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On Cloudventure 2020 Review – The On Shoes For Trail Running

The On Cloudventure has been given a huge design overhaul, which brings many welcomed improvements, upon first impressions. But to really know for sure and to make this On Cloudventure review complete, I took them on one of my favorite trail routes that I knew would put them through their paces.

on cloudventure review trail running trail and kaleThe route covers 19km, 450m of elevation gain, mud, rocks, forest trails, and a long downhill section, making it the perfect course for testing running shoes. Choosing a route that takes me nearly 2 hours is also just enough time to get to know the shoe, it’s pros/cons and of course whether or not it’s comfortable enough to wear straight out the box for a long run.


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To really know how durable a running shoe is, I of course, will have to put the miles in. So I have given the On Cloudventure an alpha durability score based on experience with how other shoes look after the same run. Once the extra miles and time have been put into these On shoes, I’ll come back to this review and adjust its durability score as appropriate.

On Cloudventure Fit & Design

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm

The On Cloudventure shoes are certainly comfortable to wear. I did, however, notice, that they are slightly narrower at the inside edge of the arch when compared with other On running shoes. It’s my opinion that the tightness in this area is coming from the durable dark colored plastic strip that connects the upper to the outsole. See image below.

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 11

This strip exists to add support to your feet and durability to the shoes. I only notice it on one shoe, so it’s quite possible that I have a defective pair, but in any case, I imagine that a few more runs will soften them up.

I really like two-tone design on the new On Cloudventure, it’s sleek but also shows some flare that will probably get people asking what shoes they are, if they’re unfamiliar with the On running brand.

Upper

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 8

The mesh material on the upper is very breathable, as seen above. If you’re looking for the waterproof version of this shoe, it’s called the On Cloudventure Waterproof and definitely worth looking at for those extra wet trail runs.

There’s also a plastic coated toe box that’s strong enough to protect your toes from any accidental rock kicks, which is very important to have while out on the trails. The toe box extends all around the shoe into the support strip that I mentioned earlier.

Looking toward the reinforced lace hole section that the laces thread through, it’s clear that the upper has been built to last.

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 12

More padding has also been added to the new On Running Cloudventure to support and secure your heel. This really helps when you’re going to be out on the trails for hours at a time. Comfort is king in any long distance trail shoe.

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 5

Looking to the heel cage at the rear, you’ll notice that 360 degree support strip again that now holds the heel in place. I like that this support leaves space at the top as to reduce any potential pressure on the Achilles heel. I’ve had issues with my Achilles in the past so I can confirm that the On Cloudventure feels great in that area.

Inner

There’s an inner sock that attaches the tongue to the forefoot area, similar to the On Cloudsurfer,  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.

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

Tongue & Laces

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 13

The tongue is slim but padded enough to provide protection when the laces are done up tight. The laces, also provide some stretch, therefore allowing your feet to expand and contract as they heat up and cool down during a trail run. Having a slim tongue like this also reduces unnecessary weight above the foot.

Outsole and the On Speedboard

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 7

This is probably the single most exciting update for the Cloudventure. The outsole now combines multiple grip patterns so you can stay in control as conditions around you change and the improved traction pattern of Zig-zag channels combine with flatter details to prevent slipping on smoother surfaces.

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 16

The most fun part of all On running shoes is the cloud pods that 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. It’s a really innovative and effective system!

On cloudventure review outsole

The new On Cloudventure takes that system one step further by combining On’s Zero Gravity cloud elements with a grip overlay that adds trail-level toughness to the unmistakable sensation of running on clouds. This means you can own the downhill.

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 15

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.

Drop & Weight

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 4There’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’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.

Weighing in at 295g (US M 8.5) the Cloudventure is light, especially considering all the protection you get that’s essential for most runners on the trails. If you’re after an even lighter shoe from On, check out our review of the Cloudventure Peak:

The On Cloudventure has a neutral running footbed which will suit most runners.

Toe Box

On Cloudventure review 2019 Trail Kale trail running web wm 14

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

on cloudventure review best on running shoes trail running
On Cloudventure
Comfort
8
Design & Function
8.5
Durability
8.5
Flexibility
8.2
Performance
8.9
Pros
Outsole and new grip is great for hitting trails hard
Very breathable upper
Lightweight
They climb very well
Very good cushioning for running down hill.
Cons
May need to wear these in
Only two colors at the moment
8.5
Overall Score

On Cloudventure Review Summary

Being able to go for a challenging two hour trail run in the On Cloudventure for their first ever use, is a real testament to their ‘out-the-box’ comfort. The new outsole, in my eyes, is a great success and much improved from their previous design. The shoes are cushioned enough for long days out on the trails yet light enough to not be a burden when ‘time-on-feet’ starts racking up.

So, if you’re looking for a trail running shoe that has a great all-round capability, including good performance on ascents and descents, is lightweight, breathable and offers good protect and support, then the On Cloudventure is the trail running shoe for you.

The On Cloudventure, in my opinion, is On’s best trail running shoe to date, and has rightfully made it to the number 1 spot of my Best On Running shoes list (trail running section) here: Best ON Running Shoes: On Shoes Reviewed.

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.

Best On Running Shoes Reviewed


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

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve just bought my 3rd pair of these. I run 100-130kms/week, most of it on dirt and rocky trails.
    On the plus side, they are the most comfortable trail shoes I have ever owned. On the down side, the outer fabric in the upper has split in pairs 1 and 2 after just 350km. The shoes were still wearable but split further and in several places. I think the fabric is just too thin. I use a different brand for road running, have narrow feet and have never had this issue.
    Really hope they resolve this issue in the next version as replacing them every few months is getting expensive!

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Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Trail & Kale has since grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.

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