Sunday, April 04, 2021

ON Cloudultra Multi Tester Review

Article by Bryan Lim, Renee Krusemark, Canice Harte, Jeff Valliere, and Adam Glueck

ON Running Cloudultra ($180 US)


Bryan: Founded in Zurich in 2010, ON entered the Australian market where I live 3 years ago. Mirroring this, the Cloudultra is my third pair of On shoes following the original Cloud and the recently released Cloudswift. The Cloudultra is said by ON to be designed for, “any  trail, any distance” and “mixed terrain” such the terrain found high in the Swiss Alps.

Quoting our Editor-in-chief Sam, all ON shoes have distinctive CloudTec elements which deflect on impact and lock on push off rebounding independently of each other. The Cloudultra features two layers of Clouds. Above the Cloudtec Elements or cloud pods, there is a Speedboard plate to accentuate the rolling motion of the foot and as a trail focused shoe the Cloudultra features a wider plate in the shank area for support. 

Probably the most unique feature that caught my eye is the intuitive FlipRelease tool found in the lower lacing, where flipping the plastic construct provides an option for variable lacing width and pressure release at the forefoot. Note there are only two width ‘settings’.


Solid traction, brilliant craftsmanship, durable. Bryan/Jeff

Nice roll forward. Renee/Jeff

Great wide toe box fit and excellent rock protection under foot. Canice 

Beautifully constructed, great rock protection and stability.  Adam/Jeff  


Narrow fit (I fit into shoes such as the Adidas Adizero Adios 3 with ease), firm ride, heavy  Bryan

Midsole is “hard” rather than “firm” Renee

Firm ride / no cushioning and a bit heavy Canice :

Heavy / extremely harsh cushioning. Adam

Weight, firm cushion, laces, price.

Tester Profiles

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He is a consistent sub 1:25 half marathoner and is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm/ 5'9" tall and weighs about 65kg / 143lbs. 

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Adam is a cross country ski racer from New Hampshire.  

Along with skiing, he’s a big fan of endurance sports in general and does a lot of running.  He’s much faster at skiing, participating in the curtailed 2019 NCAA’s skiing for Dartmouth College, but can run a 4:43 mile (in trail shoes), a 16:59 5k, and a recent 1:23 solo half, and has won a few small trail races you’ve never heard of.  His mileage varies depending on how much snow is on the ground, but he trains about 700 hours a year including 1200 miles of running and 4000 miles of skiing and roller skiing.  You can follow him at his IG: @real_nordic_skier, his blog:, & on Strava

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.

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


Weight: men's 10.69 oz / 303g (US9) women’s 263g/9.28oz (US8)  

Official: 295g / 10.5 oz (M US8.5)   

  Samples: men’s 303g / 10.69 oz (M9) women’s 263g/9.28oz (US8), 322g/11.4oz (US10)

8mm drop

Available: March 2021 


First Impressions and Fit

Bryan: Having limited exposure to On running shoes, with the most miles clocked in the Cloudswift just a week before, I was skeptical but limited in my impression of the CloudTec technology but concerned about the firmness of the new Helion midsole.

Like all other ON shoes on my product tour at the Australian On office, the Cloudultra feel very different than any other trail shoe I’ve worn. It almost exudes an exquisite vibe about it, so much so that I broke into them by wearing them to the office! The shoe is specifically designed in every way with no corners cut, from the sock-like two layer sandwich mesh upper to the dual layered Cloud pods that are smaller and said to provide more cushioning and long run comfort and I hope to prevent grit from being trapped in them. 

That said, the fit was true to size in a M9. I found the fit to be narrow especially for a shoe designed for the “ultra”, and one that specifically targets swelling feet associated with time on feet. Perhaps, more time is needed to stretch out the slightly stretchable sock fit with the FlipRelease tool to relieve forefoot pressure also in the mix and to be considered . With the luxury of also  trying on a M9.5, I can confirm the M9 (my usual size) was correct.

Renee: The CloudUltra is a good-looking, quality-constructed shoe. Bryan describes it well as a shoe that is “specifically designed in every way.” 

The fit is narrow, but I did not have an issue with the upper or overall fit being intrusive. However, I do not have a high volume foot, so that might be why. I wear between a women’s size 7.5 and 8, usually electing for a size 8. I wore a size 8 in the CloudUltra, which worked well. Runners between half sizes should go with the larger size; runners who have a wide foot may benefit from a half size up as well. Despite having a good fit with the CloudUltra, I had one major issue with it, especially as an “ultra” shoe: the midsole is hard. While I do think the CloudUltra has positive qualities and might work for some runners, the midsole is a deal breaker for me. 

Canice: If you like the aesthetic of ON running shoes you will find these pleasing. They’re a sharp looking shoe so out of the box I was excited to wear them. As for fit I seem to have had a very different fit experience than my co-reviewers, as I found the fit to be pleasantly wide in the toe box and with good midfoot control (for reference when I measure my foot on a brannock device I measure as a medium width foot). I typically wear a men’s US 10 and these fit true to size.

Adam:  The CloudUltra is my first ever pair of On shoes, and taking it out of the box I was immediately impressed with the quality of construction.  The fit is true to size, with a solid feeling and well constructed upper.  This led to excellent structure and stability without feeling overly obstructive.  The upper is socklike, but much more rigid than other sock like uppers I’ve tried.  The traction is solid, but the midsole is incredibly hard.  The midsole is shockingly firm, and although it feels decent on soft and muddy terrain, it’s painfully harsh everywhere else.  My men’s US11 fits true to size.  

Jeff V:  I have run in the 2019 Cloudventure Peak which is faster and more minimal, yet a bit of a mixed bag, as well as the 2016 Cloudventure, where I tore through 2 or 3 successive review pairs, shredding the pods after 20 or so miles of mountain trails.  The shoe itself was nice, though a bit heavy, non responsive and those pods really needed work.  

The new CloudUltra looked to be a departure from the traditional pods, which appealed to me, as I like the fit and finish of On shoes.  The CloudUltra out of the box felt a bit heavier than expected (especially with “Cloud” in the name), but not overly heavy feeling either.  The slip in booty style upper provides a secure fit, but am less than impressed with the spaghetti thin laces, requiring a bit of added care to tighten and lace, but once in, fit feels true to size and secure. 

Room in the forefoot however is pretty slim, even for my thin, low volume foot.  On my first run, I felt a bit of pressure on my lateral metatarsal flares, but that eventually dissipated and never caused me any issues.


Bryan: There’s so much about the upper to like, but my initial concern is the already mentioned narrow fit and tightness in the dorsal side of my foot caused by likely not yet stretched out semi-elastic meshed sock fit and the additional elastic band that reinforces the sock fit, as seen in the image below as the white band that crosses the middle eyelet. 

Bryan: The dialed in fit, ironically work against the Cloudultra's highlight feature, the FlipRelease, a plastic one piece construct seen below the yellow band on the laces that can widen or narrow the lacing there at the “flip of the switch”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The simple yet potentially effective FlipRelease is a plastic one piece construct that significantly widens the lower lacing

Bryan: Putting that aside, the upper features a myriad of elements on top of the aforementioned sock fit, there’s another layer of closed mesh, rubber overlays that seamlessly transitions into a reinforced heel cup and to the toe box up front. 

Seamless transitioning of a thin rubber overlay on the lateral and medial sides into a thicker and denser one that forms the reinforced heel cup

Bryan: What seems to be a cleverly engineered upper provides a dialed in and confident fit for technical trails. On 15% climbs, I did not notice any heel slippage.

Rubber overlays run around the shoe with the sleek integration of a reinforced toe box

Renee: Bryan gives a good detail of the upper of the CloudUltra. I did not not find the fit too narrow, but this may be because of the size I wore (a half size up).  I like the booty/sock fit and thought the laces provided a good amount of additional tightness for security. 

I tied the laces tighter than usual because if I wear a booty/sock upper, I want it to feel tight. 

The FlipRelease did not do much to change the fit for me. I did not find it “as easy as flicking a switch” as OnCloud advertises. I unlocked it from the beginning and never changed it back. 

I had no issue with heel slippage, but a part of the sock/booty upper, I would like a strip of more padding along the heel to balance the sock fit. 

A firm piece of rubber is on the lateral side, which could be a problem for runners with a bunion. 

Canice: As I mentioned in my first impressions I found the fit to be great. I experienced a wide toe box with great midfoot control.  For me this is the best attribute of the ON CloudUltra. The upper is well constructed and very comfortable. It has a clean look and there’s lots of protection built into the upper.

Canice: A few weird quirks I encountered was when slipping into the shoe there is not a heel loop and with a bootie construction it’s actually a bit difficult to get into. Once you’re in the fit is great but it’s a noticeable quirk. Another thing about the upper is in classic fashion ON uses skinny laces. 

While these look cool, they bite on the top of your foot through the firmly padded and quite stiff bootie tongue construction. Most companies use flat soft laces for comfort and I can’t help but think ON made their choice based on looks. 

As for the flip to release tab on the laces I did not feel or notice a difference in use. This seems to be one of those things that is great in theory but in practice doesn’t work. With that said the upper overall is very nice.

AdamThe Upper is my favorite part of the CloudUltra.  It’s an extremely high quality, durable, and solidly built.  This shoe has a stiff bootie construction that offers excellent lockdown and stability.  This upper would be at home on unstable rocks and technical terrain.  The upper is hard to get in to but once you tie the laces it feels secure.  The FlipRelease sounds cool, but it left me thinking of a quick lace system like Salomon in which it’d be just as easy to either tighten or loosen the laces with much more flexibility.  The toe box was reasonably wide, and the structure everywhere else made my foot feel very stable.  

Jeff V:  Bryan gave a great overall description of the upper.  I did find that the upper is very high quality, durable and secure, though a bit narrow in the forefoot.  

Again, I never had any issues and if anything for me, it is just right, but those with wider feet, prefer more wiggle room, or as Renee mentions, those with a bunion, may want to reconsider. 

I agree with Canice in that the booty design of this shoe with no heel loop, takes a little extra work to get in, but once in, fit and feel is excellent with a nice midfoot hug giving great stability and confidence in technical terrain.  

I did not experience any lace bite, but the spaghetti thin laces are difficult to operate and take a good bit of work for me to achieve my desired snugness (given my thin foot and preference for steep and techy terrain, I tend to crank laces).  

The laces are also long and even double knotting does not take out enough length or give me confidence that they will not come untied, so I triple or even quadruple knot.  The FlipRelease sounds cool in theory, however I found it to not be an advantage in the least and never used it after an initial test.


PC: ON Running 

Bryan: The Cloudultra uses On’s new Helion foam which is supposed to be softer and more temperature resistant. Compared to the midsole used in the original On Cloud, it is definitely softer, albeit still very firm for an ultra-shoe with a reasonable stack height. The ride, from toe-off to transition is firm likely due to the Speedboard used. Again, quoting our Editor-in-chief, the Speedboard is a full length plastic plate designed to accentuate the rolling motion of the foot. 

Bryan: Unlike the Cloudswift, which is made for road running and features a rocker, the utilisation of the Speedboard is questionable. Clearly not meant to be a rock plate, the Speedboard sits high up in the midsole below the insole, which contributes greatly to its firm ride.

Bryan: The midsole also features a pronounced rocker that is useful on steep ascents, keeping the runner on toe and engaged. The rocker also provides some relief from the rigid Speedboard in allowing for a confident toe off.

Smaller than usual pods at two varying heights cushion and mitigate grit and debris from being trapped

Bryan: Two layers of Cloud pods are claimed to provide more cushioning for long distance running. With the smaller than usual pods, there appears to be a thin layer of traditional midsole above the pods. Whilst the stack height provides for ample cushioning and protection, the Speedboard seems to mute it by instead imposing the firm ride as well as torsional rigidity that was appreciated on uneven terrain and steep climbs. Compared to the construct of the Helion midsole used in the new Cloudswift, the Cloudultra presents with a much firmer ride.

Bryan: My main concern about the midsole and On shoes in general remains the potential for stones and general debris to be caught within the cloud pods. Uniquely shaped in the Cloudultra, it would be a challenge to remove caught material in the pods mid run.

Renee: On the bright side, the toe-off transition because of the Speedboard creates a great rolling motion. I think the roll will compliment forefoot strikers, and I liked the ride in that regard. The shoes seemed much lighter because of it. 

Unfortunately, the midsole is hard. I was hoping the CloudUltra would break in and feel firm instead of hard at some point, but no luck yet. I ran three 2 to 2.5 hour runs in the CloudUltra (and several shorter distances), each time hoping for some softening of the midsole. With each foot-landing, I am aware of the hard feel and for that reason, the shoes did not make my 20+ miler shoe rotation. In fact, even at shorter distances, the hard landing was not ideal. I purposely ran in mud to see if debris would become trapped in the Cloud pods, and it was not as bad as I had anticipated. I was running through puddles, and it may be the water rinsed out the mud.

Canice: I ran the CloudUltra three 12+ mile days in a row and never felt any cushion. The midsole is firm and though they call it “Ultra” it is really a short distance shoe at best. My feet felt very protected and when in the rocks I never felt a single one, I also never felt any give or cushion.

Adam:  The midsole of the On CloudUltra is perplexing to me. As a shoe intended for an ultra, it features a reasonably high stack height, excellent stability, and an effective rocker, but the foam is so brutally harsh that I can barely run longer than ten miles at a time in them.  The Speedboard rocker does feel great climbing, and it provides excellent rock protection, but descending any heel strike is extremely jarring.  

In mud, I was concerned that debris would get stuck in the midsole’s holes, but thankfully it rinsed out very easily.  The midsole felt great in muddy terrain because the ground was soft enough to compensate for the lack of softness in the shoe.  The stability and rock protection and rocker are all excellent however, and if this midsole had a bit more cushion and energy return while retaining that protection it would be excellent.  

Jeff V:  Bryan once again describes the midsole well and while I will agree with everyone that the midsole is very firm, and somewhat perplexing in design and name, called out as “Ultra”..  Response is not particularly lively, nor is the cushion all that “cushioned”. 

This said when running on my usual rocky, technical terrain, I found the protection and predictability underfoot to be impressive.  

Instead of thinking of this shoe as a competitor in the Ultra realm, I shifted my focus and thought process to compare it more to an all mountain, above treeline shoe such as the Salomon XA Elevate, XA Alpine Pro or La Sportiva Bushido II.  

I would not run long distance fast on moderate to less technical trails in any of the aforementioned, but when in technical terrain and balance hopping on rocks and talus all day, the CloudUltra puts up some good performance with the firm midsole becoming a huge asset.  As to the pods, while I generally view them as a bit of an ON signature marketing gimmick with no real advantage, I have not yet detected any durability or performance concerns, nor have I had an issue getting rocks, mud, or any other debris stuck in them.


Bryan: Unlike On’s road fleet of shoes, the Cloudultra is unique in having “connected clouds” i.e. a regular looking outsole that does not feature deep grooves that will attract stones and debris to get caught within them. 

PC: On Running

Bryan: The pattern from toe to heel can be broken down into four segments, see image above. From the heel, we have very shallow 2mm lugs with a sheet of textured Missiongrip rubber forming the base of the outsole, five deeper 4mm L-shaped lugs on smooth Cloudtec outsole (three on the medial side and two on the lateral side), finally 3mm lugs on three longitudinal sheets of Missiongrip providing for more forefoot grip whilst climbing and finally a semi-circle of L-shaped 4mm lugs at the front of the toebox. 

Bryan: This is very different to the traditional trail shoe which usually features deeper lugs on the skirting all around and regular height lugs within. Whilst I found the outsole effective on compact and loose gravel, on steep ascents and descents (dry), I did not notice any traction advantage over other trail shoes that I frequent, such as the older Saucony Peregrine 6 and Adidas Adizero XT5.

Renee: I thought the outsole worked great for dirt/gravel roads with a slight amount of mud. The small lugs give some traction, and the L-shaped lugs help with softer surface and like all L-shaped outsole lugs, mud does not trap easily, which is great because these shoes are already heavy. I would say the outsole favors a dry(ish), mellow trail. 

Canice: Spring in Park City, UT is a transitional period where we can run dry hard packed trails that switch to snow and ice, and then switch to mud all in the same run. I found the CloudUltra outsole worked great on hard packed, rocky trails. It was okay in the mud and got me through the snow but the CoudUltra is best suited for dry hard packed trails. Overall the outsole works well.

Adam:  I haven’t seen a trail shoe with an outsole like this before.  Renee and Bryan described the outsole well so I will discuss how it performed.  The grip has been phenomenal everywhere, and the channels around the middle of the foot allowed the CloudUltra to plant itself in mud, ice, and snow very effectively.  

The small lugs prevent sliding and the larger L shaped ones sink into softer surfaces like cleats.  

The outsole is also very quiet on roads, though the cushioning is a bit too firm to run on them.  

Jeff V:  I too have found traction to be excellent everywhere I have run, off trail, loose, steep, wet rock, dry rock, mud traction is moderate and they get me through snowy sections just fine.  

The only time I questioned my footing was in areas that were steeper and where the trail was intermittent slushy snow and rock, I did get some slippage, but I think these specific conditions would have challenged just about any shoe.


Bryan: Much has been covered in the above sections, with all the technology seeming to come into place, but I was let down slightly by the firmer than expected ride. The ride is confident due to the grippy outsole and dialed in fit, and although smooth in transitioning, it is somewhat hampered and dulled by the rigidity of the Speedboard. Perhaps this is a shoe that requires an extensive break in period, and I’ll be sure to provide updates in the near future should it start to provide some give. The ride is overall neither disappointing nor inspiring, with its largest strength manifesting itself during ascents. That said, I also found myself comfortable speeding down steep descents.

Renee: Again, I had a good fit and found the Speedboard shape to create a nice roll forward for my stride (on even terrain); the 8mm drop compliments that ride and works best on mid-grade inclines and declines on somewhat even terrain. I would not choose the shoes for technical trails. Unfortunately, as much as I like some qualities of the CloudUltra, the hard midsole counters all that goodness. My feet hurt on each landing regardless of distance. 

Canice: I agree with Renee. The upper is great but the midsole is so firm that the ride is harsh. I felt the impact of every step and for all the good in this shoe, it killed it for me. Ugh!

Adam:  I’ve got to agree with Renee here.  This is an excellent technical trail upper, the Speedboard and grippy outsole works well on all types of trails, but the midsole is a deal breaker.  For a shoe with Ultra in its name, my legs hurt after even a 10km trail run, and it’s not light enough or responsive enough to justify that harshness.  

Jeff V:  While I agree that the midsole provides a firm and potentially harsh ride in general, I see it as an asset in technical terrain and that is where this shoe really shines.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Bryan: The Cloudultra offers quality in craftsmanship and comes in an incredibly aesthetic package.The fit feels race ready but perhaps too snug in volume in all places but the heel cup, but there is slight hope that the elastic in the upper will give slightly over time. The outsole is probably the most impressive part of the shoe from a performance standpoint. Fighting for a place in a shoe category that targets a small proportion of the running community, performance often takes priority when choosing a shoe to run an ultra.

Score 8.20 /10

Ride: 7.5 Fit: 8 Value: 8 Style: 10 Traction: 9 Rock Protection: 9, Weight: 7.5

Renee: I doubt I will run much more in the CloudUltra and it’s all because of the hard midsole. I like the upper and had a good fit. The Speedboard and roll forward compliments my stride well, and the 8mm drop works well on buffed surfaces with mid-grade inclines and declines. Alas, none of that was enough to counteract the hard landing that left my feet sore. I’d recommend them for runners who like hard midsoles, have relatively narrow feet, and who run buffed surfaces. The CloudUltra occupies a difficult space in ultra-distance trail shoes because it is not light/nimble and it does not offer comfort underfoot as compared to similar weight shoes. 

Renee’s score: 8.0/10 (-1.5 hard/unforgiving midsole, -.5 overall weight)

Canice: For as great as the shoe looks and I truly love the wide toe box , the ride is so harsh that I would move this from the running category to the hiking category. In fact if you called this a hiking shoe my review would be stellar and I would be singing its praises. There’s just no sensation of cushioning and the ride undoes the shoes potential.

Canice’s score: 7.6/10

Ride: 3(30%) Fit: 9.5(30%) Value: 9(10%) Style: 10 (5%) Traction: 9.5(15%) Rock Protection: 10 (10%)

Adam:  Although I really like the upper and outsole, the CloudUltra is just too firm for me.  I like firm shoes, and understand that something harsh and precise can be a really good trail shoe (I’ve been running in the Salomon S/Lab Sense line for years), but that firmness usually comes with the benefit of light weight or extreme responsiveness.  

As a hiking or walking shoe, I do think the CloudUltra does really well with excellent stability and a precise upper, but I can’t imagine myself using this shoe to run an ultra or even a half marathon comfortably.  

Adam’s score: 7.5/10 (-2 harsh, jarring midsole, -.5 heavy considering the lack of cushion)

Jeff V:  Once I dis-associated myself from the “Ultra” part of the name and pushed this shoe in technical terrain and difficult conditions, I liked it more and more.  I would not recommend it as a race shoe for any distance or terrain, but I do find it to be a great option for technical terrain, where one needs maximal protection underfoot or for slower runs and even hiking.  

Jeff’s score:  8.4/10

Ride: 8 (on rocky technical terrain, the ride is excellent), Fit: 9 (only if you have a thin foot), Value: 6 (quality is great, but $180 is a lot, especially when I can think of several close competitors that are $50 less), Style: 8.5. Traction: 9, Rock Protection: 9.5


On Running Cloudultra vs Asics Trabuco Max (RTR Review)

Adam:  The Trabuco Max is one of my favorite trail shoes of the past year.  The CloudUltra has a much more precise upper with greater structure, stiffness and durability.  It also has a superior lacing system.   The CloudUltra has a Speedboard rocker while the Trabuco Max has a Guide Sole rocker.  Once again, the CloudUltra is heavier than the Trabuco Max, and also much harsher.  The Flytefoam Blast in the Trabuco Max is bouncy and responsive, and makes the rockered ride feel great on roads and trails regardless of pace and distance.  

The CloudUltra would have some advantages for extremely rocky terrain due to the precision of its upper and stability of the stiff foam, but it’s so harsh I don’t think I could take it a particularly far distance.  Unless you can tolerate the firm cushioning and really value a structured upper and impenetrable rock plate, I’d recommend the Trabuco Max over the CloudUltra for anything long.  

Jeff V:  Adam nails it, but will I add that all of that depends on terrain.  For most trails and faster running, it all holds true, but on technical terrain and especially rock hopping and at speed, I found the CloudUltra to be more stable and predictable, with that stiffness and firmness being an asset.

On Running Cloudultra vs Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 (RTR Review)

Adam:  The CloudUltra has a more structured upper and potentially a gripper outsole.  The Speedboard also gives it a more effective rocker and it’s more protective with microspikes and on extremely rocky terrain.  Unfortunately for me, the CloudUltra’s  midsole is much more harsh, it’s significantly heavier, and the Quicklace system on the S/Lab Ultra 3 is easier to adjust.  I have run an ultramarathon in the mountains in the S/Lab Ultra 3, and I doubt I could even run a half marathon in the CloudUltra that wasn’t very painful.  Unless you really really like firm shoes, I would recommend the S/Lab Ultra 3 over the CloudUltra for longer runs.  

Jeff V:  Agreed with Adam, but I think in most scenarios would prefer the Salomon outsole and much prefer the Salomon upper as well, with a more flexible, yet conforming secure material with awesome quicklace which works well for me overall in the Salomons.  The Salomon has more compliant and friendly cushioning for longer distances.

On Running Cloudultra vs Salomon XA Alpine Pro (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The X Alpine Pro is a little lighter with comparably lower stack height and a superior upper with a custom like fit.  I find the X Alpine Pro to have superior tread on almost all terrain, particularly when scrambling given the edging zone in the forefoot for added smearing grip.

On Running Cloudultra vs La Sportiva Bushido II (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Bushido II is also lighter, with superior traction and upper, less stack height, but the cushioning in the Bushido II is also a bit more forgiving, without compromising predictability or control in technical situations.

On Running Cloudultra vs Adidas Terrex Agravic Boa (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Agravic Boa is also lighter than the Cloudultra, and features the simple but nifty Boa lacing system which provides fantastic lockdown. However, there is a lack of rock protection with a relatively low stack height of 22mm at the rear and 15mm up front. Its relatively sparse lug pattern means that it is not suited to overly technical nor wet terrain. The Agravic Boa is also voluminous in the toe box, especially when compared to the Cloudultra. The flexible textile upper is also a stark contrast. These two are shoes at the opposite end of the spectrum. I would opt for the Agravic Boa for less technical races 30 km / 19 miles and under, with the On more suited for general trail running with more varied terrain.

Jeff V:  Again, agreed with Bryan.  I found the adidas difficult to secure my foot and traction/protection are mediocre.  That said, I wear them frequently around the yard, as they are easy to slip on without having to lean down and tie laces, I just step into them and go (tighten Boa later if needed).

On Running Cloudultra vs Saucony Peregrine 6 

Bryan: The Peregrine 6 might be my all time favourite trail shoe. Despite also being a 5 year old model, it weighs in very similarly to the XT Boost 5 mentioned above. The upper and fit are very different to the Cloudultra, which is more dialed in and precise. The additional room in the Peregrine creates room for splay and swelling on long days out but may be an issue for more technical runs. The combination of the PWRTRAC outsole and rock plate provides for a scintillating ride and the midsole with ample cushioning that is more forgiving than the Helion foam. I would pick the Peregrine over the Cloudultra for all distances and conditions.

On Running Cloudultra vs Saucony Peregrine 11 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Peregrine 11 is slightly heavier and it does run heavier, but with better stability and protection underfoot. Like the CloudUltra, the upper of the Peregrine 11 is somewhat narrow with an angled toebox, but I find the Peregrine accommodating and comfortable. I would choose the Peregrine 11 over the CloudUltra for any run at any distance. The midsole, although firm, is forgiving unlike the CloudUltra’s midsole. I have no issues taking the Peregrine 11 passed 20 miles, albeit a slow 20 miles because of the weight. The Peregrine 11 favors more technical terrain too. If runners don’t mind the hard midsole of CloudUltra, it might be a better choice for race or paced long runs. I wear a women’s size 8 in both.

Jeff V:  Both have very good protection and firm cushioning, but I find the Peregrine’s aggressive tread to be better suited for rough off trail and the midsole, while firm, is better suited for non technical running as well.  The Peregrine upper is a bit more accommodating, while being even more secure.

On Running Cloudultra vs Saucony Canyon TR (RTR Review)

Renee: Like the Peregrine, the Canyon TR is heavier than the CloudUltra, although the drop is closer between the Canyon TR and CloudUltra. The CloudUltra has a nice roll forward that will favor speedier runs as compared to the Canyon TR. The Canyon offers a more stable landing with protection from a rock plate. I have no issues taking the Canyon for 20+ mile runs without any issue; whereas the CloudUltra’s hard midsole is a deal breaker. I wore a women’s size 8 in both shoes; the Canyon offers more room and flex in the upper as compared to the CloudUltra. 

Jeff V:  I like Renee’s comparison, however I found the Canyon TR tippy and less adept on technical terrain than the CloudUltra, but runs much better everywhere else with superior fit and more forgiving cushion.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the author for this review from ON . The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

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Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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