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On Cloudboom Echo 3: On Made a Real Super Shoe
By Matthew Klein and Andrea Myers

On Running has be moving in the right direction recently. Their clothes are a favorite of the DOR team, but the shoes have been hit or miss. Some of the recent models (like the On Cloudmonster) have finally begun to feel cushioned and all the shoes seem to have an improvement in cushioning (some more than others). However, their racing model still left something to be desired. One of the biggest disappointments for me was getting my hands on the original On Cloudboom Echo (technically version 2). It featured an incredibly high price for a non-super foam, carbon speed board shoe that did not even feel that fast. When I saw the upgrades on the Cloudboom Echo 3, I was immediately excited and began checking the On website weekly for news. I had high hopes this shoe would fill the gap that was not filled by the previous version. After almost a year of waiting, we finally managed to get our hands on a pair. After 80 miles of running (as of this review), I can confirm Version 3 fills that gap. In classic On fashion, the upper is premium and sits on top of a firmer riding super shoe design. The high price tag maintains, begging the important questions of who this shoe is most appropriate for and whether it is worth the price. We will try to answer both of those questions in this review.

Editor's Note: 9/15/23 - Andrea Myers review added.

On Cloudboom Echo 3
Price: $289.99 at On Running
Weight: 7.6 oz, 217 g (men's size 9), 6.6 oz, 188 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 9.5 mm
Classification: Super Racing Shoe


Matt: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is On Running's first true super shoe. A carbon plate and duel layers of Pebax foam provide a rockered, snappy and fast ride that is still firm by super shoe standards. A slightly long fit with an extremely light microfiber upper provides extra forefoot room and incredible breathability. The firmer rockered ride will work best for most people for 5k-half marathon racing and elite runners or those who prefer firm rides up to the marathon.

Andrea: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is On's super shoe that is a real competitor to the Alphafly and Vaporfly. The Pebax midsole and full length carbon plate provide a responsive, energetic ride that is most comparable (for me) to the Nike Alphafly v1. While I have found the shoe comfortable for long runs up to 16 miles, I think this shoe will be best for 5k-half marathon distance for me. I would not use it for a marathon due to its firmer ride, but runners who prefer a firmer marathon shoe may find their match in the Cloudboom Echo 3.

: Hoka Rocket X 2, ASICS Metaspeed Edge+
PAST MODEL: On Cloudboom Echo


Matt: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 fits me slightly long in my normal men's US size 10. Those who are between sizes may want to consider going down a half size. Those who want some extra room in the front should stay true to size. The material is made of a light microfiber material that is extremely breathable. The width is slightly snug with an upper that seems to adjust well to my feet. There is a little extra room in the forefoot for a racing shoe. The midfoot is slightly snug with a medially gusseted thin tongue. The front half of the lateral tongue is stitched to the upper and it stays quite secure. The heel is slightly snug with a small moderately flexible heel counter. There is mild heel collar cushioning and had no issues with the heel counter. Those who are extremely sensitive may notice it but most people will be fine. The security by itself is decent. The slightly long fit initially made things feel loose and made me concerned for security especially in the midfoot. I attempted to lace lock the shoe but found this caused too much pressure through the thin tongue. However, the additional lace holes allow for adjustment of the laces that can tighten things down more.

Combined with the medial gusset, the upper seems to lightly secure the foot without being overbearing. I had to get myself to trust it but have never had any issues with turns or pace changes. The upper is comfortable enough that you can use it sockless, but I have not due to the slightly long fit. Socks have been a must to make the sizing feel more normal, but for those who go down a half size, sockless wear may be an option. I personally would not want to stink up this high quality light upper but it is breathable enough that it probably won't be an issue. The upper as a whole is light, fits comfortable despite being slightly snug and has a slightly long fit.

Andrea: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 fits slightly long in my usual women's size 9.5, but not so much that I would go a 1/2 size down. I actually found the additional length quite comfortable, particularly for longer runs. I did not experience any foot translation in the shoe and found the toe box width to be ideal, providing just enough room to avoid any irritation at the 1st or 5th MTPs, but not so much that the fit was sloppy. It is easy to achieve sufficient lockdown in the shoe, although I did find the laces to be on the long side. The midfoot and rearfoot are normal to somewhat narrow in width and I found the overall fit to be comfortable and secure. The partially gusseted tongue is thin and is also held in place by a lace loop. The tongue stayed securely in place through all of my test miles without any issues. The tongue is also just thick enough that I did not experience any irritation on the dorsum of my foot from the laces. The heel counter has a flexible top half and a semi-rigid lower half. There is a small amount of padding on the heel collar. The heel fit securely and comfortably and I did not experience any blisters or irritation. The thinner microfiber upper material does not stretch, but it provided sufficient volume for my foot without creating any hot spots or irritation. Overall, I was very pleased with the fit of the shoe and would not hesitate to use it in a race based on my test miles.


Matt: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a firmer, carbon plated super foam racing shoe. The ride is stiff length-wise and responds quickly to changes in pace. Despite two layers of Pebax, the ride is quite firm especially in the forefoot. There is some bounce when loading the heel, but the midsole provides a more snappy ride than a bouncing one. The weight feels much lighter than the listed 7.6 oz. I weighed these at 8.0 oz for my men's size 10, which is similar to to the weight for my Saucony Endorphin Pro 3s which are 7.2 oz in men's size 9. There is a 9.5 mm drop listed, although it feels lower than this due to the stiffer forefoot and rockered ride. The heel transition is fairly smooth thanks to the decent bevel and compressible rearfoot foam. The forefoot is extremely stiff thanks to the carbon plate and sharp forefoot rocker. The rocker is steep and late, providing a stiff ride that feels far better running faster than slower.

Purpose-wise, the On Cloudboom Echo 3 is meant to faster running, racing and workouts. I have used this shoe for everything from fast downhill repeats (~4:25 pace per mile at my fastest) to longer tempo efforts. It has done well at all quick efforts but the snappy and fast ride tends to shine the faster you go. It is a bit firmer than I would like for a longer effort and is not really comfortable for running slow. However, it is my go to shoe right now for 5k-10k workouts. If I had time to race those distances right now, this is the shoe I would grab. However, anything longer than that would probably be too firm. The half marathon distance would be feasible but would be pushing things. For a marathon, I personally would not choose this as it would be too stiff and firm for that distance for me. Others who are faster with better mechanics or who like firmer/stiffer may have different experiences.

Surface-wise, the On Cloudboom Echo 3 should only be used for road and track. The narrow heel and midfoot are not stable enough for offroad efforts and any rocks will tear through the exposed Pebax outsole. There is some additional rubber on the forefoot and some small patches in the heel.

I have 80 miles on my pair and the durability has been fairly good. The forefoot has almost no wear and while I am chewing through the exposed Pebax on the lateral side, the pieces of outsole rubber in the heel are still (somehow) attached. The ride has softened only slightly over all these miles and for the most part feels similar to when I first used it (still on the firmer end). For those light on your feet or who land farther forward, these will probably last you a while. Those who are rough on shoes may have trouble with the exposed foam but they have lasted me a surprisingly long time.

Andrea: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a responsive super shoe with a firmer ride. As a midfoot striker, I feel that the overall ride of the shoe is like a firmer version of the Nike Alphafly v1. As a lateral midfoot striker, the shoe feels like it immediately propels me forward after initial contact thanks to the aggressive forefoot rocker, which is a similar feeling I get in the Alphafly v1. The shoe does not feel like its stated 9.5mm drop. I do not notice the rearfoot at all when I am running in them, even at easy paces. Those who land further forward like myself and/or prefer a lower drop shoe will have no issues with this shoe. The shoe feels very light on foot and the upper essentially disappears when running. It feels (and looks) like a true racing shoe and I am very pleased with its performance.

I have tested the shoe for intervals at 5k, 10k, lactate threshold, and marathon pace. The shoe feels best to me at paces faster than marathon pace, specifically because the firmer forefoot does not feel quite as responsive at marathon pace. I think the shoe would be perfectly comfortable for a marathon, but it doesn't feel like marathon pace is the best pace for the shoe. I would love to test these shoes in a 5k or 10k, because I think that is where it would really shine. I was considering using it for the New Haven 20k on Labor Day, but I ultimately decided to go with the Nike Vaporfly 3, because I am 100% comfortable with that shoe for that distance.

The outsole will likely be the limiting factor in the Cloudboom Echo 3's durability. There is near full rubber coverage in the forefoot, but the exposed midsole in the midfoot and rearfoot will get chewed up quickly, particularly for rearfoot strikers. I have a small amount of wear on the exposed midsole in the midfoot, but the rearfoot of the shoe is basically intact on my pair. There is also minimal visible wear on the rubber in the forefoot. I have 45 miles on my pair and so far I am impressed by the outsole durability. The midsole feels like new and I have not noticed any softening of the ride. I think the durability of the shoes will depend on where you land and the surface you are running on. I would not use these on anything but pavement and track because dirt or gravel would destroy the exposed midsole pretty quickly. 


Matt: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a neutral racing shoe. There are no traditional or newer methods of stability in this shoe. There are no sidewalls and the heel and midfoot are extremely narrow. The firmer ride, central groove and carbon plate do add some mild inherent guidance. However this is not a stable shoe by any means in the heel and midfoot. The forefoot does feature mild sidewalls with a slightly larger one on the medial side. The forefoot is also the widest part of the shoe and is the stiffest part of the shoe torsionally. This makes the forefoot mildly stable, making it a great option for those with mild forefoot guidance needs.

I have enjoyed this shoe for shorter faster runs but begin to fatigue after 8-10 miles. I generally need some mild stability or guidance, but this shoe does not have enough for me to use for longer mileage. For that reason, those with stability needs may be able to use this shoe for 5k-10k efforts, but longer distances may be more difficult. Those with neutral mechanics will do completely fine and will only be limited by their response to the firmer/snappier ride.

Andrea: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a neutral shoe with minimal stability features. The only stability elements are the small heel bevel, the aggressive forefoot rocker, and the stiff sole, all of which provide guidance to forward motion, but no guidance or prevention of medial-lateral motion. Runners who have issues with the narrow rearfoot of the Vaporfly will also likely have issues with the similarly narrow Cloudboom Echo 3. 


Thoughts as a DPT: Compliance vs Resilience and Midsole Feel
By Matthew Klein

The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is somewhat unique in that it uses a Pebax foam yet still feels firmer. Although different in stability and fit, it reminds me of the Hoka Rocket X 2. While Pebax foams do tend to have higher resilience ratings (energy return) compared to other foams, they can vary greatly in how the feel underfoot. We know that how runners perceive the ride of the shoe is multifactorial but when it comes to midsole compression, there are a few things that may impact how stiff a foam feels (Agresta et al., 2020). 

There are two types of stiffness we generally talk about with shoes. Longitudinal bending stiffness refers to the rigidity length wise. A carbon plate will increase this or a late stage forefoot rocker. Midsole stiffness refers to a foam's ability to resist deformation. The more a foam compresses/deforms, the more compliance it is said to have. Extremely soft midsoles are highly compliant, while those that are stiff/do not compress have low compliance. This is only part of the equation for resilience, which is how much the foam compresses and bounces back. This is where most people use the term "Energy Return". Many of the recent super shoe foams are often both compliant and resilient. The foams compress a ton but also bounce back. The Cloudboom Echo 3 has a resilient foam but it feels less compliant. This provides a quick ride that feels firmer. 

There is also the possibility that I am perceiving this to be more stiff as longitudinal bending stiffness can influence the perception of ride (Agresta et al., 2020). The rocker is quite late at the forefoot, there is a full length carbon plate and the slightly long fit all contribute to the stiff ride. There are many things that go into this perception, which is why the same shoe may provide different experiences and economy benefits for different runners. This variation is why we strive to educate runners and clinicians on what works best for each individual as we understand that variation is normal. 


Agresta, C., Peacock, J., Carmichael, A., Nielsen, K. E., Zendler, J., & Gonzalez, R. (2020). The perception of ride is multidimensional for running footwear. Footwear Science12(1), 15-24.


Matt: With the debut of the On Cloudboom Echo 3, On Running finally has a true super shoe. It is firmer, staying true to On's tradition of footwear despite being the "cloud" company. While this shoe is far better than the previous version, I still have a few suggestions. 

The fit is the biggest thing I want to comment on. The slightly long fit is consistent with the previous version. I would like to suggest this be shortened a little but also recognize this allows for swelling and foot size changes with longer mileage. I personally will not be using this shoe for longer mileage, so would prefer to see this shoe fit more true to size especially with how accommodating and light the upper is. 

While I applaud the use of Pebax in this sole, it is still quite firm. This is not a bad thing for those that like a firmer ride or are trying to run faster. For longer efforts, it may be a bit challenging to use. I understand that On has another super shoe (On Cloudtri) that may fit as a more cushioned/softer ride for marathon distances, so my next comment may be disregarded if that is what it actually is. If not, I would like to see the foam be made a bit softer/more compliant for comfort over longer distances. Right now it will be limited to people who are extremely fast and those who like firm rides. Others may be put off with it, making it more of a niche shoe.

The forefoot is quite aggressive and I would like to see one of two things; either reduce the toe spring to keep the toes in a more neutral position and/or make the forefoot rocker a little more gradual. Late stage forefoot rockers often work better for faster speeds, but can be a bit of a struggle for those not running as fast. This also adds an increased perception of stiffness, which is good to a point. However, that may limit this shoe to shorter distances for most people. If the On Cloudtri does come to market as a more cushioned distance racing shoe, then the Echo 3 may be able to keep its current design. However, making the shoe a tiny bit softer and a little smoother up front will only improve comfort in the long run.

Andrea: I really enjoyed running in this shoe and I hope to test it in a shorter race sometime soon. That being said, I think On could make some adjustments to make it a more versatile super shoe, particularly to make it a more viable marathon racing option. I agree with Matt that making the Pebax midsole more compliant would make this shoe more comfortable for the marathon. I actually think that On has achieved with the Cloudboom Echo 3 what other shoe companies have missed the mark on: making a true 5k/10k super shoe. It would be great to see this shoe paired with a softer shoe that is truly geared towards the marathon, and perhaps that is the On Cloudtri.   


Matt: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is for those who want a comfortable, slightly long upper with a firmer, rockered, fast ride underfoot for workouts and races. The microfiber upper is incredibly breathable and the firmer super foam midsole will likely work best for 5k to maybe half marathon distances for most people. The ride is quite neutral in the heel and midfoot although those with mild guidance needs in the forefoot will do well. It is nice to finally see a super shoe from On and I am not completely surprised that it is firm. It definitely is the opposite of shoes like the New Balance SC Elite v3 and those that do not respond well to mushy foams will do well. I like firmer ride shoes for shorter distances but would choose shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Elite every time for distances over the half marathon. I suspect faster runners that put more force into the shoe may get more midsole compression and thus a softer feeling over longer distances, but I perceive them to be quite firm. That works great for shorter distances, but not for longer stuff especially with the narrow heel and midfoot for me personally. 

I understand this is a premium shoe and On stuff tends to be more expensive. The price tag of $290 is one of if not the highest for a true super shoe (minus stuff like the Prime X Strung and the Alphafly Next% Nature). I think that cost is far above what this shoe is worth and $250 would be much more reasonable. I have really enjoyed this shoe, but the ride is limited to shorter distances for many of us "average runners." The upper is extremely high quality and it is clear a huge amount went into the design of this shoe. From an accessibility standpoint though, it is hard to justify this price for the majority of people. This shoe is a unique tool that will fit the needs of some specific individuals. If On is okay with that as they are a bit more niche, then the On Cloudboom Echo 3 has its own place in this market.

Andrea: The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a super shoe with an aggressive forefoot rocker and a firm ride that I found best for 5k-lactate threshold paces. For me as a midfoot striker, it performs most similarly to the Alphafly v1, although with a firmer ride and a longer fit. I congratulate On for making what I think is the best 5k/10k super shoe out there, but I think the shoe could be improved for longer race distances by increasing the midsole compliance. I also agree with Matt that the $290 price tag is high for what you get. This shoe is definitely comparable to the Alphafly or Vaporfly in terms of performance, but I don't see anything that justifies the shoe being $40 more expensive than those shoes. I am looking forward to seeing how On updates this shoe in the future.


Fit: B+/A- (Extremely light, breathable and comfortable upper that fits a little long)
A- (Fast, snappy ride that runs on the firmer side. Best for faster efforts, 5k to maybe half marathon efforts)
Stability: B/B+ [Neutral] (Guided forefoot with neutral heel/midfoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Appropriate integration of materials for a true super shoe. Heel and midfoot narrower than necessary for a shoe of this stack height, but weight is kept quite low. Length needs to be fixed or forefoot rocker needs to be eased off a bit.)
Personal: A- (I have enjoyed the firmer ride for shorter to moderate distance workouts. The heel and midfoot are not quite stable enough for me over longer efforts but the fast ride makes up for it. This will definitely be my choice for 5k to 10k efforts but I will likely choose other things for longer distances)
Overall: B+/A-


Fit: (One of the best fitting super shoes I've tested. My toenails appreciate the extra length. The only negative for me is the slightly long laces.)
A- (Highly responsive ride with quick transition from lateral midfoot strike. Most comfortable at 5k-LT pace, can do marathon pace, but doesn't feel best at it.)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Mostly neutral shoe with some guidance from rockered design and stiff sole)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Congratulations to On for (possibly unintentionally) making the best 5k/10k super shoe available)
Personal: A- (I love running fast in this shoe and can't wait to test it in a 5k or 10k. I love the added length, so I am disappointed in its performance at marathon pace.)
Overall: A-


On Cloudboom Echo 3
Price: $289.99 at On Running

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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 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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