Thursday, February 15, 2024

On Cloudmonster 2024 Multi Tester Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Steve Gedwill, and Matt Crehan

On Cloudmonster 2024 ($180, €190, GBP170 )


Peter: The Cloudmonster 2 is the follow-up to the excellent, and frankly surprising, Cloudmonster from On. For me, the Cloudmonster was the first On that lived up to the promise of the company. The design has always been top notch, but up until the Cloudmonster (and then the Cloudeclipse), I found ON shoes kind of a bummer to run in because they were quite firm and a little harsh. I have to admit that part of this was the delta between the expectations due to advertising (like running on clouds) and experience and part of it was just wanting to the shoes to feel as good as they looked. The first Cloudmonster and Cloudeclipse finally got there. 

The Cloudmonster finally earned the CLOUD name and all of the various running on cloud marketing. The Cloudmonster 2 seeks to build upon that foundation and incorporates a Helion superfoam as well as a dual density midsole. So how does it compare? Is it more monstrous? Is it the Cloud Ogre? Let’s check it all out. 


Good looking  Peter

Comfortable upper with 92% recycled content  Peter

Stable and more stable compared to v1  Steve / Matt


Heavy  Peter

Very thin tongue, tends to slide down  Peter

Firm ride  Peter, Steve

Upper has too much volume and width Steve

Less fun than version 1 - Matt

Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Spec. Weight: men's 10.6 oz  / 300g (US9/EU42) v1: 9.7 oz / 275g (US9)  

  Samples: men’s 11.29 oz / 320g US11 ,  oz / g US

Stack Height: men’s 35 mm heel / 29 mm forefoot (v1: 29 mm heel / 23 mm forefoot)

Drop: 6 mm drop 

$180.  Available Feb. 22, 2024

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Peter: Another beautiful looking shoe from the design team at ON. They felt  very heavy coming out of the box–and sure enough they are a full ounce heavier than the CloudMonster 1. Very strange indeed to iterate up a full ounce, the 6mm more stack height explaining . The CloudMonster 2 fits true to size and, as usual, the upper is very comfortable and laces easily. The tongue is quite thin (and has a tendency to slip down during the run

Steve: Does ON know how to make stylish shoes or what? They always have a very clean, sophisticated design with the right use of unique colors. I always imagined these wouldn’t look half bad with a tuxedo. “The name is ON, James ON” apologies, I got carried away. 

The upper is very similar to V1, a thin engineered mesh, now with up to 92% total recycled content. It’s both soft and quite breathable. 

The gusseted tongue is quite thin, but sports a denser material around the top edge and down the center to reduce lace pressure. The laces are pretty traditional, V2 does ditch the webbing straps for the lace system as we see here a thinner, but very dense/strong threaded loop. 

At step in, the fit is quite generous (some may say relaxed) I would have believed it was a wide fit if someone said so. I wouldn’t consider my feet narrow, so the fit is a bit ‘too relaxed’ for me. 

I think the length is good and would say it’s true to size. I’d be interested in trying a half size down to see if that helps with the width at all. 

Underfoot, it doesn’t feel particularly supportive. It feels a bit flat and stiff, as most shoes don’t specifically add arch support, it’s just quite noticeable here. I had to pull the laces pretty tight to get the desired fit/hold, I didn’t experience any heel slip when laced all the way up.   

Matt: Well as the guys have said, On knows how to make a shoe that looks good, and when it comes to first impressions as you take the shoe out the box or see it on your local store’s wall, the On Cloud Monster 2 is definitely a good looking shoe. The shoe looks bigger both in stack and in width. The first definitely being true as once On sent us over the tech specs which showed the increase in stack of version 2 with 35mm/29mm compared to 29mm/23mm in version 1. 

As Steve says, the upper does feel quite voluminous, I didn’t really notice this to cause any issues, but those with a narrower foot may, as the Monster 2 is most definitely of more generous width. Yet, overall I found it fit true to size.

The biggest negative I had of version 1 was that the upper left me feeling like it was missing something to create that little more stability within the shoe, like a simple logo overlay across the medial side. 

Version 1 shown above

Well in version 2 I found the overlay that wraps around from the heel to come further and higher up the shoe offering that little bit more structure to the upper. 

On did put a logo on the medial side, a very small logo that doesn’t really offer any extra stability to the upper, but I suppose it's sort of like they listened to my feedback, and overall even with the more generous width fitting the shoe and upper felt more stable. The big negative for me is version one of the shoe had that initial feeling on the foot that it would be fun to run, version 2 just didn’t have that first impression leaving me a little worried as the CloudMonster 1 was one of my favorite tempo day shoes.     

Midsole & Platform

Steve: We see the biggest changes with the midsole, the stack height on V1 was 29mm heel and 23mm forefoot, V2 features a 35mm heel and 29mm forefoot while retaining the 6mm drop. 

The midsole now features a reworked dual-density Helion superfoam and the Nylon Speedboard has been reshaped and placed where you get the most optimal energy return. The larger stack is pretty apparent, but is still quite stable. 

Matt: The CloudMonster 2 has a dual density midsole, designed to help smooth transitions placing firmer cushioning to the heel and softer at the forefoot. This could explain a lot of why I find the shoe to be a big downgrade from its predecessor, but I’ll leave that to my ride and conclusion discussion below. 

In most shoes it's typical to have a softer heel cushion to reduce impact through the body if heel striking, and if meant for everyday and faster work, then to feature a firmer forefoot cushioning so as to allow you to have something to push off rather than sinking to  the point you are trying to get off the floor. 

So to have these flipped in the Cloud Monster 2 shows at least On have tried something different I suppose, but as you’ll read later on, for me this leaves the shoe feeling flat and nowhere near as fun as version 1. The main positive for me for version 2 is that even with an increased stack height over version 1, On have managed to make version 2 a lot more stable, and I haven’t had any of the ankle issues I had in version 1.    

Peter: You got all the details above. Ultimately the higher stack and the dual density foams do work to stabilize the shoe but also to make it farther from the ground and stiffer feeling–therefore less fun to run in 


Steve: Talk about a Monster grip! This was probably the most surprising part of the shoe for me. The classic Cloudtec rubber seems to be quite durable and really holds onto the road (even the pothole, loose gravel filled roads here in Chicago). The deep cut-out in the center of the outsole that I believe exposed the Speedboard in V1, is now filled in a bit with some of the midsole foam. I’m not sure if this is to help with stability or to reduce the collection of rocks, maybe neither, maybe both!

Matt: I’ve been deep in winter UK marathon training with a beautifully white pair of Cloud Monster 2.  

So  although they have now accumulated 50 miles of testing, I haven’t yet run outside in them, with treadmill sessions and walking but no actual outdoor runs. On shoes for me historically haven’t been the best on wet surfaces, version 2 of the Cloudflow, my favorite On shoe of all time, really struggled once the rain started coming down.

 I haven’t noticed any slipping or such while walking on the wet or even icy roads in the Monster 2 but sadly I can’t comment on outdoor outsole running performance just yet. On the treadmill the outsole works fine and doesn't show any excessive sign of friction with the treadmill belt.   

Peter: Traction, grip and durability all seem on point. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Steve: Right out of the gate I felt like these Monsters were firm, not scary firm, but firm nonetheless. I also didn’t feel like my stride was particularly efficient. At times I caught myself taking smaller, lighter steps in fear that my legs would feel taxed by the end of my runs. 

Although I will say the more I ran in them, the more I enjoyed them. After hitting some strides at the end of an easy run, I got a better sense of the pods collapsing and then providing a bit of springy energy return. I feel with more miles, that will become more noticeable on easy efforts as well. 

The shoe responded best for me when adding more force at push off for strides and during tempo efforts, which kind of makes sense with the design of the pods. Overall it’s still a pretty firm ride, even with the increase in stack height.

My biggest issue with the shoe is I don’t really know where this fits into a rotation.  I’d prefer a softer ride for easy efforts and a bit lighter weight for faster work.  

It’s has a high (and now higher) stack and is a heavy shoe, but not nearly as soft or forgiving as a typical recovery run shoe such as for example an Asics Nimbus.

Matt : The ride of the Cloud Monster 2, although with an increased stack height and larger Cloud elements, should perhaps be expected to be softer, bouncier, dare I say more fun than version 1 of the Cloud Monster.  Sadly, I can’t say any of those things. There is cushion, but it is firm, the explosive bounce that the V1 had when you started to pick up pace is non-existent and the shoe feels flat and energy zapping. 

Version 1 had a rocker design that, as the pace ramped up, offered a smooth rolling transition that just helped to keep that pace ticking upwards. Version 2, at a glance looks to have that same rocker design.  Whether its position has been moved further forward or back in the shoe or the increased stack height, leaves the shoe without that smoothing transition effect, again adding to the flatness of the run experience of the shoe. 

Sadly I feel like On have taken their most fun shoe, which if they’d have taken some weight out of it and placed a carbon infused plate in it could have been not only a fun shoe but an incredible race day option, and instead dumbed it down into a complete borefest that doesn't live up to its predecessors name at all. 

It’s something I’ve noticed across a lot of recent On models, that they seem to be moving away from some of the quaint essential things that made them On shoes, and instead trying to speak to a broader market who want a shoe that lasts longer, is super soft or has sock like upper fit, all of which are great things of course if they are done in such away that they add to the performance of an already great shoe, but in On’s case they seem to detracting. 

Maybe it's simply a case that the lifestyle sales figure numbers are just too hard to pass up, though I find that hard to believe when I see and enjoy just how much On is investing in grass route and elite level athletics. I’m a big fan of OAC and On’s sponsorship of the Night of 10,000m down in London over here in the UK was fantastic. 

So although a great looking shoe, and named after one of On’s top running shoes (in my opinion), the Cloud Monster 2 has fallen far from grace and is more Cookie Monster, than Dracula.  

Score: 6.85 / 10

Ride (50%): 4 Fit (30%): 10 Value (15%): 9 Style (5%): 10


Peter: I wish I liked Cloud Monster 2 more. I wish I liked Cloud Monster 2 more than I liked the CLoud Monster 1. Frankly, I wish I liked the Cloud Monster 2 period. 

The shoe feels and runs even heavier than its already heavy weight. The ride is firmer than the Cloud Monster and all of the fun is sort of drained out. The Cloudeclipse (at the same price) is a far more fun shoe and I’d certainly recommend getting it instead of the Cloud Monster 2. I’d put the Cloud Monster 2 into the lifestyle category and really not try to run in it. Perhaps it will work for heavier or more casual runners, but for me it’s a miss. 

Score 6/10 Heavy, firm and not inexpensive at $180.



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

On Cloudmonster v1 (RTR Review)

Matt: Version 2 improves on the overall stability of Version 1 of the CloudMonster adding overlays to the upper to create a more stable medial side. But after that the positives stop, and the V2 lost all the fun and joy that Version 1 had. I took the version 1 out for track sessions, 15 mile tempo runs, marathon pace effort work and at every test it surprised, excited and had me wowing at just how versatile a shoe it was, after my initial break in period of about 25 miles. But having tested V2 over 50 miles now, from warm up and cool down runs, to 10 mile tempo runs and LTP interval sessions, the shoe remains feeling flat, and energy zapping.   

Peter: I really liked the CloudMonster 1. It was the first shoe that lived up to the promise (and design) of On. Finally an on that wasn’t super firm and was fun to run in. I was excited about V2, but it gained weight and lost personality. Search out those old pairs of V1!

On Cloudeclipse (RTR Review)

Peter: The CloudEclipse is for sure my favorite ON shoe. It took all the things about the CloudMonster and made them better. I found it to be fun, bouncy and protective. Easy shoe to move quick in, and easy shoe to go long in. CloudEclipse wins here–and at the same price point it’s a no-brainer.

NB SC Trainer v2 or v3 (RTR Review)

Peter: The NB is softer, bouncier and more responsive. Much more fun to run in and with a much better road feel. 

The On Cloudmonster 2024 releases Feb. 22, 2024

Tester Profiles

Steve: A former high school track runner, turned physique competitor who then jumped back into the running scene. I’m 37 years old, 6’0 tall, 175 lbs and currently running 30-40 miles per week. My most recent Half Marathon time is 1:45:59 and I am starting my build for the Chicago Marathon this Fall. I am from Tampa, Florida originally, but have called Chicago, IL home for the last 5 years. I’m a huge running shoe geek and work in the craft beer industry.

Matt is the owner of Made to Run an independent running store based between Manchester and Liverpool in the UK, which he runs alongside his mother Susan who competed in the 1987 Rome World Championships 10,000m and 1988 Seoul Olympic Marathon for Great Britain. So with running in the family, Matt has high goals of replicating what his mother did and having raced at the national level over in the UK for the last 15 years, Matt made a further step towards his goal on his 30th birthday when he won the 2021 Manchester Marathon in 2:18.23, followed two weeks later by winning the Liverpool Rock N Roll Marathon. Matt also has PR's for the 5km -14:18, 10km  - 30:11 and HM - 65:28. Matt is also the author of The Art of Running, a graphic novel about legendary runner Steve Prefontaine.  Instagram - GoCre91

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Stock Photos: On Running

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

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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