I ran 30 miles in the On Cloudmonster 2 running shoes — here's what happened

The Cloudmonster 2 offers even softer cushioning, but there's a trade-off

The On Cloudmonster 2 on a path outside
(Image: © Michael Sawh)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The On Cloudmonster 2 is now a more cushioned shoe to better protect your legs over distance, but the added weight means it’s not as versatile as the first Cloudmonster.


  • +

    Good-fitting and accommodating upper

  • +

    Retains recognizable On running shoe design

  • +

    Very protective and stable


  • -

    Not as versatile as first Cloudmonster

  • -

    Heavier than first its predecessor

  • -

    Some upper durability concerns

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There's no doubt that On can be a divisive running shoe brand. It makes attractive shoes that you can keep on all day, but the look doesn't always match the performance, especially as they're often on the firmer side. 

But to compete with the best running shoes, On has started to soften its design approach and edged away from its signature Cloudtec cushioning. This transition began with the first-generation Cloudmonster, a shoe designed to be dependable for easy days and uptempo sessions. 

This brings us to the Cloudmonster 2 — an upgraded version with a few tweaks to the more likable version of Cloudtec cushioning. It's supposed to make for a more accommodating and comfortable ride, so I put the shoes to the test, running 30 miles in them to see how they fared. 

On Cloudmonster 2 review: Price and availability

The On Cloudmonster 2 launched on February 22, 2024, available directly from On's website and in many other retailers, including REI and Dick's Sporting Goods. The initial retail price was $179.99, the same cost as On's other max-cushioned shoe, the Cloudeclipse

That price also puts it around the same price as several other popular max-cushioned shoes, like the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 ($160), although there are cheaper options with similar cushioning, including the Brooks Ghost Max ($150).

On Cloudmonster 2 review: Design and fit

The On Cloudmonster 2 left shoe outside on a path

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

The On Cloudmonster 2 are a heavily cushioned daily trainer, so the aim is to protect your legs from regular impact, especially over longer distances. Like the first Cloudmonster, there's only a single width option, and I found that the fit remained true to size as well. 

While the first version sat a little more snug in the toes, things have certainly opened up more on the new Cloudmonster, so if you were hoping for more room up top, On certainly delivers that.

On sticks to a 6mm drop, though there’s a change in the stack heights, going from 34mm at the heel and 28mm at the forefoot to 35mm and 29mm offering a little more foam between you and the floor.

There's an increase in weight too — my US size 10 (UK 8) pair weighed in at 10.2 oz, up from the original's 9.5 oz — so the shoes are bigger and heavier than before.


The On Cloudmonster 2 upper

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

Along with a roomier feel up front, the upper is a mesh one with some overlays to add some extra durability. On’s moved from using 80% to 92% recycled polyester in that upper to show it’s doing a bit on the sustainability front too.

The company has also stuck to a similar skinny tongue that has some mesh sections to add some breathability and the same laces that I had no problem getting a good reliable lockdown with on top of that tongue.

Further back, the heel collar design has been slightly tweaked and opens up more than it did before, though the level of padding remains the same. It’s not a generous amount of padding, but it’s enough to keep things secure and comfortable at the back. Disappointingly, I have noticed that part of the upper has started to come apart at the heel.

That upper comes in four different colors for both the men’s and women’s versions and I’d comfortably say the undyed/flame combo I had to test is the best-looking of those colorway options, which also makes it a good one to keep on when you’re going for a stroll.


The On Cloudmonster 2 midsole

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

The big changes lie in the midsole where On’s Cloudtec pods remain in place, though there are more of them and the pods seem larger and a touch softer when you squeeze them. There's also Helion super foam and nylon-based Speedboard to boost energy returns when you’re moving from heel to toe.


The On Cloudmonster 2 outsole

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

The outsole design remains largely the same as the first-gen Cloudmonster, with the rubber placement focused at the heel and the forefoot with exposed areas elsewhere on the outsole. Plus, On has filled the gap in the shoe's middle to prevent debris from getting caught inside.

I used the Cloudmonster 2 on a mix of dry and wet pavements and roads and spent some time running on slightly rockier terrain to see how it handled some off-road running, and the shoe remains best suited to flatter surfaces like its predecessor.

On Cloudmonster 2 review: Performance

The On Cloudmonster 2 stacked on a path outside

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

Before the original Cloudmonster, I wasn't a fan of On's running shoes due to their firmer cushioning. The first-gen didn't make my shoe rotation, but I did appreciate the softer cushioning and overall weight, which made them good for easy runs and slighter faster ones too. 

But after running 30 miles in the Cloudmonster 2, I'm not convinced the changes On has made actually make it a better shoe. My first run was an 8-mile progression-style run, where I could see how the new Cloudmonster handled some slightly quicker running times.

While I found the ride in the shoe was stable and smooth with a mild rockered feeling, the noticeable jump in weight made it a bit of a chore wanting to run faster in it, and always felt like there was a whole lot more shoe than its predecessor.

The extra cushioning felt more protective, and the Cloudtec pods are a bit softer, but the ride is still firmer than I'd like. However, the On Cloudeclipse and Cloudsurfer are softer and just as protective at a similar price, making it hard to see why you'd choose the Cloudmonster 2. 

At my slower recovery pace, the shoes felt more at home. The ride was protective and controlled, and I could appreciate the more open upper, which makes it more accommodating for longer runs. But the extra cushioning and weight still feel like a downgrade. 

Should you buy the On Cloudmonster 2?

The On Cloudmonster 2 is supposed to upgrade On's cushioned shoe, but it feels more like a step backward instead. The extra cushioning is comfortable but adds weight, which doesn't help improve its performance overall. 

If you like the idea of a big cushion, firmer-feeling running shoe that makes a pretty comfortable walking shoe too, then it will have appeal. If you like the original Cloudmonster, then you’d be better off picking up a cut-price version of the original, if you can find it.

Plus, On actually has a better max-cushioned shoe in its range, the Cloudeclipse, which is a better choice. Alternatively, the Saucony Triumph 21 or Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 and Gel-Nimbus 26 work for similar runs and get you an all-around nicer shoe in the process.

Michael Sawh

Michael is a freelance journalist who has covered consumer technology for over a decade and specializes in wearable and fitness tech. Previously editor of Wareable, he also co-ran the features and reviews sections of T3, and has a long list of bylines in the world of consumer tech sites.

With a focus on fitness trackers, headphones, running wearables, phones, and tablet, he has written for numerous publications including Wired UK, GQ, Men's Fitness, BBC Science Focus, Metro and Stuff, and has appeared on the BBC Travel Show. Michael is a keen swimmer, a runner with a number of marathons under his belt, and is also the co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.