On Cloud X Running Shoes Review | On Sale Now at Northern Runner

On Cloud X Running Shoes Review

It’s obvious when you look at an On shoe that they are a bit different to other brands. They are constructed to work with your feet and not replace them. The cushioning is separated out into ‘clouds’ on the bottom of the shoe to encourage your feet to function inside it! That is rather than curl up in a ball and rely on the shoes’ cushioning.

On shoes also have speed boards inside, which are effectively hidden plastic insoles that are designed to work in a similar way to the planta fascia on the bottom of your foot. It is loaded when you land and then springs you off the floor at toe off.

There are now shoes in the On range that would suit every type of runner.

On Cloud X

The Cloud X is a shoe designed for those faster paced runs and for those who like a firmer, responsive feeling to their shoes. However, it’s not a die hard racer and they are cushioned enough to use for easy runs too. Most of my running in these shoes has been to work  at Northern Runner Newcastle and back. A slow morning trundle on the way in and a quicker run home. At no time on the slower run in did I feel that the cushioning wasn’t adequate enough. However, this one is designed for me as I personally I don’t like the softer feeling ‘squidgy’ cushioned shoes. I prefer to feel that my foot has touched the floor and the Cloud X allows you to, in a (uniquely) cushioned way. As with any shoe with slits in the bottom the Cloud X does pick up the odd stone but I didn’t find this a problem and never felt them through the shoe.

The Cloud X also feels more stable, with your foot lower to the ground like other responsive shoes. The heel to forefoot drop is 6mm but, doesn’t feel as high as it does in a Cloudflow, which has the same. The heel also feels less prominent in the Cloud X compared with the Cloudflow, which makes it easier to make a more natural midfoot strike.

The fit is slightly broader than other On shoes. Which gives your toes a bit more room to spread out. This is a similar width to the Cloudflyer.

The speed board is firmer to be more ‘snappy’ than in the less speed-orientated shoes. This coupled with the firmer feeling pods on the outsole of the shoes make it feel more flexible. The pods might feel odd at first, feeling them individually, but aren’t really noticeable after a run or two. You really do notice that your feet are able to work in cushioning/supporting/propelling inside the shoe, strengthening them. After a fast run, your feet should feel appropriately tired because they have been well used after all! This is a noticeable difference to the more typical midsoles that don’t bend and flex in all directions like the On Cloudtec does. So, therefore don’t take advantage or develop the natural spring that you have in your feet.


At 229 grams for a men’s UK 8 they are a light shoe and as above, are much more than just a pure racing shoe. For the right runner they could be a shoe for a lot of their running.  The ideal Cloud X purchaser could be a runner looking for a shoe for faster paced runs/intervals or races or a runner like me who prefers a firmer more responsive shoe.

Other Firmer, Responsive Running Shoes at NorthernRunner.com

Altra Escalante: All Altra shoes are zero drop with a wide rounded toe box. So, the fit is very different to the Cloud X which is narrower with a 6mm heel to forefoot drop. The Escalante has an initial soft feel with a firmer push off. It lacks the spring that you get from the Cloud X but, has a more natural feel to it.


Altra Onev3 : More of a distance racing shoe. The One v3 has a firmer more responsive feel. It’s probably not durable enough for most runners to do a lot of everyday miles in unlike the Cloud X or Escalante but, it is a faster feeling shoe than the Escalante:


Topo ST-2: Topo’s have a similar toe shape to the Altra’s. However, they are snugger fitting around the heel and the midfoot. The ST-2 is zero drop and more suited to the natural midfoot striker or those working towards this. The cushioning is firm and gives a very fast feel. For most this won’t be as versatile a shoe as the On Cloud-X:


Hoka Cavu: These are designed for with a similar runner in mind. They are light yet have enough cushioning to do a lot of everyday miles in. They aren’t as flexible and won’t work the feet like the On shoes do. So, in that way have more of a traditional feel to them.


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