We test the ON Cloud X shoes
Characterised by their design and in particular by their midsole, the Swiss brand On Running ,specialised in running, brings us one of their latest renewed models: the ON Cloud X. And in case you were wondering, the X is not the number 10 in Roman numerals. This is the name of the new midsole branded by the company. A somewhat peculiar midsole with which you will easily recognise the ON Running brand.
In addition to the aforementioned peculiarity of the midsole, ON Running also stands out for the high quality in all their creations and for that reason has positioned itself as one of the fastest growing brands in the last decade.
Why do we say in the last decade? Very simple. Because the brand has only been around for 10 years. It was founded in 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland, with a very definite goal in mind: to revolutionise running. And so, they did. They wanted to show the feeling of running through the clouds, offering soft landings and explosive take-offs. This is how the first ON Running were born.
First impressions of the ON Running Cloud X
This time we’re taking a look at the latest edition of the Cloud, the Cloud X. Based on the previous Cloud models, the brand’s own designers wanted to go a step further and have given the concept a few twists. Make it more revolutionary. And so, after countless modifications, they have created a somewhat different model. A model for other disciplines. Can you guess which one? The clue is in the name. That’s right! The X defines the running modality and, in case you didn’t know, the X stands for Cross (so we have XC in MTB which is Cross-Country, the RX in rallies or Rally-Cross, etc.).
Before putting them on, as soon as you pick them up, you already feel a sensation of lightness. They are very light shoes, weighing only 235g in size 9US (which is a 42.5 EU). They stand out for their design: an upper with very well finished details and a high level of quality; a midsole in the shape of clouds, as its name suggests. Whichever way you look at them, the ON Cloud X breathes elegance.
After the first impression, once you put the shoes on you can feel that they are very comfortable thanks to their thin mesh without inner seams, an aspect that facilitates perspiration and sweat expulsion. But let’s take a look at their main parts and features.
he ON Cloud X stand out for their design. That is undeniable. And the upper is their main asset. This is divided into several parts: in the front we find a double mesh in which the outer one is thinner, more perforated and more breathable. It is an engineered type mesh, with thermosealed elements avoiding seams and giving greater rigidity.
As for the inner layer, it is somewhat thicker and more padded than the outer mesh, which is appreciated because it provides greater comfort and does not imply a significant increase in the weight of the whole. It also does not decrease the perspiration or sweat evacuation.
As a consequence of this minimalist and delicate style, the tongue is also very thin. It is composed of a kind of foam that manages not to generate extreme pressure points when we tie the laces. Unlike other brands, which opt for a stitched tongue or bootie upper, the ON Cloud X is not stitched to the sides in its entirety, only from the 4th hole of the laces.
The front part, right at the fingertips, is reinforced with a slightly stiffer material to protect our fingers. And this protection extends to the sides of the shoe itself, reaching all the way to the arch of the foot.
In the midfoot area we find a kind of buttress that prevents the rotational movement of our foot. Something we tend to do when we ride very fast. Although they do not manage to avoid it completely and we can have problems when stepping on somewhat uneven surfaces. But what it does is that it helps a lot to hold our foot, being able to apply more tension to the laces.
Finally, the back or heel is also reinforced with synthetic panels that increase rigidity and create a slightly thicker and more padded collar. With this we get an increase in comfort, fit and precision without it being too cushioned. It has an area with a higher thickness, very pleasant to the touch that provides greater support for the ankle.
The midsole of the On Cloud X can be divided into three parts: Helion, Speedboard and Cloudtec.
On the border of the upper we find the Helion foam. A foam that increases the cushioning of the Cloudtec technology -which we will see later-. It is light but durable, with a high level of rebound and is resistant to high temperatures.
In the second part of the midsole, we have the Pebax Speedboard, capable of distributing the pressure equally between the different “Clouds”. It is a more rigid but flexible plate, being halfway between a TPU and a rubber in terms of its properties. This Speedboard provides us with a high energy return in order to facilitate our workouts.
The third part of the midsole of the On Cloud X is in charge of the Cloudtec technology, made with a material called Zero Gravity Foam. If we translate it, it would be “cloud”. And that’s what the shape resembles as well as the feel. The Cloudtec is a firm cushioning, that is very reactive and not as soft as the word implies. It runs along the entire length of the sole, making shock absorption and subsequent reaction for take-off very continuous and easy. These Clouds come in different sizes: in the rear area they are bigger, allowing you to heel in without any problem; as you move towards the toe, they are smaller and with a lower cavity, generating less cushioning but more reactivity.
The outsole in this ON Cloud X is the simplest part we found in the whole shoe. You simply contact the ground with the base of the Cloudtec system, i.e., the midsole.
On the back of the shoe there are three different coloured Clouds which indicate that they have a rubber coating to increase resistance and create traction. Note that these three Clouds are two on the inside and one on the outside. In the midfoot area are the Clouds without protection, i.e., we have no sole, but they are exposed to the ground and wear. And the forefoot is the area where we find more rubber. There are exactly eight studs, one of which is double, to improve grip during the take-off phase.
And how is the grip? In dry conditions, they respond perfectly to changes of pace, direction and sudden braking. In wet terrain the Cloudtec Rubber pattern and the longitudinal stripes they have, their traction is quite good.
Another issue to mention, given the rarity of the midsole, is the issue of running on rocky trails. Its use is limited to this type of terrain if we don’t want to be removing stones from the Clouds every now and then.
One thing you need to know is that if you’ve never run in ON Running shoes before, at first, it’s going to feel a bit strange. The cushioning feels firm and stable, but also reactive. And as a result of the different sizes of the Clouds, your stride may be altered in the first few kilometres, until you get used to them.
On a continuous run, after a while, you wouldn’t say that these are such different shoes. They feel like any other but with a plus of reactivity. They work very well on hard ground and on soft ground, on grass for example. And on forest tracks they are very good except for when stones get in between the Clouds.
The upper fits perfectly to the foot offering a high dose of comfort, comfort and support. Thanks to the stiffer side threads you can generate more tension when you buckle your shoes without fear of feeling that excess on your feet.
Although on the subject of rigidity is, for us, the point in which these ON Cloud X let us down a little. A little more rigidity wouldn’t go a miss. It is not that they aren’t rigid, but the foot oscillates slightly and acquires a certain rotation when you go at fast paces.
This is not a shoe that you can use every day to face long runs in preparation for a marathon, as the marathon distance is a bit too big for the ON Cloud X and they’re not made for that anyway. Its main focus is on short distance workouts, as well as cross training, sets, strength and HIIT. Disciplines in which you will enjoy them.
And in case you run in low sunlight or in areas where it’s dark, ON Running’s engineers have given the ON Cloud X a lot of reflective elements throughout the shoe: The internal and external side logo, the one on the toe, the one on the tongue, the back and a thin line above the heel.
Stable, agile, light, ultra-responsive and versatile. This is the ON Running Cloud X. A shoe for both training and racing, as well as for mixed sports training. With a fairly universal last, you will be able to use them whatever the width of your foot. Especially if you’re looking for space for your fingers, the Cloud X offers it. They have a wide toe cap compared to the trend that brands have in the manufacture of new models.
The ON Cloud X are a shoe capable of offering comfort in almost any field: if you are a runner, in short and explosive training sessions, they will make you give it your all. This is true for cross-training too. And we have the example of Gomez Noya, an ON Running athlete -or rather triathlete- who uses ON shoes for everything: running, strength training, HIIT, etc. And he is able to run under 4’00″/km very easily with ON shoes.
Although we don’t usually talk about the durability of a running shoe, having a more delicate sole than other running shoes in general, we think it’s worth mentioning. If it is used aggressively, we would give it about 500kms, prolonging up to 700kms if its use is more for continuous running without putting too much wear on the sole.
The ON Cloud X are for runners with a neutral or slightly supinator footstep, rather low weight (although bearable up to 80kg) who want a shoe for their running training sessions. Workouts that can range from series to continuous running with fast paces around 3’45″/km up to 4’45″/km. Even use them for 10k races in which we want to push ourselves and the occasional fast half marathon.
For fast paces
Low upper stiffness
Not suitable for dirt tracks with imperfections
Brand: ON Running
Model Cloud X
Fit system: Lace-up
Upper: Engineered Mesh
Available sizes: From
Weight: 229g (in size 43)
Colours available Slate Black, White, Dark Red, Grey, Light Grey
More information here