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On Cloudrock Waterproof Review: The Most Innovative Hiking Boots?

Visit our On Running Shoes Buyer's Guide to find the best On shoes ranked & reviewed.

All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here's our process.

The Cloudrock Waterproof is On’s first-ever hiking boot and as you would expect, it comes with plenty of innovation from the Swiss running brand. These lightweight hiking boots are fully equipped with a wind and waterproof upper, a Missiongrip rubber outsole with lugs that dig into soft trails, a protective mudguard, and a speedboard that offers great stability and endless forward propulsion. Interested in getting up to 40% OFF On running shoes? Visit On’s Classic range page to see their latest deals.

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This On Cloudrock Waterproof review covers all the important design features that you should know about before buying the On Running Cloudrock Waterproof, and also my experience hiking with them on the trails, good and bad.

The Cloudrock Waterproof is built for speed hiking which means it’s for people who prefer to cover more distance on the trails faster than the average hiker.

They honestly feel more like trail running shoes than traditional hiking boots, and this is at the heart of On’s innovation.


Hopefully, this review answers any questions that you may have about the On Cloudrock Waterproof but if not, please feel free to ask me anything in the comments down below.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for my ‘first look video’ which outlines some of the design features which are better explained in a video. 


On Cloudrock Waterproof Fit & Design

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 2

The On Cloudrock Waterproof hiking boots look like very comfortable boots, and they are, without any need for breaking them in.

In fact, they feel very similar to the On Cloudventure Waterproof (reviewed here), which I really enjoy trail running with when it’s raining or cold outside.

The Cloudrock Waterproof boots fit true to size, so there’s no need to worry about sizing up or down.

The FlexLock system (a fancy name for the lacing system on these boots) allows you to tie the laces traditionally or with a single pull.

This makes micro-adjustments less necessary as the boots conform evenly around your feet, from top to bottom with a single pull on the laces.

Other notable features that contribute to their overall comfort include:

  • the soft padded tongue with an inner sock that locks your feet into place without adding excessive amounts of pressure on the front of your legs. This inner sock lining makes the connection between the tongue and the side walls really seamless and super comfortable.
  • the cushioned midsole which is plushy enough to keep your feet feeling comfortable all day long. It also provides full protection from sharp rocks on the trails beneath.
  • the Cloudtec outsole which provides a nice amount of spring in your step.
  • the padded high collar which is designed to be flexible and so limiting any chance of restrictive movement.

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The Cloudrock Waterproof Upper

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 9

The highly durable upper is both windproof and waterproof and because there are two types of mesh in the midfoot and forefoot area, stability and breathability are both enhanced.

That being said, this is a 100% waterproof hiking boot and so it can’t also be particularly breathable.

This does, however, make the upper materials good at keeping warmth inside the boots; this is what you want during winter hiking adventures.

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 10

The high collar is made for movement and so it flexes well when you hike and the padding protects your ankles when the boots are locked firmly in place.

There’s a very solid toe box that will protect your toes from any accidental rock kicks and it will also stop the upper from tearing if they ever got badly scuffed.

The black rubber toe box protector extends all around the lower half of the upper which acts as an extra layer of protection against wet mud (as seen in the image below).

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 4

The heel support towards the rear is very solid and holds your foot in place while reducing lateral roll, should you find yourself in a potential ankle rolling situation.

On Cloudrock Waterproof Hiking Boots official Video

Cloudrock Waterproof Laces

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 11

The laces have a little bit of stretch in them, therefore allowing your feet to expand and contract as they heat up and cool down during a long day of hiking, and the length is good.

Other than that, there’s nothing particularly special going on with the laces.

Outsole and the On Speedboard

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 6

The MissionGrip outsole that’s being used is very similar to the one used on the Cloudventure Waterproof, but definitely not the same lug distribution.

The weight/pressure distribution across the midsole feels really good and the multiple grip micro-patterns on the lugs help you stay in control as conditions around you change.

On’s Speedboard combined with this outsole make the Cloudrock Waterproof a very good hiking boot, that performs just as well on hard/rocky terrain as it does on soft muddy trails.

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale wm 13

Cloudrock Waterproof Drop & Weight

There’s a drop of 7mm from heel to toe which feels really natural when walking in a boot like this, and also gives a good ground feel.

Weighing in at 445g (US M 8.5) the Cloudrock Waterproof is very lightweight for a hiking boot.

On goes as far as saying that it’s roughly 30% lighter than its competitors, which is impressive, to say the least.

The synthetic materials and clever design make this low weight possible. The On Cloudrock Waterproof has a neutral stability footbed and the toe box is medium width which will suit most hikers nicely.


On Cloudrock Waterproof Review Summary

On Cloudrock Waterproof review trail running trail and kale lrg 1
On Cloudrock Waterproof
Comfort
9.5
Design & Function
9
Durability
9
Flexibility
9
Performance
9
Pros
Very comfortable
Outsole and grip is great for hiking trails fast and aggressively
A super Lightweight Hiking Boot (445g)
Fully Waterproof
Very durable Upper
Keep your feet warm
Cons
Not very breathable upper but it will keep your feet dry and warm
Quite expensive
9.1
Overall Score

I hope you enjoyed reading my On Cloudrock Waterproof Review, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments down below.


On Cloudrock Waterproof Hiking Boots Video Review


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Visit our Best On Running Shoes Guide for an ordered list of the top ON shoes for road and trail running, each with links to our On Shoe reviews. Designed to make your buying decisions clearer.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, I bought a pair of these less than two months ago. I walk my dog in them for a maximum of 2 hours a day. I’ve worn through the soles. I really wanted to like these but the soles are far too soft. For £180 I would of expected more.

  2. Hi , One of the comments regarding wear off the sole of the On Cloud Rock , comment says the soles wore out as little as 2 months use for dog walking .. I am a hill walker therefore thinking these boots would be no good on Scottish mountains terrain. What is your opinion on this Alastair ?

    • Hey Callum, What’s the type of terrain you usually hike on when you hill walk? I’m suprised the sole wore off for the other commente, maybe they were hiking on alot of concrete?

  3. Hi Alastair, you state “ The Cloudrock Waterproof boots fit true to size, so there’s no need to worry about sizing up or down.”
    On say to go up 1 half size from everyday shoe/On running shoes. Any advice is greatly appreciated

    • Hey Craig,

      The Cloudrock waterproof is consistent in sizing for me but I don’t wear thick hiking socks – so maybe that’s why they are suggesting going up half a size. You should be able to send them back if the size doesn’t fit you properly. Double check on that though…

  4. Hi,
    I’m thinking about purchasing these boots for an upcoming trip to Hawaii. I was there last year and did quite a bit of hiking but I have weak ankles that can hardly handle hiking because they become so painful if I am only wearing regular tennis shoes or chacos. Some of the hikes require me to get in the water and swim in a few spots. I don’t mind if the boots get wet as I’m sure they will dry out fine but do you happen to know if they would become really heavy after submersion or maybe you have a different suggestion that would work better? Thanks.

  5. Looking for some nice WP shoes and I’ve been a fan of On for awhile now with the last 2 shoes I bought from them, Terry and X. Comfort wise which would you say is better between this and the new Cloud 5 WP? It would be used more for street and flat surfaces than actual trails. The terry that I use for my daily wear are cloth and just absorb water like a sponge.

      • Hey Alastair, I’m looking to go on the Three Pass trek in Nepal. I love the fit and comfort of the On shoes. I’m wondering if the Cloudrock will be durable/supportive enough for multi day treks with pack. A previous comment indicated the soles wore out quickly. Thx

        • Hi Ken,

          Wow, that’s going to be an epic trip! I personally haven’t noticed tread wearing out abnormally quickly. For an advanced trek like the Three Pass, it may be worth looking at Salomon, La Sportiva, or Garmont.

  6. Has anyone ever tried these for regular work boots. I work a grounds keeping job that requires lots of walking on grass, gravel and concrete and between 5-10 miles a day. How well do you think these would hold up?

  7. I’m on my 4th pair of regular OnCloud tennies. I love them, except for, the sole on every pair of shoes has been really slippery on wet services, ice & snow. I’m now looking for hiking shoes/boots, but I don’t want the slippery sole for hiking. Is the sole on the hiking boots/shoes different then the regular tennis shoe? If it isn’t, I’m afraid to buy them for hiking as slipping is not an option.

  8. I don’t know which ones to buy the cloud rock waterproof or the cloud rock 2 waterproof, there’s been some Suggestion that the 2 Veraion which is the newest generation, isn’t as waterproof and people are going for a walk With the dog and they just get wet walking on the grass….what do you say Allister which one should I get? No price difference. Different colors. I just need to know what’s what yea know.

    Thank you

    • Hey, I’ve not noticed any water soaking into my pair of Cloudrock waterproof 2’s. I really like the totally watertight seal around the bottom of them too. Most of the upper does use a water-repellant coating so this could potentially wear over time and you may need to re-coat them but that dark seal you see around the bottom half is fully waterproof and should always remain so.

  9. So what’s your position on which one to go for? The original clockrock $279.99 CND or New Generation Cloudrock 2 (same price)?
    Your opinion of choice really matters because I’m stuck. :[

    Thankyou so much

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