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On Cloudmonster Review

On’s take on a maximally cushioned shoe gives a protective and reasonably firm ride

On Cloudmonster
(Image: © Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Our Verdict

The Cloudmonster is a comfortable option for easy runs and offers a firmer, more stable ride than you’ll find on other max-cushioned cruisers.

For

  • Impressive cushioning to protect the legs
  • Good-looking design
  • More stable than many max-stacked shoes

Against

  • Not as soft as alternatives
  • Lacks versatility
  • Cheaper options available

Price: £150 | Drop: 8mm | Stack: Not given | Weight: 284g (UK 9)

The idea of a cloud monster might be terrifying enough to stop a few people taking flights – but among On’s line-up of running shoes, it is one monster I greeted with cautious optimism. 

For the most part, On’s shoes are too firm for my taste and lack the rebound you get from the best running shoes from other brands – those with more impressive midsole foams. The huge stack of cushioning on the Cloudmonster promised a more comfortable ride for easy runs, and at 284g in my UK 9 it is light for such a cushioned shoe, so it could be versatile enough for speedy running too. 

The Cloudmonster delivered on the first part of that promise: it is softer than any other On shoe I’ve tried, but its lack of versatility means it’s best reserved for easy and long runs.

On Cloudmonster Review: Price And Availability

The On Cloudmonster was announced on 24th March 2022, goes on sale 31st March and costs £150. It’s a high price, but is comparable to some other max-stacked shoes, though there are cheaper options available, such as the Adidas Adistar at £120.

Design And Fit

Although it doesn’t bring new technology to On’s range of running shoes, the Cloudmonster uses more of the brand's midsole foams to create a different ride. In the midsole you have a layer of Helion foam, plus more of the distinctive CloudTec pods than you get on any other shoe.

This high stack of cushioning creates a softer ride than on other On shoes, though it’s not exactly a soft one considering the market at large. You also have On’s Speedboard plate in the midsole, plus a rocker design to encourage a smooth transition through your footstrike.

The upper is made from a thin, breathable mesh and the tongue is partially gusseted, being connected to the upper halfway up the laces. There is padding around the collar but the tongue is thin and, in general, the upper is less cushioned than you’ll find on other max-stacked shoes.

On Cloudmonster sole

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

There is a large cut-out in the middle of the segmented outsole, which has a habit of catching stones and collecting mud. The outsole pods at the heel and forefoot have extra rubber on them to improve grip and durability.

I found that the shoe fit true to size. It was easy to get a good lockdown in the midfoot and I didn’t have any problems with my heel slipping.

How I Tested This Shoe

I used the On Cloudmonster for a couple of progression runs, running the final few kilometres at a steady or fast pace, but mostly I stuck to easy runs. I covered 52km in the shoe ahead of its review embargo date, with the longest run being around 14km.

Running Performance

On Cloudmonster

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Given the outlandish name and exaggerated design, I expected something dramatic from the ride of the Cloudmonster. However, the cushioning feels muted and it still has that recognisable On firmness – though it is softer than other On options like the Cloudstratus 2.

That firmer feel is no bad thing, because the Cloudmonster is still comfortable and protective on long, easy runs, and it’s more stable than squishy shoes like the Asics Novablast 2 and Nike Invincible. Those bouncy shoes might be more fun to run in for many people, but their instability will rule them out for others.

Although On says the shoe has a radical rocker design, I didn’t feel that when running – especially compared with something like the Adidas Adistar, a max-cushioned shoe with a pronounced rocker that creates an enjoyably smooth ride. 

The Cloudmonster has a more traditional feel to it all round. You don’t sink into the foam and then spring forwards, and although the Speedboard in the midsole does help move you through your stride efficiently, it’s not noticeable in the same way as the plate on a shoe like the Skechers MaxRoad 5.

Whether this is a positive or a negative depends on your preferences as a runner. I like shoes with a rocker, but the more natural feel of the Cloudmonster will appeal to others, especially in the max-cushioned category where there aren’t many shoes like it.

One area where I think the Cloudmonster falls short is versatility. Despite being light and having a firmer ride, I didn’t find it performed well at any pace above easy. It lacks the bounce or snap of other shoes, and I’ve found that even heavier cushioned options such as the Nike Invincible were more comfortable to use for steady or speedy running.

Is The On Cloudmonster Worth It?

On Cloudmonster

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The On Cloudmonster is an interesting addition to the maximally cushioned market, offering a more stable and natural ride than many alternatives. It’s also a good-looking and comfortable shoe, which is valuable in that you can wear it beyond running, which may take the edge off the £150 price for some people.

I prefer the smoother ride of shoes like the Adidas Adistar and Nike Infinity Run 2, and also enjoy the bounce you get from the Nike Invincible. There is also the Skechers MaxRoad 5 for those who want a max-stacked shoe that is lighter and faster to use across a range of types of run.

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.