Cloudtec On – The Cloudsurfer Review

On CloudsurferI’ve been sporting a trial pair of On Cloudsurfer running shoes for the duration of Janathon. They are the odd shoes with built in clouds, otherwise known as the CloudTec system, in the sole. You look at these shoes and either think fad or innovation. When they first came out I probably veered towards the former assessment but since my adoption of Vibram Fivefingers and then Hoka One One I’ve become accustomed to the more extreme end of the running shoe market. It’s interesting that the more innovative or trend bucking shoes seem to be associated with the ultra running scene.

20130106-175255.jpgI opted for the rather classy black and lime green version of the Cloudsurfer which inspired whoops of delight from one of the teenagers in the house who wanted to try them on immediately. My SoftStar RunAmocs did not generate the same level of response from the Yoof.

The On concept is fairly simple – the firm clouds deform or compress on impact thereby providing vertical and horizontal cushioning. The front pods compress fully for take off with the teeth meshing together to form a firm push off point. You can see this very well from the series of animations that On include on their homepage and On claim that their design ensures that you have cushioning only where required and full efficiency is maintained.

I was expecting them to be super bouncy but they have a relatively normal running sensation. I am probably far too heavy for the shoes and as they compress even when I’m standing as delicately as I can manage and as a result I will not experience the cushioning levels of a “standard” sized runner.

20130106-175531.jpgMy first impressions on the run were good, especially for steep downhills where I felt sure and steady. Then I went out one dreary damp night and felt very unsteady on my feet – the soles do not appear to have good wet weather grip. I didn’t exactly slip but I had the sense that I could. Yesterday I went for a 13k run in them along the Thames where they had a variety of surfaces to deal with from tarmac, cobbles, hard trails and thick, deep, gloopy mud.

They didn’t cope well with the ankle high mud but then not many shoes do and they weren’t as bad as I expected. They did attract an awful lot of mud into the pods which made a complete mess of the treadmill this morning but I stayed upright through it all.

I will be wearing these in the future but I’ll probably restrict them to dry conditions and treadmill running.

Other reviews from the blogosphere:

  • American Peyote, loves them but has concerns about long term durability of such an expensive shoe.
  • Ransacker also noticed the lack of traction in wet conditions.

Janathon update:

I had a pre-work trog on the treadmill to satisfy the Janathon gods and another 3k logged.

Stout-athlon update:

I was looking forward to the bottle of Marston’s Oyster Stout. I remember it as one of my all time favourite ales. It poured well with a deep, dark burgundy but the head disappeared before I had chance to take a snap. It turned out to be a one-dimensional brew, with a flat smell and more of a sensation than a taste. It wasn’t unpleasant by any means, it was just a very easy, if uninspiring tipple.


5 thoughts on “Cloudtec On – The Cloudsurfer Review

  1. Jules

    O, good timing on this review. I had seen the shoes quite recently in Snow+Rock and was wondering what on earth these were all about. They do look cool though, and I was tempted to try them on just to see what they felt like. Good to hear your thoughts on them as someone who has tried minimalist shoes though!

  2. Jules

    I am tempted, but having just bought my Minimus Zeros, can’t really justify another running trainers purchase. 😛

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