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What's New? The Tech Behind the Next-Generation Cloudflow

The record-breaking shoe loved by elite athletes has been refined with their feedback, and nearly four years of research and testing. The goal? More comfort, more kick, more speed. Deep dive into the tech and discover how we Swiss-engineered the follow-up to our most successful shoe ever.


Lots of cushioning, very little weight, and a smooth, seamless ride. That was the original concept behind the Cloudflow. Engineered for speed and comfort, for training and racing, for achieving goals and breaking records, it was worn by more elite athletes and won more medals than any other On model.


And the second-generation? It picks up right where its predecessor left off.



Adaptive CloudTec™


The new Cloudflow features 18 Cloud elements in its outsole, all engineered larger than counterparts on the previous model. Each is uniquely positioned, shaped and sized to function independently and as part of a unit. Finding the optimal combination of Cloud height and thickness for 18 elements was a painstaking process, involving the tiniest of tweaks and countless tests. This is because how the Cloud elements interact with each other is just as important as how they work as a single entity. We call it adaptive CloudTec™.


We believe cushioning shouldn’t break your stride, but adjust to it. That’s why the highly adaptive rubber Cloud elements cushion both vertically and horizontally. The aim was to build the ultimate lightweight running sensation, to increase stability and durability, and make impacts even softer throughout the entire bottom unit. Along both sides of the shoe's outsole, you can see the collapsing line. It’s easily missed, but it’s key to how the Cloud elements fold and fire; maximizing impact protection and propulsion.



Engineered to Win


The Swiss-engineered mesh upper is primed for race pace. Lightweight, breathable, and flexible, it’s designed to feel more like you’re wearing a sock than a high-performance running shoe. The major upper update comes in the micro-engineering of the contoured mesh itself. A new pattern optimizes air flow throughout the entire shoe so that your foot doesn’t overheat.


Complementing the upper are taped reinforcements that support tired feet. To kickstart the challenge of finding the optimal position for these reinforcements, our team took a CloudTec™ outsole and, using strips of tape, stuck it to On Co-founder Olivier Bernhard’s foot and had him go for a run. Different? Yes. Successful? Yes. 


“We put the tape where we thought it was most needed and most effective,” explains Ilmarin Heitz, our Head of Footwear and Innovation.


“We approached it from a biomechanical point of view as, obviously, we use a lot less tape for the actual shoe than we did for this experiment. But the idea, in terms of where it feels most comfortable to have taped reinforcements when you run, was derived from this process.


We wanted runners to feel the least amount of pressure and benefit from the maximum amount of support or comfort.


“And tape helped this. But, of course, we did a lot of testing afterwards to confirm the most effective way of using tape to support the foot.”



Endless Energy


More energy, more speed. That’s always been the central concept behind the Speedboard™ in all On shoes. The Speedboard™ is a stiff plate located above the shoe’s bottom unit (visible on the Cloudflow above the Cloud elements underneath) that bends as feet land then rapidly straightens as they leave the ground. Storing and suddenly releasing the energy generated from your running motion and gravity, it fires like a bow to convert even more of your running momentum into forward motion. 


Different On models feature alternative Speedboard™ types, but the basic idea is central to our shoes. And this hasn’t changed for the new Cloudflow. What has changed, however, is the exact makeup of the Speedboard™ itself. By adding softer, more pliable sections in the heel and forefoot, the shoe offers a smoother, more comfortable cushioned feeling as your feet touch down. Stiffer parts through the mid and forefoot maximize energy loading, turning impact into acceleration.



Helion™ Your Run


The propulsion effect of the Speedboard™ and CloudTec® outsole is enhanced by the addition of Helion™ foam to the midsole. Swiss-engineered for ultimate cushioning on concrete, it’s durable, lightweight, and big on rebound. It’s also highly temperature resistant, performing equally well in hot and cold conditions. So when temperatures drop, your performance doesn’t have to.


It’s our superfoam, everything you need to run on the road. And the Cloudflow is our third high-performance running shoe to benefit from it, following on from the Cloudswift and the Cloudstratus which both dropped earlier this year.      



Comfort on Lock


For better hold and a smoother, more comfortable fit that keeps you in control at all speeds and at all points of your run, we’ve revamped the heel-counter significantly. Not only is it now made up of two separate parts, but it’s been reshaped and reinforced. Looking at the previous model, the difference is clearly visible, as the next-gen Cloudflow’s rear is much more curved, following the natural shape of your foot.


By shifting the angle and position of the final Cloud element to the rear of the shoe, the Cloudflow supports a natural heel strike landing. Much like with the Cloudsurfer, the new position is designed to enhance the foot’s natural rolling motion. But by bulking up the Clouds to the front of the shoe as well, it’s perfect for mid and forefoot strikers too. In other words, no matter how you land, the Cloudflow will work for you. Show your rivals a clean set of re-engineered heels.  



A new eyelet configuration enhances midfoot hold to support your high-speed goals. By adding a wider eyelet across the midfoot, the pressure from tight laces is better distributed for less irritation. Plus, the elasticated tongue strap removes distractions by keeping your laces firmly in place. 



Supreme Traction


Another key innovation for the second Cloudflow is the new rubber-grip compound used on the abrasion pads underfoot. Positioned in specific areas for the best results, and complemented by an advanced traction pattern, they offer superior grip and agility even on soaked city sidewalks.


All in all, it’s a winning combination and everything you need to see results on race day.


The Cloudflow
The record-breaking shoe loved by elite athletes. Now refined with their input. More Comfort. More Kick. More Speed. Shortcut to runner's high.

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