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On Cloudswift Review [What the Helion!?]

The Cloudswift is something completely new from On, not only from an aesthetic standpoint but also in how it feels and responds while running. Of course, none of this is by chance, On has been hard at work to innovate on an already innovative running shoe. This On Cloudswift review is going to take a detailed look at every feature of the Cloudswift, how they perform while running, and also how I think the shoes stack up against every other On running shoes currently available.

On Cloudswift Fit & Design

On Cloudswift Upper Construction

The Cloudswift running shoes wrap around my feet with a snug, comfortable fit. This is made possible by what On calls their ‘engineered-mesh sock’ which is designed to hug your foot for a precise and breathable fit. This feature is a first from On and allows a slip-on fit that’s even more comfortable than the popular On Cloud.

The upper mesh is extremely breathable too, which you’ll notice when running in hot weather. I recently took part in the Vi Trainer Virtual 5K; it was so hot out and I was pushing harder than I had in a long time, but my feet stayed cool throughout.


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The Cloudswift upper is made with a variety of materials, varying in tensile strength, stretch and support. Looking towards the mid-foot section of the upper you can see the mechanical side-band which gently supports your feet, it has a bit of stretch in it too.

The holes that the laces loop through in the side-band also allow for a quick and easy lace fastening because the laces glide through it when pulled from the top, with little to no friction.

Something that you can’t really tell from the photos is that behind the side-band lies a hidden pocket, a place to stash your laces once tied up. This reduces lace flap and stops them from ever being able to untie themselves, It looks tidy too! You can see the pocket in my FIRST LOOK video above. Please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel too, while you’re there. 🙂

Padding around the heel area is soft and comfortable. The side walls don’t rise too high either, which give me more flexibility in the ankle/Achilles heel areas without unwanted rubbing. It’s generally a really comfortable fit that feels great right out the box, with absolutely no ‘breaking-in’ necessary.

Sizing Consistency

The Cloudswift fit is consistent with other On running shoes, which is also consistent with other popular brands including Salomon, Inov-8, and Merrell. They do feel ever so slightly roomier because of the one-piece construction, but the size is accurate.

Inner

The shoe slips on very easily and feels like your favorite slipper. There’s a neutral arch, which I love. This neutral feel is consistent with all other On shoes I have worn. I really like the lack of seams inside this new design too, there’s really nothing in there to rub on your feet or cause discomfort.

Midsole

There’s very good cushioning in the midsole, that makes these shoes excellent for long distance running, even marathons. When I’m running in them, I feel like I can just keep going because my feet stay feeling fresh and protected, the internal temperature regulation is so good that my feet don’t sweat either, which contributes to overall comfort.

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

Outsole – Made With Helion Superfoam

It’s all about the Helion! On’s new superfoam, Helion provides a really lightweight, comfortable, and also responsive ride. It’s a very different feel to On’s that have come before, and I love that classic ‘running on clouds’ feeling. I think I prefer running on Helion even more though!

I can also feel that the outsole has a ‘rocker’ construction. This means that in its default state, the outsole curves up at the rear and the front. This in conjunction with On’s Speedboard, helps me to transfer my energy to forward momentum much faster than a shoe with a flatter sole. See image below for the rear rocker.

The tread provides very good grip, I know this as I had to dodge a few people at a moments notice, when they jumped out in front of me during my 5k virtual race. I changed direction in a split second with complete control.

Drop & Weight

There’s a drop of 7mm from heel to toe. It’s a happy medium for runners who like a minimal drop and others who prefer more. I’m a fan of keeping the drop as low as possible as it helps to improve my running form due to the more natural footfall. Many other road shoes will go as high as 10mm and beyond, a drop that high would be too much for me as I find it affects my form.

Weighing in at 290g the Cloudswift is a very lightweight running shoe, you’ll be able to run hard and far in a shoe this light.

Toe Box

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

On Cloudswift Review
Comfort
9.5
Design & Function
9.5
Durability
9
Flexibility
9
Performance
9.5
Pros
Helion outsole provides great cushioning and response
Very breathable upper
The one-piece upper construction wraps nicely around your feet
lightweight
Good color options
Nice hidden pocket to stash laces
Cons
9.3
Overall Score

Men’s    Women’s


On Cloudswift Review Summary

The Cloudswift is something very new from On, not only does it look unlike any other On’s it also has a different feel to it while running. If you’ve ‘run on clouds’ before, then you won’t be disappointed with the Cloudswift, On’s latest lightweight running shoe.

The shoe fits very comfortably and feels just as comfortable while running, even after many miles. The breathable upper keeps the temperature of your feet nicely regulated, on the hottest of days.

Then there’s the new superfoam, Helion! This cushioned material makes running on asphalt a breeze because of its surprisingly good energy transfer when combined with the rocker outsole design, and the strong speedboard that supports it.

The On Cloudswift is now my go-to road running shoe for speedwork and racking up weekly road miles. As a result, it has also toppled the On Cloud X from the top spot of my ‘Best On Shoes Ranked and Reviewed‘ post.

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 respective On Shoe reviews. Designed to make your buying decisions simpler.

The On Running Brand

Check out our On Running brand page where you can see all of our content relating to the Swiss outdoor brand.


Visit Zappos for discounts on last season's On running shoes.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ran for the first time in my Cloudswifts. There is something very familiar yet different to them. So far so good!!! Definitely my new go to running shoes.

  2. Hi,

    I am looking to buying either Cloudswift or Cloudflow 2.0 and I am torn in between. I will use them both for training and competing in amateur level triath.lon Sprint and a bit later Olympic distance. I usually run between 5-10 km and only on roads and also am recovering from slight knee injury from running. Based on your reviews I am leaning towards Cloudswift and maybe some time down the road additionally getting Cloudflow just to compete. What would be your advice?

    • Hi Mantas,

      I think you are correct! I would have said Cloudflow 2 until you said you had a slight knee injury (The Cloudflow 2 is a touch more minimal with less cushioning).

      They are both great shoes however and nowadays I personally prefer running in the slightly more minimal Cloudflow 2.

      -Alastair

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Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
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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