Admit it, the first time you saw Hokas, you thought “what the hell are those?” Or how about other inventions or forms of gear you use every day? The first time I laid eyes on the On CloudRunner was a few years ago and “GIMMICK!” rang out in my head until I wore them, eventually putting a thousand miles on the shoes. [selector1]
However, sometimes new and innovative doesn’t always work well. I give you the Pontiac Aztec or any number of running shoe designs that have fallen flat due to poor design, weak construction and zero athlete input.
The On Cloud in this review thankfully falls into the first category. Yep, it looks a bit funky and has a very specific purpose, but it freakin works. I had a similar reaction with my first pair of Ons, and they haven’t let me down yet.
Disclaimer: These shoes were provided to me for review purposes. No money changed hands, no expectations were discussed, other than emphasizing that these are not designed to be long distance trail shoes.
In order to get a well-balanced review from both sexes, these shoes were reviewed by Tyler Lopez, a female friend and road/trail runner, and myself.
Eric: I like the colors and I especially like how the pod technology has developed. Hmm, they’re doing the “speed lace” thing. Let’s see how they work.
Tyler: Love the look of them. And I like the slip on aspect. Color and look reminds me of a Warhol art piece.
Heel to toe delta: 6mm
Female size 6 weighs barely seven ounces.
Male size 12 weigh 9 3/8 ounces.
Price: $120 available here and some stores. I’ve noticed that San Francisco Running Co is carrying them too.
Rather than the pods being part of the outsole (and “added” to the shoe as in the previous models), the pods are now integrated to be part of the midsole, reducing weight considerably. Probably doesn’t help with longevity of the shoe, but I’ve been running in them for well over a month and haven’t noticed any deterioration.
And certainly unique to the Cloud is the channel that runs the length of the shoe. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose is (other than reducing weight), but I suppose it ads a bit of flexibility to the shoe. Unfortunately it also picks up rocks, street trash, and Sharpie pens. Yep, I somehow got a Sharpie wedged in the shoe.
The upper is a combination of meshy material in the front and back and a canvas-like material on the sides. A strap wraps around the heel, but that seems to be for aesthetics only.
The shoe comes set up with elastic speed laces that work great. The bottom two sets of lace holes are left empty, so I untied the speed lace and wound it through a few of the holes, tightening up the upper considerable. The shoes also come with a set of standard laces that I haven’t used. I assume that over an extended period the speed laces will loosen up and become worthless, but I haven’t put that much time on them yet.
Fit and Feel:
Eric: I wear a 12, and the 12 fits me well. I tightened up the speed laces a bit to make the shoe a bit snugger. See above. The shoe is very light and slipper-like. If you like the Nike Free, you’ll like these. The tongue stays in place and is made of breathable neoprene.
Tyler: They feel light and comfortable. Not overly cushy but for a light shoe the cushion is ample. Size feels a tad big. If I were purchasing these in the store I would try on a half size lower to see how it feels but they felt fine while walking/running. Overall I would say order the size you normally order unless you have an opportunity to try them on before purchase.
These are road shoes. The pods and the channel running the length of the shoe make them poor candidates for muddy and rocky trails.
Tyler: I also wore them in a HIIT class last night at the gym and they were great – they’re super grippy on the bottom so they were great for burpees, squats, etc.
Who’ll like em:
Eric: Runners with a narrow or medium width foot looking for a fast and light shoe with some extra padding. Definitely not meant for trails…keep this sucker on the roads.
I’d say this shoes is best for distances between 5k and a marathon, with an emphasis on 5k-10 miler.
Tyler: Neutral runners who like a light shoe. Not sure I would run more than 10 miles in them but I typically wear a more cushion-y shoe for longer stuff.
These shoes sit by my door and I slip them on to run errands, go for a quick run, or jump on the treadmill. They’re light, responsive, and super comfortable.