On Cloudventure Peak 2018 Review: On Shoes for Trail Running Races


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The On Cloudventure Peak is a trail running shoe, designed for moving fast in the Mountains. So with that in mind, I decided to summit Mount Tamalpais, in Marin California, to see if the claims were true.

On Cloudventure Peak FW19 2nd Gen 2019 trail and kale


Before I go into more detail I’d just like to add some thoughts I had before testing them out. The last trail shoe I tested from On Running was the Cloudventure Waterproof, I really enjoyed the “bouncy” sensation I noticed when running downhill. It is a comfortable shoe, and provides a lot of protection and cushioning. The only problem I had with them is the energy lost through the front pods when running up hills. Everything felt that much harder as the force from my legs was absorbed by the front pods which felt a little too big to me.

With a quick first look at the out-soles of the Cloudventure Peak, I could tell that On Running had redesigned the front cloud pods. They are much more minimal and have much less bounce.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale
Those minimal front pods are much more like it! Kudos to On!

This was going to be a fun 800m climb up Mount Tamalpais!


On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale
More minimal front pods seen from the bottom, designed for going uphill fast!

Here is what On Running say about the shoe: “The Cloudventure Peak is one of the lightest trail running shoes on the market, yet still provides you with the grip, protection and support needed for race day. The flexible outsole lets you retain your foot’s power every step up the mountain, while CloudTec® supports and cushions your decent to the finish line first.”. Well, let’s find out, shall we…

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

Fit & Design

The On Cloudventure Peak is listed as a lightweight trail competition shoe, which is just the type of shoe I love to wear, even while training. The Cloudventure Peak is very light, weighing in at 260g. It feels like most of that weight goes into the rubber cloud pods on the outsole, as the upper mesh is very breathable and lightweight.

On Running are very good at making comfortable shoes. This, I’m sure has a lot to do with design, but I also think the materials used on the interior are highly technical and spot on. If you’ve worn On’s before then you will know exactly what I mean.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

The tongue itself is slim but has enough padding to protect the top of your foot if you like to have your laces done up tight. There’s also a sock which connects the tongue to the footbed inside.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

This helps the shoe to feel snugger. The inner sock isn’t made from a stretch fabric, so if you have slim feet (like mine) then you may notice a bit of fabric wrinkling in the tongue, around the top of your foot as you tighten up the laces. I thought this may be an issue after a long run but I didn’t notice it at all. The laces are very minimal too, tighten easily and are of a sensible length.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Running up Mount Tamalpais - Trail & Kale
Taken at the summit of Mount Tamalpais – You can just about see the wrinkling in the tongue and the lace length.

The design around the ankle area really stood out to me. The side walls have a very low profile and are shaped in a unique angular manner. This prevented any rubbing in the ankle area; it felt great. I guess this is another way for On Running to reduce overall shoe weight.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale
Unique design on the side wall around the ankle
On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale
And from the other side

Now to the controversial and consequently interesting part; the cloud pods. On have built a name for themselves on the cloud tech system that they created. Running on them Is a truly unique feeling that somehow makes you want to run faster. I always notice this, especially when putting on a new pair. The cloud pods give you that feeling of a cushioned landing, as they compress under your weight and forward force. But they also give you the feeling of a barefoot take off as the pods are compressed and then spring back at the time of your foot leaving the ground. The cloud tech system was designed originally for road running shoes. So what happens when you take that system, tweak it a bit and use it on the trails?

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

It’s a question that you may have asked yourself too. Unfortunately, It’s such a tricky one to answer as the system clearly compliments running on trails in some aspects but not in others. For example, running uphill in these shoes felt excellent. A huge improvement over the Cloudventure Waterproof.

And I absolutely love running downhill in these shoes too, but only on buffed trails that are not technical. I didn’t feel like I had much control over the shoes on uneven terrain, which can only be because of the clouds on the bottom of the outsole. It’s hard enough trying to scan uneven terrain and find the best footing when running fast downhill. So to have uneven pods on the soles makes this a very unpredictable affair.

Running up Mount Tamalpais - Trail & Kale
Always time to stop for a photograph when the landscape is this beautiful.

I think On, for trail running shoes, should be starting with their other out-sole (featured on the Cloud and the Cloudflow running shoes). Firstly it’s a lighter out-sole, but also it would feel more predictable on trails, due to its much flatter sole design.

The finely detailed grip on the cloud pods worked very well though and I felt very connected to buffed trails.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale
Here you can see pod gaps in the midsole area, which could really throw you off balance running on uneven terrain.

The ‘upper’ is made of a very flexible and strong ripstop material. I have never seen this used on a shoe before, but it works really well. It looks similar to something you may see a windstopper jacket made out of. I like it!

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

There’s a 6mm drop from heel to toe, the same drop as the On Cloudflow, which feels great. The Cloudventure Peak also has some protection in the toe cap area. It’s not 100% re-enforced but would definitely protect your toes from most accidental rock kicks.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

Running in the On Cloudventure Peak

I felt that the On Cloudventure Peak’s really unlocked my uphill speed during the whole ascent of Mt Tamalpais. At no point did I need to stop, which is quite something on such a big climb. Running downhill on even terrain felt fantastic, the shoe provided cushioning and bounce to my stride, which meant I could give it my all.

Running up Mount Tamalpais - Trail & Kale

The downside was when I began to hit more technical terrain and my control disappeared due to the sticking up pods on the outsole.


In Summary

‘On’ have brought some really great innovations to the Cloudventure Peak. I love the smaller pods on the front that make running uphill more efficient and the unique sidewall design around the ankles.

The ripstop upper mesh is also a great touch that reduces overall shoe weight. The downside for me is the rubber pods on the outsole. They work excellently on even terrain, but as soon as you venture onto more technical surfaces, you may find you lose control and with it, confidence in the clouds.

On Cloudventure Peak Review - Trail & Kale

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. It has been designed to make your buying decisions easier.

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.


  1. I am doing my first Spartan race and I need a shoe with more traction. I don’t do a lot of trail running so I don’t really want a shoe only for trail running. Would the Cloudventure Peak do the trick on my Spartan race, but still be a good shoe for walking, running, hiking on trails, road, or even a gym workout?

    • Hey Will!

      Personally I think the Cloudventure Peak’s may not perform too well on the obstacles because of the “pod” structure on the out-sole. They will probably slip when wet.

      But, I have just recently reviewed Salomons XA Elevate shoe and I think they would be perfect for a Spartan race! I’ve done a couple of Tough Mudder’s in Salomon shoes before and they were excellent on all the obstacles, even after being caked in mud!

      Here’s our review if you would like to learn more about them:. https://www.trailandkale.com/gear/salomon-xa-elevate-review/

      They come in a really nice black/military green colour too, which will look awesome on a Spartan. You won’t be disappointed with this choice, I promise 🙂

      Hope you have a great Spartan Race!


      • Bummer! I was excited about getting this shoe, but I definitely don’t want to be slipping all over the obstacle course. Thanks for the help and recommendation.

        • Ah sorry Will!

          Well if you end up doing more trail running then you should definitely try them out, they are a great shoe, I just don’t want you slipping off some of those crazy ass Spartan Obstacles!! haha

  2. Hello,
    Did you try cloudadventure? For races untill 25k and xterras what trail shoes do you recomend?
    I have nike kieger but I’m thinking to buy this cloudaveture peak.

  3. Hi i was looking to get a pair of these as I’m training to run a 100k in September. You mention that they wouldn’t be so great for longer distances because of the thin sole but i always prefer minimalist shoes when running anyway. Would you still advise against? Thanks.

  4. I need a shoe with more traction. I don’t do a lot of trail running so I don’t really want a shoe only for trail running. Would the Cloudventure Peak do the trick on my Spartan race, but still be a good shoe for walking, running, hiking on trails, road, or even a gym workout

  5. Hello
    I think the Cloudventure Peak’s may not perform too well on the obstacles because of the “pod” structure on the out-sole. They will probably slip when wet.


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