I’ve always been a bit wary of waterproof running shoes, with two main questions about them. The first is: won’t they get hot and make my feet sweat so much they will end up soaking anyway? And the second is: what are they like when water gets inside the shoe during a run and can’t get out?
A bit of a nightmare, is the unfortunate answer to that second question as I found out on my maiden voyage in the On Cloud Waterproof. More on that later, but first some good news – my first fear went unrealised even when I ran on relatively warm and dry days. And the Cloud itself is an impressive lightweight running shoe that’s great for faster training sessions.
As for that first run, I’d actually waited for a rainy day to test out the Cloud and the weather gods obliged, and then some, with a minor monsoon. For the first few kilometres my feet were dry and warm despite the stormy conditions, and I had nothing but praise for the shoes. And then I hit a some puddles, including a couple deep enough to splash water above the ankle and down inside the shoe.
From then on the run was a waterlogged misery, with the shoes feeling heavy and my feet squelching through every step. All non-waterproof running shoes suffer from squelching in the rain, of course, but they can drain a bit, whereas the Cloud Waterproof held the water.
The solution is to avoid deep puddles, which sounds ridiculous but is actually pretty easy if you’re running on city streets. And it’s also worth noting that the weatherproof benefits of the shoe extend beyond rainy days, because it is noticeably warmer than other running shoes when training in cold conditions.
Given that it is waterproof, I was surprised to find that the Cloud still weighs in at just 250g (UK men’s 7.5), and offers a firm and snappy ride. I used it for a 13km progression run, a 5K race and several easy runs, and it definitely felt better on the foot when running at speed. It has a fast heel-to-toe transition and while it’s not bouncy, the Cloud does have a firm and feisty toe-off that helps push you through at speed.
During an easy run, however, I found the Cloud a little too firm for my taste, and when not running at tempo pace the ride was a little flat. Over time the ride did ease a little, but it was never as soft as I’d like. If you’ve not enjoyed running in springy shoes like those using Adidas Boost or Saucony’s Everun midsoles, the more responsive, harder feel of the Cloud might be more to your tastes. Personally, I love a bouncy shoe, especially when taking it easy, so the Cloud is a shoe I’d probably reserve for speed sessions.
- The Best Running Shoes Of 2021
- The Best Waterproof Gear For Rainy Day Running
- Winter Running: Gear And Tips For Runners Who Don’t Get On With The Treadmill
One key consideration is that the regular On Cloud running shoe (opens in new tab) is 20g lighter and £10 cheaper than the waterproof version. The latter is undoubtedly a great winter shoe due to its weatherproofing, but if you are picking up the Cloud specifically because of its lightweight, speedy frame, adding an extra 20g may not make sense.
Both versions of the shoe give you the option of using a speed-lacing system where you tie off an elastic lace at the right tightness, then just pull the shoe on. I found I could never get this tight enough and ended up swapping the speed laces for the standard option.
The On Cloud Waterproof is a lovely shoe for runs in inclement weather and made a noticeable difference to how much I enjoyed running in the rain (when not waterlogged). I was also impressed by the firm and fast ride of the shoe, though if that’s the main appeal for you then you’re probably best off going for the standard Cloud first of all, then perhaps adding the waterproof version to your arsenal as a treat to keep you running through the winter.
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.
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, the latest gear and more.
Thank you for signing up to Coach. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.