On Cloudmoster review TL;DR: The Cloudmoster is the most accessible On running shoe to date, thanks to the extra layer of Cloud cushioning that makes the shoes softer, albeit a bit bulky. The Cloudmonster looks pretty swag, too.
On is one of the most exciting running shoe companies at the moment. It went from an obscure brand to being valued at over $7 billion on the stock market in a span of a few years. Now, On shoes are regarded as some of the best running shoes, thanks to their excellent running economy and stylish looks.
The On Cloudmonster is the latest edition to the ever-expanding roster of On Running franchises. The Cloudmonster is a max-cushioned shoe and is said to provide softer landings and better rebound thanks to the boosted CloudTec midsole and the integrated Speedboard.
Just how good of a running shoe is the Cloudmonster? Well, it sure won the Best Running shoes category at the T3 Awards 2022, so there is that!
On Cloudmonster review: Price and availability
On's Australian website (opens in new tab) says the Cloudmoster "is not yet available in your market. Keep an eye on this Monster, it's coming!" The retail price is said to be AU$259.99.
Currently, the Cloudmonster is available in two colourways for both women and men. Women can choose between Acai/Lavender and Glacier/Meadow combinations, while men can opt-in for Frost/Surf or Acai/Aloe versions. I tested the Acai/Aloe version, for reference, but all colours look equally as exciting as this one.
On Cloudmonster review: Tech
The Cloudmoster features the most prominent Cloud elements ever found in On running shoes. The CloudTec midsole is unique to On – the chunky, track-like midsole is instantly recognisable even from a distance. Thanks to all the extra Clouds, the Cloudmoster is much better at reducing impact force than previous On trainers.
Another innovation crammed in the shoes is the Speedboard, On's answer to carbon plates. As On explains on its website, the Speedboard is a "liquid-injected plate of thermoplastic polymer" sitting between the CloudTec midsole and the upper. It works in tandem with the midsole – the Cloud elements compress to soften the landing while the Speedboard flexes, loading with energy from the impact "like an archer drawing a bow".
Rubber outsole is applied in specific areas of the outsole, as you can see in the picture above. This significantly reduces weight without compromising (too much) on the grip.
On Cloudmonster review: Fit
You'd expect the On Cloudmoster to be heavy, considering the size of the shoes, but it's actually not as heavy as some other max cushioned shoes, such as the amazing ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24. A UK size 10 Cloudmoster weighs just under 300 grams (294 grams exactly) which is not terrible for this type of shoe.
The upper is a bit on the stiff side, at least in my experience. It doesn't expand a lot, so I'd recommend going half size up if you're after more room in the toebox. That said, I have wide feet, so that might affect how I see the fit of the Cloudmoster.
Tight toebox aside, the Cloudmoster has excellent step-in comfort thanks to the wide and accommodating collar. The lace cage is comparatively small but combined with the stiffer upper; it provides a good lockdown. The padding around the collar is also great – I experienced no chafing on my test runs.
On Cloudmonster review: Running performance
As max cushioned shoe, the Cloudmoster is recommended for long-distance runs, but according to On, it can also be used for breezy 5Ks. I'd use the Allbirds Tree Dasher 2 for 5Ks or the Nike ZoomX Streakfly for faster 10Ks before considering putting on the Cloudmoster for these distances.
That said, the midsole's rocker shape helps move you forward no matter the distance. The 6 mm drop makes the shoes evermore accessible; neither too flat, so you have to put the work in yourself, nor too steep that would put pressure on the legs.
I used the Cloudmonster for everything from 5Ks to longer runs, and I can't say it performed terribly at any distance. The extra foam makes the shoes better suited for longer distances, and that's where the Cloudmonster really shines. I talked a lot about max cushioning and added CloudTec, but is the On Cloudmoster a soft running shoe? I'd say the shoes are still firm but maybe not quite as firm as some other On models.
On Cloudmonster review: Aesthetics
On puts a lot of effort into making its shoes look fantastic. If you ask me, this effort is paying off big time lately. On shoes have always been recognisable thanks to the unique shape of the CloudTec midsole, but if you've been reviewing running shoes for as long as I've been, you'd also know that On shoes also feature sharp angles and off-the-wall colours, at least the newer models.
On learned a lot from moving into sneakerhead territory in recent years, and this experience is on full display on the Cloudmoster. The shoes are purposefully OTT, have bold colours, and feature even bolder lettering on the lateral side. Soon, the CLOUDTEC logo will be as recognisable as the three stripes and the swoosh.
On Cloudmonster review: Verdict
The On Cloudmoster is a max cushioned, neutral road running shoe designed to carry you in comfort over long distances. It features the most amount of Cloud elements ever to be found in On shoes which is combined with the springy Speedboard, making the shoe an excellent choice for 10K+ runs.
Despite being the softest shoe On has to offer, the Cloudmoster is not a soft running shoe; the CloudTec midsole is definitely firmer than Nike's Zoomx or Adidas' Boost technology. That said, the Cloudmonster is far from being uncomfortable, although the toe box could be roomier.
On designs shoes that are nice to look at, and the Cloudmonster is no exception. The colours and over-the-top lettering make the shoes stand out from the crowd, especially compared to brands such as Brooks Running (Brooks has some cool shoes, too, just have a look a the Brooks Aurora-BL).
The On Cloudmoster is recommended for runners who prefer a bit of firmness and need some hip trainers for long-distance runs. Let the monster go the extra mile for you.
On Cloudmoster review: Also consider
For those looking for something softer, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit is a great option. The ZoomX foam is super-soft yet provides excellent energy return. With the updated Flyknit upper, padded collar and puffy tongue, comfort levels are through the roof.
The Adidas 4DFWD is the first running shoe with a working 3D-printed midsole. The bowtie-shaped 4D cells do a great job in moving you forward, while the Primeknit+ upper makes running a comfortable experience. It's not the softest running trainer but equally as exciting as On's max cushioned Cloudmonster.