For all the technical specs today’s sneakers offer, from lacing to weight and grip, nothing beats comfort. Plenty of brands offer thick, springy soles, but if you’re serious about maximizing your footwear’s real-world fitness performance, you’ll need a shoe that’s responsive too. Swiss brand On takes a fresh approach with their latest launch, Cloudstratus, super-cushioned sneakers that combine tech-forward materials and thoughtful design. The result is a fit that offers athletes the best of both worlds: the foot-feel of a thinner sole and ultra-plush comfort, based on the brand’s proprietary, popular CloudTec. Inspired by a garden hose, the design of the “clouds” gives runners an experience that lessens the impact without sacrificing weight or flexibility.
The key innovation of the Cloudstratus line is the use of a double CloudTec layer, aligned with a stiff plate in the midsole and made using their Helion foam to deliver energy return and impact cushioning. Helion fuses flexible and rigid foam so that the softer elements compress slowly to reduce the force you feel when your foot lands. The lightweight material also provides a very airy sensation on the foot, helps minimize muscle fatigue, and resists temperature changes for added durability and to maximize performance no matter the weather.
On gave us a pair to wear-test for workouts in the park and the experience made clear that CloudTec has been well-conceived and executed, making for footwear that allows for rapid movements (like burpees) with the utmost support yet the responsiveness of more traditional designs. The cushioned feel is a boon to trail-running too, plus you have all the agility needed to avoid injuries that can result from rocks and other uneven parts of the path.
Their colorways, clean lines and overall aesthetic make them an easy addition to an everyday look, and On has been making a name for itself by celebrating the intersection of fashion, art and culture. Events bring runners and others together, including at MoMa PS1 for a 5K through Queens, NY as part of a series to promote the arts and shed light on a curated group of local artists who embody the brand ethos.
From their cultural forays to product design, On is on par with bigger, established brands in a sneaker game crowded with new soles, material technology and marketing plays. The upshot is performance, style and that simplest yet most desirable of achievements, comfort.
Images courtesy of On