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On Cloudmonster 2 Review: Moving in the Right Direction
By David Salas and Matthew Klein

The On Cloudmonster was a massive turning point for the company. It was one of the first shoes that many considered actually cushioned from the "cloud" company and has continued to be an extremely popular model. While still maintaining some degree of mild firmness On is known for, it signaled a change as the On Cloudsurfer and On Cloudeclipse followed suit. As they have continued to refine their cushioning, the On Cloudmonster 2 showcases On's willingness to try things with a duel density midsole, a filled outsole gap and a slightly higher volume upper. How new these things end up in practice... is up for discussion.


On Cloudmonster 2
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.4 oz, g (men's size 9), 8.1 oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 6 mm
Shoe Purpose: Daily Training Shoe

The On Cloudmonster 2 returns with careful changes to improve the original cushioned On Running training shoe. A new dual-density midsole provides a slightly snappier ride in the forefoot, while a filled in underfoot gap hides the plate but maintains the cushioned rearfoot. As per On, the ride is slightly firmer but stays highly cushioned per the Cloudmonster series. The greatest change is a higher volume fit that provides extra room for those who need it and a slight challenge for those who don't. Best for those wanting a slightly firmer but highly cushioned shoe with a large amount of volume for daily training and some uptempo miles. 

PAST MODEL: On Cloudmonster


Matt: The On Cloudmonster 2 fits me true to size in my normal US men's size 10. The upper is higher volume and fits a little wider for those who need extra room. The forefoot provides a little extra room with a light toe guard for structure. This transitions into a higher volume midfoot. The tongue is gusseted but is extremely thin. I had to crank down the laces to get a secure fit, which caused some irritation on the top of my foot after a few runs. Thicker socks helped somewhat with this, but know that this shoe has quite a bit of volume here. The heel also fits slightly wide and I did have to lace lock the heel. There is a moderately flexible heel counter in the rearfoot with moderate heel collar padding. The counter did not bother me but those with sensitivities may notice it. I tried several sockless miles in this shoe but due to the higher volume, I did not have a secure enough fit to avoid socks. The inner liner is comfortable for the most part however the gusseting on the tongue did cause some abrasion on my foot. So I would suggest socks with this shoe.

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

The On Cloudmonster 2 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. This upper does have a lot of volume and width to it and will agree with those that need more of that. The shoe does have decent lockdown to help with this. The mesh upper is relatively comfortable and does breath well. The gusseted tongue is on the thinner side, but does cushion the laces enough to prevent biting. The lacing system is different from the original. The original had wide eyelets, whereas this version has a lot of smaller elastic like eyelets that help with cinching the upper down. The width in the heel and midfoot is normal with a wider forefoot. I felt the dimensions were pretty good throughout, but it was a little more volume than I am used to. I did have to lace the shoes down relatively tight to keep my foot from having any translation or slippage. Thankfully the tongue did a good job of preventing biting. The heel collar is padded well and integrates well with the heel counter. The fit gives you a bit of a bucket sensation through the heel and midfoot. The overall experience is pretty good if you like higher volume shoes. I just found I really had to crank the laces down.

Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16, Puma Velocity Nitro 3
Shoes that have fit snug: HOKA Arahi 7, Adidas Adios 8
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing:
Is the Forefoot Flexible: No
How Flexible is the Shoe: Not Flexible
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Somewhat
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: Potentially
Durability Expectation: Average


Matt: The On Cloudmonster 2 is a slightly firmer but highly cushioned daily trainer. The Helion foam is slightly firmer while the clouds provide compression and rebound. This combination makes this shoe excellent for training miles if you like a slightly firmer ride but also for uptempo efforts. I have done a fartlek and a fast finish long run (5:39 last mile with a stroller) and although it isn't the lightest shoe or a racer, it still performed well. Some of this comes from the new dual-density midsole, which now has a slightly firmer and snappier front. The heel is only mildly rockered but still seems to compress and transition well. The midfoot transition is fairly easy without being too stiff. Thanks to the Speedboard (plate), there is little flexibility in this shoe. However, the forefoot is well-rockered and transitions nicely at a variety of paces. It is easy to get into a rhythm with this shoe, further making it an excellent choice for easy and long runs.

Durability-wise this shoe is doing quite well. I have 35 miles on my pair and there is only a tiny bit of abrasion on my normal spot (posterior-lateral heel). I would expect an above average number of miles, especially with how similar the midsole feels and the fact it did not need any time to break in. Now that the central gap that used to showcase the plate is filled in, I have not had an issue with rocks getting stuck. While I would still keep this shoe mostly on road, it has done fine on mild trail crossings. 

David: The On Cloudmonster 2 did deliver for me. I was a big fan of the 1st version and I continue to be a fan of the second. The rocker profile is similar as before and the shoe does still give you an element of guidance throughout the gait cycle. The Helion foam does give a bit of a firm cushioning feel to it, but still provides plenty of cushioning. I would classify this in the maximum cushioning category. Despite being a training shoe, the platform and midsole to provide a good amount of responsiveness. I have found that I can hit strides and pick the pace up quite nicely for a training shoe. The shoe does have good sidewalls integrated throughout the heel and midfoot that give a nice hold on the foot. The forefoot rocker is noticeable, but does have an element of flexibility. This is one of the things that I did enjoy in the first version. When forefoot rockers are overly stiff the transitions can feel a little abrupt for me at times. Despite the large rocker geometry, this still feels like a relatively balanced offering. The midsole is responsive, but does not have a super foam feel to it. The Cloudmonster 2 has a very predictable ride to it that feels nice for rhythmic daily miles. I was able to take this into runnable trail, but extra diligence was needed on the lace lockdown mentioned in the fit section. I tend to like firmer cushioned trainers with mild flexibility and this seems to check most of those boxes.


Matt: The On Cloudmonster 2 is a neutral shoe. There are no traditional stability methods but there are a few mild guidance elements. There are still small bilateral sidewalls that provide mild guidance at the midfoot. The full-length Speedboard adds quite a bit of rigidity both longitudinally and torsionally, adding some resistance to lateral motion. The midfoot does taper a little, which slightly detracts from some of this. The filled in midfoot groove does seem to give the pods more structure, compared to the uneven compression I felt in version one. The forefoot features small sidewalls, a larger width and a stiffness. This is the most stable part of the shoe with a more neutral heel and midfoot. 

David: The On Cloudmonster 2 is a neutral shoe. The shoe does have some nice uses of gentle sole flaring that is evident especially through the forefoot. The Cloudmonster 2 does a very good job of integrating its sidewalls with the upper and with the platform. This gives you a nice hold both on the medial and lateral aspect of your foot with a sense of guidance moving forward. The heel security is pretty good if you lace the shoe down tight. The upper has a small amount of stretch to it and holds its structure pretty well. The high volume does make you need a little more attentiveness with getting a good lockdown, but otherwise does its job pretty well. The wide base underfoot also helps with making the shoe feel a little more stable. I would still classify this experience as neutral though, given some of the compliance in the midsole and midfoot shaping medially. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Lockdown
By David Salas

Today's DPT section will be a little more conceptual, as lockdown can be hard to define. At its essence it is a word to describe how well the shoe's upper holds your foot to the platform underneath it. This is created several ways via the tongue (gusseted vs. not gusseted), upper volume (space in between fabric and platform), and with the lacing system (the laces that tie it all together). There are other things as well, but these are the big things. Many performance shoes will choose to have a tighter lockdown and a more snug experience throughout the shoe whereas many training shoes opt to have a little more forgiving of a lockdown to help with comfort. The Cloudmonster 2 is a training shoe and favors more of a comfortable lockdown. 

Lockdown can also be an extra consideration with rockered shoes. If the lockdown on a platform is not great, the heel with usually rise or the foot will translate in a given direction. The On Cloudmonster 2 has a pretty good lockdown on it, but it feels a little inconsistent with the other components. The Cloudmonster 2 has a lot of volume, meaning space, throughout the shoe. This is great for things like swelling accommodation and toe splay, but does pose its own challenges with getting the foot down onto the platform. The laces on the Cloudmonster 2 are relatively narrow for how much volume there is. The laces do have elastic eyelets to help with further pulling the laces in. For the way the design is this works, but does make for a lot of pressure over the midline of the foot. One thing that could help with making a more comfortable lockdown would be to widen the eyelets out and potentially make it a part of the upper. I think of this concept in terms of rolling a burrito. If you have the same amount of content between 2 tortillas, the one with a wider roll will feel the most secure and have the better hold. The other one will work, but might have some spillage or crinkling/folding. This is how I view the current tongue on this shoe. It works, but I would like to see the hold be wider if there is going to be this much volume through the upper. 


Matt: The On Cloudmonster 2 has been a solid trainer for me. I have enjoyed it and the slight firmness has been helpful for changing paces and as a break from super soft shoes. However, my use became limited after the pressure from the laces irritated the top of my foot. I enjoyed the higher volume fit but to get a secure lockdown, tightening the laces with a tongue too thin to protect my foot was problematic. I would encourage On to add a thicker/protective tongue. I would also like to see the On Cloudmonster 3 use some large clouds to drop the weight. An increase to 10.4 oz  (men's size 9) is understandable due to filling in the midfoot gap (that used to showcase the plate). It is odd to me that the On Cloudeclipse has a higher stack height but weighs less. This creates some confusion for me in terms of the placement and purpose of the On Cloudmonster 2, so I hope that can be cleared up in future versions. 

David: I really enjoyed the Cloudmonster 2, as this is one of my favorite trainers this year. My big thing was the upper volume. I am all for more space, but it did feel I had to crank the laces down quite tight to get a good fit from it. I think widening the laces or eyelets (similar to Adios Pro 3) to have more pull on the fabric may have helped with getting a better lockdown, versus the tighter small elastic eyelets they used. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the shoe. 


Matt: Yes, I would recommend the On Cloudmonster 2. It provides a higher volume fit with a slightly firmer but protective ride that is different from many of the soft and mushy shoes on the market. I would recommend it for someone who wants higher stack but slightly firmer with a little versatility into uptempo paces. I'm a little confused on the reason for a $180 price tag when it has a lower stack and higher weight than the Cloudeclipse. However, it may differentiate itself by being the more versatile shoe pace wise given the ability to transition into uptempo paces (which the Eclipse cannot do as well). On Running product tends to be more expensive, so it may be following the trend. 

David: The On Cloudmonster 2 is a max cushion daily training shoe that offers a little bit of flexibility through the forefoot. The type of cushioning does feel a tad firmer than other max cushion shoes, but does provide plenty of protection for daily miles and long runs. I would recommend this shoe for someone that likes rockered shoes and cushion, but would like a tad more flexibility to the forefoot.


Fit: B+ (Higher volume fit that requires more lockdown from laces. Thin tongue caused excessive pressure from laces on top of foot)
A- (Slightly firmer ride that responds to a variety of paces)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Mild sidewalls and torsionally stiff midsole at a little bit a guidance but still neutral)
Value: B (Not sure why this is $180 compared to the clearly more cushioned On Cloudeclipse)
Personal: B+ (I really like the ride but the lace pressure is bothering the top of my foot quite a bit)
Overall Design: B+

Fit: (The dimensions throughout are pretty good, but the really high volume narrow lacing system make for a trickier lockdown. Once it is though it is solid.)
Performance: A 
(Rhythmic rockered ride with good responsiveness. Forefoot flexibility well dialed in.)
Stability: B+/A- (Medial side of midfoot is undercut a tad relative to the rest of the platform, upper security could be improved. Otherwise good.)
Value: A- (I feel it is comparative with the other premium trainers out there.)
Personal: A- (One of my favorite rides of the year. I just wish I didn't have to crank the laces down as much.)
Overall Design: A- (Well done training shoe for a high stack rocker. Upper could be a little more streamlined.)


On Cloudmonster 2
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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 pairs.  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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