As the story goes, back in 2010 Olivier Bernhard, World Duathlon Champion and winner of many Ironman races, was frustrated at the current offerings in the world of running shoes. Olivier dreamed of a soft landing, of a firm push-off and of a shoe which would be kinder to his legs. But instead of doing what most of us do – working our way through loads of different trainers in search of that perfect shoe – he decided to make one himself, despite not being a shoe designer. Fast forward eight years and his shoes are taking the world by storm.
This isn’t a Hollywood script, this is the true story of On Running. What started with Olivier and a friend who’s an engineer cutting the soles off shoes and gluing on bits of garden hose instead – the first iteration of what would become the famous On ‘clouds’. When tested, the pieces of garden hose provided a plush, cushioned landing but as they transitioned from heel to toe, the pieces collapsed, allowing a hard surface to push off from. This was the exact running sensation Bernhard was craving. This unlikely prototype has grown in a short time into a shoe which has sold 4 million: The On Cloudsurfer.
On has just released the fourth version of the Cloudsurfer. The basics remain: a neutral shoe, which gives you a soft landing and a firm push-off. It’s still reasonably light (at 11.6 oz) and the drop is 6mm. Olivier Bernhard, now head of research and development, knows not to mess with a winning formula but On has made some improvements. This is what Olivier said:
“The Cloudsurfer is what initially put us on that map. People thought it was gimmicky at first, but soon realized it was a truly unique technology and sensation – something the running industry was missing. Eight years later, the shoe still sells and people all around the world write to us saying how much they love it. This new version of the shoe will maintain that same sensation that runners love but with more premium materials in the upper for enhanced breathability, more Clouds on the outsole for a smoother transition from heel to toe, and a Speedboard in the midsole that lays across the whole shoe providing more stability all-around”.
In addition to this they’ve attempted to solve the problem of grip on wet, slippery roads with a newly developed ‘zig zag’ pattern on the outsole for enhanced grip and traction.
We’re really looking forward to trying out a pair of the new On Cloudsurfers and will report back once we’ve run a decent amount of miles in them. In the meantime here’s our review of the On Cloudace.