**Disclaimer: I received a pair of the On Running Cloudsurfers to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Choosing the right running shoe is serious business for me. I’ve learned to be cautious when trying out the newest fads or latest technology because I can be very susceptible to injury and the LAST thing any runner wants is to be injured!
After struggling with a finicky psoas muscle and IT band all last year, I decided to go back to basics with my training. Reading Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Dr. Kelly Starrett has been a huge inspiration. Following his recommended steps, I began to retrain my body, starting with mobility and strength and transitioned out of my custom orthotics. As I approach 40, I know that my hip, glute and core strength are the key to proper form and will ensure my running longevity.
Enter On-Running Cloudsurfers.
I was very intrigued to try these shoes after reading about their incredible CloudTec® technology. While a conventional running shoe sends a high, visible impact from the forefoot though the the ankle into the calf, On Running shoes equipped with CloudTec®, show no visible impact on the body. Here are a few more highlights via the On-Running website:
Land Soft... - When you hit the ground, the highly adaptive rubber cushion both vertical and horizontal forces for a soft landing.
… but Push Off Hard - Once on the ground, the Clouds lock firm to provide a solid foundation for a natural and powerful takeoff.
Activate Your Power From Start to Finish - The Clouds act like tiny stability balls, responding to every movement of your foot.
Turn Your Muscles ON - Clouds activate your postural muscles and enable you to stabilize your foot strike without artificial support, putting you back in control.
Runner Profile: All types of runners looking for a cushioned yet highly responsive training and competition shoe.
Goal: Increase performance, train and compete
Heel toe offset: 7mm
Weight: 240g/8.5 oz (women’s)
Breathable Mesh: Uniquely engineered mesh places breathability and support exactly where you need it on your foot.
CloudTec® Technology: 13 “Clouds” close and lock for a natural transition for a faster take-off.
So what did I think of them?
The first thing I noticed about the Cloudsurfers is that they felt big. I ordered a women’s 9, which is what I normally wear in my Nike Pegasus shoes. I was a little worried that I might have gotten the wrong size, but they actually were just fine when I started running. I realized that the roomy toe box allowed my foot to expand naturally with each footstrike, something I had never experienced before with other shoes.
The first time I wore them, I only ran for about 20 minutes in them. I immediately noticed their responsiveness on the hard surface of the roads. I took them out for a 10 mile run the second time I wore them, which was both a great idea and a terrible one. The good news was that I ran on many different surfaces, including gravel, grass, concrete and dirt trails. Not a single twig, rock or stick got stuck in any of the clouds. And even better, I ran fast (for me)! I felt every muscle engaging from my shoulders, through my core, down my glutes to my calves. I felt powerful and fluid and enjoyed every mile! The bad news is the next day, I was so incredibly sore! I felt like I had run a marathon. My quads and calves ached and needed lots of foam rolling and recovery. I later learned that you need to give your body a few runs to get used to all your muscles being turned ON by the CloudTec®. Lesson learned!
After a few days, I tried again and only ran about 4 miles. Although my muscles still felt engaged and I was extremely cognizant of my running posture throughout the run, I wasn’t nearly as sore. By the 4th or 5th use, the post-run soreness subsided and I was getting the hang of recognizing my muscle engagement more often.
I love these shoes! They have really helped me become aware of my body while running, especially later in a run or when I start to become fatigued. This awareness enables me to make the necessary form adjustments and has helped me carry out some tough tempo workouts. I recently ran a half-marathon in them and truly enjoyed how they performed. I never got one blister or black toenail!
The one drawback is the laces. They are thin and long and difficult to keep tight. I might suggest changing out the laces for something shorter and thicker. I normally don’t have issues keeping laces tied but I have had to stop a few times to tie these shoes during a long run. Not a deal-breaker in my book, but just something to consider. I will be using my Cloudsurfers as part of my regular shoe rotation, especially as I move into marathon training season this summer.