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On Running Cloudrock - Women's Review

We love the fact that these boots are not only cushioned underfoot but are also stiff and supportive
On Running Cloudrock - Women's
Photo: On Running
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Price:  $230 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, extremely comfortable, stiff yet cushioned
Cons:  Expensive, lackluster traction
Manufacturer:   ON Running
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Support - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Water Resistance - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

A boot from the future, the On Running Cloudrock is a hybrid running shoe/hiking boot with all the support and comfort one would imagine from this style of boot. We loved the cushioned sole and extra padded ankle and were impressed by the stiffness and support that the midsole provides. It's hard to find another boot that compares in terms of overall support and stiffness plus comfort and padding. The downsides to this boot are its price tag and its lack of traction. This is a great option for folks who want to invest in comfort for long hikes that don't include very much technical terrain.

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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, extremely comfortable, stiff yet cushionedComfortable, waterproof, breathable, durable, relatively lightweightComfortable, durable, very cushioned, stable, supportive, lightweightColor options, PU monowrap frame construction, narrow and wide fit options, seamless Gore-Tex lining, longevityComfortable, lightweight, durable, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, lackluster tractionBulky lacesExpensive, take some time to break in, can be warm on hot daysNo arch support, expensive, bulky, heavyLacks support of larger, heavier boots
Bottom Line We love the fact that these boots are not only cushioned underfoot but are also stiff and supportiveA boot that excels in all metrics, this model offers exceptional performance for a wide range of hiking utility at a reasonable priceWith thick foam soles and a durable leather upper, these boots stand out as the most supportive pair we've reviewedThe all-leather construction provides burly protection and support for a modern approach to the traditional leather bootThese are the right choice for folks looking to save a bit of cash while still getting a top-tier hiking boot
Rating Categories On Running Cloudrock X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex Kaha Gore-Tex Renegade GTX Mid Targhee III Mid
Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Support (25%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
3.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Specs On Running Cloudrock X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex Kaha Gore-Tex Renegade GTX Mid Targhee III Mid
Weight Per Pair (Size 7.5, in lbs) 1.77 lbs 1.62 lbs 1.91 lbs 2.19 lbs 1.80 lbs
Upper Microfiber mesh Synthetic, textile, rubber toecap Full-grain leather Nubuck leather Oiled nubuck leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Water Resistant Membrane Hydrophilic polyurethane membrane Gore-Tex eVent Gore-Tex KEEN-Dry
Heel height (mm) 1.2 in 1.6 in 2.1 in 1.3 in 1.4 in
Shaft height (mm) 5.1 in 5.1 in 5.5 in 5.5 in 4.9 in
Midsole Zero-Gravity CloudTec cushioning molded OrthoLite sockliner EVA DuraPU with MONOWRAP Frame Dual Density EVA
Sole Missiongrip Contagrip rubber, chevron lugs Vibram MegaGrip Vibram Evo rubber Rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Run or hike? The Cloudrocks toe the line between hiking boots and...
Run or hike? The Cloudrocks toe the line between hiking boots and running shoes, a feature we love.
Photo: On Running

Comfort


Though they are hard to get on initially, the Cloudrock is an extremely comfortable boot. The reason they are challenging to get into is their inner liner, which provides a barrier from water, but makes for a tight fit initially.

This internal sleeve made it hard to get the Cloudrocks on at first...
This internal sleeve made it hard to get the Cloudrocks on at first, but we got used to it over time.
Photo: On Running

That aside, the Cloudrocks are a seriously comfortable shoe. They are, like many modern hiking boots, inspired by running shoes and meant to provide the same lightweight comfort, plus extra support. The ankle is extremely well padded while remaining sleek and low profile. The same can be said for the padded tongue. We experienced no pinching or tightness in neither the ankle nor the tongue, even when breaking these boots in. The best part about these high-tech speed hikers in terms of comfort is the super-cushioned, Zero-Gravity CloudTec midsole. This provides a smooth, cushioned base for every step — something we noticed especially when going downhill for long periods. Comfort and padding within a sleek profile are where these boots shine. We also like the lacing system, which has lace locks to help secure desired snugness on the lower part of the upper while tying the upper part of the…upper.

Support


Rather than having an aggressive flex in the forefoot (under the ball of the foot), the Cloudrocks have more of a rockered shape, which provides stability and cushion throughout the entire stride. They don't flex very much when the ball of the foot is weighted, which disperses the impact across the entire base of the foot — providing long-term comfort.

With surprising stiffness and cushion, we were impressed with the...
With surprising stiffness and cushion, we were impressed with the design of these futuristic boots.
Photo: On Running

Though these boots are super lightweight and have tons of cushion, they are also surprisingly stiff. When testing torsional stability, the boots hardly twist at all along the midsole, demonstrating impressive stability and support underfoot. After long days in these boots, we were impressed by how fresh our feet felt, which we attribute to the extra cushion and intentionally designed midsole.

Weight


Just a few years ago, it would have been remarkable to pack so much comfort and support into a sub-2-pound boot. Today's standard, though, shows this to be the new average. While the 1.77 lb weight (US Women's 7.5) is impressive, it lands just slightly above-average compared to other boots we tested. We like that this boot feels very light on the feet without losing necessary foot protection and comfort, even after a long day of hiking. Their design is running shoe-inspired, which means that weight was a major focus. They impressively provide some of the best aspects of a hiking boot in a lightweight package.

It's hard not to have a spring in your step in these boots. The...
It's hard not to have a spring in your step in these boots. The rockered design of the sole made them feel even lighter than their weight on the scale suggests.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Traction


The tread pattern on these boots is designed to provide both stability and traction on both loose gravel and rock. The MissionGrip outsole — though not made from Vibram rubber, which we are used to, impressed us on mud and loose terrain. That said, these are still not our go-to's for talus walking and peak-bagging. The thick cushioned sole is great for long days but doesn't quite provide the confidence needed for scrambling on rock. We didn't trust our feet on talus in these shoes. This could be because the lug pattern is more focused on cushioning than traction and the lugs are not as aggressive as some of the stickier boots in this review. It should also be noted that the holes along the outside of these soles tend to fill with mud and debris on soggy spring trails.

The holes on the side, shown here, get caked with dirt and debris.
The holes on the side, shown here, get caked with dirt and debris.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Water Resistance


On Running does not disclose the exact type of waterproof membrane it employs with this boot, but there's certainly one there, and it works for the portion of the foot it protects. It doesn't come up as high as most other waterproof boots we reviewed. And as mentioned, the smaller opening the liner creates makes it tougher to get this boot on foot. If you're looking for a boot for wet weather, this isn't our first recommendation.

Perhaps not the ideal shoe for snow-hiking, the Cloudrocks are at...
Perhaps not the ideal shoe for snow-hiking, the Cloudrocks are at least very breathable and dry quickly. The lugs don't dig into snow well.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Durability


With a reinforced lacing system, durable materials, and a big price tag, the Cloudrock had better be built to last. We didn't see any significant signs of wear after a few months of testing, and the quality of craft and design here inspire us with confidence. Still, the price is high for a boot with a synthetic upper, which inherently doesn't have the longevity of leather uppers. The rockered design, though, should reduce forefoot flexion. This is a frequent point of wear in hiking footwear, so reducing stress in this area might help prolong the upper's lifespan in this section.

Value


These are some seriously expensive hiking boots. There's a lot to like in this boot, but the price makes us shy away from calling it a great value purchase.

The combination of stiffness and cushion makes these boots a unique...
The combination of stiffness and cushion makes these boots a unique and exciting addition to the lineup.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


The On Running Cloudrock boots are both comfortable and stable. Their sleek profile is paired with a ton of cushion underfoot and a midsole that adds support to the entire length of the foot. We loved the cushioned sole, the well-padded and supportive ankle, and the rockered shape that propels you forward. The Cloudrocks provide support underfoot on the downhill with extra cushion under the heel. They don't have the most aggressive lug pattern and fell short in terms of traction. Also, these boots are a serious investment. All in all, the Cloudrocks are a great option for folks ready to take support and comfort to the next level.

Jane Jackson