On Cloudsurfer Trail Review: I’m Keeping These Trail Runners! 👌🏼

With its responsive cushion, durable grip, and light, airy feel The On Cloudsurfer Trail is ideal for taking on light trails, and extra miles!


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The Key Specifications

  • Price: $160 from on.com
  • Sizing and fit: True to size with a medium width fit.
  • Weight: 9.5 oz (269g) for a size US(M)9 (my pair).
  • Drop: 7mm with a high stack height.
  • Toe box width: Medium.
  • Stability: Neutral, so there’s no additional stability or support added.
  • Midsole Cushioning: Max cushioning with Helion foam and Cloudtec Phase midsole design.
  • Best for: light trails, and long easy trail runs.

Hey everyone, Alastair here from Trail and Kale, bringing you my On Cloudsurfer Trail review, where I’m going to be sharing my deep insights into the latest On running shoe – which happens to be a trail running shoe.

If you’ve caught my previous reviews, especially on the Cloudsurfer 7, you know I’m a fan of the Cloudsurfer series – so you can imagine how excited I was to review the On Cloudsurfer Trail.

The Cloudsurfer series has had a really wild journey to get where it is today, starting off strong, hitting a few bumps at around versions 4 to 6, but the latest Cloudsurfer 7 is right back at the top of our best On running shoes buying guide.

And now, we’re looking at its trail counterpart – I’ve been hitting my local trails, testing these shoes out to give you all the insights and my honest thoughts, and I’m thrilled to dive into this review with you.

So, who’s the Cloudsurfer Trail for?

Who should be considering these shoes, lunatics like me? Well yes, I am certainly a trail runner who will be using the Cloudsurfer Trail on some specific trail runs.

It didn’t take long for me to see that these are aimed at runners who stick to lighter trails, steering clear of highly technical terrains.

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A couple of reasons stand out for this – Firstly, the midsole is very plush, which feels great, but it does have a bit of a roll in certain circumstances, due to the max cushioning. This means it might not hold up as well in areas where stability is key on rugged trails.

Secondly, the lugs are not the deepest, but I’ll delve deeper into this aspect further into the review. Stick around to hear what shines about these shoes, areas where they could be improved, my final verdict, and most importantly, if they’re worth your investment – after all that’s why you’re here!

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The features of the On Cloudsurfer Trail that I like

Alright, diving into the standout features of the On Cloudsurfer Trail, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in.

First up, it’s all about the feel for me – there isn’t just one thing; it’s the overall sensation these shoes provide. They hug your feet snugly, offering a feeling of lightness that’s hard to beat right now in a trail shoe.

They feel airy, especially noticeable when tackling climbs like in my video review (if you want to see some of my beautiful local trails in California!).

The upper adds to this comfort, enveloping your foot in plushness, particularly around the collar and heel area – it’s truly a treat for you feet.

Continuing with the upper, it nails the balance between breathability and durability. In my photo below, you can actually see your socks through the ventilation holes, which is pretty cool.

The lacing system secures a snug fit, and the tongue, though minimal, is padded right where you need it, ensuring the top of your foot stays comfy.

There’s even a handy finger pull at the back, making slipping these on a breeze—a thoughtful touch from On.

Now, onto the CloudTec Phase midsole, as that’s what’s going to draw many runnings into wanting to buy these running shoes! Mirroring the midsole found in the Cloudsurfer 7, the road shoe sibling. It’s all about the cushioning here, compressing under weight to offer superb responsiveness and comfort over long distances.

Your feet will thank you, trust me. But, this feature is a bit of a double-edged sword, something I’ll delve into later regarding potential improvements.

Lastly, I’ve got to talk about the Mission Grip outsole because it’s so damn good, rivalled only by Vibram’s insane MegaGrip rubber compound.

➡ If you’re enjoying this review do me a favor, drop a comment down below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more running shoe reviews just like this one. If you’re familiar with these running shoes, share your thoughts on them in the comments.

If you’ve seen my other reviews on On’s trail shoes, you’ll know this rubber compound is a winner. It’s incredibly sticky, ensuring top-notch traction on a variety of terrains. I’ve yet to slip in these, which says a lot, however, even with such an impressive outsole, there’s room for tweaks, which I’ll get into shortly.

Features that could be improved for the next version

So, it’s time to chat about the aspects of the Cloudsurfer Trail that I feel could benefit from some tweaking.

MULTI-TESTER OPINION BY HELEN: Interestingly, Helen has been testing the women’s version of the Cloudsurfer Trail and has had a different take, regarding stability. It seems like her experience with the shoe’s stability isn’t quite up to par, possibly due to how her foot lands when she’s running. She’s mentioned feeling a bit too much give under her heel, leading to a sensation of instability on more technical trails. This is a valid concern that could potentially lead to tripping on the trails.

On my end, though, I’ve been pretty happy with the cushioning and stack height provided by the Cloudsurfer’s midsole.

My running style leans towards landing on my midfoot to forefoot, so I’m not encountering that same level of compression and instability under the heel. But, this highlights a potential issue for runners needing more stability, especially on uneven trails.

And this brings me to my second area for improvement: the lugs.

For the more challenging trails I like to run now and then, deeper lugs would really improve my running experience in such circumstances, especially in really muddy conditions like I’m running in in my Cloudsurfer Trail video review.

That particular muddy run made it clear that a bit more grip would have been ideal, however, I reckon this shoe isn’t aiming for the hardcore technical trails crowd.

With its high stack height and lesser stability, it doesn’t quite match up to, say, the HOKA Speedgoat 5 in terms of handling rugged terrain, plus, the lugs don’t dig deep enough for serious mud running.

But then again, I don’t think that’s what the Cloudsurfer Trail is all about, It’s much better suited for lighter trails, think park paths or forest runs, where the ground isn’t overwhelmed by thick mud or technical challenges.

Is the On Cloudsurfer Trail worth buying?

Wrapping up my thoughts on the On Cloudsurfer Trail, I’ve got to say, I’m a big fan!

These trail running shoes are staying in my lineup for those smoother, well-groomed trails where I don’t have to be quite so laser focused on watching the terrain change infront of me.

They’re incredibly enjoyable to run in thanks to that plush cushioning, and they make climbs feel effortless. They just have this lightweight slipper-like vibe that’s hard to beat.

So, for those laid-back trail days or when my feet are screaming for a little mercy, the Cloudsurfer Trail is my new go-to. They’ve officially earned their spot as my recovery trail running shoes, and an Editor’s Choice Award!

Is the Cloudsurfer Trail worth buying then? Does it’s performance justify the $160 price tag? Absolutely! If you’re the kind of runner who’s after trail running shoes that excel on lighter trails, ones that offer that cushy, comfortable ride for logging those long miles with ease, then these shoes are a perfect match.

I highly recommend giving them a go, and I’m really impressed with what On has achieved here; I’m a big fan of the Cloudsurfer, and the Cloudsurfer Trail just takes that love one step further.

Thanks so much for reading this review, If you found it helpful, please drop a comment down below, and tap that heart icon in the bottom right corner. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in the next shoe review!


On Cloudsurfer Trail review gallery

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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