They have to be the strangest looking running shoe ever!
OK so the brand ‘On’ Running have been around for a while now yet if you are not so familiar with them they do look a little odd. Almost as if someone has stuck bits of old hosepipe to their undersides. Well, it’s funny I should say that…
That is about how things started. The principal is very straightforward and is trying to solve an age old problem of energy wastage as a result of cushioning. All the claims of ‘push back’ or ‘energy return’ from the cushioning really does need more research. The human foot moves so quickly through the gait cycle it misses out on this energy return and propulsion. So how is the ‘On’ any different?
Midsole materials are effectively sponge. Lots of little trapped bubbles of air, think like an Aero Bar. As you land they crush and cushion the impact. The down side is that they have not fully compacted so as you move to push off you apply ever increasing force, further crushing the midsole, which in turn absorbs your energy. Wastage!
So with the On ‘Clouds’, they are made of a rubber compound. Less bubbles, more elastic. So as they crush together they absorb the impact. Then as you push away from the ground they stay crushed together and more of your running energy passes through without absorption, allowing greater power and therefore speed for your bucks.
In practice the ON Cloudsurfer immediately feels good on the foot. Comfy and fitted through the heel and midfoot. They certainly look good. Underfoot they do feel a little odd, there are definitely hosepipes on your feet! So to running.
Strangely, unexpectedly, brilliantly they work! Cushioned most definitely, responsive most certainly too. You just want to run in the Cloudsurfer, and then run some more. It’s been a while since a new shoe to the store, for me, has had a grin factor. I like these, very much so. They are stable and run well, comfy with a good toe box for a foot shape fit. I like them!
The ON Running Cloudsurfer is available instore at AccelerateUK, Sheffield, right now.