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On Cloudsurfer Review – Running Shoes For Long Distance Comfort and Speed

This 6th Generation On Cloudsurfer has been given some serious upgrades - Find out what they are and how they work

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

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The On Cloudsurfer has always been designed with speed, comfort, and fun in mind and that ethos has always held true for each generation of the shoe – yes I’ve run in all of them. Fun fact – the On Cloudsurfer was my first ever On running shoe way back in 2012, and it’s the only On running shoe that still has those original iconic cloud pods on the outsole.

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Hopefully, this On Cloudsurfer review 6th iteration) answers all the questions you have before buying them but if not, please feel free to ask me anything in the comments down below – I’m always happy to talk about On running shoes. 🙂 If you’re curious how I rank the Cloudsurfer amongst all the other On Running shoes, definitely read my “Best On Running Shoes Ranked & Reviewed” post next.

Okay, lets get straight into this review of the 6th Generation On Cloudsurfer.

Fit & Design

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On Cloudsurfer Review | On’s shoe that started it all

The On Running Cloudsurfer shoes are very comfortable and don’t need any breaking in whatsoever – and the sizing is consistent with other On running shoes, and inline with brands like Nike, Brooks, Adidas, and most other popular running brands I have tested.

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!

“Why?” I hear you ask, well for one there’s more cushioning underfoot and they generally feel even more comfortable.

The new On Cloudsurfer also has a new upper and produced themselves another showstopper of a running shoe, in line with their first release of the Cloudsurfer, which happened to be my first ever On running shoe – wait, did I already mention that? 😉

Upper

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Toe box width and upper material | On Cloudsurfer Review

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.

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On is 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 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!

Inner

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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 (seen in orange in the image above) which cradles your foot and reduces foot slide. 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 X, and On Cloudace 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 for your foot to run against. I never seem to get blisters when running in On shoes.

Tongue & Laces

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The tongue is fairly slim and comfortable which is great but what’s really unique about the tongue design is that it wraps around one side of the shoe, as seen in the image above. I’ve never seen this on a running shoe before but it works. he tongue doesn’t slip down, or move from side to side – I like it! The laces that come with the shoes provide some stretch and therefore don’t add any unwanted pressure to the top of the foot either, so that’s good.

Outsole and the On Speedboard

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The outsole now has an extra layer of EVA cushioning that I have noticed improves the shock reduction at the heel. At the very front of the outsole, the cloud pods have been filled with foam as well, and that gives a bit of much needed resistance when taking off from the ground – if this foam didn’t exist you would have a bit too much of a firm ride under your toes.

When you run in the Cloudsurfer you’ll notice a nice forward lean stance which helps 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 and the Cloudsurfer 6 is the only On Running shoe that still has this particular style of iconic On cloud pods.

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Bouncy cloud pods make for a super fun run, they’re fast too! | On Cloudsurfer Review

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 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 Cloudboom, Cloudboom Echo, On Cloud X, On Cloud, or the On Cloudflow.

The On Cloudsurfer has a neutral running footbed and a medium width toe box which should suit most runners. The space above you toes may feel a little tighter in this generation Cloudsurfer, but this does help keep your feet in place and does not cause any discomfort over time – it’s just a snugger fit.


Where to Buy

The On Cloudsurfer is available for purchase at on-running.com for $149.99.


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. This article is regularly updated and rankings do shift, so I recommend reading it before making any final purchasing decisions.

On Cloudsurfer Review 6th Generation Trail and Kale
On Cloudsurfer
Comfort
9.5
Design & Function
9
Durability
8.7
Price
8.3
Pros
Very comfortable for long runs
Springy cloud pods help your run faster
Durable
My favorite On shoe for long road runs
Breathable
Cons
A touch on the heavy side
8.9
Overall Score

On Cloudsurfer Review Image Gallery


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.

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12 COMMENTS

  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.

      -Alastair

  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 🙂
    Greetz
    Ann

  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??

    -Alastair

  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

    Ann

  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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