Have you ever seen a pair of shoes that are so different you thought it was all for show? Well when I met the On Running CloudSurfer shoes I thought just that...
"Look at this gimmicky design. There is no way that these will be that much different than my normal shoes. Those rubber tubes are just going to feel awkward and weird."
That's what I thought, until I tried them on and ran in them. These are not a gimmick, they are the real deal. Something new, something different, something, dare I say, innovative!
When I put them on for the first time, they checked off everything I look for in a shoe:
- Light weight
- Neutral support
- A lower drop shoe (7mm)
- Fun colors!
I was nervous about the extra height compared to my Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3's but they run like they are much thinner soled shoes. When you land the CloudTech "squishes" and allows you to feel the road. The Cloudsurfer lands soft but pushes off hard. It also allows absorbs some of th forward/backward motion that is inevitable when running.
Land soft, push off hard.
"Okay Katherine, thanks for telling us all the website rhetoric. How do they actually feel?"
They feel... great! They are light, they are squishy, and they are really supportive. The main support in the shoe, the part between the shoe insert and the outer sole, is called the speedboard because it gives both support and flexibility. This is the part of the shoe I initially didn't like but have since comes to appreciate the most.
How does the shoe feel supportive with visible gaps between the outer sole? The speedboard. How does it not collapse in the middle? The speedboard. How is it so light, minimalistic and flexible yet supportive? The speedboard.
On my first run, the shoe actually felt a little stiff compared to my Mizunos but not anymore. Maybe I've gotten use to it, maybe it's softened a little, maybe I'm just falling in love and everything is rosier now. I love how supportive yet light the shoe is.
So it's not all just roses. These shoes are... different and if you are use to a higher drop (12mm-ish drop) or a high support shoe these will take some getting use to. The CloudTech give you added planes of movement so even after an easy run (which will feel very easy) your legs may feel more fatigued afterwards because you are engaging new muscles. I found transitioning to these from my lower drop Mizunos to be pretty easy and I LOVE the roomier toe box.
Another thing I've been tweaking is getting just the right snugness when I tie them. The shoelaces are skinny and pretty slippery so adjusting it and tying it before it loosened took some finesse. After a few runs though I've figure it out. The shoe laces are long too so I've been tucking them into the laces.
So would I recommend trying these? Yes!
Who would I recommend these to? Well anyone, but more specifically if you are prone to impact injuries (knees, shins, ankles, etc) and don't enjoy the high cushion route (like Hokas or some New Balance). These have the soft landing without just throwing more junk onto the bottom of your shoe.
I'm kind of in love with these shoes. My favorite shoes to run in are usually racing flats and these have the lightness and responsiveness of a flat with the peace of mind knowing I'm still getting a softer landing. Win-win!
I'm kind of obsessed at this point and look forward to running in these and other On Running shoes more!