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On Cloudflow review

by editor
Monday 19th December 2016
Tags  On Cloudflow   |   On Running   |   On Cloud   |   On Cloudsurfer
We’ve been testing On shoes for a while now and there are certain things that you can rely on with them. 
1. They will be beautifully designed and constructed. 
2. They will have been incredibly rigorously tested.
We know this for a fact, not just because we’ve tried enough On shoes to confirm it, but also because we’ve been to their lab in Zurich and seen all of the processes each shoe goes through. 

Cloudflow 1
The new Cloudflow

So we were excited to try the newest shoe in their range - the Cloudflow. With so many other shoes in their range it would be good to start by clarifying where this shoe fits in with the others. According to On, it’s between the Cloud - their super lightweight, yet well cushioned shoe - and the Cloudsurfer - their more aggressive shoe designed to minimise impact time with the ground and get you bouncing off again asap. The Cloudflow is probably accurately summed up as a lightweight shoe, perfect for racing, with enough cushioning to make it comfy for long training runs and marathons. 
My first impression was that On have created another beautiful looking shoe. While they start by calling all of their prototypes ‘monsters’ there are definitely no monsters in the final product lines. Putting them on they immediately felt really comfortable - there’s a nice squishy insole, padding around your ankle and a good, snug tongue - but I thought they felt a bit narrower than the other On shoes I own (the Cloudflyer and the Cloudsurfer). There was still plenty of toe room, which is one of the thing I like the most about On shoes, but the fit was narrower than I would have liked. 
The key difference with other On shoes is that they have 18 ‘clouds’ (if you’re not familiar with On shoes this is their major innovation - the rubber pieces on the bottom that cushion your landing and help you push off in a natural motion). The Cloud has 16 and the Cloudsurfer has 13. Essentially the more ‘clouds’ you have, the more flexibility there is for your foot to move in its own unique way. 

Cloudflow clouds
18 clouds - probably should have cleaned these, sorry!

The most obvious thing when you put them on is the weight. They are incredibly light (190g in women’s size 7). They feel like a race shoe but when you start to run in them they have the cushioning of much heavier shoes. It’s an odd feeling but I liked it a lot. 
The name Cloudflow is obviously meant to describe the smooth ride that the shoe gives you and, unusually for shoe marketing terms, it’s pretty accurate. Your landing is nicely cushioned and the design of the sole means that you naturally ‘rock’ towards take-off without too much effort. I’ve particularly enjoyed wearing them when doing faster runs (‘fast’ being a relative term here), but then I need all the help I can get so a light shoe makes a big difference. 
Inevitably I have minor niggles about the shoes, such as the laces (On laces always seem to come undone for me) and the slightly narrower fit, but overall I’ve found them to be a really comfortable, light shoe for faster runs and longer training runs. I’d highly recommend them if you wanted a versatile road shoe. 
Find out more about the On shoe collection here.

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