RA Fitness Blog, RADanceFitness, Reviews, Running

Running Review: On CloudFlow

I recently spoke about what to look for in a shoe as I was on the hunt for a new pair of shoes. After writing the post and having a little look at various different running websites and comparing the prices etc. I went with a pair of On CloudFlow shoes. Here’s what I’ve been finding as I have now used them for a couple of weeks.

One of the first reasons why I went with them was because they were something different. Different in design and also brand. Since I’ve started running I’ve been pretty loyal to Nike, trying to just buy as similar to my original shoes as I can. But I felt I just wanted to try something different out to see wether this brand loyalty was actually warranted. The sole of the CloudFlows are just so different (see below) that I was slightly unsure about how much I would like the feel of them. Especially after my last set of trainers where the sole ended up use not suiting me at all. The website was full of pretty good reviews about the sole, their only gripes being when a stone gets stuck between the clouds, and the level of grip.

So what are the clouds? The clouds are essentially hardened rubber to help minimise the impact through your leg. Lots of other shoe brands tend to do this with their foam mid soles. On have just taken this a little further and developed a new way of designing their sole. Initially they did feel a little weird to be wearing, I felt like I could feel every single ridge below my foot, it’s unlikely I could though. But after a couple of runs in them I got used to it and they feel almost like any other shoes I’ve worn now, so that’s a positive.

When I bought them they had a 30-day trial period, which allowed you to try them on at home for 30-days and return them without any fuss if you didn’t like them. They allowed you to do this for one pair of shoes and one item of clothing from their website, making the process of shoe buying a little easier. The returns label even came in the box with the shoes had I need to exchange them. I thought this was super convenient and meant that if I didn’t like them, could just send them back. The caviate being I’d only be able to use them for indoor use, home workout or treadmill running, whilst I was testing them. This didn’t phase me too much though as that’s what I usually do with new shoes anyway, just another reason I’m glad I invested in a treadmill. What I did notice from these tests though were that the shoes themselves aren’t that breathable, so if you get hot feet very quickly they perhaps aren’t the shoes for you. On the treadmill I was struggling to keep going as my feet were just getting hotter and hotter without the additional airflow that the outdoor air provides you with. Outdoors they are absolutely fine though I’ve not had an issue with the breathability of them.

During my testing phase it did take a couple of tries to adjust the shoes so they felt good on my feet. They weren’t ready straight out of the box. So initially I just tried them with the insoles that came in the shoe, but found that this tried to flatten out my high arches which with experience I know will only cause pain in the long run. I then swapped out the box insoles with my high arch insoles I usually wear during runs, but this cause an excessive about of heel slipping, an issue that I’m not really used to getting. Next I tried a controversial tact of putting both insoles in one shoe and leaving just my high arch ones in the other. Undoubtably this feel odd, there’s to way of getting around this. They both felt fairly similar though but there was a bit of bounce missing from the one with just the box insole, and the one with both just felt like I was sitting too high in the shoe with my heel pushing out the top, and the top of my mid foot being squished. I also still had the heel slipping issue. For my next run I attempted to re-lace them. I took them down to their bottom cross over and skipped the next few eyes before crossing them back over and trying them. This made them feel a lot better, I had both insoles in and the shoes laced how I usually lace my running shoes. However, I still had the heel slipping problem. So my final lacing attempting saw me using the second lot of top eyelets, feeding the lace through them before the main ones and then tying. I hoped that this would allow me to pull them tighter around the top and stop the heel slipping. This definitely helped. It hasn’t eliminated the probably completely but it has made it so the shoe feels a lot more solid than it did. So if you end up with a similar problem try out some of these fixes.

With all the playing with the laces during the testing it made me start to think about the things that aren’t so great about the shoe. The first being the laces themselves. I like a tight shoe, and that is pretty fiddly to achieve with the laces that came with the shoes. The laces are very thin and flat making them a little small, even for someone with small hands, to tie without loosing all the tension. I may eventually swap them out for another set of laces that are a little easier to tie but for now I’m just seeing if I’ll just learn the best way of keeping the knot tight. During testing was actually the only dislike I had had. Once I got outside and started to run on uneven surfaces I noticed another, and that was that because the sole is thicker than I’m used to it doesn’t react great to the bumpy nature of grass or dirt paths. The first time I ran on these surfaces I just didn’t think anything of it and nearly felt my Achilles’ tendon go. As long as you anticipate a bit more ankle movement on uneven surfaces it’s fine, it’s when you’re not that you may end up twisting your ankle. The soles just aren’t that reactive to don’t mould too much to the surface, making you feel a little flat footed at those moments. This is likely to be something that goes away with practice in the shoes.

Running on the roads in them though has been great. I run on warm days, chilly days, and days where the pavement has been a little wet. I haven’t seen that much of a difference in terms of performance when wearing them on the different surfaces. I’m yet to try them in full on rain and wet surfaces, so it will be interesting to see their grip during these times but so far so good. With rainy days almost behind us in the UK though I have decided to keep them and use them as my primary shoe fo the time being. As for the stone issue, yes you can tell when there is something stuck in the sole, so far it’s only happened to me once though, and I feel like all shoes do that, do they not?

Below are my overall thoughts in brief, including a few more things that don’t make a discussion point on their own.

Pros:
– Lightweight
– Good colourways (I usually go for a black but there’s a nice variety)
– Comfortable to wear
– Elastic to hold the excess lace
– Breathable when outside
– Box insole had a little bit of cushioning
– A small amount of reflective marking
– Can wear barefoot if desired
– Box insoles not glued in making it easy for users to swap them out
– Fairly competitive price (£120) (for branded running shoes)

Cons:
– Small laces are hard to tie tightly
– Not breathable for indoor running
– Debris in soles can be felt
– Take a little bit of time to adapt to
– Heel slipping (can be controlled to a degree)

So there are my thoughts on the On CloudFlow shoes. I hope that I’ll be able to set a PB or two in them as I use them more and more. Have you had any experience with these shoes? Share your thoughts below, or at tips with the heel slipping, it may just be that the size smaller would be better, but then I fear my foot width would get in the way.

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