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On Cloudsurfer Review – On Shoes For Running Long Distances

The On Cloudsurfer has been designed with speed and comfort in mind but it’s also a very comfortable shoe that provides great cushioning for long runs too. Hopefully, this On Cloudsurfer review answers all the questions you have before buying them but if not, please feel free to ask me a question in the comments down below.

Fit & Design

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The On Running Cloudsurfer shoes are very comfortable and don’t need any breaking in whatsoever. If you have any experience with the previous version of the Cloudsurfer and want to know if this version is better, my answer is a resounding yes! In fact I was not a fan of the previous version for its lack of flexibility and weight.

The new On Cloudsurfer has addressed both those issues, improved the upper and produced themselves another winning shoe, in line with their first release of the Cloudsurfer, which happened to be my first ever On running shoe.


On Cloudsurfer review Trail Kale web wm 15

The mesh material on the upper is very breathable and has a two-layer system. The internal layer has a little bit of stretch and offers some soft cushioning for the top of your foot, while the outer later has that breathable knit that holds the foot firmly in place. There’s plastic coated toe box protection at the front which will prevent front-on water splashes from entering the shoe and also increase the durability of the materials in the area.


On are using their ‘no-sew foil’ to strengthen bonds where materials are attached, like where the laces holes are, for example.

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Looking to the heel cage at the rear, you can clearly see the plastic strip which is designed to hold your heel in place with very little weight gain. This is in conjunction with the heel wall that doesn’t extend too high, works very well for my averagely shaped feet. I have in the past had an issue with some shoes putting unnecessary pressure on my Achilles and agitating the tendon but these On shoes do not, so I love them for that!


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A cool feature inside all new On shoes that I have tested is a soft rubbery strip that run either side of the insole which cradles your foot and reduces foot slide (seen in the image above). The foot-bed is nicely cushioned too for extra comfort.

There’s also an inner sock that attaches the tongue to the forefoot area, similar to the On CloudflowOn Cloud XOn Cloudace and On Cloud Edge Moonlight running shoes. This keeps the tongue in place and prevents debris coming between your foot and the shoe walls. It also reduces the risk of chafe as there are fewer seams inside.

Tongue & Laces

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The tongue is very slim and you may think it wouldn’t provide enough padding for protection when the laces are done up tight. The laces, however, provide some stretch and therefore don’t add any unwanted pressure to the top of the foot. Having a thin tongue like this also reduces weight above the foot.

Outsole and the On Speedboard

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The outsole now has an extra layer of cushioning that I have noticed improves the shock reduction at the heel. The heel to me actually feels slightly unbalanced when walking in the shoes, and this is down to the placement of the rear two cloud pods. When you begin to run in them though, it’s clear that they have been pushed forward slightly to encourage more of a forefoot landing experience. This is clever thinking from On because we all know that heel striking is a bad thing, even if many of us find us hard to avoid doing.

If you haven’t tried “Running On Clouds” before, I recommend you give it a try! CloudTec is one of On’s innovations that truly helps me run faster.

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The cloud pods give you that feeling of a cushioned landing, as they compress under your weight and then provide a barefoot take off as your foot leaves the ground and the pods spring back.

Drop & Weight

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There’s a drop of 6mm from heel to toe which seems a popular number with On shoes. It feels like a happy medium for runners who like a minimal drop and others who prefer a much larger one. I’ve always been a fan of keeping the drop as low as possible to aid better form and a more natural footfall.

Weighing in at 330g (US M 8.5) this is not the lightest On running shoe but that’s because it offers more support and cushioning than some of the other product lines. If you’re after the lightest On shoes, check out the On Cloud X, On Cloud, On Cloudflow and the limited edition On Cloud Edge Moonlight.

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Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running
Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running
Backcountry sale - Trail and Kale Trail Running


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The On Cloudsurfer has a neutral running footbed which should suit most runners.

Toe Box

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The toe box is medium width and feels very airy due to the breathable upper material.

on cloudsurfer web
On Cloudsurfer
Design & Function
Very comfortable for long runs
Springy cloud pods help your run faster
My favorite On shoe for long road runs
A touch on the heavy side
Overall Score

On Cloudsurfer Review Summary

If you’re looking for a shoe that’s going to keep your feet feeling comfortable for all types of road running, from speedwork to long distance runs, the On Cloudsurfer shoes are an excellent choice. They are currently ranked in the top 3 of my ON Running Shoes: Best On Running Shoes Reviewed article, which is regularly updated as and when I test new releases from the On running brand. So, make sure you have a read before making any final purchasing decisions.

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On Cloudsurfer Review - On Shoes For Running Long Distances 5 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
On Cloudsurfer Review - On Shoes For Running Long Distances 5 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
On Cloudsurfer Review - On Shoes For Running Long Distances 5 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
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  1. I love your ON reviews. Pretty spot on from what I’ve tried and purchased. A question for you, as some running stores haven’t been able to answer. I have the Cloudswift (2 pairs) and want to know why I hear the Cloudsurfer is “faster” even though it weighs more. Would you recommend one over the other for long runs/speed work?

    • Thanks Allan!

      That’s a good question! I alternate between both of those shoes for road running. The Cloudsurfer feels more cushioned underfoot because of the older style pod system on the outsole. These pods feel springier than the Cloudswift which may help with gaining extra speed but you’re right, they are heavier. So there’s definitely a trade-off there. I would recommend the Cloudsurfer for long runs and the Cloudswift for shorter fast runs where cushioning is not needed quite so much.

      I hope that helps a bit, let me know if you have any other questions.


  2. Dear Alastair, thanks for your review. Based on your info I just bought the cloudsurfer as I’m training for my first Marathon. Already running for 10 years and mostly run off-road …
    I started to run on ON almost half a year ago and just love it … the first shoe I bought was the Cloudflow. Now I bought the surfer in order to switch between both based on my training schedule.
    I was told that I should use the surfer for my LSD runs and the flow for the more explosive ones. But yesterday I was told the opposite …. so I’m a bit confused now 🙂
    Based on your experience … which shoe would you use for what kind of runs …
    Would love to know your opinion on this matter.
    thanks in advance and keep ON running 🙂

  3. Hi Ann,

    Firstly, exciting re your marathon, I hope it goes well!

    Buying the Cloudsurfer for you slow long runs was absolutely the right thing to do, as the Cloudflow is a much more minimal running shoe which performs best for faster, shorter and more aggressive runs. So it sounds like the original advice you were given is correct, in my opinion at least 🙂

    Which marathon are you running by the way??


  4. Dear Alastair,

    yes indeed it is very exciting 🙂 After all those years my first one 🙂 It will be the Antwerp Night Marathon in september. (Belgium)
    Thanks for your reply on the surfer! So I’m sure to do the right thing and will love my runs even more 🙂

    Keep “ON” running ….

    All the best


  5. Hi!
    Love you site! Question on the Cloud surfer… you said the newer model which I am interested in.
    There are numerous Cairo’s so I wanted to know when the new model you like stated or which color ways is it. Thanks!


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On Cloudsurfer Review - On Shoes For Running Long Distances 8 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure