Last updated on February 16th, 2024
The On Cloudflow 4 is a nimble running shoe that excels in long-distance journeys. Nevertheless, its limited grip and somewhat bumpy ride make it unsuitable for all runners.
Do you deserve On Cloudflow 4?
This shoe is perfect for runners who are lighter in weight and tend to avoid landing on their midfoot. It is also a suitable choice for individuals with a running technique that involves gentle landings.
This shoe is not suitable for runners who weigh more or have a strong impact when landing. Additionally, I would advise midfoot strikers to steer clear of this shoe in unfavorable weather conditions.
On Cloudflow 4 Brief Introduction
On, a shoe brand from Switzerland, has become increasingly popular recently. It is renowned for its unique cushioning technology called "cloud pods" and "Cloudtec", which gives its shoes a distinctive appearance that is easily recognizable when worn. On has also created excellent options for runners with exceptional mechanics and who cover long distances at high speeds. The On shoes, known for their firm and supportive cushioning, can make runners feel as though they are gliding effortlessly during their faster runs.
However, because of their specific design, they may feel too rigid and uncomfortable for many other runners.
The Cloudflow trainer is built to conquer all kinds of runs. It offers sufficient padding to support those who go the distance, while also providing the right amount of cushioning and transition technology to enhance tempo and track workouts.
Nevertheless, the dissimilarity lies in the variety and sensation of the padding.
On Cloudflow 4 Try-on Experience
Upon the arrival of these shoes, I was immensely delighted by their impeccable design. Their sleek and minimalist aesthetic adds a remarkable charm when adorning one's feet.
This item is available in five distinct color options. I personally chose the 'White | Hay' color version. However, it's important to note that this specific color choice may pose limitations when it comes to pairing it with other garments.
Once I slipped them onto my feet for the very first time, I was immediately filled with immense satisfaction. The sensation was delightful, and they proved to be exceptionally comfortable for strolling around. Even during full days of teaching, they held up remarkably well without a single problem.
During my initial test with the shoe, the On technology proved its worth as I completed a 5k tempo run (with a 1-mile warm-up, 5k at a steady pace, and a 1-mile cool-down) and the results were impressive.
They scraped the ground and appeared to push me forward at a rapid pace that felt buoyant and effortless. Yet, as the pace came to an end and I began to slow down for the cool down phase, they felt somewhat jarring.
In general, I felt content with the initial attempt, although I had concerns regarding the extensive and leisurely distances I would have to cover.
On Cloudflow 4 Upper/Vamp
Simplicity was prioritized in the construction of the Cloudflow upper. It features a unified mesh material that is tightly woven to provide support, breathability, and flexibility. The upper seamlessly accommodates the movements of your feet during your stride and as you push off. The heel cup fits snugly, the midfoot and toebox have standard widths. It strikes a balance between spaciousness and snugness.
The upper of the shoe truly excels in its capacity to provide ample ventilation, ensuring that your feet remain cool and comfortable. However, this feature proved to be quite challenging when I decided to go for a run in extremely chilly conditions, with temperatures as low as 20F (-7C). In no time, my feet became exceedingly cold, prompting me to head back home and add an extra pair of socks for warmth.
The upper's lacing mechanism effectively secures the feet, particularly in the heel area where sturdy molding is employed for a secure fit. I found the heel of the upper to be exceptionally impressive.
Regrettably, there is another element of the upper that personally disappointed me - the tongue. It is made of a thin material, just like the rest of the upper, which offers excellent flexibility and breathability. However, its thinness becomes a downside during longer runs as the laces can exert additional pressure on the top of the foot.
On Cloudflow 4 Sole Units
On is renowned for its use of CloudTec and "cloud pods" on the midsole of their footwear. The Cloudflow 4 continues this tradition, with the cloud pods being a prominent feature on the sole unit. In this instance, On incorporates 32mm of Helion foam cushioning under the heel, which then tapers down to 24mm under the toes, maintaining a true-to-size ratio. This level of cushioning provides the shoe with ample support while also allowing for agility during turns and on the track.
The cloud pods are designed in a way that allows the cushion to compress, potentially resulting in a gentler landing. While I personally haven't experienced a noticeable difference in landing softness, this technology particularly excels in aiding transitions and toe-offs.
The cloud pods have been crafted with a design that works together with a dynamic toe rocker to propel your movement forward. Consequently, you'll experience the shoe aiding your progression towards your toes. As you reach that juncture, the Speedboard technology beneath the toe propels you into a powerful toe-off. This feature truly excels when you increase your speed.
On the bottom of the cloud pods, On has added rubber pads to improve traction on roads. These pads can be found on the front and back of the shoe, while a textured foam is used in the middle to provide a stronger grip. Unfortunately, this aspect of the shoe did not meet my specific running needs.
On Cloudflow 4 Summary
Someone has designed some incredible shoes that not only look amazing but also provide a comfortable fit for your feet. The Cloudflow 4 is no exception to this. These shoes have a visually appealing design and offer a pleasant sensation when worn. The technology used in their creation is highly advanced, and in some instances, they truly excel during runs. However, they fall slightly short of perfection and fail to hit the mark completely.
This shoe is ideal for certain runners who are in search of a perfect fit. It is particularly suitable for experienced, light-footed runners with excellent running form. The shoes truly excel when paired with good mechanics and a swift tempo. Nevertheless, when I slowed down my pace, they didn't provide the desired sensation for my feet.
In addition to finding the cushioning uncomfortable for my specific running style, I also had trouble with these shoes lacking grip when landing in difficult weather conditions. If I made a conscious effort to land on my heels first, I didn't encounter any problems. Similarly, when I leaned forward and ran on my toes at a faster pace, the shoes performed well. Nevertheless, the majority of my running involves landing on my midfoot.
As I stepped onto the wet cement, my foot landed on the midfoot and I immediately sensed the shoe sliding beneath me. Nebraska's winter season brings with it snow and ice, making the ground treacherous. While none of the shoes I wore during this time were perfect for these conditions, the Cloudflow performed notably worse compared to the Saucony Triumph RFG & 21s, and Brooks Glycerin 20s.
I experimented with four different pairs of shoes under these circumstances to determine if my perception of the impact on concrete was exaggerated. It wasn't. These shoes performed noticeably worse, causing me to become more conscious of it with each landing.
For me, this shoe was no longer suitable for everyday use. However, that doesn't rule out the possibility of it being a better fit for someone else who matches its intended purpose. Its true brilliance surfaced when I desired to increase my speed.
The shoes performed exceptionally well during tempo and track workouts. They proved to be highly responsive and allowed me to exert maximum effort and push myself to the limit.
I believe that the ideal spot for these shoes is within the thoughts of the majority of runners. Regardless of your identity, if you are searching for a fantastic partner for tempo runs and tracks, these shoes are excellent.
- Price: $160 (on-running)
- Style & Colors:
- speed training
- tempo runs
- track runs
- long distance running
- Constructions & Features:
- True to size
- Low cushioning
- Forward rolling running style
- Standard lacing
- Heel drop: 8mm
- Weight: 235g
- Lightweight woven upper for next-gen speed and breathability
- Ultra-responsive cushioning sensation with Helion™ superfoam