Monday, December 09, 2019

ON Cloudventure Peak - Unique Swiss Style, Light, Precision Cushioned, Fast Race Shoe

Article by Jeff Valliere

ON Cloudventure Peak ($150)


My experience with Swiss brand On is limited to the 2016 version of the Cloudventure.  While I was impressed with the quality upper, fit, protection and style, the trademark pods however were not durable enough for technical trails and quickly tore apart.  While racing the Pikes Peak Marathon over the summer, I happened to notice one of the other racers wearing a pair of the Cloudventure Peak and noted how sleek and sharp they looked and that the trademark pods went through a significant redesign that hinted that they would be more durable.  The look is very unique with the stark contrast of white and black upper. Overall feel and design seems reminiscent of Salomon S/Lab and is clear the Cloudventure Peak is designed for racing and fast training runs.


Light, Fast, Responsive, Agile, Trail Feel, Protection Underfoot, Fit, Style, Cushion


Upper protection, Rocks getting stuck in outsole grooves, Plastic heel structure can be bothersome, Foothold in steep off camber terrain, pods underfoot can feel awkward.

Tester Profile

Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 


Offical Weight: 9.2 oz./260 g US men’s size 9, 7.4 oz./210 g US women’s size 8   
  Sample: US Men’s size 10: 9.75 oz./277 g
Stack Height: 27mm heel :20mm forefoot, 7mm drop
Available Now. $150

First Impressions and Fit

The Cloudventure Peak stands out in it’s Swiss glacier white colorway, though I question how long a white trail shoe will stay clean.  It feels light and flexible and the pods on the outsole give the Cloudventure Peak quite a unique look. Fit is excellent, though the upper feels thin and I question how it will protect in rocky terrain.  The pods are noticeable underfoot and the shoe feels very light and fast before even running in them.


The stretch mesh, ripstop upper is remarkably light and thin, perhaps one of the thinnest and most flexible uppers I have ever seen.  Construction is bootie style with an inner sock and is very minimal all the way around. Fit is true to size with a secure midfoot and heel and while the forefoot is not particularly wide, the Cloudventure Peak has enough stretch and give that add width does not really seem necessary.

The internal underlays are thin, flexible and comfortable, providing surprisingly good support considering the minimal nature of the upper.  While support and security is good overall, I do find that when pushed on steep, technical terrain,particularly off camber, the upper does have some give to it and I don’t feel as locked in as I would prefer, but is minor and I still feel in control.
The toe bumper is thin and flexible, transitioning into a thin wrap around rand, extending around the heel counter.
The number of lace eyelets is also minimal, with a total of 4, but they do provide adequate security and lockdown.  I do find the laces to be thinner than I prefer and round which are not my favorite. These laces feel a touch flimsy and do come untied surprisingly easily, so I triple knot as tight as I can for good measure.
The booty style upper is a joy to slip your foot into and is easy, comfortable and secure.
The heel collar is quite minimal and thin, with essentially no supplemental padding or extra material and is reinforced by a V shaped plastic support structure.  While the heel counter is comfortable and secure, the plastic reinforcement seems a little out of place and occasionally noticeable.


The midsole is unique in that it is integrated with the outsole, specifically what ON refers to as Cloudtec Elements and Zero Gravity Heel Clouds which can be seen clearly in the photo above. The result is a very flexible and unique feel, what I might call precision cushioning, lining up where the oversized lugs/pods land. Cushioning is surprisingly good for such a light and minimal feeling shoe and certainly adequate for several hours of hard running on just about any terrain at any pace.  Response is excellent, enhanced greatly by the split forefoot Speedboard to add propulsion, while maintaining flexibility. The Cloudventure Peak feels like a dedicated race shoe that easily doubles as an uptempo trainer.


The Missiongrip lug pattern and sticky rubber overlaying the Cloud pods provide excellent grip on a wide variety of surfaces and seem thus far to be exhibiting good durability and average wear.  While I find that traction is very good on most surfaces from snow and mud, to loose off trail, hard pack and slabby rock, wet or dry, I do find the pods noticeable underfoot on hard undulating terrain.  I have not yet found it to be problematic in any way, but just occasionally awkward.

A view of the 5 pods in the forefoot and 4 larger ones in the heel, along with the near full length Y shaped split groove to aid in flexibility.  This works well, but I do find that occasionally decent size rocks will get embedded within these grooves, requiring a stop to remove.

One of several rocks that have lodged into the flex grooves during my test period.  Not only do rocks get stuck here, if just the right shaped rock, you can really feel it poking through.

Overall I do find the Cloudventure Peak provides excellent grip on a wide variety of mixed terrain.


The ride here is very fast, responsive and agile, clearly this is a shoe built for racing, uptempo training, PR attempts.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Overall I really enjoy running in the Cloudventure Peak , as it is very fast, light, responsive, agile, comfortable, stable and secure.  I would not hesitate to pick it as a mountain race shoe for distances up to a marathon in distance and it is just plain fun to run on those more spirited day to day training runs.  I am not 100% sold on the outsole, as while it does perform well, I find the pods underfoot feel awkward on hard surfaces and I have not found them to provide any true advantage over a more traditional outsole, while understanding they are also part of that agile riding midsole, so a system.  

The revised pods are a huge improvement over the 2016 Cloudventure, where they are filled in and are much more durable. The flex grooves collecting rocks is a bit of an issue and I think the lacing could be improved some, but otherwise, this is a really fun shoe and I recommend it.
Jeff’s Score:  9.3/10

Ride: 9.5 / Fit: 9 / Value: 9 / Style: 9.5 / Traction: 9.5 / Rock Protection: 9 / Weight: 10

Points off for upper protection, laces, rocks getting stuck in flex grooves.

Comparisons (all comparisons below are size 10)

Salomon S/Lab Sense 7 SG (RTR Review
The SG 7 is lighter and I think a more secure upper that is ever so slightly more protective, but the On has overall better underfoot protection with more substantial cushioning/pods underfoot, better response, cushion and outsole durability.  I feel a little taxed after ~2 hours in the SG7, but could easily go much longer in the On.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 (RTR Review)   
The Ultra 2 has a more secure/protected upper and better foothold, but the On upper is more forgiving when feet swell.  The On is lighter and more responsive with traction comparable between the two.

Hoka One One Torrent (RTR Review
Comparable in overall performance and response, I find the Torrent to be more cushioned and protective underfoot, with a more substantial and protective upper.

Skechers Go Run Speed TRL Hyper (RTR Review
The Skechers is lighter, faster and more responsive with a more protective and secure upper.  The On outsole provides a bit better all around traction and better durability.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Jeff Valliere said...


Morgan said...

Great review Jeff just got these put 45 km on already all gnarly technical trail! I leave the laces long & tuck them into the loop across the tongue at the bottom I was told that’s what it’s for! I’m starting to see some wear already on the black rubber in the flex groove so I’m not sure about durability I’ve had a few rocks in the groove but they came & went the only time I felt it was when I went from trail to road apart from that it’s a great shoe agree with everything else you said! Would like to see a comparison with the Cloudventure Thanks keep up the good work 👍

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks Morgan! Yeah, I too have had some rocks come and go, but have also had a few decide to stay, at least for longer than I care for. No immediate plans for Cloudventure review, but am open if we can get a pair. On is definitely upping their game.