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On Running Cloudflyer vs Cloudflyer Classic Comparison Shoe Review

by Sportitude
4 Sep 2020

Josh reviews the new On Running Cloudflyer for 2020 and compares it to the previous model, the On Running Cloudflyer Classic to identify whether it could be your secret weapon to achieve your running goals.

Lightweight stability for the long haul, the On Cloudflyer running shoes boast significant updates to energise your performance and tackle a variety of running workouts in comfort.

The stability doesn't feel overkill or intrusive – making the On Cloudflyer ideal for mild overpronators in need of reliable support and neutral runners seeking guidance to keep their running form in check when fatigue kicks in over long distances.

Adaptive CloudTec pods work independently yet harmoniously to deliver strategic densities of softness and support at key zones – improving your running efficiency and dampening hard impacts. They create an ultra-smooth ride and a propulsive feel, capturing impact energy as they compress underfoot then unleashing it as snappy forward momentum.

The addition of Helion superfoam, On’s softest yet resilient shock-absorbing technology caters to road warriors that crave more comfort – working with the vertical and horizontal cushioning of CloudTec and protecting your rearfoot at the first point of contact with the ground.

The new On Cloudflyer wraps your feet in a more open and breathable engineered mesh upper to keep your feet cool and fresh on the road. More depth through the forefoot allows your toes to splay naturally and unrestricted.

From easy-paced recovery runs and long distances to pushing for more speed to crush your personal best, you’ll feel light, agile and supported in the new On Cloudflyer.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh from Sportitude and it's shoe review time. Today we're going to be talking all things On Running Cloudflyer.

This running shoe has had quite the update from its predecessor and there's quite a change in the outsole, the midsole, the placement of the cloud pods and it also has a new and improved upper.

On Running over previous years have kept this shoe very consistent. From its version 1 to version 2 they really didn't change anything, they just removed the pull tab at the back. However, from version 2 to version 3 there has been quite a lot of change inside this little package.

We're going to compare the current On Cloudflyer to its predecessor the On Cloudflyer Classic, talk about the changes from the outsole, the midsole and the upper and profile the runner that could be considering this shoe. Who knows, it could be the next shoe in your running rotation so without further ado let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

First things first, I'm going to profile the foot type that could be considering the On Cloudflyer. Traditionally On Running haven't done a lot with regards to manipulation of medial support or lateral support for that matter.

We’ll talk about running foot types and what categories the industry has marketed over the journey. We have runners with neutral foot types that typically have a higher arch and runners that have a flatter, more splayed foot type. The foot models I have here demonstrate the static positions of these foot types, but obviously that changes once you put force and load through the foot.

Traditionally we've seen brands that ever so slightly support the phase of overpronation by placing some form of medial support on the inset and then strategically place crash pads and flex grooves underneath the foot to help encourage the foot on an easier transition through its gait cycle.

On Running have obviously addressed that but they haven't added elements of weight or restriction to the midsole in controlling that.

In terms of the foot type that could be considering this shoe, you could be a mild overpronator or have a neutral to potentially supinated foot type. They cover a couple of different running foot stability profiles.

If you experience excessive overpronation and you're used to running in posted shoes, I’d probably stay clear of a shoe like this. It probably doesn’t have quite the amount of support you need.

However, if you're a runner that chops and changes from stable neutral to neutral to mildly posted shoes and you're OK doing that, you could consider a shoe like this. This is especially the case if you're looking for something light, responsive and with an element of cushioning.

Let’s get stuck into the engineering of this shoe which is the fun part of my shoe reviews. I'm going to compare it to the On Cloudflyer Classic.

Outsole

First things first let's talk about the outsole, the closest part of the shoe to the ground to protect you from the element. Underneath they still have their cloud pods, that's On Running’s point of difference.

Most of the change in the outsole is through the forefoot. You can see that they have changed the construction regarding the amount of stability or support you get under your first toe, your first metatarsal joint.

If we talk about the density of cloud pods and what On Running have done with their previous versions, they have the first point of contact for heel strikers being quite soft at the rearfoot. As you come through to the forefoot, there’s a specific pod that’s the same density as a rearfoot pod. Every other cloud element is the same construction minus those two.

That provides a soft cradle cushioning on that first point of contact to the ground. As you come through midstance and then engage to toe-off, you have a slightly softer setup under that first toe on that last phase your gait cycle.

In theory it kind of goes against what the industry is telling us with regards to minimising overpronation at the last phase of your gait cycle. However, On have addressed that as being a potential improvement for the running efficiency of a runner, providing an element of softness just after your first metatarsal to then engage and propel forward.

It worked and it was popular. A lot of runners have come back and purchased the On Cloudflyer repeated times so clearly they like the fit and feel of this shoe.

Regarding where the market was going and where this shoe specifically was placed in comparison with its competition, I think they've done a great thing with the forefoot. They’ve encapsulated that rubber outsole and provided a little bit more support and stability on that last phase your gait cycle to engage on toe-off.

I really like this. It’s more noticeable underneath the forefoot, so I feel like I have the appropriate amount of support the whole way through this shoe which is great.

I have ran in the previous version, the On Cloudflyer Classic. I liked it and sort of understood where it was placed in the market, but it didn't make its way into my shoe rotation.

However, I'm caught between a rock and a hard place because I only just got the On Cloudflyer for 2020 and I've been for one or two runs. I really like what this is doing underneath my foot. I didn't know if I would in comparison to my experience with the On Cloudflyer Classic, but this little guy is quite the change. I love what On have done with the execution of this shoe.

Midsole

Let's jump to the midsole. On Running have rolled out a foam that’s been on the market for a couple of years now into the new On Cloudflyer.

Helion is their softest, most cushioned foam technology. They’ve place it at the back component of this shoe so you're going to get a nice element of cushioning and dampening on that first point of contact with the ground.

It has CloudTec pods as you come through to the forefoot to provide that smooth ride and responsive toe-off.

I want to touch on how the cloud pods work. Cloud pods compress on the vertical line, but they have an element of horizontal movement. They compress on the first point of contact with the ground and as you engage every one of these pods from midstance to toe-off, they ever so slightly move on that horizontal plane.

That helps the compression and helps create extra energy return as you go through to toe-off. It is a unique design and it's not for everyone, but for those that have experienced On Running shoes previously there's been positive feedback with how the shoes feel underneath the foot. It's a cool design.

I want to touch on the stack height while we're talking all things midsole. The previous version has a 7mm heel-to-toe drop. In the new version we’re talking 7mm or potentially 8mm. We’re waiting for that 100% clarification to come through from the On Running department.

If I have to say one thing, it probably feels a little bit more like an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, not a 7mm drop like the Cloudflyer Classic. When you put that on the previous model, you know you have a low drop mileage shoe on your foot. The newer version does feel like it has that element of heel-to-toe lift.

Upper

Coming through to the upper, which is probably my favourite part of this shoe. There's a lot going on with the midsole, but I love what they've done with the execution of this upper. In comparing it to the previous version, you still have that external construction around the back of the heel counter which provides that internal support around the base of your heel.

However, On Running have had a crack and attempted this almost flared heel counter support. At the back of your Achilles insertion, you don't get that locked in rubbing sensation. You just get that element of cushioning and protection around the internal heel counter. The little bit of friction that you can get at the back of your heel has been taken away with that flared heel counter construction.

Coming through to the midfoot, you've got the welded construction with regards to locking in the foot through midstance. It's not the deepest shoe but it's not the shallowest shoe by any stretch of the imagination.

They have quite a cushioned tongue. I want to call that out because that was the first thing I did notice when I put it on. I didn't think I was going to like it as much, but keep in mind the laces that On Running use in this shoe especially and about 90% of their other shoes are very thin and strong.

You need more cushioning on top of your foot so that you don't feel the laces as much. If you do have a thin tongue with thin laces it can provide a little bit of discomfort across the top of the navicular region and arch as well.

Coming through to the forefoot, there has been quite a change regarding the breathability. The new engineered mesh is more open. It’s breathable and it's not quite as intrusive as what I found from the old design.

I felt the On Cloudflyer Classic was potentially a little bit shallow through the toe box. A subtle change in the depth through the forefoot in the new On Cloudflyer is providing me with a little more wriggle room. The lightness and the lack of intrusive feel on that forefoot is fantastic.

It’s is a great change and as I said before most of my satisfaction in this shoe is coming from what's happening on top of the midsole. The upper is really comfortable.

Widths

We only have the standard widths in this shoe. You have a B width which is your women’s standard fit and then you have a D which is your men's standard fit.

Obviously On Running is a new brand and they're still making their way in the market. Who knows, maybe in seasons or years to come they may throw in some widths in this shoe.


That's my take on the On Cloudflyer version 3 for 2020. It’s a great little update from the On Running family. It has a great execution through the midsole, the upper is plush and comfortable and that extra support underneath the forefoot of the outsole is just spot-on.

If have any questions on the On Cloudflyer, please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. If you’ve used this shoe and you have some feedback please let us know. I’d love to know how the runners out there get along with specific shoes so if you give us your feedback on the On Cloudflyer that'd be great.

Please subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel if you haven’t already done so and we'll keep working hard to give you as much running shoe content as we possibly can.

Until next time stay safe, happy running and we'll see you on the road. Take care.

FEATURES

  • Support: Stability
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: On CloudTec, On Helion
  • Offset: 7mm

Men

  • Weight: 280g / 9.9oz
  • Width: D (standard)

Women

  • Weight: 210g / 7.4oz
  • Width: B (standard)