Best On Running Shoes Reviewed for Performance

We all want to stay in shape, but the hefty yearly prices of gyms and workout accessories can turn someone with a limited budget off. Running is a great, limited cost workout that can be done almost anywhere. Our bodies are like workout machines, especially our feet. We all know that running is one of the best ways to stay healthy. But running can be a painful experience if you don’t have the proper tools – the right clothes and a good pair of running shoes, that can last you a few years, and offer you an experience that makes it feels like you’re literally running on clouds.

Last Updated: June 11, 2018
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By Himmatpreet Kaur:

We have recently updated our 10 Best On Running Shoes list to ensure that you have the most recent information available to you. We've done thorough research about this brand and all the shoes they create to provide you with an update criteria section and answers to frequently asked questions about the shoes.

On running shoes, a Swiss company, came out with one of the best inventions to make your running sessions bliss. Three-times World Duathlon Champion and winner of many Ironmans, Olivier Bernhard wanted to create a new sensation for running. He teamed up with Caspar Coppetti and David Allemann and officially created On in 2010.

Featured Recommendations

On Cloudflow
  • On Cloudflow
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Synthetic sole
  • Mesh
  • Price: See Here
On Cloudventure
  • On Cloudventure
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water resistant
  • Protective toe
  • Price: See Here
On Cloud
  • On Cloud
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Very flexible
  • A lot of color options
  • Price: See Here

But what was so remarkable about these running shoes that they were awarded two winning ISPO (Internationale Fachmesse für Sportartikel und Sportmode)? The engineer that worked on the patented soles (that later Bernhard would continue to improve on) created a technology that cushions your landing and hardens your take-off. This new technology is called ‘CloudTec’ where the outsoles look like honeycomb. If you’re ready to start running on clouds, then check out our Top 10!

 

10 Best On Running Shoes

 

1. On Cloudflow

If you're looking for a pair of On running shoes mainly for neutral road running, then you should definitely consider these Cloudflow. These shoes create a faster running output. The new mesh weaving technology brings more breathability. Like all of the On running shoes, they offer you the CloudTec honeycombs on the outsoles, making your landing and departures so much easier.
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Various Colorways
On really has thought about everything. From innovative technology to pickier clients who need their shoes to fit their ensembles. This is why the Cloudflow running shoes offer various colorways, both for men and women. Though the colors might be a bit flashy, there are far from bothersome to the eye.

Antimicrobial Treatment
Are you tired of always having to put powder in your running shoes after a run because they smell? Well, believe or not, the Cloudflow receive an antimicrobial treatment before leaving the distribution center. This means that no matter how many runs you have, the smell should always remain the same: non-smelly.

Cost and Value
With their shoes varying between $110 and $230, the Cloudflow are smack in the middle of these price ranges. You’re definitely paying for comfort and quality, which is what any runner is looking for. Let’s face it, no one likes to run while their feet are in pain
Pros

Comfortable

Lightweight

Multiple Colorways

Responsive

Cons

Not great for wet surfaces

2. On Cloudventure

If you like running on backroads, gravel and in forests, then the Cloudventure could be what you are looking for. These On running shoes are made especially for trail terrains and for daily running use.
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Water-Repellent
Because its main use would be for running in trails and uneven terrain, these shoes were made with a water-repellent 2-layer membrane upper. Not to be confused with Waterproof. Water-repellent means that water is staved off from the shoe, but if you end up jumping in puddles, water will enter the shoe. This feature is very useful if you’re a hardcore runner and don’t mind a little bit of rain.

Outsole
The On Cloudventure’s outsoles have a micro-engineered grip rubber that allows the runner to move around easily, no matter the surface of the ground. There are variously sized nodes, providing extra grasp on uneven roads and thus making your run a more agreeable sport and adventure.

Cost and Value
The Cloudventure is close to the top-range in pricing, but the fact that they can be used on uneven terrains and that they are water-repellent makes a good deal out of the price.
Pros
  • Water-repellent
  • Protective toe cap
  • Underfoot cushioning 
  • Multi-surface outsole
Cons
  • Should be waterproof 

3. On Cloud

As per the Cloudflow, these running shoes are specifically made for competitive running on road terrain. They come with a lighter build compared to the Cloudflow, but the heel to toe drop is the same (6mm). Thankfully, these shoes are available for those with medium-size feet and those with slightly wider forefeet, for both men and women. This means that you won’t feel tightened at the widest part of your foot.
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Laces
The laces on the Cloud are different than what you’d find on any other running shoes. They don’t tie, but there is a special bead that secures the lace when you find it tight enough.

Fine Sock Liners
Cloud is most famous for its ‘unmatched step-in feel’. Indeed, On updated their sock liner using a dual-density material, which makes your comfortability level higher than with any other pair of running shoes.

Cost and Value
The On Cloud cost a little less than the Cloudsurfer and Cloudflow. I think that what would make you choose from here would definitely be the color and style you’re looking for.
Pros
  • Flexible runner
  • CloudTec 
  • Comes in many colorways
  • Good impact protection
Cons
  • Pebbles easily enter the shoe 
  • Not as durable 

4. On Cloudventure Shield

4. On Cloudventure Shield
If you loved the original Cloudventure, you'll be very happy to know they've now created a fully waterproof and windproof version. No longer do you have to let off-road trails stop you from enjoying a run, these shoes will stay protected through it all. These running shoes are not chemically coated so you don't have to worry about them losing their waterproof abilities over time. The quality materials used to make the newer version of the Cloudventure are flexible breathable and lightweight. It is one of the top rated waterproof shoes currently on the market.
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Waterproof
This is the ultimate feature for die-hard runners and professional athletes. Don't let rain, water or off-road terrains stop you from what you love doing most. These waterproof shoes will help keep your feet dry during all your exercises, no matter where you are or what you're doing.

Not Chemically Coated
Most other shoes and clothing that claim to be waterproof are really just chemically coated. These running shoes, from top to bottom were created to be durable, waterproof and windproof, not just the outer layer. Not using chemicals also creates the shoe to be of high-quality and long-lasting durability. The materials used to repel the water are also highly comfortable, cushioning and lightweight.

Cost and Value
These shoes will definitely make a dent in your wallet but it's truly worth every penny. These are not cheaply made shoes that promise something they can't deliver. These are quality-made, honest and reliable waterproof shoes that will protect your feet through all types of weather and activities. No other company can offer what On is offering here.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Durable
  • Flexible and breathable
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Quite costly

5. On Cloudrush

5. On Cloudrush
If you’re more of a runner that focuses on speed and low mileage, then the On Cloudrush are what you’re probably looking for. They replace the discontinued Cloudracer (but still available somewhere online).
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Cloud Pods
Compared to the other the On running shoes, the Cloudrush offer the runners 18 cloud pods, adding extra cushioning and comfort. These pods collapse and compress when the runner hits the ground with his foot, giving more responsiveness to each step.

Sole unit
On’s Cloudrush’s sole is really thin yet firm and nimble. It’s made out of high-grade EVA CloudTec that is built for speed, as well as Speedboard, helping the runner while he changes speed.

Cost and Value
These On running shoes are on the lower price range of the Swiss company. Sadly, its durability is to be questioned compared to its compatriots.
Pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Sleek design
  • Extra flexible 
  • Innovative heel structure
  • Speedboard with EVA CloudTec
Cons
  • Not made for long runs
  • Durability concerns

6. On Cloudventure Peak

6. On Cloudventure Peak
These On Cloudventure Peak are made for trail and daily running. With a neutral arch support and a heel to toe drop of 6mm, these running shoes offer you support and stability, no matter the road you decide to take. With its stylish look, tough built, almost perfect grip and admirable durability, these running shoes are made to last.
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Tape Reinforcements
On decided to reinforce their Cloudventure Peak with nearly weightless tape, adding more structure to the upper of the shoe. They are very light and provide more protection to the runner’s feet while they run.

Rubber Toe Cap
Because these shoes are made to be taken off-road, On has thought about guarding the runner’s toes with rubber toe caps, adding extra protection against rocks and ground irregularities while running.

Cost and Value
Its price is higher than the Cloudflyer and Cloudsurfer, but less than the Cloudventure. If you want to save a few bucks while still buying quality for trail running, the Cloudventure Peak is a must-have.
Pros
  • Lighter than the On Cloudventure
  • No break-in period needed
  • Blister proof
  • Snug fit for trail running
  • Good for marathons
Cons
  • Sizing can be confusing 
  • Not water-repellent 

7. On Cloudflash

7. On Cloudflash
Looking for a sleek, lightweight and low-cut running shoe? Look no further, the Cloudflash is perfect for all serious runners. This simple style is flashy, bright and still provides all the needed support and comfort from inside to out. Taking the classic style of the soccer cleats, they've added their signature outsole cushioning and easy lace closure to create the ultimate running shoe. It's no wonder why it's called the Cloudflash, your feet will feel light and comfortable while you're speeding around the track.
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Lightweight and Fast
These shoes are perfect for both sprinters and long-distance runners. The lightweight style and materials focus more on creating protection and forming around the foot while still providing cushion in all the areas that count. Once you start running, you'll barely feel like your wearing shoes. The lightweight feel helps you to move faster and at ease with your own body.

Soccer Style
Soccer shoes were made to be a strong yet thin barrier around the foot to help protect from injuries while also allowing the athlete to run at full speed and performance. Well, just like soccer shoes, these running shoes do just the same thing, minus the spikey cleats. Those were replaced with cushioning outsoles to help absorb pressure on a variety of tracks and terrain.

Cost and Value
It probably isn't a surprise by now, but these shoes are on the expensive side. Created for the professional runner or runners who want to maximize their full speed, the cost will be completely worth it once you see how long these shoes will last and how high-quality made they are.
Pros
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Forms around the foot
  • Maximizes performance in speed
  • Easy lace closure
  • Soccer-like appearance
Cons
  • May be stiff with first use

8. On Cloud X

8. On Cloud X
Lightweight, strong and fully cushioned, this running shoe will redefine your views of comfort and proper fit. Dual sock liners, new materials and a seamless tongue provide ultimate comfort to the foot on the inside of the shoe. The redefined thin ankle cushion forms lightly around the foot without rubbing and still keeps its grip. In your feet tend to get towards the hot side when running, these shoes are a perfect choice. The high-quality mesh uppers are durable, flexible and extremely breathable.
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Full Cushion and Support
During long, strenuous activities, it's important to have support and cushion where it counts to keep your feet at ease. From the inside to out, these shoes were made for comfort. The high-profile cushioned outsoles, padded ankles and tongue work together to ease pressure and friction during your movements.

New Mesh Upper
Everyone loves the look of the mesh overlays on their shoes but the right kinds of mesh are also beneficial to the health of your feet. The new mesh uppers used in these running shoes are made to be strong and durable yet lightweight and breathable. The material forms better around the foot, adds support and avoids suffocation in the shoes.

Cost and Value
Yes, these last shoes are expensive too. Mostly this is because it's a very new style and the materials used in creation are higher quality and aid in the shoes long-lasting life. Again, it's an investment any serious runner will eventually be very thankful for.
Pros
  • Seamless tongue
  • Redefined ankle cushion
  • New mesh upper
  • High-profile outsole cushioning
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Expensive price

9. On Cloudsurfer

9. On Cloudsurfer
If you're a daily runner and appreciate long workouts on neutral roads, then the Cloudsurfer would suit your running needs. With the same Cloudtec technology as all of the On shoes, you will stay comfortable on those very long runs.
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Outsoles
These running shoes are for city runners, where asphalt cover the grounds wherever you look. The Cloudsurfer outsoles have an arrow pattern that provides extra traction on that type of road, which means that there is less effort given and thus can make you run for longer periods of time.

Knitted Mesh
Because of the single-layer mesh that these running shoes have, they remain soft yet durable to last you many runs. Because the overlays are blended to the upper sole, it offers you a secure fit.

Cost and Value
These are priced at around the same value as the Cloudflow, but if you’re not looking at competitive shoes, but simply just really good running shoes, then these would be more suited for you and the use you’d be making of them.
Pros
  • A lot of cushioning
  • No pressure on knees and ankles
  • Secure fit
  • No need for break-in period 
Cons
  • Laces are very long and thin
  • Half-size smaller

10. On Cloudflyer

10. On Cloudflyer
On’s Cloudflyer features enhanced midsoles, as well as lightweight and stable outsoles. The star-crossed laces ensure the shoe fits the foot well and provide extra stability and support. The shoe is responsive to the runner and fits the wider-range of feet.
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Enhanced Midsoles
The goal of On is truly to create a running experience on the road that would feel like you’re running barefoot (or with socks on). This is why the Swiss company uses proactive elements that give you enough cushioning all the while promoting the foot’s natural movement.

Outsoles
The Clouflyer offers a ground-breaking Speedboard (which is a thin Pebax lining that helps the runner during his variations of speed) that are directly attached to the outsoles, offering runners more stability without adding any weight. Seriously, how better than this can it get?

Cost and Value
The Cloudflyer are close to the top prices of theOn price ranges. For what they offer, and the slightly heavier feel they give the runners, I would have to say that On perhaps might have overpriced this running shoe.
Pros
  • Generous padding
  • Good heel support
  • High quality materials
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • 12 “clouds” zero-gravity 
Cons
  • Ground perception isn’t as good

No matter what kind of running you do or what kind of runner you are, On has what you need. From performance running shoes to trail ones, from racing shoes to performance and active, On has a shoe that will suit your needs. Almost all of the models come with many colorways, making it possible for you to fit your clothes to your shoes (or vice versa), but the most important thing is to feel comfortable, stable, and have enough support to make running the best sport ever.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best On Running Shoes

Comfort and Cushion

Very simple yet extremely relevant features are comfort and cushioning. No matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing, you want to make sure your feet stay comfortable in them. We all have our own styles and preferences; some prefer thin, lightweight materials, others prefer thick padding and support. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it here from On.

Running can be especially hard on the feet due to terrain and long, strenuous movements. On works hard to create all-around comfortable shoes that ease pressure and allow for fluid movement. Their patented CloudTec cushioning used on the inside of all their shoes helps to transition your feet from soft, light movements to firm, rough terrain. This allows the runner to feel natural in their stride without having to constantly correct their movement to the feel of the shoe.

You never want to feel your shoes rubbing or pushing around your ankles and feet. On has designed their shoes so that your feet can feel like they’re moving on clouds. The tongue of the shoe is lightly padded and created with clean-cut seams that help to avoid irritation upon contact. Also avoiding the chance for blisters, On shoes are designed to form perfectly around the ankle and come with extra cushioning in the heel cup.

You may not think of it at first but part of being comfortable in your shoes is good shape and fit. You don’t want tight or too loose shoes, your feet need to fit comfortably while staying stable and allowing for ease of movement. On knows how important this is for runners which is why each shoe is carefully designed to form around the foot no matter what kind of running you may be doing.

Comfort doesn’t stop there, On even works on the bottoms of the shoes to keep your movements steady. Their high-profile cushioning works with the rubber outsoles to create proper shock absorption and ease of pressure. On understands how each step can be a heavy blow to the foot which is why they’ve worked so hard to create an original design that’s not only unique but is extremely functional as well.

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Proper Traction

For those who like to run off-track into nature or on unpacked dirt roads, traction is a key factor of your ability to move. Traction is always important no matter what type of terrain you’re on but it’s especially important when running in areas that you may potentially get injured at. Wet, rocky and loose gravel are just a few examples of terrain that are needing reliable shoes.

Luckily for all of us, each On running shoe is specially designed for different types of movement and terrain. This allows runners to find specific shoes for whatever types of running they may be doing.

All of On’s shoes are designed with multiple high-profile cushions on the bottom of the rubber outsoles. As mentioned before, these cushions help to absorb shock and pressure that would normally cause damage or pain to the feet. They’re also great for providing that grip needed for fast movements.

The rubber material provides a smooth yet non-slip grip against any hard surface, especially flat surfaces like concrete, tracks, and indoor surfaces. The round edges of the cushioning are what makes them great for outdoor use. If you’re running on uneven tracks or rocky roads, the shoes will form to the terrain.

On has even gone to the lengths of creating a fully waterproof shoe for those who run in wet weather or terrain near water. At first, this may sound like it’s just for the outside of the shoe, but all-around, even the bottom is waterproof. This is just another way On comes up with innovative ways to meet the needs of people. Since the bottom of the shoe is waterproof, that creates extra traction and grip even on the wettest tracks.

No matter where you choose to run or what weather you may be in, On running shoes will provide the grip and support needed to run at top performance.

Types of Running

Running is just the generic category which is used to classify all types of running. From long-distance to sprinting or uphill climbs, you’ll want to make sure that the running shoes you’re wearing can handle everything you’re putting them through.

While generic running shoes are okay for those who go for the occasional jog or as just beginners in running, intermediate and professional runners are going to want to invest in footwear that’s specific to enhancing their performance.

For sprinters, each step is meant to be fast and efficient, but the intense speed can increase the pressure between the track and your feet. These heavy steps can be intense and harsh on the foot. On creates shoes with high-profile cushioning to ease the pressure created in each fast-flowing step.

Regular joggers or runners often run in parks, on sidewalks or man-made tracks. For this type of running, cushion and support are usually the first feature people look towards. The cushion on the inside of the shoe also helps to ease the pressure but mainly creates a form fit that works with the runner’s movements.

Long-distance runners also prefer extra cushion to help stop their feet from getting tired but another important feature for that type of running is a lightweight feel. You need the cushion but you don’t want to feel like you’re dragging around weights because of your shoes. The lightweight cushioning provides all the support needed while still allowing the runner to move flexibly.

Specifying the types of running you’re going to be doing is a great start from choosing the right shoes. No matter where or how you run, On running shoes is here to provide constant support and comfort needed to achieve success.

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Innovative Designs

On is a leading footwear company specialized in running shoes. Their constant main focus is to deliver the most efficient styles with the most advanced, reliable features. The design of the shoe is important because it’s the first thing that catches the eye, but On goes even farther than that to provide quality care for all their users.

When you look at any On running shoe, you’ll notice that the style is something you’ve probably never seen before. Their custom high-profile chains of cushion provide extra support to the bottom of the shoe but is also an innovative design that is changing the way we view running shoes.

This design is fresh and unique, something that helps the brand to stand out for its originality in style. The rounded patterns can be viewed from the sides of the shoe during wear. This helps to spice up the original look of the running shoe to make it more modern and futuristic.

While their designs may seem relevant in fashion, they’re also extremely relevant in proper foot health. The designs used in the creation of their shoes serve multiple purposes. Mostly, they’re made to provide support and ease pressure built up on the feet.

On never stops trying to create new styles. They even created a way to lace your shoes without ever having to tie them. This company takes current problems for runners and is constantly creating solutions in their footwear to allow the runner to focus more on their own abilities. With the amazing products they’ve already delivered so far, it’ll be exciting to see what else this innovative company can create.

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Long-term Reliability

On running shoes tend to be pretty pricey no matter what type of shoe you choose to buy. When spending a decent amount of money on any item, you want to make sure that it’s going to last and that you’re getting your full value of the purchase.

On’s reasoning for high-priced running shoes is actually very valid. Their dedication to only using high-quality materials and innovative shoe technology is what makes the shoes worth their price value. When you purchase a pair of shoes from On, you can expect that they’re going to last you a long time.

The materials and shoe design work together to create strong, durable shoes that can hold up in a variety of events. From running races on a track to morning neighborhood runs on the concrete and cross country runs on off-road dirt trails, On running shoes always delivers the highest quality footwear to assure the success in your performance.

Features like their easy lace closure, rubber outsoles and CloudTec cushioning are all reasons why On running shoes are on top of the market. Reliability has more to do with just lasting a long time, it also has to do with providing the most efficient styles and quality features. Features are what On running shoes is all about.

Overall, On works very hard to create an all-around reliable shoe for all types of runners. The lightweight comfort provided helps to ease the flow of movement while, providing stability and support. Cushion is important to have in your shoes but too much can weigh down your feet and affect your performance. It’s all areas like that that On is specialized in. They’re constantly creating new innovative ways to solve everyday concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. Can regular shoes be worn as running shoes?
A. While some shoes may have enough support and cushion to be worn as running shoes, most, unfortunately, do not. When choosing the proper clothing and equipment for any physical activity it’s important to consider the factors and elements of your exercise. For running, a lot of pressure can be put on the feet depending on the distance and types of terrain. The more your feet move, the more they sweat too. Overall, it’s important to find a shoe that’s specific to the conditions of your exercise. In this case, for running, it’s always much better for the health and protection of your feet to choose running specific shoes.

Q. What makes On running shoes better than other brands?
A. On designs all their shoes specifically for needs of all types of runners. Their team is technologically advanced and are always working hard to create the most relevant footwear on the market. If On finds materials or styles that work better than previous models they’ve made, they’ll replace the shoes for better upgrades that overall make a better, more reliable shoe. On keeps things simple; they only have a select amount of designs that focus on specific needs so finding the perfect shoe doesn’t take large amounts of time to search for. Overall, you can expect this brand to only deliver the most top quality shoes to help better your running experiences.

Q. How do the shoelaces work with On running shoes?

A. First, the best thing about On shoelaces is that you’ll never have to spend time tying them or worrying about them coming undone. The laces are made with a thick, stretchy material. All you have to do is pull the edges and the laces will tighten around your foot at an even balance. This type of shoelace is actually better in general because the shoe is evenly tightened to form around the foot, helping to secure it in place.

Q. Does On carry their styles of shoes for both men and women?
A. Yes! Their versatile shoe designs can be enjoyed by both men and women. Any style that you can find from On, you’ll be guaranteed to find it for both genders. Even though the style is unisex, On still likes to separate the shoes as men and women’s feet are slightly different from each other. Women tend to have more narrow, small feet while men typically have larger more wide feet. On has made sure to keep their same styles but slightly change the shape to form better around each individual’s foot.

Q. What types of weather can On running shoes be worn in?
A. On’s running shoes have been created for all types of weather and terrain. They have different shoes based on the different needs of runners. For those who like to run off trail in rocky, muddy terrain, On has created a shoe for that. If your area is wet and rainy, On has created a waterproof shoe to keep your shoes and feet dry. From concrete pavements to gravel or man-made tracks, On has created a shoe that can meet all your specific needs.

Q. What is the price range of On running shoes?
A. The only downside about On running shoes is that they’re not for those who are on a tight budget. Most of their shoes range from an average middle cost to fairly high prices. The pricing of the shoes represents the quality of the materials and the design. While cheaper shoes may seem to work great at first, you’ll notice that they wear and damage much easier than a running shoe that originally costs more money. Every purchase with On is like an initial investment towards long-lasting comfort and support so overall, it’s better to pay more at first.

Q. Can On running shoes be worn for everyday use, not just for exercise?
A. Yes. If you’re someone who spends long days on their feet, works a standing or physically active job, these shoes can be a great solution for tired feet. The cushion and padding provided in the shoes can help to ease pressure and tension in the heel and ball areas of the foot. The material the shoes are made with is also highly breathable and flexible, so for those moving around quite often, these shoes are a good choice for keeping your feet cool and dry.

Q. What kinds of styles can I expect to see from On?
A. On specializes only in running shoes for both men and women. You can expect to find unisex, minimal and modern designs in their footwear. Their materials are sleek and lightweight, never bulky or sticking out. On likes to keep their shoes light, you can always expect to find low-cut styles, never boots or high-tops. On is constantly working to keep their designs current so if there’s a new trending style coming out, you can expect On to create a shoe with those trends.

Q. How long do On running shoes tend to last?
A. Since the brand only uses the most high-quality materials in their footwear, these shoes are extremely strong and durable giving them a longer life than other running shoes. You can expect to get at least one year out of these running shoes, multiple if the shoes are properly taken care of and aren’t worn for heavy use. After about 500 miles, it’s been said that replacing your shoes may be a good idea. On creates their foam insoles to be removable, your able wash the material and replenish the freshness. The high-profile outsole cushioning is also made to be strong and not wear down so overall, you can push the limit and keep these shoes for a long time.

Sources

  1. On Running, The On Story,


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