On Cloudflyer Waterproof review TL;DR: the best waterproof shoe for those who need extra support and cushioning on longer runs.
Wearing a pair of the best waterproof running shoes means you’ll never have to put the kybosh on those refreshing rainy runs again, plus they’ll help to keep your feet nice and dry to help minimise the risk of rubbing and reduce the risk of nasty blisters – not exactly a recipe for running success in our book.
Thankfully, the choice of watertight running shoes has never been so good, with many big brands now making water-resistant versions of their best running shoes. A great case in point is On Running, who offer waterproof versions of their best-selling performance shoes for men and women, including the Cloudventure and the Cloudflyer.
But do they really work? We put the Cloudflyer Waterproof to the test.
On Cloudflyer Waterproof review: Price and availability
The On Cloudflyer Waterproof is available now for a recommended retail price of £155 / $179.99. It is available in male- and female-specific fits in two colourways. The On Cloudflyer Waterproof can be purchased directly from On Running UK (opens in new tab) / On Running US (opens in new tab) and selected third party retailers.
The shoes are seemingly unavailable in Australia but you can browse the On's waterproof collection Down Under here (opens in new tab).
On Cloudflyer Waterproof review: Features
The original Cloudflyer is a lightweight, fully cushioned training and racing shoe that sits firmly in the support category to provide maximum comfort over long distances. As you’d expect, the Cloudflyer Waterproof shares many of the Cloudflyer’s attributes, all wrapped up in a 100 per cent wind and waterproof membrane with amazing reflexivity built into the heels, laces and forefoot. But there are a few small differences.
Noticeably, the Cloudflyer Waterproof is not recommended for racing, probably for the simple fact that the women’s shoe weighs in a 245g, while the Cloudflyer weighs a mere 210g (men’s versions weigh in at 292g compared to 280g respectively).
It’s still lightweight for a watertight shoe, but if you’re looking for speed over comfort on rainy race days, you’d do better to check the faster Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield which just pipped the Cloudflyer Waterproof to the top slot in our waterproof running shoes guide linked above. However, if it’s comfort and seriously sturdy support on longer runs that you’re after, the Cloudflyer Waterproof is the shoe for you.
Equipped with On’s famous CloudTec soles which compress horizontally and vertically for multi-directional cushioning, you’ll enjoy super-soft landings and explosive take-offs on runs, while the lightweight Helion superfoam boosts your energy return without compromising on durability.
This energy return is further enhanced by the Speedboard found in every On shoe: a stiff plate that is said to ‘fire like a bow’ to convert your running momentum into forward propulsion. When combined, these elements really do give you a feeling of ‘running on air’.
Extra support to the foot is also provided by the 3D-moulded heel cage at the rear and a midfoot stability tube in the upper, while the ultra-plush tongue is sewn into an inner sock to prevent slippages. Together, they add up to create a comfy, supportive, foot-hugging feel that helps to keep the water the water out.
On Cloudflyer Waterproof review: Performance
They say you should always read the small print, and how I wished I’d followed this advice with the Cloudflyer Waterproof shoes. If I’d clicked on the tiny image of a tape measure before ordering them, I would have noted that On recommends you should buy a whole shoe size up for their waterproof models. So, don’t make my mistake and order just a half size up – bigger is definitely better when it comes to their waterproof shoes.
The fit wasn’t bad or uncomfortable, and I still had wiggle room on the toes. It’s just that the uppers are really rigid and firm, no doubt due to the waterproofing treatment on the fabric. Yes, the shoes are extremely supportive and stable - which I loved over unpredictable rain-sodden roads - but the fit of the upper is one of the snuggest I’ve ever experienced, so you need to order that whole size up to give your feet a bit of room to breathe.
I also found that the high cut of the ankles (probably designed this way to help keep out the rain) rubbed on my right ankle a bit, although this did wear off after a few weeks. Indeed, the whole shoe did eventually loosen up a little over time, although I’d still order that whole size bigger next time.
Because there will be a next time! The Cloudflyer Waterproof is supportive and cushioned enough to cope with long runs yet lightweight enough to not weigh you down, and after fully testing it out, I’m inclined to agree with On’s claim that the CloudTec soles do help to reduce muscle fatigue. The wider outsoles grip really well on wet surfaces, too, although I would suggest you keep these shoes on the road and away from rougher terrain as small stones can get wedged in between the gaps of the ‘clouds’.
They are also completely waterproof. You can run through torrential rain and splash through the deepest puddles and not a drop of water will get through unless it sneaks in around the ankle area.
On aren’t lying either when they say the shoes are windproof yet still breathable. These shoes were put through their paces during gale forces winds, but my feet stayed warm and comfortable, leading to guilty feelings of smugness when I saw other poor souls trudging along in non-waterproof shoes.
On Cloudflyer Waterproof review: Verdict
If you’re looking for sturdy support, deep cushioning and reliable grip and stability in wet weather, you should invest in a pair of the On Cloudflyer Waterproof shoes.
They’re not cheap, and they’re not the fastest shoe on the market, but they are lightweight, comfortable, grippy, reflective and secure, all of which will help to boost your running confidence in wet conditions.
Order a full size up for the perfect fit, and you’ll literally be off and running, enjoying On’s famous CloudTec springiness for a feeling of floating on air even when the weather should be bogging you down.