In 2019, a 3-time world Duathlon champion by the name of Olivier Bernhard had idea: creating the Perfect Running Shoe, one that provided the ultimate in foot feel and running position on every single step. A running shoe that felt like you were running on clouds with every step.
Joining forces with two of his friends, he set out to create that shoe, combining precision Swiss design and engineering with years of high-level running experience…finding the sweet spot between firm take-off and cushioned landing.
On was born.
The brand caught on quickly. It only took a month for their first prototypes to win an IPSO Brandnew Award, and their flagship running shoe – the Cloudracer – was soon seen on the feet of Swiss Olympians and Ironman World Champions alike.
On’s unique running properties and popularity can be chalked up to two things: passion for running in each design, and their innovative shoe tech.
Each and every On shoe – whether trainers or hiking boots – is designed to get that “running on a cloud” feeling. Technologies working together to achieve this feel include CloudTec, their patented cushioning construction that only cushions during landing; Speedboard, a layered midsole construction that supports the foot’s natural rolling motion; and various soles such as Helion, Mission-Grip and Zero-Gravity Foam.
Want to add some On running or hiking shoes to your closet? Here are our picks for Best On Runners and Hikers for 2019.
Lightweight is the name of the Cloudswift’s game. This ultralight runner combines a Helion outsole – superb cushioning, firm landing and durable rubber protecting against the road – with a light mesh upper that fits like a sock but breathes like a champ. A mechanical rubber sideband supports the midfoot for a stable run on any urban surface. it’s also one of the sleeker models we’ve seen – in a niche known for sleek shoes. For speed and swiftness of foot, there’s no beating the CloudSwift.
The Cloudrock Waterproof is a “speed-hiking shoe,” combining Cloudswift’s ultralight, shock-absorbing build with classic hiking boot design. The exterior is “terrain proof” – a durable, abrasion-resistant mesh backed up by a waterproof, windproof membrane.
On the bottom is a MissionGrip sole for stability and traction, with those large lugs that dig into soft trails and slopes. A Speedboard midsole provides stable “propulsion,” and there’s a rubberized mudguard wrapping 360-degrees around the boot, keeping water and mud out without slowing you down or compromising on lightness and speed.
If you’re looking for a more stylish and lightweight alternative to your traditional hiking boots, you could do worse than the Cloudrock.
The Cloudventure is On’s flagship trail shoe. It packs plenty of cloud-like padding into a superlight construction, with a “technical engineered” mesh upper sitting for plenty of cooling and ventilation. This sits atop a Zero Gravity Cloud and MissionGrip outsole; the latter of which uses a variety of grip patterns to provide stability and traction plus adaptable, nimble footing on a variety of terrain. The former, meanwhile, guarantees every step compliance with Cloudventure’s cloud-landing mission.
They call the Cloud X the World’s Lightest Fully-Cushioned Running Shoe. 218 grams a pair. Pure padded, cloudlike steps. How’d they do it? Using a performance upper of engineered mesh that cuts extra weight, lends itself to breathability and doesn’t restrict your foot movements.
This mesh upper has a “lean” heel cap with “precision-molded” cushioning pad, which keeps your foot stable and comfortably in place with every step. And both sit above the Zero-Gravity foam and CloudTec sole, which offer supreme cushioning and a springy step, as well as lightweight nimbleness on your feet.
The Cloud X also comes in an assortment of cool color combos. We’re partial to the White on Black.
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