Right, lets get one thing out the way straight from the off. I was skeptical. I’ve seen the rise of On Running from the sidelines, kept an eye on what they are up to and was blown away by Tim Don – The Man with the Halo. I remember watching Tim run sprint and olympic distance as a teenager and this film made me want to make the most of my time, whether running, riding or just living. All that aside, I didn’t get the shoes, I couldn’t understand the concept. Like Hoka, was the technology detracting from the run experience or enchanting it? Was it a marmite product? How can you run on clouds? Would the clouds fill up with debris?
Well, I had to find out.
I reached out to Aspire PR to see if they would be interested in me documenting my experience and sharing it with you.
Well, and you’ve probably guessed by now, they said yes and I was sent a pair of the brand new Cloudventure Peak trail shoes a couple of months before their global launch on the 18th July….. Yes, I’ve been having to make sure I don’t stick these on my Instagram.
Aesthetically, I’m a fan of On product design. It’s clean, precise, the production methods high end and to me at least, they feel like they could be Scandinavian or from a certain office in Vancouver. But, they are not. They are most definitely Swiss.
With 100 miles clocked, how did these white (brave move) trail shoes hold up?So the colour. White. We’ve seen Adidas Terrex do so for their Parely shoes, with no dyes in the material, the idea being the trail and earth paints a story, however, this wasn’t a recycling/environmental colab. There’s no point in lying, I was a little taken back when I extracted the shoes from the box. All I could think was “its summer, this will be ok.” It was at that moment, I also made a deal with myself not to wash them. All the photos you see are at the end of the test period and have the grass stains, mud smudges and imperfections that come along with the trail running – better shown in the video further down the page. One thing is clear, they aren’t a putrid brown or hulk smash green. Surprisingly, they’ve come out pretty clean. Summer has a lot to thank for this, where I live it’s been very dry, to the extent the ground has cracked, crops grow at double rate at the merest morning dew and running has become a twilight sport – I can’t hack the heat.
When winter comes around, well, let’s see how friendly and forgiving the white upper is (it should be noted the previous Cloudventure Peak was available in a number of alternate pretty badass colourways – in my opinion – I’m not sure if there are plans to launch these again for the updated shoe).The upper is very comfortable and oh so light. A stretch mesh, reinforced with ripstop and provided structure using taping, it hugs your foot from the moment you put it on. With a sock like feel, there’s little room for rubbing or the development of hot spots. The taping provides support over the top of the foot, yet allows it to flex with you. I found this more apparent when at a high tempo or pushing fast up a hill, the upper is unrestrictive, yet doesn’t let your foot flop around, like netting bags used to hold fruit…. you can use that line elsewhere, I know, pure dynamite.
Now those laces are pretty slim, staying in place well. Lock them down and you are locked in for a ride, with the metal ‘On’ eyelet a nice design detail on the outside of each shoe. The heel cup grips well and provides a sturdy platform that allows you to move with confidence. Side support holds you upright when tackling more technical terrain.A nice upper and fit is all well and good, but I know the real reason you are here.
Ride & Grip.
It’s an aggressive outsole. Though the majority of the terrain I’ve used the Cloudventure Peak on is mild in its nature, the lug profile is there for when you need to sink your feet born gnashers into some dirt. The forefoot has 5 cloud pods, on the ball, which do a great job of taking the sting out of road sections or hard ground. Around these, you will find widely spaced lugs, designed to clear mud efficiently (remember, I wasn’t able to test this element fully due to weather conditions). The standard studs provide good acceleration and braking traction, with the spacing meaning they don’t feel like a super aggressive shoe, lending themselves to potential year round use on a variety of trails. The heel features two standard lugs and 4 clouds, for braking traction and absorption for those who heel strike. Lets face it, form off road never meets that of road running and we will utilise the heel more. Much like the earlier comment on the front positioned clouds, these do well to take out the sharpness of tarmac.
Do the clouds clog with mud and debris?
In my experience, hand on heart, no. This was my biggest concern with the Cloudventure Peak, one I initially expressed to the Aspire. From the hours I’ve spent running in the shoes, no stone, mud or anything else has remained in the clouds at the end of a run, nor caused an issue during. How this happens, don’t ask me, I simply know I haven’t had to stop and poke at a cloud. You can’t say that everyday.As for the rubber, On’s Missiongrip, it handled all that I threw at it. Admittedly, I wasn’t running off piste in the Lake District or handling massive ups or down, however – last week I was running on slate slopes in Wales and the Cloudventure Peaks were superb for hoping from rock to rock, dissipatingthe energy when I dropped down 2-3 feet and gripped on slopes that resembled scree. It isn’t the stickiest rubber out there, probably not. Does it last, yes. There’s a balance to always be struck and I feel the MissionGrip rubber will work over a variety of terrain and not wear down like a block of cheese on a belt sander, if taken on road.*Now for the mud. Since I posted the review, I’ve been in some mud. Yes, MUD!! On assignment in North Wales, I got my fear share of mud and wet rock. Wet rock, the Missiongrip rubber did a good job of providing a positive foot placement. I wasn’t flicking my heels like a cartoon character on ice, despite loaded with a camera pack and kit of the day. As for mud, they’re ok. They aren’t a mudclaw, if you’re going to wade through brown misery in the depths of winter, the Cloudventure Peak isn’t going to be your go to shoe. But lets face it, I don’t believe they were designed for that. I ran in some wet and muddy conditions, that would quickly clog up an outsole with shallower/closer spaced lugs and this is where the Peak stands out. It is able to find a happy medium between fast and flowy on hard pack, yet able to keep you tracking true when the ground gets softer and wants to throw you of course. A Swiss army knife for most trail conditions.*
With a 4mm heel to toe drop, they’re a low slung pair, which suit an efficient gait and higher cadence. I therefore prefer them for shorter runs, rather than going ultra, and that’s not a bad thing. A tool for every task in your shoe collection.Between sole and insole, lies the Speedboard. This has been updated over the original Cloudventure Peak’s, with a split at the toe, allowing your foot to move more naturally and the shoe, greater ability to find traction with the ground beneath. When I was at the Outdoor Trade Show, I was lucky enough to see the construction, which can be viewed below.
Overall, the ride of the Cloudventure Peak is different, but not alien. When I tried Hoka’s, it took me a while to engage with their system properly, whereas the On’s, a couple of runs. I now don’t notice the pods as prominently as I did previously. Yes there is clearly a cushion there, but it is well tuned and works. Would I run down a fell in them Peaks??? Well, truth be told, I have yet to have the opportunity, though, plan to next weekend.
Construction, durability and over styling score highly, my only main gripe would be colour, or lack of, given as you read this, white is the only option is you want to go to the Peak and back. For those who want shoe with a bit more, On also do the Cloudventure.
They may be at the premium end of running shoes and have a product that really is different from the new norm of thicker midsole and complete outsole. In many ways, On have combined the technologies, into one eco system. I’m intrigued to how these Cloudventure Peaks live on through the new few hundred miles and how other products stack up. What I can say is, pigs may not fly, but these clouds certainly do.
For more information on On Runnings Cloudventure Peak click HERE
Product provided by Aspire PR | This is not a paid advertisement or sponsored post