The On Cloudmonsters entered my life at a far too convenient time, to say the least. I came home with a pair of my own monsters earlier this year, after attending the launch of On's flagship store in London. Having just signed up for a half marathon event and a rigorous 12-week training plan, it was clear from my tired display of existing running trainers peering back at me that I was in need of a dependable pair of distance shoes. So, I decided to put the Cloudmonsters to the test.
I had clocked a few trendy runners glide past me in my local park, effortlessly sporting the Cloudmonsters (from $158 @ Amazon). I've also seen these kicks pop up all over my TikTok feed and I'd read a few reviews, including our fitness editor’s On Cloumonster review.
With their bold and individualistic design, I personally was already sold on their aesthetic. However, the true test laid in whether they could endure four weekly training runs (for 12 weeks), protect me from potential injury and provide the extra push I would need on race day.
I've run 300 miles in the On Cloudmonsters — here's how I rate them
During the 12-week training plan, I followed a pretty standard schedule of four runs a week – a long run, an interval session, a tempo run, and an easy run. Factoring in this training and the actual half marathon event, I clocked up just over 300 miles in the Cloudmonsters. Here’s my honest verdict…
Before taking the Cloudmonsters on my first run with me, my initial excitement was tempered when I realized that the shoe had a snugger fit than I would have liked. So I went up a half size, which felt miles better.
I did feel a little stiffness from the shoe as I had a quick jump around my house in them. But my concerns about potential rigidness were quickly forgotten as I hit the pavement. They felt way lighter than they looked and not monstrous like their name suggests.
The shoe proved to be smooth and responsive — delivering comfort, bounce, and robust support. I personally much prefer the level of support the Cloudmonster offers in comparison to the Cloudflows, which I also own but now use as a gym shoe over running as they don't feel as supportive as I like.
During my long runs, I found the high toe-spring and gentle rocker design provided a nice forward, rolling motion, making the shoes feel energy-efficient. Transitioning between strides felt nice and smooth, thanks again to the Cloudmonster rocker design, and grip wasn’t a concern during my various training sessions.
That being said, the majority of my runs took place during a heatwave and on pavemented parks, so the shoes weren’t subject to a great selection of terrains or conditions. I’d heard fellow runners mention they had issues with stones getting stuck in the cloud pods, but I didn't experience this problem during the 300 miles I logged in them, due to my predominantly urban running environment.
Like all On shoes, the Cloudmonsters include the Speedboard feature above the midsole, which is designed to give you a propulsive push-off — kind of similar to what you’ll find in the best carbon fiber running shoes.
The Speedboard enables the shoes to flex along with the movement of your foot as you run and then quickly return to their original shape providing a sharp and responsive action when pushing off with your toes. This mechanism came in handy during my speed work sessions, providing that extra push, especially when my energy started to wane towards the end of a session.
If there's one very minor gripe I have about the Cloudmonsters, it's that they can be a bit of a pain to clean due to the unique pod structure. I perhaps have a cheek saying that, as you’ll rarely catch me scrubbing my running kicks, but I like to know it won’t be too much of a chore when the time comes.
All in all, during my training period, these shoes didn’t disappoint or hinder me, meaning I never felt the need to switch to different trainers for my various sessions. This was a blessing, especially when I had to travel during my training plan, and packing just one pair of shoes sufficed.
As race day approached, I felt confident in my trusty Cloudmonsters which naturally made me feel more assured in other areas. They served me well throughout all 300 miles of my training and showed no signs of wear and tear, I trusted they would perform for another 13 miles on race day.
Throughout the half marathon, I felt supported and comfortable in the Cloudmonsters, and for the initial stretch, a sense of speed that almost seemed too good to be true. Although, this was likely a classic case of running fast on adrenaline, but not necessarily a pace I could sustain - so a me problem. It was a scorcher of a day for a September in the UK, with temperatures hitting 25 degrees. But the breathable uppers of the shoes kept my feet from becoming uncomfortably hot and sweaty.
The cushioning of the shoe proved invaluable in the demanding half marathon, carrying me through the first half. As the race progressed, especially in the latter stages, I began to wish for a bit more push from the shoes as my legs started to flag a little. This did leave me pondering whether a carbon-plated shoe might be my next choice for racing.
Nevertheless, during the post-race celebrations, my friend who also ran the half marathon tried on my Cloudmonsters for a little test run and politely told me, “No wonder you beat me in these beasts!" Clearly, On has created a favorable running shoe recipe with the Cloudmonsters.
Taking all things into account, my journey with the Cloudmonsters was an impressive one. From training sessions to the half marathon itself, these shoes offered responsive support and exceptional comfort. They excelled in easy runs, long runs, and recovery efforts, making them versatile and reliable companions for any distance.
Although not the easiest shoes to clean, their unique design and performance more than made up for this minor inconvenience. For those seeking a stylish (in my opinion), lightweight, and responsive running shoe, the Cloudmonsters certainly deliver.
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