On Running Go Big and Bold
The Cloudmonster from On Running is equal parts surprising and predictable. Suprising because of its appearance – it’s unique from any angle but especially when compared to the rest of On’s offerings. On is a brand that oozes European styling and the Cloudmonster’s hero colourway amplifies this uniqueness – officially the colours are “acai” and “aloe”, aka The Incredible Hulk.
But it’s also predictable. I’ve written about On a number of times and spent time in their Melbourne office, and it seems clear to me that the brand is driven by wanting to create the best product for the runner. And it’s undeniable that more and more runners are wanting a pair of max-cushion shoes in their rotation.
So, as polarising as its looks may be, here On have made a max-cushion shoe their way – and if you scratch below the surface of the beastly Cloudmonster you might find it’s a thing of beauty. (The design also won an ISPO award, so there’s that.)
My second favourite part of this upper might be the lacing system. Rather than traditional eyelets, On have opted for a loop system which I think is a nicer experience. Call me crazy but the loop system spreads the tension out a little more and also makes adjusting the tightness of the laces easier. It also reinforces what On are going for in the Cloudmonster: comfort. Everything should just feel good.
Other elements that deserve a call out include the thoughtfully designed heel cup – your foot actually sits a lot lower in the Cloudmonster than it looks from the outside, and then the white heel cup provides great lock down. This is likely going to be a huge plus for anyone who suffers with Achilles soreness, as the extra stability should take some load off the Achilles (disclaimer: I’m not a doctor).
The branding on the upper is reflective, because if you’re wearing the Cloudmonster and going long, you might be starting in the dark (I don’t actually know if that’s why they did it, but it sounds nice to me).
So, what’s my favourite part of the upper? Eighty per cent of the polyester content is recycled. This stuff matters. On have shown a commitment to more thoughtful production standards and each time they and others put recycled content in a product, we get closer to a world where all athletic product is made from recycled materials.
Overall, I think the upper is great - the lacing is perfect, and I really like the heel area. Maybe it’s because my Achilles are like soft licorice, but the lockdown from the heel cup, combined with the cut-out shape on the collar, make me feel secure but not suffocated.
Sure, not the sexiest part of any shoe, but your wallet will thank you for it. The outsole on the Cloudmonster is comprised of no-nonsense rubber in all the right places, with a large cut-out running down the middle of the outsole so you can see the Speedboard. Of all the On shoes I’ve worn, I’ve never noticed any issues with either durability or slippage, and I don’t see any reason that would change on the Cloudmonster.
What It’s for
So now we’ve broken down what the shoe is made of, and looked at all the design features, how would you actually use it? It could quite easily be the go-to for half of your weekly mileage, and here’s why.
When we’re not doing sessions (either speed work or thresholds or other race-pace workouts), the idea is to look after our feet and lower limbs so we can be ready for the next session. The Cloudmonster’s maximalist cushioning is perfect for your easy runs – those days when pace doesn’t matter and you just want to get the loop done without feeling any soreness or fatigue.
But it’s also perfect for the long weekend run. You see, the thing we realised about max shoes (and especially max shoes with plates/boards) is that they can help your legs feel fresher for longer, meaning your three-hour long run in your marathon prep can feel less torturous and more enjoyable. The icing on this cake is the recovery post-run; as mentioned earlier, the increased foam means less impact going through your feet and lower limbs, so you’re good to go again sooner.
The Cloudmonster could be a pivotal shoe for On, regardless of how it sells or how runners adopt it. It’s the biggest sign yet from the Swiss brand that they are no longer that small start-up; they’re a serious player in global running, and their product offering is more complete than some brands that have been around for 30-plus years.
The Cloudmonster is a fun shoe. It’s shocking, but I’ve come to see it as shockingly beautiful. If you’re into premium quality footwear, and you want a shoe that you can rely on for anything from your Monday recovery shuffle to your Sunday marathon-build long run, you should definitely consider it for your next pick up.
You can cop the On Cloudmonster from the On Running website here.