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On Cloudstratus Review 2021 – 2x Cushioned Distance Running Shoes

On has been innovating once again, and the result is this rather unique looking road running shoe, the On Cloudstratus. On wanted to see what would happen if they doubled up on their CloudTec outsole, so that’s what they did and so the On Cloudstratus was born. This is very much a marathon and half-marathon running shoe that has more cushioning than many of On’s other shoes (except for maybe the On Cloudace), while keeping much of its responsiveness. It will suit heavier runners with wider feet. This On Cloudstratus review focuses on the key features of the On running shoes, how they perform while running and as always how well they stack up against the other On running shoes currently available.

Hopefully, this On Cloudstratus review answers all the questions that you may have about the shoes. If not though, please feel free to ask me anything in the comments section down below, one of us will usually respond within a few hours.

On Cloudstratus Sizing and Fit

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 13

The On Cloudstratus is very comfortable right out of the box, which is something I have come to expect from the On brand. Much of the comfort comes from the inner sock that is attached to the sides of the tongue, this wraps around the foot really nicely and reduces the chances of any chaffing. The shoe fits true to size relative to other On shoes and other popular brands like Nike, Adidas, and Brooks Running for example.

The On Cloudstratus Upper Construction

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 2

The Cloudstratus upper has been rather interestingly stitched together in an asymmetrical manner. This is for a more anatomical fit that allows better flex relative to the biomechanics of your feet. The materials used for the upper are a bit of a mix where some are more breathable than others.

The most breathable parts are located on the mid-section sidewalls and above the toe-box. The materials get thicker towards the rear for more cushioning and support in the heel and ankle areas (see image below).

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 12
Cushioned and supportive heel/ankle sidewalls

Looking towards the rear of the shoe, you’ll notice a solid plastic heel cage which is designed to lock your heel in place and reduce the chances of lateral foot roll (see image below). This gives a good stable-feel while running longer distances.


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On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 10
heel cage to support your ankles

One thing I don’t like about the upper is the strange star-lacing system that On has gone with. According to On, it exists to help improve the fit and also to support your foot’s natural motion in the areas where it flexes, but personally I haven’t really noticed this and prefer On’s standard lacing system. The star formation towards the forefoot makes doing up the laces a longer process and I find it pulls the upper construction out of shape when I fasten the laces tight for a snug fit. You can see what I mean in the image below.

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 11

On Cloudstratus Video

The Double Layered Helion Midsole and the On Speedboard

on cloudstratus review double layer helion outsole trail and kale wm 1

The new double-layered Helion CloudTec midsole is one of On’s latest innovations. On has effectively sandwiched two cloud layers into one, giving the shoe a really cushioned ride. I like the soft feel when landing but it seems the forefoot in comparison doesn’t have as much cushioning as the rear. From the image above you can see that the forefoot midsole tapers off to a single layer of clouds which in my opinion makes it feel a bit too solid underfoot when taking off. I understand it’s to reduce energy loss when propelling yourself forward but the stark difference from the heel to toe doesn’t quite work for me. Maybe it would work better for heavier runners who land more towards their heel and need that extra cushioning on impact.

The doubled-up midsole also adds extra weight to the shoe. Weighing in at 10.7oz (305g) this shoe isn’t the lightest in the On running shoe collection but I suppose it does come with a lot of cushioning. I would personally prefer to sacrifice on cushioning in order to have a lighter running shoe.

On’s Speedboard combined with this midsole make the Cloudstratus a very cushioned shoe that will inevitably allow you to run faster than you may be used to.

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 9

The Cloudstratus outsole is pretty standard in terms of grip but you’ll also notice a valley carved out towards the rear which reduces the weight of the shoe a bit.

Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)

Cloudstratus weight and drop

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 4

As mentioned earlier, the On Cloudstratus weighs 305g (10.7oz) due to the much deeper midsole. There’s a drop of 8mm from heel to toe which kind of makes sense due to the clouds tapering into one layer towards the forefoot. The ride of the Cloudstratus feels good with this level of drop but I think it would be even better if On could strip some extra weight off the shoe.

The On Cloudstratus has a stable running footbed which means there is some level of support to it.

On Cloudstratus review trail and kale wm 7

Toe Box

The toe box is wide and feels airy due to the breathable upper material.

On Cloudstratus Review Summary

In summary, the On Cloudstratus is a marathon and half-marathon running shoe designed for heavier runners who want to soften the impact while running long distances on the roads. The toe box is nice and wide with good ventilation for temperature regulation. It’s also a very supportive shoe that has a heel cage that will lock your foot into the shoe. It’s a long-distance performance shoe which carries a little more weight than some of On’s other shoes but this adds to its durability. If you’re a heavier runner, the 305g weight of the Cloudstratus shouldn’t really be an issue for you, and that double-layered cushioned midsole will be your friend for many many miles.

I hope you enjoyed this On Cloudstratus review, if you have a question please leave it in the comments below, happy running!

Jump over to our Best On Running Shoes Ranked and Reviewed list to find out where this shoe ranks amongst On’s other running shoes.

On Cloudstratus review product image black
On Cloudstratus
Design & Function
Enjoy the soft landing feels of the doubled up clouds
great for wide feet
great shoes for heavier runners
comfortable fit
Too heavy for my liking
I'm not a fan of the star-lacing system
not much flex
Overall Score

Still not sure which On Running Shoes to buy?

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.

Best On Running Shoes Reviewed

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  1. In your opinion, what is the difference between cloudstratus and cloudace?
    I used cloudflyer and bought cloudstraus looking for some speed, but I feel like I’ve lost comfort (I agree about the rare feeling landing vs forefoot). Could the same thing happen to me with cloudace?

    • I personally feel like the Cloudace is more comfortable, especially in the forefoot. This makes it a good shoe for marathon running. Have you tried the Cloudsurfer? It is very cushioned too and gives a great ride.

      • I run with cloudsurfer too and I have good fellings, but the clousds are very fragile (they broke at 500 kms) and sometimes I need more cushioning.
        Thank you for your opinion, I think cloudace are half cloudflyer (for landing) and half cloudsurfer in the forefoot, so I have to try running with them.

  2. I personally feel like the Cloudace is more comfortable, especially in the forefoot. This makes it a good shoe for marathon running. Have you tried the Cloudsurfer? It is very cushioned too and gives a great ride.

  3. Any recommendations for breaking in Cloudace? I love that shoe, but after 100 miles had to stop wearing because area around ankles is so stiff, it hurts just to walk around in them. Why I switched to cloudstratus, no ankle discomfort with those, but do like Cloudace better, ankle pain aside

    • Hmm, that’s a good question. The only way I know how is to run in them more. But if they’re beginning to give you pain around your ankles then stop wearing them. Alternatively, give the Cloudace a longer break and try them again in a few weeks time when you’re ankle is ready for another go.

  4. I am looking into switching to On shoes from Saucony or at least adding a pair into my rotation. I have a pretty sensitive Achilles. In your opinion, do you think the back of this shoe rubs against it or could potentially be bothersome?

  5. Im a nurse and wear the cloudstratus for my 12.5 hour 14,000+steps. That’s a marathon in my book.
    C’stratus are easily the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had for work. Needless to say ‘trainers’ do not suit the corporate image the NHS wants to portray but luckily Occy Health supports staff who wear shoes for working not show
    The wide toe box is so comfortable. Why don’t more shoes have the wide toe box. It’s normal human anatomy, isn’t it.

    • Hey Sally,
      I hear from so many people that On’s are a very popular choice for nurses on their feet all day. It’s usually the On Cloud that they tend to tell me they enjoy using due to the light weight. So glad you’re enjoying your On’s too 🙂

  6. I have a new pair of Cloudstratus shoes and broke one shoestring. I went back to where I bought them to buy replacement strings but they don’t carry them. Where do I find them.

    • Have you tried contacting On directly via their website? I’m sure they will be able to help you there. Curious, where did the lace break? I’ve never heard of that happening before.


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Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. This site now inspires hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle. It's also a place to learn how to chase your dreams, untether from convention and live more self-sustainably.

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