With a marketed slogan of “run on clouds” the unique design of the On Cloudventure trail runner is certainly unlike anything else out there. My mission was to put this shoe to the test and see if it could handle the diverse terrain of British Columbia’s west coast. From tree to sea I put this shoe to the test and now with a full season behind me is time for a gear review.
On Cloudventure Trail Running Shoe Review
So for something unique I am going to hit you here with a combined gear review of both the second and third generation of the On Cloudventure.
I picked up my first pair this past spring of 2021 from the team at Cowichan Valley Running where they introduced me to the brand and why this might be a good fit for me as a versatile trail shoe. Since that time I put an entire season of trail running, hiking and scrambling in all types of terrain. I even fastpacked all 83km of the West Coast Trail in 29 hours with them.
I laid a serious thrashing to the Cloudventure and was not gentle with it. I spent a great deal of time in them doing high alpine routes, rugged terrain and bushwhacking. This is not a kind environment for trail runners but it is the freedom and comfort I enjoy most in summer moving through the alpine. With all this use by fall of 2021 I was already in need of a new pair. Timing was perfect as they had just released the third generation of the On Cloudventure.
With the new trail runner now hitting the market I chatted with On about sending me a pair of these 3rd gens to review. I wanted to see if they fixed everything I felt was a short coming in my previous 2nd generation pair. So with that being said lets jump right into my gear review focusing on the newest Cloudventure.
Key Features of the Cloudventure 3
Pulling directly from the On website they describe the Cloudventure as follows; “Whatever your mission, this third-generation trail running shoe is perfect on technical trails where precision is key.”
Official Specs from On for the Cloudventure
- Cloudtec treads and Helion foam provide smooth impact cushioning
- Slingshot Speedboard provides direct and fast terrain feedback
- Missiongrip tread provides sticky traction on multiple surfaces
- Breathable upper made from 80% recycled polyester
- 310g weight with a 6mm heel drop
Canadian Suggested retail price $190.00
The good, The Bad and What Did They Improve
First off lets be sure to put it out there that i am not a high level trail runner or athlete. When I look for trail running shoes like the Cloudventure I want something that will be light, agile and comfortable for runs but also 40km epic days. My main focus heading out on the trails is not running or racing specifically so my perspective is for the average outdoor enthusiast that just likes to move fast over diverse terrain.
With the Cloudventure I was initially worried that the cloud lug design would pick up rocks, this hasn’t been the case as they self clean while flexing under use. So let’s get that out of the way right away. Next they aren’t the lightest shoe out there but consider what i said above, we are about mid and long distance days on the trail and not racing. I didn’t notice the weight at all and found them personally very light.
The fit and feel of both the 2nd and 3rd gen feels roughly the same for me with the amount of use I have in the new pair so far. They are a moderate fit width for my wider feet and I appreciate the toe box room. The 3rd gen is moderately narrower which I actually prefer. This may be in part due to the tighter weave upper fabric as the 2nd gens punched out in the width pretty quick.
Sticking with the upper material, this was a failure to me on the 2nd gen. from the photos that “knit” look to them ripped and tore easily in my off trail runs and hikes. I was especially excited to see the complete redesigned the upper with a close weave design. It should also be mentioned that they weren’t super breathable in my opinion and the new design will be the same. This is good in a way as while not waterproof they are a good shoes for 3 seasons from spring to summer and fall.
The old design tore through in several spots with that loose weave so the new fabric is killer. They didn’t;’t just stop here and made slight adjustments to the rand overlay protection on the toe box. It now creeps up a few mm higher now and at the most important spot. I find that my big toe and little toe wear through on the sides, therefore the extra reinforced protection is welcomed.
For traction and stability on various terrains I went far beyond where this shoe should have gone and can’t fault the shoe for the shortcomings. It was completely at home on gravel, hardback and rocky terrain as well as fantastic in deep loamy dirt or on beach hikes. The channel on the outsole tread is not as deep or as wide as the previous design and the channels are also contoured now. This has decreased the chance of picking up rocks and debris as well as providing slightly more contact surface. I never once had sore or hurt feet from sharp rocks impacting the bottom of my shoe so the tread design and rock plate work well.
Where it suffered was scrambling on class 3 and up to class 4 terrain, I’m not sure On has any intentions of making a climbing toe zone. The outer toe edges were soft because of the cloudtec and hellion foam and didn’t hold as well as I would like or kick step into alpine snow for this high elevation routes. I need to be clear on this though, I took the shoe well beyond what anyone would typical used their own trail runners for.
I am optimistic though was the new heel design went to 2 larger lugs rather than the previous 3. Add the stiffer reinforcing of the midsole outer that extends from the front and creates a stiff heel cup adds much stability. From the hikes and short runs I have done so far they have made a great upgrade here.
Big fan of the tongue design choice they made with the shoe. It is a thin but slightly padded material that is breathable. My feet run hot and allowing the heat to escape from the top of my foot is important. The tongue is also fully gusseted to the upper so now debris was able to sneak in through the laces. As for the laces I would like them slightly thicker or a stickier material as they don’t always stay tied up. Not a biggie but should be noted.
Cloudventure 3 Final Thoughts
I am very pleased with the brand ON and truly enjoy these shoes. I find myself wearing them all day casually from riding my bike around town to taking the dogs for their daily walks.
The shoe excels in mid to long distances where you are mixed terrain and looking to go fast but not race. I find it comfortable and moderately breathable but not super cool making it a perfect spring and fall shoe. The width is a medium fit which is great for most people out there.
This shoe won’t be for everyone especially with the unique design but for those it fits and appeals to you will definitely be happy with your decision. I personally give it an 8 out of 10 when looking at the wide range of demands I put my trail runners through. Going forward to fill in the gap on trail racing I need to check out the Cloudventure Peak or CloudUltra. I also need to pickup a pair of Cloudventure waterproof shoes for our wet winter season here on the west coast.
All of On’s offerings for trail runners are available in both mens and womens styles.
If you live on Vancouver Island and are after a pair of your own On Cloudventure please support a local independent store. I would suggest checking out Cowichan Valley Running in Mill Bay. The owner Laura is a wealth of knowledge and a passionate trail runner, she curates a great selection in the shop and also has a terrific online store. You can also order direct from the On Running website.
I review and support companies that support my efforts to continue to bring you photos, stories and adventures here at Mindful Explorer. On Running recognized my efforts and provided me these shoes to test out and provide honest feedback on. I however will not take inferior product that I do not believe in or would not normally choose to use myself.
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