This On Cloudmonster review is part of our 2022 SELF Certified Sneaker Awards, where the shoe won Best Responsive Sneaker. You can see the rest of our award winners here.
I put off buying new running shoes for a very long time because, honestly, I don’t like to buy new products when I have something that works, even if it’s very clearly in its last life. In this case, that meant I was running in very old Nike shoes where the grip was almost nonexistent. So when I got the chance to test out the On Cloudmonster ($170, on-running.com) running shoes, I jumped on it. And to say I was impressed is an understatement.
The Swiss sportswear brand is known for its high-performing, cushioned running shoes. Its On Classics collection includes sneakers such as the Cloudventure, Cloudflow, Cloudbloom, Cloudstratus (which we named the best lightweight cushion sneaker last year), and, most recently, the Cloudmonster. According to On, the Cloudmonster is the brand’s first maximalist shoe, which they describe as having max cushioning and max color, as well as providing max “fun on your run.”
The vibrant color and the thick sole are probably the first things you’ll notice about the Cloudmonster. Its hallmark hexagonal “cloud” tube design in the midsole is meant to absorb impact. The sole makes the shoe appear a bit bulky and heavy, but my first impression when I put them on was that they felt super lightweight (8.11 ounces to be exact). Most impressive, however, is the springy feel when walking or running (more on that below).
How I Tested
I don’t run frequently, but I’ve always enjoyed jogging a few miles on the weekend. So I’m reclaiming the label and calling myself a runner. I tested the On Cloudmonster running shoes during a few of those weekend runs, about four miles of distance, as well as when walking and running errands.
My runs and walks are mostly on roads and sidewalks, but I also get some grass by Liberty State Park near where I live. I’ve been using the Cloudmonster since the spring, and I’ve racked up some serious miles since then. Below is my experience wearing the Cloudmonster. I evaluated it based on SELF’s expert-recommended sneaker buying guide.
The shoes run small. I’m normally a size 6.5, but I tested a size 7, and they still felt a bit tight overall. It wasn’t a concern when I was running or walking because I still had a good half inch of toe room, but if you like having more wiggle room or are wearing very thick running socks, I would recommend going up a full size. Plus, as our sneaker buying guide recommends, running and walking shoes should have a half inch of extra toe space. Aside from the fit-related issue, these shoes felt great for both running and leisure.
Shape of the Shoe
Our experts suggest buying sneakers that mimic the shape of your feet so that they feel like an “extension of your foot.” I have an arched foot, my toes are on the longer side, and I like to wear wider shoes. The Cloudmonsters are chunky at the bottom but light and slim on the side. They’re not so narrow that my foot felt squished, but again, because they run small, they really hugged my feet.