keshvari et al., 2020). Current evidence has suggested that it isn't one factor that goes into this perception, but the culmination of a variety of factors (Dinato et al., 2015). Even looking at impact forces doesn't given an accurate measure of cushioning perception given that other factors including rebound, time to impact peak and perceived stability also influence this (Keshvari et al., 2020). This does not mean that soft midsoles/lower durometer midsoles won't be perceived as soft and vice versa for firmer midsoles/higher durometer midsoles won't be perceived as firm. It just means that there will be some degree in variability in that perception based on individual factors. This is precisely why we try to have multiple testers for each shoe.

The above concepts have made me wonder about On Running shoes specifically. While many people have reported they are firm, I am curious to see what happens with the newly redesigned Clouds. On's cushioning techology is unique in that the clouds can compress in the vertical and horizontal planes. Most running shoes foams will primarily compress in the vertical plane (up and down) and while there may be some degrees of horizontal shearing, it is likely to be limited by the solid mass. The On Clouds allow for shock absorption (that may not be the right phrase) in both planes because of their unique design for compression and shearing. We know that vertical impacts are not the only factor in determining forces into the body, especially when it comes to injuries. Other factors like vibration frequencies, horizontal impacts, the individuals ability to shock absorb, strength, power, etc are all involved in this in a way we haven't exactly been able to pin down. The point of this is that I am excited to see On experimenting with the cloud design and actually creating a more cushioned experience. This may attract a larger consumer based within the running community, so I am interested to watch their continued progression.

Dinato, R. C., Ribeiro, A. P., Butugan, M. K., Pereira, I. L., Onodera, A. N., & Sacco, I. C. (2015). Biomechanical variables and perception of comfort in running shoes with different cushioning technologies. 
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport18(1), 93-97.

Isherwood, J., Rimmer, E., Fu, F., Xie, Z., & Sterzing, T. (2021). Biomechanical and perceptual cushioning sensitivity based on mechanical running shoe properties. 
Footwear Science13(3), 221-231.

Keshvari, B., Schubert, N., Senner, V., & Mitternacht, J. (2020). Perception of running shoe cushioning: Objective and subjective measurements in short-distance running. 
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Proceedings49(1), 121.


Matt: The On Cloudvista is the first On shoe that I have noticed the clouds. It is most noticeable in the heel and I would like to feel more of this under the forefoot. I would encourage On to lighten up the upper at the heel and consider using that extra "space" to either just lighten up the shoe or use more Helion/space to enlarge the forefoot clouds. This would require more midsole in the heel to maintain the offset, but it should be a minimal additional. The 10.1 oz weight could be a bit lighter, but for trail shoes this is pretty light. It would be nice to drop the weight a little more to be versatile for trail racing, but that might encroach on the On Cloudventure Peak.

David: I really liked the On Cloudvista. This was by far one of my favorite multi-terrain shoes of the year. I think the main recommendation I have for them is balancing the weight to ride. The shoe feels like it should be light and nimble when you are running on foot based on the ride. However, the shoe does still carry a little bit of weight. The shoe almost feels like it needs to make up its mind between short-distance trail racer or daily trainer to long-distance racer. Being at 10.1 ounces size 9 it does give it a small amount of play in both, but certainly leans on the trainer end (which it is). I like the forefoot flexibility but perhaps having a tiny bit more bending stiffness through the forefoot may benefit the shoe during climbs, as I noticed my toes having to move through a greater range of motion.


Matt: The On Cloudvista is a trail shoe for someone who wants decent ground feel with some heel cushioning for mostly off-road with some on-road running. The ride is rockered and rolling, providing a slightly firmer ride that is cushined for an On Running shoe. Coming in at 10.1 oz, this is on the lighter end for trail shoes, which combined with solid Missiongrip traction allows for a combination of daily and uptempo paces. The flexible forefoot will work best for those who want good ground feel, which can be said for a majority of the sole as well. The fit is normal with a slightly snugger forefoot. Those with normal width feet will do well here, while those with more narrow feet will have to carefully lock down the laces.

David: The On Cloudvista is a trail running shoe for someone looking to have some fun both on and off the trail. The ride is protective but still leaning a tad on the firmer end like most On's. The shoe weighs in at 10.1 ounces and hovers in the lightweight trail running shoe category. The transitions are smooth thanks to a rockered ride throughout and also features a flexible forefoot. Those sensitive to serious rockers may benefit from having a more flexible forefoot upfront. The On Cloudvista has done well for me in a large variety of trails. It can handle pretty much anything except for really technical trails, but should get the job done in most situations. For me, mild to moderate technicality mountain trails, horse trails, bluff trails with some road connectors.  


Fit: B+ (Normal width with snug forefoot. Secure once you figure out how to optimize the laces)
B+ (On the lighter end for a trail shoe. Able to handle daily miles and uptempo paces on trails. Has some versatility on roads, but a little firm for long miles there. Best for moderate miles on mild to moderatly technical trails)
Stability: B+ (Neutral) (Definitely a neutral shoe, but has elements that provide subtle guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Solid redesign of the clouds, but could use more cushioning/additional reesign in the forefoot. Wish forefoot had a bit more room, particularly with the firmer ride up front to allow for more toe splay for natural shock absorption)
Personal: A- (I have really enjoyed the Cloudvista as a trail running shoe. It seems to be stable enough for me and light enough for me to handle a variety of trail terrain in both Southern California and the Northwest)
Overall: B+ (A solid lighter weight, rockered trail shoe with good ground feel and some road to trail ability)

Fit: A- (Dialed in performance fit throughout with great heel cushioning, forefoot tapered a tad sharp)
A- (Fun and balanced rockered ride with forefoot flexibility bonus. The shoe still carries a little bit of weight and may be a tad overly flexible up front going up large inclines.)
Stability: A- (Good lockdown from upper, good guidance from midsole and rigidity from outsole coverage and plate, though still a tad too flexible up front creating some other movements up the chain)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (In some ways this is an On shoe with a trail outsole and flexible forefoot, so nothing majorly innovative but I do like the contrast between having a rockered design and a flexible forefoot. It is something you don't see too many companies doing with their toe spring in their footwear.)
Personal: A- (Outside of being a tad too flexible in the forefoot I love the ride of the Cloudvista. This is one of my go to trainers right now as I run a lot of horse trails and bluff trails with some road connections throughout. Balanced feel with good traction on both surfaces.)
Overall: A- (A really well done lightweight trail running shoe with rockered ride but still having a flexible forefoot, ride protective but still slightly firm)


On Cloudvista
Price: $139.99, Available at On Running Now

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Matthew Klein, PT DPT PhD(c) 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. 

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

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, 

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 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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