“Heavy” and “hiking” don’t go so well together. Heavy gear, heavy legs, heavy boots. If you’re telling the story of your best-ever hike these are probably not phrases you’d use. And stories are an important part of hiking…
When the team in the On Lab set out to create a new hiking boot, it was with making incredible memories in mind. Making a hiking boot unbelievably light, agile and comfortable as well as protective means you’re more likely to extend your hike. It means you’re more likely to take the trail you wouldn’t otherwise have taken – to climb that final peak for the unforgettable view you would otherwise have missed.
We know it from our performance running shoes and it’s no different here: with less weight on your feet, you feel free to go further. That’s why the Cloudridge is Swiss engineered to be as light, agile and breathable as possible. Add the unique benefits of our CloudTec® cushioning and Speedboard® technology, and you have ultralight comfort with the energy return to go as far as you like in complete comfort.
The Cloudrock vs. The Cloudridge
You might have heard that On already offers a hiking boot – The Cloudrock Waterproof. So why another hiking boot?
Pretty simple actually. The Cloudrock Waterproof is made for hiking in all weather conditions. Its breathable membrane technology keeps out wind and rain so you can go on adventures in all weathers. But it doesn’t rain all the time (thankfully) and a lot of the best hiking memories are made on summer days and in warmer climates. Which means another opportunity to adapt the technology to the conditions, as Footwear Product Management Lead, Sebastian Hage, explains:
“A breathable waterproof membrane is great, but you just don’t need it in all weathers. We developed the Cloudridge as an alternative for higher temperatures. That meant we can reduce the weight even further and really increase breathability, all of which helps keep you comfortable in warm conditions.
“That doesn’t mean the Cloudridge isn’t made tough and protective though. I would say its special feature is the incremental, breathable and water-repellent upper material. Inspired by the proven performance of our trail running shoes it’s always ready for hiking and off-road adventures, but also works well if you’re traveling or even for everyday wear.”
Always traveling light
So,if the average hiking boot is stiff and heavy, how can the Cloudridge be so light? Good question. To be precise, the Cloudridge weighs just between 340g and 410g (sizes US 8.5 and US 7 for men and women respectively). A lot of that comes down to the design philosophy borrowed from our trail running shoes. Just like the Cloudventure Peak trail racing shoe – our lightest off-road running shoe – the material of the Cloudridge is only reinforced where it’s really necessary. This alone dramatically reduces weight.
The materials themselves are light too. The upper is made of ultra-lightweight, breathable and durable ripstop fabric that ensures a close-fitting, sock-like fit. It’s also stretchable for perfect comfort. Thin reinforcements on the back of the boot, as well as vegan leather on the outside provide the necessary support. An inner gusset made of thin mesh material provides additional support in the midfoot area. The collar is designed to provide stability around the ankle.
And with a product engineered specifically for exploring in nature, our focus on reducing the environmental impact of our products comes to the fore. Over 90% of the polyester used in the Cloudridge is recycled. In total, recycled materials make up 10% of all materials used in the shoe – numbers we’re always working to increase further for future models.
“We wanted the step-in to be more like putting on socks than boots. The tongue locks around the midfoot for a reassuring hold and the sturdy collar gives you the right amount of stability. So it still feels like a boot, but only where you want it too. There are some hiking boots you can’t wait to take off after a hike. We made the Cloudridge light and breathable enough that you can wear the boots for the rest of the day without a second thought.”
- Oliver Whitworth, Footwear Developer - Performance Outdoor
Another difference from the average hiking boot is a lower collar height at the heel. This allows a wider range of motion when ascending and descending. As a result, the comfort is closer to that of a shoe rather than a boot, while still offering stability and protection around the ankle. No more paying for that panoramic view with blisters.
For comfort when the hike heats up, or when you’re travelling in hot weather, the Cloudridge is big on breathability. Both the shoe lining and tongue are made of breathable 3D mesh that maintain constant airflow to your feet.
The lightweight sensation of wearing the Cloudridge is further enhanced by the Speedboard® technology hidden just below your foot. Engineered specifically for the demands of hiking on uneven terrain, this flexible board is shaped to allow for the torsion you need to clamber comfortably over rocks and tree roots. However, it’s primary purpose, like all the details on this next-gen hiking boot, is to encourage you forward. The Speedboard® of the Cloudridge is designed to give you good protection underfoot along with added stability and efficiency. It’s made in a way that means pressure from stepping on stones or uneven ground is evenly distributed across the foot. And thanks to its enhanced rolling motion, every step of hike feels a little lighter.
Traction Approved in the Alps
We are not only inspired by the Alps; the Swiss mountains are also our testing ground. And the combination of our CloudTec® cushioning and our Missiongrip® traction overlay is proven on countless climbs – and just as many descents.
While other hiking shoes use multiple cushioning units and a heavy layer of outsole with extra lugs, we saved weight by combining the cushioning unit and the traction unit into one. The only thing left in between is air.
To take it to the next level, we’ve added our innovative Missiongrip™ rubber overlay. This surrounds each Cloud element, providing grip on varying terrain while acting as a protective layer. The angular shape of the elements allows them to work as cleats while also acting as a cushioning unit.
To increase the grip on dry and wet terrain, each contact surface offers two different grip patterns: flat tread blocks for better hold on dry surfaces and a 3D-molded triangular texture for better grip on wet surfaces. In addition, carefully positioned lugs in the middle of the forefoot provide satisfying traction on soft terrain.
Signature lacing for any situation
No matter where you are or what your plan is, the Cloudridge is all about letting you move how you want. That’s why the FlexLock lacing system gives you lacing options that you won't find on other hiking boots. You want to get out exploring with one quick move? It’s easily done with the speed-lacing configuration. You want as much room to play as possible? Sure thing. You just want the wrap-around lacing of traditional boots? No problem.
Where you go and how you get there once you’re laced up is also your call. Every detail we’ve discussed was made so you can hike and explore how you like. Where will your next adventure take you? Find the effortless performance of the Cloudridge. Then go find out.