“The monster is alive.”
Quite an unexpected statement coming on a video call with the On Lab.
What have they created?
Thankfully, it’s not as scary as it sounds, but Performance Running Product Manager Philipp Hagel is serious.
“Alive” is his description of what it feels like to run in the new Cloudmonster. And this is an invitation to try this latest addition to On's range of high-performance road-running shoes.
As Philipp explains, he and the team really have given this shoe a life of its own. Take one look at the Cloudmonster and it’s pretty obvious this is not like any other On shoe.
“The focus was on maximum cushioning,” Philipp explains. “We wanted to explore how big we could go with CloudTec® while still keeping our signature ‘run on clouds’ sensation.”
Fresh from On's innovation lab comes the Cloudmonster performance running shoe. It features the most extreme iteration of CloudTec®, resulting in more cushioning, more energy return and the softest running feel.
The distinctive Cloud elements are combined with a Speedboard® for massive take-offs and a radical rocker shape for a very smooth, rolling forward motion. Runners looking for the extreme in cushioning and looks will find a whole new running experience with a stylish look in the Cloudmonster.
And that wasn’t easy.
“CloudTec® is a great technology in that you can evolve and adapt it for different purposes. We could play with the design and try different things. As we took it to the absolute max, there was a lot of trial and error.
“Some of the first prototypes weren’t great. The final sensation is not only down to the geometry of the CloudTec®, but also the foam and the Speedboard® [more on that later]. It’s a complex recipe.”
“Then Olivier (Bernhard, On Co-Founder and former pro athlete) tested a prototype and said it felt like ‘a full suspension mountain bike.’ That’s when we knew we were on the right track.”
Confirmation that the team had created something special came when the Cloudmonster was recognized with an ISPO Award 2022 for its “most extreme iteration of CloudTec®, resulting in more cushioning, more energy return and the softest running feel.”
Serious about fun
Other testers were soon coming back with similar comments. Scrolling through Philipp’s feedback log, you see quotes like:
“Different from anything I’ve tried.”
“Put a big smile on my face.”
“This shoe is so much fun!”
“Wow” is a word that comes up a lot. As is “fun.” And that’s no accident. The Cloudmonster features some serious Swiss-engineered tech, but the goal was always to create a ride that runners will love. The focus was on massive cushioning, but it’s the combination of that cushioning with monster-levels of energy return that makes this shoe unique.
That unmissable beast of a bottom unit contains that monster of a CloudTec® configuration that Philipp described. On landing, the huge CloudTec® elements made from Helion™ superfoam compress to erase impact. But unlike with shoes that are stacked up with solid foam, you don’t have to fight against all that soft stuff to take off again. The fully compressed Clouds form a solid platform that’s much easier to push off from.
The propulsion of the take-off is given a boost by the Speedboard®. This flexible plate just above the Cloud elements loads with energy as you land, storing it until you’re ready for it to power you forward into your next stride.
In the case of the Cloudmonster, this effect is enhanced yet more by the shoe’s extreme ‘rocker’ shape. This curved profile of the whole bottom unit has you feeling like you have to start running from the second you step in.
“The rocker is pretty extreme,” Philipp explains. “We really wanted that so you get a real forward rolling sensation.
“When you step in, it almost feels like you’re falling forward, the shoe encourages you forward, it’s all engineered to propel you through your run.”
An upper with attitude
The bottom of the Cloudmonster might be unmissable, but the upper is pretty striking too.
The engineered mesh not only offers cooling comfort, but packs an aesthetic with some serious attitude.
“Fans might recognize the oversize On logo from some of our most specialized shoes,” Philipp says. “We went for that because, as with elite-level shoes like the Cloudboom Echo, we’re pushing technologies to the new places.”
But while the Cloudboom Echo is a specialist racing shoe, the Cloudmonster comes ready for a much broader range of runs – and runners.
This monster loves to eat up the miles, so it’s great for long distances on the road. It’s built more for distance than pace; it’s here to put more fun into your run, whether you’re logging 5K or 25K.
But Philipp is keen to emphasize again: this playful shoe isn’t compromising on performance.
“We gave some pairs to our elite OAC (On Athletics Club) athletes for testing,” Philipp explains. “For many of them, it’s still their favorite training shoe. So while any runner will appreciate the cushioning, there’s a high-level of performance in there that means it’s even loved by the pros.”
So, whatever your level or goal, if you’re looking for more cushioning, more energy return – and more fun out on the asphalt, this is the shoe for you.
The Cloudmonster might be a bit weird, but it’s weird for a reason.
Get weird with the Cloudmonster
Featuring our biggest CloudTec® ever for massive cushioning and max energy. A monster of a ride.