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ON Cloudflyer Review

High-end materials and a unique design make this model stand out, but we didn't experience any extra cushioning benefits with the Cloudtec sole design
ON Cloudflyer
Credit: ON
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Price:  $160 List | $159.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Premium materials, comfortable upper, sleek lace design
Cons:  Slight uneven ground feel, slight ankle discomfort
Manufacturer:   ON Running
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 8, 2022
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.0
  • Upper Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Lateral Stability and Support - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

With its unique Cloudtec sole design, we anticipated that the ON Cloudflyer would have great cushioning and ground feel but we were slightly disappointed once we put it to the test. There is no arguing that this model is incredibly well-thought-out and has many unique design elements, but we didn't notice any additional cushioning benefits when compared to more traditional models. We also found that the Cloudtec sole design felt a little stiffer than expected and gave us a slightly uneven ground feel at times. Users that are heavier than our lead tester (135 pounds) that are able to compress the foam a bit more may find more benefits from the Cloudtec design elements.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Premium materials, comfortable upper, sleek lace designResponsive cushioning, breathable upper, lightweightLightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upperResponsive, excellent lightweight upper, cool colorwaysResponsive, fast, lightweight, affordable
Cons Slight uneven ground feel, slight ankle discomfortMinimal support and stabilityLess responsive, lacks rubber outsoleStiff, minimal ground feel, narrowMinimal support, lacks outsole rubber
Bottom Line High-end materials and a unique design make this model stand out, but we didn't experience any extra cushioning benefits with the Cloudtec sole designExcellent cushioning that provides great energy transfer with an extremely comfortable, performance fit upperThese lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upperThis shoe has excellent responsiveness to propel you forward and is perfect for long-distance tempo runs and racingThis affordable ultralight model allows for maximum turnover which provides a snappy and quick feeling
Rating Categories ON Cloudflyer Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Nike Zoom Fly 4 Saucony Kinvara 13
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
Upper Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Lateral Stability and Support (15%)
8.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
Specs ON Cloudflyer Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Nike Zoom Fly 4 Saucony Kinvara 13
Weight (per shoe, size 9.5) 10.2 oz 8.3 oz 8.1 oz 10.0 oz 7.3 oz
Heel to Toe Drop 9 mm 8 mm 5 mm 8 mm 4 mm
Midsole Material Helion EVA PWRRUN PROFLY React foam EVA
Sole Rubber Rubber XT-900 Rubberized EVA Rubber Rubber
Upper Material Synthetic mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh Mesh, Flyknit Engineered Mesh
Width Options Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Sizes Available 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 15

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you are looking for premium materials and a unique cushioning system, the ON Cloudflyer may be for you. The ON Cloudtec sole design is unique in today's market. A series of hollow compression zones — or "clouds" — are claimed to exhibit superior cushioning and react to your body's movements, but our testers didn't experience any noticeable benefits over the more traditional midsole and outsole designs. This model is fairly stiff and hard even with these elements, and we noticed a slight uneven ground feel which was caused by the indentations of these compression zones. However, the upper, insole, and lace designs are some of the favorites we tested. We think this is a good all-around trainer but wouldn't be the first we'd recommend.

Performance Comparison


ON Cloudflyer running shoes - the on cloudflyer is a great all-around trainer and has their...
The ON Cloudflyer is a great all-around trainer and has their signature cloud outsole design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


There are few shoes today as recognizable as the ON Running products which have increased in popularity in recent years. Their unique Cloudtec platform consists of a series of hollow "cloud" tubes and is claimed to offer superior cushioning and responsiveness when compared to more traditional models. While this shoe is certainly comfortable, we can't say we noticed a huge difference in cushioning or comfort over other models in our test group that have similar claims of comfort.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - the signature cloudtec sole design absorbs energy leading to a...
The signature Cloudtec sole design absorbs energy leading to a comfortable landing but isn't noticeably cushier than today's other traditional shoe designs.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

While minor, the ground feel under the various open channels created by the cloud elements was noticeable and led to an uneven sensation at times. We don't think you would be disappointed by the unique sole design, but we weren't blown away by its performance compared to more traditional designs.

Responsiveness


Thanks to ON's SpeedBoard technology, this model feels responsive and fast. The rigid midsole plate creates a stiff platform for responsive power transfer. We also appreciate the use of outsole rubber, which provides better traction in wet conditions and helps increase responsiveness, especially when toeing off. We think this model offers a great middle-ground for all types of running and the blend of cushioning and responsiveness will be ideal for the average user.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - a rigid plate maintains rigidity allowing for solid power transfer...
A rigid plate maintains rigidity allowing for solid power transfer, leading to a responsive design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Upper Comfort


An elegant upper with taped seams and unique fabric designs make this one of the nicest uppers we tested. From the high-quality materials to the unique lace design, this shoe's upper clearly took a lot of time and effort to develop and is extremely comfortable. We think the upper is the standout feature of this model and think other companies will be looking at this design for inspiration. We experienced no durability issues during our testing. Feet with average volume and width would find this shoe ideal.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - the cloudflyer has premium upper design elements including taped...
The Cloudflyer has premium upper design elements including taped seams and a unique lace design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Lateral Stability and Support


A rigid heel cup helps lock in the foot to provide support and stability. The Speedboard midsole feature as mentioned in the responsiveness section above is still firm enough to offer that support and stability without allowing the foam to compress too much. Generally, more compressive platforms need to be wider to offer support and stability. For this model, there is a great balance of support without feeling dull or heavy. ON has done a great job balancing rigidity, cushioning, and responsiveness, which we think is one of the best features of this shoe.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - a rigid heel cup helps maintain lateral stability and leads to a...
A rigid heel cup helps maintain lateral stability and leads to a supportive and stable design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Weight


With this impressive feature set, we are surprised this model isn't heavier than it is, weighing in at 10.2 ounces for a men's size 9.5. Its surprisingly reasonable weight is likely due to having less foam material in the midsole thanks to the cloud channels. At this weight, we think it's tough to find a more well-rounded shoe. While it didn't score the highest in any of our test categories, it did score great across the board making this one of our favorites for all-around use.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - the 2022 on cloudflyer is one of the most unique-looking models we...
The 2022 ON Cloudflyer is one of the most unique-looking models we tested
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Should You Buy the ON Cloudflyer?


If you are looking for a unique design made with premium materials that scores highly across all test metrics, this could be the model for you. While we've tested shoes that perform better in certain metrics, it's hard to argue this isn't a great all-around shoe. If you are just getting into running or require less of a specific design for speed work and racing, this could be the perfect model for you.

ON Cloudflyer running shoes - substantial rubber outsole provides confidence in uneven or wet...
Substantial rubber outsole provides confidence in uneven or wet conditions.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


Our favorite overall running shoe that we've tested is the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 which is a bit lighter and more responsive than and similarly cushioned as the Cloudflyer. If you are searching for cushioning that is a bit lighter weight and more responsive, you might check out the Hoka Mach 4 which is our favorite light trainer with ample cushioning. For something with more support and rigidity, check out the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22.

Matthew Richardson

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