Saturday, March 26, 2022

ON-Running Cloudvista Multi Tester Review

Article by Renee Krusemark and Mike Postaski

ON Running Cloudvista ($140)


Renee: The ON Cloudvista is marketed as a “lightweight, cushioned and seriously agile” trail shoe. Using ON’s CloudTec®  and Helion™ midsole foam technology, the Cloudvista features a Speedboard® similar to the CloudUltra meant to provide responsiveness and cushioning. The Cloudvista is tailored to be a road -to-trail, multi-surface shoe that gives the “freedom to run as far as you like . . . over any ground you like.” 


Secure and comfortable upper: Renee/Mike P

Nimble, flexible ride for a variety of paces: Renee/Mike P

Runs lighter than the actual weight: Renee/Mike P

Quality made: Renee/Mike P

Runs very fast on smooth trails Mike P


Hard feel under the forefoot/Speedboard: Renee/Mike P

Feels more like a road shoe than a trail shoe Mike P

Tester Profiles

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 PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Mike Postaski Born and raised in New Jersey, recently moved to Boise, ID in 2019, mainly to have better and easier access to outdoor adventure.  I have no formal running training, have never run on a team at any level, and can count the times I've run on a track on one hand.  I actually grew up inline speed skating - both indoor short track as well as roads.  Picking up running in my early 30s , starting on roads, progressing to marathons (PR 2:40, Boise 2019), eventually I discovered trails. I love going fast and running all distances, but I especially love long mountain ultras.  My three 100 milers so far have all been in the 25k vert range. I also enjoy the challenge of looped/timed trail races, and even the backyard ultra format. I am definitely a gear junkie - I have gone through more running vests than I can remember, and my trail running shoe collection currently sits at 38 pairs (all tracked via spreadsheet)!  My wife does not appreciate this


Official Weight: 280g / 9.9 oz (US M 8.5), 235g / 8.3 oz (US W 7)

Samples: women’s 8.78oz / 249g (US8)

7mm drop

Recycled Content: 70% of the polyester, 15% of the entire shoe

Available now. $140

First Impressions and Fit

Renee: The Cloudvista is what runners expect from ON: a quality built, well-fitting, good-looking shoe. If you have a good fit with other ON shoes, the upper of the Cloudvista will feel just as amazing. The real question becomes if the midsole is forgiving enough to actually run in. While I loved the fit and ride of the CloudUltra, the midsole was out-right too hard for anything past short distances (let alone an “ultra” distance). 

I had a really fun first run on single track trails with the Cloudvista at 10 miles with 180ft of vertical gain per mile. That said, I think the midsole suffers from similar characteristics many runners experience with other ON shoes. Read on for the details. 

For sizing, I suggest true-to-size or the same as any other ON shoe. I have a great fit with ON shoes/uppers. Runners between half sizes might consider the longer size. 

Mike P:  This is my first experience running in ON shoes, so I’m going into it with an open mind.  You can tell right away that the Cloudvista are very well made.  The design of the upper is very clean and sleek and there seems to be no extraneous overlays or fabrics.  Everything just seems to fit together very precisely.

On foot, in my size 9.5, they do feel a bit on the snug side.  With a thin sock, I’ve got just short of ¾ thumb width up front, plus they are on the narrow side.  For a trail shoe, I’d definitely want more space so ideally I’d size up to a 10.0.  Those with narrower feet may be fine at true to size, but I believe ONs do have a reputation for being on the narrow/snug side. 

[A very fine looking shoe - can pull double duty as a casual shoe]

I must admit that I received these unexpectedly, and I initially thought they were a road shoe.  The upper does have some protective overlay elements, but overall it’s pretty sleek, the platform is narrow, and does not look overbuilt or bulky.  Even the lugs on the bottom are flattish and square-shaped - not your typical trail-type design.  After realizing they were actually trail shoes or door to trail shoes, I was very curious to see how they would perform


Renee: According to ON, the upper is made of “70% recycled polyester and features a perforated microfiber tongue, as well as a TPU mudguard for added protection.” True to most ON uppers, the quality and fit work amazing;y well for me. The security across the midfoot and heel is excellent and the heel counter/collar sits low enough to allow a nimble, flexible ride and some rotation on trails. I do not have a wide or high volume foot, but I do enjoy a roomy toebox. 

As with the CloudUltra, the Cloudvista has the perfect balance between security and comfort. The tongue is thin and fully gusseted. I had no issues with discomfort. The mudguards are well placed and offer some protection for mild trail conditions. Overall, it’s a total win for me as far as the upper. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty. Sure, dirt is going to find its way into the inside of the upper, but it cleans up well enough. 

Mike P:  Renee describes the upper well, and I do agree - ON does do a nice upper.  The fit is very secure all around.  Even though I find them to be on the narrow/snug side up front, they don’t squeeze the foot at all so I had no issues with them feeling tight.  That’s typically the sign of a well crafted upper - when it wraps the foot as opposed to squeezing the foot for security.  Another brand that does this well is Scott.. must be a Swiss thing.  The Achilles collar is squared off, but works well - no heel slip whatsoever.  Also of note, the ankle/achilles collar is soft and well padded - no pressure, rubbing or irritation whatsoever.

One con for me, and something I typically never mention - is the laces.  They are so thin and also slick, almost dress-shoe style.  It’s not a huge issue, but it does make them a bit more difficult to lace - holding the tie down while you make the knot requires more care as it tends to slip out before you finish the knot.  It seems ridiculous to write this, but it’s true - those with bigger hands or fingers may find these tricky to lace up.


Renee: ON states the midsole is a “combined Helion™ superfoam with CloudTec bespoke Cloudultra-inspired Speedboard.” While I loved many aspects of the CloudUltra, the midsole was too hard for running. I’m happy to say the feel of the Cloudvista is softer, but I think the “softer feel” may be as much from the insole rather than the midsole itself. The insole (purple below) is thinner than the CloudUltra and less dense. 

The purple Cloudvista insole has built-in structure under the mid foot back to the heel, leaving some flexibility under the forefoot. I found the forefoot flex to be great, but I do think that causes the Speedboard to be felt underfoot. So, while I think the midsole is more runnable than the CloudUltra, at random times (most notable on harder surfaces and at faster paces), I can feel the Speedboard as almost  a hard ball underfoot. 

Mike P:  I definitely wanted to mention the insole, but Renee has already covered it.  It’s an interesting design, and something I haven’t seen before.  I like it when companies try to dial in their insole design to match the shoe, as it shows that they are really paying attention to every element of the shoe.  In this case, the firmer rubbery part around the outside and bottom of the heel portion does help to lock in the foot and eliminate any unwanted movement.  It’s pretty clever I think because you don’t want a harsh feel directly under the heel, but the rubbery (and textured) part around the edges does provide a barrier as well as a minor amount of friction to further resist any sliding.  Transitioning to a more traditional Ortholite-type material up front also works well to not hinder flexibility.  Well done ON!

Mike P:  I definitely wanted to mention the insole, but Renee has already covered it.  It’s an interesting design, and something I haven’t seen before.  I like it when companies try to dial in their insole design to match the shoe, as it shows that they are really paying attention to every element of the shoe.  In this case, the firmer rubbery part around the outside and bottom of the heel portion does help to lock in the foot and eliminate any unwanted movement.  It’s pretty clever I think because you don’t want a harsh feel directly under the heel, but the rubbery (and textured) part around the edges does provide a barrier as well as a minor amount of friction to further resist any sliding.  Transitioning to a more traditional Ortholite-type material up front also works well to not hinder flexibility.  Well done ON!

On to the midsole - this is where things get dicey for me.  Again having no prior experience with ON’s “cloud” midsole, I had no preconceived notion on how they were supposed to feel.  When walking around, and deliberately putting pressure on the outer edges of the midsole, clearly you can see that those Cloudtec elements and the air voids do compress.  On the run, I find this does seem to lead to smooth landings.  I typically land on the outer edge of the forefoot/midfoot, and everything just felt pretty smooth to me.  While cushioning does not feel soft by any means, there were no harsh or flat-feeling landings.  If anything, I’d say those voids or “clouds” work to smooth out what otherwise would feel like a much firmer midsole. 

Now on to the big negative for the Cloudvista - the Speedboard, or whatever it is that is going on under the forefoot.  I’ll describe more in the Ride section below, but here I’ll just say this - there is what seems to be a small marble-sized protrusion that presses up directly directly below the center of the ball of the foot.  It is highly noticeable, and somewhat irritating, depending on your ability to ignore it or not.  On softer terrain it’s slightly less noticeable, but on anything firm, you will definitely feel it underfoot.  This is very unfortunate, and based on the care that ON took with other elements of the shoe, I’m very surprised that this was not noticed and addressed.


Renee: The Missiongrip™ outsole works well for a shoe meant to cover a variety of terrain. It is obvious that the Cloudvista is not meant for deep mud or technical trails, but I thought the shoe worked well on mild mud and soft terrain. Like the CloudUltra, it seems as if debris and mud would stick in the “clouds,” but I did not have that issue. Any mud that collected during my single track 10-mile run quickly fell off.

The grip and traction is solid for a “door to trail” shoe. I ran a speed workout of 9 total miles, with 16 x 0.25 mile hill repeats (plus a warm up and cool down) on soft dirt. The outsole worked fine. 

Mike P:  The outsole, for a trail shoe, is pretty simple, with not much lug depth.  The orientation of the lugs also indicates a focus more on straight forward motion rather than traction and grip on more lateral movements.  I found that to be the case, as I had no issues with grip on more runnable, smoother & dry terrain.  On more twisty, shifty terrain the shoe overall doesn’t feel as stable, but I’d attribute that to the general shoe design rather than the outsole.

The “elephant in the clouds” is that mud and tacky dirt will definitely collect in the voids of the midsole.  In fact, my mother-in-law recently visited in the early winter and had a new pair of ONs.  She was cursing them after a few hikes, as she liked to have them clean.  She spent a considerable amount of time with a small branch trying to scrape out mud which had packed into the voids.  That being said, I will reserve these for easier, dry trails.


Renee: The good and bad of the ride: I had fun during each Cloudvista run. From bouncing around on single tracks to hills repeats in dirt to slower easy 4-5 mile runs. 

The flex underfoot is great and the ride is nimble with great ground feel. At 8.78 oz in a women’s size 8, the Cloudvista is not a lightweight shoe, especially when compared to other shoes in its category. However, the Cloudvista runs much lighter than its weight, and I never felt them as “heavy.” Now, for the bad. The midsole is much more forgiving and softer compared to the CloudUltra, but on each run with the Cloudvista, I could randomly feel a “hard ball” under my forefoot, which I think is caused by the placement of the Speedboard and the design of the insole. I tried to switch out insoles with my Saucony Peregrine 12 and my Craft Ultra, but those insoles would not fit. At slower paces on softer terrain, that “hard ball” feel wasn’t a deal breaker. During my hill repeats, that hard feeling becomes annoying. 

Mike P:  It’s truly a shame about that Speedboard protrusion at the forefoot.  Putting that aside - I really love the ride of the shoe.  My size 9.5s unexpectedly tipped the scales at 10.2 oz.  Maybe because of the narrow platform and the fact that the upper looks so sleek, I expected them to be lighter.  But on the run - they do run much, much lighter than that.  If I didn’t know the weight beforehand, I would have guessed they were in the range of 8-9 oz.  

Now bear with me here, but I’d say they have something of the feel of the Salomon Pulsar.  Not nearly as feathery of course, but something about the way the upper fits so well, along with the narrow platform and smooth (straight-ahead) ride - I just got a similar type of sensation.  Back to reality now - pure performance is not at all in the same stratosphere as the Pulsar.  The Cloudvistas can feel a bit nimble due to their light feel, and the quick turnover they encourage - but putting full power into the ground in tight, twisty turns or technical terrain is just not an option.  While the upper certainly fits well enough for straight ahead running, there’s just not enough lateral stability for more technical running.  The “clouds” tend to be a bit unstable.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Renee: I have a mixed opinion of the Cloudvista. The good: The shoe is pretty. The shoe is quality built. The shoe is fun to run with on dirt , gravel, and single track woodland trails. From 4 miles to 10 miles, slow paces to speed workouts, inclines and declines, the Cloudvista has a great fit and nimble, fast ride. And now the not so good: the midsole is not “too hard” for short and mid-distances, but I could feel a hard ball under the forefoot (from the Speedboard I assume). If I look at comparable shoes in a similar class, I’m not sure I would choose the Cloudvista over my other options unless I wanted a trail shoe to run with, walk with, and wear casually. At the end of the day, the Cloudvista shoe is a pretty shoe, even with a little dirt mixed in. 

Renee’s score: 8.75/10  (-1.25 hard feel under the forefoot)

Mike P:  The final verdict for the ON Cloudvista is strongly tied to that poorly integrated Speedboard.  I received my test pair 2 weeks before a 50M ultra race.  I would typically not have any problems running in new shoes during this period, but in this case the Speedboard issue at the forefoot gave me great pause.  After just a couple short test runs, frankly, I was scared to take them past 30-40 minutes out of fear of burning blisters into the balls of my feet right before the race.  Even now after the race I have the same feelings - still reluctant to use them for anything other than very short outings.  It’s really a shame, because the ride is really good.  But with that type of apparent hot spot danger, they will likely be relegated to casual use. 

Mike P’s Score: 7.9/10

Ride: 10 - Ride is smooth and fast (in a straight line on smooth to moderate terrain)

Fit/Comfort: 6 - Fit is actually great, but the points off for the ill-fated Speedboard are deducted from this category

Value: 6 - ON’s carry a premium price, and the Speeboard issue really hurts here.  You may find greater value if you also intend to use them casually.

Style: 10 - They look great, no doubt
Traction: 8 - Adequate in smooth to moderate terrain, park trail type

Rock Protection: 8 - Adequate in smooth to moderate terrain, park trail type


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ON Cloudultra (RTR Review)

Renee: Despite the “ultra” name, I couldn’t run more than a few miles with the CloudUltra without the hard midsole becoming uncomfortable. The Cloudvista has the same fit and quality as the CloudUltra and runs softer to a degree underfoot.. The Cloudvista is about 0.50oz /14g  lighter in my women’s size 8. 

Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 (formerly known as the TerraUltra G 270) (RTR Review)

Renee: The TU G 270, now called the Trailfly G 270, remains my overall favorite trail shoe. At about 0.75oz / lighter than the Cloudvista, the G 270 is lighter and works better for any distance from short runs to ultras (depending on the runner of course). Neither shoe is high stack or high cushion, but the G 270 is comfortable underfoot without compromising speed. The G 270 is wider in fit, but still secure. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. My choice is overwhelmingly the G 270, with the only advantage of the Cloudvista being looks. The G 270 is a 0mm drop as compared to the Vista’s 7mm drop. 

Mike P (10.0):  The Cloudvista actually has a much better fitting and comfortable upper.  But the G270 upper while being a bit stiffer, especially around the ankle collar, is more secure and better suited to technical terrain.  Traction and grip no contest - a win for the G 270.  Stick to the parks, easy trails, and happy hours with the ONs, leave the serious trails to the Inov-8.

adidas Terrex Speed Ultra (RTR Review)

Renee: The Terrex Speed Ultra is an ultra shoe that works well for shorter distances as well. The shoes run light and nimble, much like the Cloudvista with a similar drop (8mm compared to 7 mm). Both shoes  have great ground feel despite the “higher” drop for a trail shoe. Underfoot, the Terrex is more comfortable although I did find them a bit narrow on the medial side (I still wore them for 20 milers though, so no big deal). The Terrex is about 0.5oz / 14g lighter than the Cloudvista. 

Mike P (9.5/10.0):  My Speed Ultras in 9.5 have a comparable fit (sizing-wise) to the ON 9.5.  But I prefer the Adidas in 10.0 for longer runs - I ran Behind the Rocks 50M in them recently with no foot issues at all.  The Speed Ultras right now are my all-time favorite trail shoe.  They win across all categories against the ON for me, no contest here.

Hoka Torrent 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: My favorite Hoka, the Torrent 2 is lighter while still providing enough protection underfoot for longer distances (for some runners). While not plush, the Torrent 2 has a softer midsole than the Cloudvista (most shoes do) while still being agile on trail. I wore a women’s size 7.5 in the Torrent 2 compared to an 8 in the Cloudvista.

Mike P (9.5):  The Torrent 2 is more trail-oriented than the Cloudvista.  They have a wider platform therefore more stable, as well as serious trail traction.  T2 can handle almost any terrain outside of extremely rocky.  I think the Torrent 2 upper is still a work in progress for Hoka, but it does the job of locking down the foot in technical terrain.  The ON upper is more refined and comfortable, but not as performant.  Not much contest here in terms of pure trail running - stick with the Torrent 2 over the Cloudvista.

Asics Fuji Lite 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0):  The Asics features a much softer ride as well as very good Asics Grip traction.  The upper is not as secure as other comps above.  I find the softness plus the insecure upper makes it a bit unstable, but it’s a fun and somewhat bouncy ride on moderate terrain.  The ON feels unstable in a different way - due to the firmer ride and narrow platform.  I’d say the Asics is more versatile, but picking between the two would depend on preference of soft vs. firm ride. The Cloudvista is a much faster shoe, while the Asics’ softness saps some speed.

Saucony Peregrine 12 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5):  The new Peregrine 12 is all business when it comes to technical trails.  It’s a model for security, stability, and protection in a lightweight technically-oriented trail shoe.  There’s not much overlap between these shoes, they likely wouldn’t cross paths on the same trails.  Peregrine is for very technical, with the ON’s at home on the buffed out stuff.

The Cloudvista is available now including at RTR partner stores as well as ON Running HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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1 comment:

davedave said...

On Cloudvista - I felt the bump but it went away after a couple of short runs