Before we talk about the On Cloudeclipse, On Running’s new ultra-thick daily running shoe, let’s talk about why On is currently one of the most sought-after shoe brands.
There’s a whole lot of discussion within every shoe community – collectors, runners, ballers, etc. – about the hottest brands and the hottest shoes. But anyone frequenting US suburban neighborhoods has noticed one brand on more and more feet. That brand is On. On, along with HOKA, has been named the biggest threat to Nike’s market dominance.
For some, it’s the performance of On shoes, for others, it’s their unmistakable aesthetic, and for plenty of people, it might be that the company seems to make shoes as appropriate for the gym as they are for a casual date.
My wife saw my On Cloud X 3 (which we reviewed recently) and while she was happy to hear about the performance, it was the aesthetic that gripped her – something reinforced by seeing these shoes in airports around the country this year. I’ve since bought her three different pairs, with more purchases likely to come.
I was pleasantly surprised that On sent over their new max cushion running shoe, the On Cloudeclipse. While On did provide the shoes to Drew and me for review, the company had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence this review.
It’s also very important that you understand the kind of runners who are reviewing these shoes – Drew is an experienced marathon runner, who also moonlights as a running mentor for folks on the WearTesters Discord. Meanwhile, Arune (that’s me!) is the definition of a mediocre runner who has built up to 30-35 miles of running per week (though a knee injury has slowed him down lately).
Release Date: November 2023
Weight: Men’s 10.1 oz., Women’s 8.5 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The On Cloudeclipse is a newly released ultra-thick daily running shoe with casual appeal, great fit, dependable traction, and a polarizing midsole.
How Do the Authors Train?
Arune Singh (age 42, 5’11”, 210lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming from Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos, along with logging 30-40 miles of running per week. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.
Drew Whitcomb (age 41, 6’6″ 195lbs): Trains daily with a focus on running, strength training, and mobility. He writes the majority of our running shoe reviews and runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and his growing affinity for long-distance races. More marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races are in his future.
What is the On Cloudeclipse?
On describes the Cloudeclipse as:
The maximum-cushioned road shoe for long runs. Featuring a double layer of CloudTec Phase® for a soft and smooth ride.
Arune: I say this in every review, but I have slightly wide feet – by which I mean my forefoot is too wide for many shoes or boots, but my midfoot seems to generally be less of an issue. For example, I need a wide size in most Hoka shoes but I end up finding the midfoot too wide. In Asics, I wear a standard size because it fits like a glove.
That’s all to say it’s hard to imagine a company consistently delivering better fitting shoes for my feet than On. Right out of the box, without even loosening the laces, the On Cloudeclipse absolutely hugged my feet while allowing full toe splay like I wish other brands would (Editor’s Note: he’s definitely referring to the brand with a swoosh).
Buy TTS (true to size) in line with how you size your running shoes from other brands (except maybe New Balance, where I size .5 down).
Drew: The On Cloudeclipse’s length is true to size but the upper is incredibly accommodating. Arune mentioned the ample toebox. It’s perfect for foot-expanding longer runs.
Narrow footers will need to cinch them up quite a bit. But the On Cloudeclipse can still maintain its suave look even with extreme lace tightening. After heavy tightening, there’s only a small amount of puckering at the top of the toebox. The unique tongue to toebox connection allows the material to compress without any folding or flopping. The puckering isn’t even noticeable unless you’re specifically looking for it.
And despite being built on such a high platform, the On Cloudeclipse’s lockdown is solid. My feet felt firmly planted on the shoe even when navigating tricky 90 or 180-degree turns.
On’s detail-oriented build quality really nailed both the fit and security of the Cloudeclipse.
Arune: I want to note that On says the upper is made from “70% recycled content” and the “dope dyed upper uses 90% less water”. Both are really awesome production choices. I’m as guilty as anyone of needing to do more for the environment and contributing to climate ills with my consumerism, so it’s great when a big brand like On embraces environmentalism.
Overall, I really liked the upper – it’s something I’ve found consistently impressive with their running shoes (like the Cloudboom Echo 3). The engineered mesh was breathable in the never-ending Los Angeles summer and the not-quite-gusseted tongue stayed in place quite well during runs. The upper is also very thin compared to some other shoes I’ve been wearing, like the Brooks Ghost Max. This makes the upper of the On Cloudeclipse feel like something between a daily trainer and a racing shoe.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the incredible aesthetics of this shoe. On has a knack for making it all work. The color that Drew and I got is labeled “Flame and Ivory” but looks more like “Peaches and Cream” (you know you’ve got some 112 playing in your head right now). It’s not a colorway I’d choose to buy. But the neon color accents and silver stripes make this a shoe I have taken out repeatedly for casual usage because it always gets compliments.
Drew, you try out every damn running shoe ever released – how did this upper compare for you?
Drew: The On Cloudeclipse continues a streak of comfortable, great-fitting On uppers. Similar to many footwear brands, On uses engineered mesh. But On’s engineered mesh just looks and feels more premium than other brands. The colorful shades and various textures On can tease out of a common material like engineered mesh are impressive. On’s manufacturing prowess seems to be on a higher level than most other companies.
Arune: Well, this is where I’m gonna lose most of you because the bottom line is the On Cloudeclipse didn’t work for me.
Let’s be clear – the step in comfort is incredible, exactly like you’d expect from an On shoe. The Helion superfoam midsole is firm but there is a squishiness when you press into it. Just don’t expect this to feel like a Hoka shoe or Asics shoe with FFBlast+. You really have to press into the On Cloudeclipse midsole to get that squish.
But every time I took this shoe out, no matter if it was an easy run, sprints, or some interval training, I just couldn’t get into a groove. Every time my foot hit the ground, I felt no energy return and no pop to move me forward. The foam actually ended up feeling dead to me, like that big thick stack had compressed to nothing…and wouldn’t expand again.
Perhaps that’s just not what the shoe is supposed to do, but after running recently in shoes like the Brooks Ghost Max, Asics Gel-Nimbus 25, Asics Superblast, and Saucony Triumph 20, I’ve become accustomed to some extra bounce as I put in those daily training miles.
When I hear “max cushioned”, I immediately think of soft, squishy super foams and a rocker that keeps you moving. On even promises “plush and pillowy” which seems like a different shoe, regardless of the step in comfort I mentioned.
This is actually a problem I’ve run into repeatedly with so many acclaimed shoes. Perhaps 200 pounds is the magical number where running shoes become hit or miss, but max cushion shoes tend to be where I have the best luck, The On Cloudclipse just doesn’t feel like it is a true max cushion trainer and actively made me not want to run.
I also really felt my knee bothering me in this shoe – which wasn’t the case when I then laced up the Superblast or Ghost Max, both of which provided much more noticeable and effective shock absorption. It’s of course my choice – good or bad – to run through a small injury but the On Cloudeclipse did me no favors.
From the reviews I’ve seen online, I’m in the minority. What am I missing, Drew?
Drew: People experience firmness differently and the On Cloudeclipse appears to be a good example of that. While I don’t think the On Cloudeclipse feels particularly soft, it’s probably the squishiest On shoe to date.
I felt plenty of shock absorption, especially in the heel. Unlike the On Cloudsurfer’s similar CloudTec Phase midsole, the heel and forefoot felt like one unit, though the heel still feels softer than the forefoot. And that softness doesn’t lend itself to anything speedy. Trying to pick up the pace in the On Cloudeclipse is a chore. This is purely a shoe for easy miles. And those easy miles don’t ever feel insecure.
The On Cloudeclipse’s midsole structure benefits from the x-shaped torsional support piece that spreads across the middle of the outsole. That piece allows the double CloudTec Phase midsole to collapse in on itself (for more squish) without the side-to-side instability. This extra stability also allows the nearly two-inch midsole to maintain some ground feel and not feel like a balance beam.
Arune: That reminds me of a positive note. I want to add that the stack here looks tall but doesn’t feel tall. There’s a remarkable stability to this shoe that I don’t always feel in higher stack shoes (like the Hoka Bondi 8). I think with a different ride, I would’ve been very into this shoe…but that’s like wishing Green Arrow was Batman. You gotta work with what you’ve got no matter the similarities. I want to, pun intended, run away from this shoe as any kind of daily trainer.
Anyway, lemme close with a question for Drew – you’re already the tallest running shoe reviewer in the game, What was it like to be EVEN taller?
Drew: The truth is I’ve been taller thanks to a pair of running shoes (I’m looking at you adidas Prime X 2 Strung) but I never mind growing my 6’6” frame to 6’8”. Extra height is always fun. Those extra couple of inches from the On Cloudeclipse don’t really change the way I experience the world, but it’s always helpful for seeing above the crowds.
Arune: I took the On Cloudeclipse out on some wet roads, some dry pavement, and some dirt paths. The grip was awesome on all of them.
I might be a bit generous here, but this seems like an outsole that will last longer than something like the Ghost Max with all that exposed foam.
I’m not going to make any bold declarations, so let’s get that Big Drew Energy to explain all the things I don’t understand.
Drew: I like how you tied in the extra two inches of height I get from the On Cloudclipse with the “Big Drew Energy” comment. Arune loves the thematic interweaving. That must be his comic book background peeking out.
I too had no problems with the traction. It gripped well across a bunch of different conditions. I’m seeing a tiny bit of fraying at my toe-off point but it’s nothing that worries me. The outsole appears built to last through an onslaught of easy miles and casual wear.
Is the On Cloudeclipse worth $180?
Arune: Let’s assume for a moment I did enjoy the ride of this shoe as much as I hoped (or even as much as Drew did).
This is an expensive daily trainer in a market where $140-$160 seems like the norm and super trainers like the Superblast are within arm’s reach at $200.
However, On and Nike have a similar “tax” on their shoes when put next to their competitors – basically, you’re paying a bit more but you’re also getting shoes that look better than what you’ll get from nearly anyone else.
So, really, if you enjoy the ride of this shoe I’d say it’s worth a bit more for a shoe that you can wear nearly anywhere after the gym and that will keep drawing compliments from strangers.
Drew: The On Cloudeclipse competes with a bunch of shoes priced at $160ish so it’s technically overpriced for a high-stack daily trainer. But over the years of reviewing On shoes, I’ve learned you’re either are willing to pay extra for On or you aren’t. There’s no middle ground. I’ve talked to plenty of people on both sides of that particular fence and both sides have good arguments. So where you fall on that particular argument will determine whether you think the price is right.
On Cloudeclipse Summary
Arune: The On Cloudeclipse is a very comfortable shoe that I cannot recommend as a daily trainer since it doesn’t really fit with how I run.
However, I think a lot of folks will enjoy the firmer ride, like the runners who enjoy the adidas Boston 12, and it makes for a decent casual shoe, which is how I plan to keep wearing it.
Drew: As Arune said, the On Cloudeclipse works great as a casual shoe due to the comfort, cushion, and extra height it provides. The Cloudeclipse is also a capable daily running shoe meant for lots of slower-paced miles. Its thick, stable midsole can eat up those miles.
If you’re looking for a soft-ish shoe that’s not super squishy and don’t mind paying a little more because it’s an On shoe, you’ll get a solid combo of daily running shoe and fresh fun casual shoe. Well, as long as you experience the softness of the midsole more like me and less like Arune (Editor’s Note: This is why we always recommend you buy from somewhere with a great return policy).