On Running Cloudwander Waterproof - Women's Review
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On Running Cloudwander Waterproof - Women's
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|$156.75 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Super comfortable, lightweight, design utilizes recycled materials, quality lacing system, waterproof but breathable||Excellent traction, responsive and stable support, breathable waterproof protection, comfortable right out of the box||Excellent traction, very supportive, breathable design, comfortable for various foot shapes||Versatile, nimble, excellent traction, excellent waterproof protection, supportive midfoot||Ample traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, affordable|
|Cons||Mud gets stuck in sole, not for those with wide feet, runs small, mesh lacks durability||Expensive, sizing runs large, 100% recycled polyester laces may require replacement||Not waterproof, minor durability issues||Single-pull lacing system has limited adjustability, fit favors narrow feet, not recommended for cross-country travel, less breathable||Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet, durability concerns|
|Bottom Line||This hiking shoe combines the performance of a trail running shoe with the support and stability of a hiking boot minus the ankle cuff||A stand-out hiking shoe that features ample comfort, great traction, a stable base of support, and a high quality, durable, and waterproof mesh upper||An excellent choice for those looking to navigate popular trails that feature polished granite or slippery sandstone||A comfortable, supportive, and waterproof shoe that offers excellent and responsive traction in a sleek, modern package||Supportive and affordable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to numerous foot shapes, hikers, and backcountry experiences|
|Rating Categories||On Running Cloudwan...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||On Running Cloudwan...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...|
|Weight (per pair, size 8.5)||1.54 lbs||1.68 lbs||1.42 lbs||1.54 lbs||1.78 lbs|
|Upper||Nylon vamp mesh/TPU overlays/95% recycled textiles||Abrasion-resistant mesh||Nubuck leather/1.5mm polyurethane TechLite rand/Vibram rubber toe rand||Synthetic textile||Leather, mesh|
|Lining||Waterproof membrane||Gore-Tex Surround||Nonslip mesh||Gore-Tex||Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane|
|Midsole||EVA foam||EVA||Traverse Injection MEMlex||EVA||EVA|
|Outsole||Missiongrip rubber||Vibram XS Trek||Vibram Megagrip Traverse with Impact Brake System||Rubber Contagrip||Vibram TC5+ rubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cloudwander Waterproof is a relatively lightweight and multi-functional shoe built for moving quickly on trail. The design combines the performance of a running shoe with the stability and support you'd expect from a hiking boot. The CloudTec cushioning feels amazing under foot while the Speedboard plates, TPU toe caps, and heel stabilizers offer substantial support with every stride. Keep in mind that this design runs small and favors those with a narrow foot. It is designed for everyday use whether out for a walk with your dog or exploring in the mountains on well-maintained trail systems.
The Cloudwander really stood apart from the rest of the other shoes in this review when it comes to comfort. On Running nailed the "springy" CloudTec cushioning that maximizes comfort even when covering a lot of mileage in the mountains. The shoe is also lined with dual density sockliners, a fancy term for smooth and padded fabric in the tongue and surrounding the ankle.
Perhaps our only complaint about these shoes is that the fit is quite specific and favors those with a narrow foot. We would recommend sizing up if you find yourself between sizes due to a snug toe box and narrow forefoot. Fit aside, we love the cushioning that effectively provides comfort throughout long days on the trail even with a lightweight pack along.
The Cloudwander is quite similar to a trail running shoe but with the added features and protection of hiking footwear. Complete with TPU toe caps and a heel stabilizer that greatly increase protection through rocky and uneven terrain in addition to extra stability when carrying a lightweight pack, this shoe provides the confidence you need to pick up the pace on the trail.
Though our lead tester is accustomed to a 0mm drop shoe, the 9mm heel to toe drop didn't interrupt full range of motion nor require a long time to adjust. The design also features Speedboard plates, quality EVA foam midsoles, along with a thick and supportive insole, that work together to increase protection and support when covering a ton of miles on the trail.
While our testers appreciated the substantial traction of the Cloudwander when moving over textured granite, we ultimately didn't give this shoe high marks due to the minimal lugs on the sole. There is a third row of "clouds" under the forefoot to increase traction, but we found ourselves missing the sure-footed traction typical of a Vibram Megagrip or Duratread rubber outsole.
On Running boasts about a sticky grip that performs well in dry conditions, but we found that we couldn't trust our feet when moving through thick mud due to it becoming lodged in the sole and reducing overall grippyness. That being said, we do appreciate that this shoe is designed to be versatile and built for everyday use. An aggressive sole would be too much shoe in some cases.
The Cloudwander weighs 1.54 pounds per pair for a US women's size 8.5. This puts the shoe directly in the middle of our weight range from 1.2 to 1.9 pounds. Our testers found the shoe to feel more like a lightweight running shoe while out on the trails. Even though it is not the lightest shoe that we tested, we can appreciate the quality features that potentially add weight to the design such as the durable outsole, toe caps, and supportive plates.
Our testers really appreciated the functional and more breathable waterproof membrane of the Cloudwander and scored the shoe accordingly. While some waterproof membranes and thick synthetic uppers that we've tested can prevent air from permeating the shoe, the Cloudwander successfully prevented "pruny" toes and overheating in warmer temperatures during hikes at lower elevations. Even though the mesh allows more air to permeate the upper, the 20% recycled waterproof membrane also kept our feet dry when moving through patches of snow, gigantic mud puddles, and swollen creeks during high runoff conditions in the early spring.
Our testing team is happy to report that we've experienced no issues thus far with the durability of the Cloudwander. This shoe features a quality lacing system with reinforced eyelets and metal hooks for a more customized fit. Still, while we didn't experience any issues during our testing period, we can hypothesize the mesh upper may not last as long as other synthetic and leather uppers that we tested for this review. We love that this is a shoe geared towards everyday use, but wouldn't recommend taking it too far off trail or on technically-demanding rocky terrain.
Should You Buy the On Running Cloudwander Waterproof?
The Cloudwander is designed with the performance of a trail running shoe and the support of a traditional hiking boot minus the supportive ankle cuff. Our testers love the super comfortable CloudTec cushioning and the breathable waterproof capabilities that prevented our feet from overheating during hikes in warmer climates. While the mesh construction may not last as long as its beefier synthetic and leather competitors, we can appreciate the everyday use this shoe is geared towards and are confident recommending it for those looking to maximize comfort without getting too rowdy on off-trail terrain where the mesh upper would be susceptible to sharp rocks and talus fields.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If you're interested in a shoe that offers waterproof protection with more support for multi-day trips into the backcountry, check out our favorite shoe for the job, the La Sportiva Spire GTX. If you're stoked on a dropping some weight in order to pick up the pace, head over to read about The North Face VECTIV Fastpack FUTURELIGHT. And if you're looking for solid performance on a budget, it's worth considering a couple Merrell options that we've reviewed, the Merrell Moab 3 WP or the Merrell Moab Speed.
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