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Review: On Running Cloudventure trail shoe

Written by Fiona

November 29 2018

Swiss brand On Running has launched the new On Cloudventure shoe for trails. I was part of a group that was given the chance to try the shoes before they launched. I have been testing the On Cloudventure for about six weeks.

I have run and walked in the shoes on a variety of terrain from pavement to trails to muddy hills.

On Cloudventure features

  • Missiongrip outsole with an “enhanced traction pattern and a specially selected grip-rubber compound”.
  • Forefoot grips studs: Triangular grip-pattern built from a newly developed “sticky” rubber.
  • Specialized Speedboard to “drive you forward when running off-road”.
  • Midfoot grip studs: To secure your landing on raised ground.
  • Square Elements: For downhill cushioning and for soft ground bite.
  • Traction pattern: Zig-zag channels combine with flatter details to prevent slipping on a variety of surfaces.
  • Two-layer mesh upper.
  • Zero Gravity cushioning for shock absorption.
  • Cloudventure £135.
  • Cloudventure Waterproof £150.
  • See On Running.

Read more about the launch of the new On Cloudventure.

On test: New On Running Cloudventure shoes

I like the fit and feel of the On Running Cloudventure shoe. I am not so keen on the green colour but that’s only because I would normally choose a blue or red.

The shoe felt a little wide in the forefoot for me (I have a narrow foot) and I wore a size UK8 rather than my usual UK8.5. I think the fit is average width but slightly longer than normal.

The lightly padded tongue is a nice touch and there is a slight stretch in the upper fabric which is another favourable detail.

There is a layer of protection around the shoe (the rand). The rand is lower in the forefoot area and rises up at the heel. It is meant to protect the uppers from rock and debris on the trails. If you look at On Running shoes, the big difference between road and trail is this protective rand.

But it’s the detail of the new soles that is the most interesting in the On Cloudventure. There has been a lot of thought and engineering involved in the design.

On Running soles are very different from any other on the market. Rather than larger areas of single cushioning, the soles have pockets of rubber that create a series of air cushions all over the sole.

There are larger and smaller pockets depending on where On thinks you will need more cushioning. At the heel, these “cloud” style cushions are larger, while at the forefoot they are shallower and more compact.

The sole has also been given lugs to offer traction for trail and hill running.

Plus there is a “speedboard” that has been developed to “drive you forward while running”. Did this happen? I am not that sure to be honest!

The aim is for comfort and grip while running uphill and downhill.

I found that the shoe is indeed both grippy and cushioned. It seems that wherever your foot lands and whatever it lands on, from stones to mud and larger rocks, you still had a cushioned step.

I was also surprised by how well the shoe coped with Scottish mud. I am normally an Inov-8 fan for muddy hills and trails because they have well studded soles, yet i was impressed with the grip of the On Cloudventure. They are not as brilliant as some Inov-8 soles but for a trail shoe with both cushioning and grip they are great.

The mud did not become too clogged in the sole of the shoe either.

I felt confident running downhill and the grip was a lot better than I expected. The sole is stiffer than I normally go for but it’s actually a good idea for better support on the trails.

A few things that I am not so keen on is that the insole feels slippery underfoot. When I put my foot and sock inside the shoe it seems to move about a bit.

The laces are too thin and come undone easily. I had to do a very tight double knot and even then they start to undo when I run more than a few miles. This is very annoying. I will be changing the laces.

The heel cup is a bit stiff for me. However, I like the depth of the heel cup and how I know that a stiffer upper on a shoe is better when running off-road because it offers greater support.

One other thing to note: If you step on stones – for example, the gravel on my driveway – they can end up getting lodged in the channel in the sole of the shoe. On Running tell me they have tried to eliminate this issue but for some reason I keep finding the perfect size of stone to take on board. Hmmmmm.

Overall, this is a good quality shoe with an innovative design. If you like a more supportive trail shoe with cushioning and grip it’s well wroth checking out.

See On Cloudventure trail shoe.

See: A trip to On Running HQ.

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