The racing shoe we've been waiting for from On
The Cloudboom Echo is the shoe many of us have been waiting for from On Running. The DNA of the brand is dripping with racing pedigree, a lead-don’t-follow approach to innovation, and a history of making footwear that is both lightweight and responsive.
And while the Cloudboom Echo isn’t On’s first carbon-plate based racing shoe (the Cloudboom Echo replaces the Cloudboom), it is the one that should make runners sit up and take notice. Not as an alternative to another shoe, or as something to try if you’re curious, but because if you’re a racer looking for a fast shoe that will maximise your potential on race day - this shoe is insanely fast and one that should be in your consideration list.
On developed the Cloudboom Echo in collaboration with the athletes who run for the brand - and if you aren’t up to speed on that, On’s current athlete roster is wild, and constantly growing. Tokyo Olympians in the marathon, Jake Riley (USA) and Chris Thompson (Great Britain), among others, were involved in the testing and feedback stages of the Cloudboom Echo.
Let’s get stuck into the what-how-whoa of it all, shall we?
I know you want to talk about the sexy bits (the midsole) but trust me - the upper is plenty sexy. Let's go through that first.
It’s made of a 100% recycled polyester engineered mesh. It’s absolutely paper thin and super light, but also has these great reinforced ventilation panels throughout. There's slightly more going on around the heel - the heel cup has some structure to it, certainly more than some other shoes in the category, but isn’t stiff or restrictive. The tongue is not gusseted, and the laces are high quality (honestly I never thought I would have to specify lace quality but after some of the stuff I’ve seen recently, it’s clear that I do - anyway, these are nice).
There’s some good volume in the toe box as well - we know that our feet swell up when we go deep into the marathon so this is something that will benefit a lot of people, and might hopefully save some toenails.
Key takeaways from the upper - incredibly thin and light.
Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. As everyone knows, the midsole is what makes or breaks a race shoe.
The Cloudboom Echo has a 3 layer midsole, essentially. The top layer is Helion, which is On’s proprietary foam. The key thing to look for here is the Clouds in the forefoot which sit above the carbon plate. When you land, these collapse quickly which allows you to toe off with more propulsion.
Under this top layer we’ve got the Speedboard (you can find a Speedboard in all of On's running shoes). The idea of a stiff board in a midsole is not new to On at all, they’ve been putting Speedboards in their shoes for the longest - but this one is carbon infused (15%).
I can’t find any specific technical data on the shape of the plate but we know that typically the more exaggerated the shape, the more efficient. Obviously when you add stack you increase your ability to get aggressive with the plate shape, which is what it seems On have done here.
Then below the Speedboard we see the green layer of Helion, which has the Clouds in the midfoot and heel. Again, the Clouds serve to speed up the transition from landing to push off, and the size and shape of them here also absorbs some of that impact, giving you a smoother ride.
On are known for making responsive shoes, which means you’re not going to have the softest ride, but you are going to have a fast one.
The stats, for people who are into that, are 35mm of stack in the heel and 27mm in the forefoot, giving you an 8mm drop.
Here we have a paper thin layer of rubber at the highest wear points in the heel, and also at the front to help with grip, especially in the wet. Up close you can see the outsole rubber is actually 3 distinct layers - I can’t see there being any issues in the wet or with outsole durability. You won’t wear through to the midsole in a hurry.
You’re buying this shoe to run fast. You’re not buying it to put a couple hundred easy miles on it, you have no business doing that. The Cloudboom Echo is a shoe you will go to for your biggest workouts and race day.
If you’re someone who likes a pronounced rocker feel, this is a great option for you.
If you want a responsive ride - to feel like everytime you push off you’re getting maximum value, then again, this will be a great option for you.
If you don’t like restrictive uppers or feeling like there’s no ventilation, this will be a great option for you.
You can cop the Cloudboom Echo straight from On Running.